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    ashley
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    Fun with Blocks
    By Ashley Jones

    Block work I believe is a much under used modality for training, often just the domain of Olympic lifters, it can add both variety and supplement your more traditional training elements.

    A good solid set of pulling blocks should form the cornerstone of every gym from the garage dwellers to Olympic training centres around the world. By performing your pulling/Olympic movements from different starting positions you train different portions of the kinetic chain and specifically strengthen areas sequentially. From the top position where the bar is set at approximately mid to high thigh position you must have an aggressive shrug and forward hip drive in order to finish the lift. The second position has the bar set around knee height, above or below, depending on lever lengths, this position greatly emphasizes the hips moving through quickly and timing of the hip contact with the shrug on the bar, also a good shoulders forward starting position in line with a flat back start are also re-enforced. Finally from the floor where all of the above are used in sequence following on from a solid set up and starting pull, with the shoulders, hips and knees rising at the same rate allowing for a correct transition form the first to the second pull.

    I have written before of utilizing blocks in your training, I would like to add a few extra ideas for you to add to your sessions. Firstly, though some terminology issues:

    Press – no lower body involvement at all, all movement initiated from the shoulders and arms

    Push Press – movement is initiated with a short dip then drive from the legs and hips, then the bar is continued on it’s upward journey with the press form the arms, a coaching cue of dip, drive, push maybe useful

    Power Jerk – same start as for push press, but you re-bend the knees after the arms click into the sequence, a coaching cue of dip, drive, drop, timing the drop to a solid ¼ squat position with the lockout of the elbows with the bar secured overhead

    Split Jerk – same set up as for power jerk, but you split your feet forward and back to a comfortable but equidistant position from your pulling stance, timing is important as your feet land in the split position as you lock your elbows out overhead, to stand up ensure that you bring your lead (front) leg back and then bring your trail leg up, to ensure the bar is directly overhead at all times

    You may remember from a previous article that I often will program a contrast jump after each set, this is another method you may like to try, the following training ideas will just incorporate exercises with bar.

    Workout 1
    3 x 3 Power Snatch from high block
    4 x 2 Power Snatch from mid block
    5 x 1 Power Snatch from floor
    Workout 2
    3 x 3 Power Snatch from high block Overhead Squat
    4 x 2 Power Snatch from mid block Overhead Squat
    5 x 1 Power Snatch from floor Overhead Squat
    Workout 3
    3 x 3 Power Snatch from high block Snatch grip press behind neck
    4 x 2 Power Snatch from mid block Snatch grip push press
    5 x 1 Power Snatch from floor Snatch grip push or split jerk
    Workout 4
    3 x 3 Power Clean from high block
    4 x 2 Power Clean from mid block
    5 x 1 Power Clean from floor
    Workout 5
    3 x 3 Power Clean from high block Front Squat
    4 x 2 Power Clean from mid block Front Squat
    5 x 1 Power Clean from floor Front Squat
    Workout 6
    3 x 3 Power Clean from high block Military Press
    4 x 2 Power Clean from mid block Push Press
    5 x 1 Power Clean from floor Split Jerk
    Workout 7
    3 x 3 Power Snatch or Clean from high block
    4 x 2 Snatch or Clean from mid block (squat style)
    5 x 1 Snatch or Clean Pull from floor
    Workout 8
    3 x 3 Power Snatch or Clean from high block
    4 x 2 Snatch or Clean Pull from mid block
    5 x 1 Snatch or Clean grip Dead Lift from floor

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