stridin’ into dms like…

Easing In

First day back on track, first day in the weight room. My physical therapist gave me clearance to practice, I’m ready to go. I feel like I will be coming back this outdoor season much stronger with my brand new hips and shins. Today was a great day to start easing back into real practices. Let’s get after it.

Overview of Tuesday, February 28, 2017

  • 800m warmup jog/skips with eyelight glasses
  • standard track warmup
  • 4 x 100m strides
  • Lift!
  • 5 minutes of foam rolling
  • 10 minute ice bath

Track Work 🏃

I’ve been super sore and beat up from all the PT, but warmups overall felt great. This was the first time I’ve done non-PT dynamic work with the team since tweaking my hip flexor just over a week ago, but I’m happy with how mobile I felt, I was able to hit full range of sprinting motion (see below) during warmups no problemo.

Pretty good example from:

Then I hit the strides. A stride is somewhere between a sprint and a jog, mostly about finding your rhythm and getting up to speed. I wasn’t trying to push it or go fast at all, just shake off some rust. Felt some tightness in my hips, which was expected, but this was a big first step to make working out again. Hoping to get on the track for a real practice later this week.

Weight Room 🏋

Snatches are the best full body explosive movement. Need to work on speed and hip extension.

Track and Field lifts are pretty specific to the movements we do on the track, so the big powerlifts (bench, squat, deadlift), while great for making us super strong, aren’t always our primary focus. They just aren’t specific enough. The Olympic lifts (snatch, and clean) are a bit more like track movements, hyper explosive and feel more like a big jump or throw. You’ll see us do these more often.

Here’s what today’s lift looked like:

  • Snatch (4, 4, 3, 3, 2 reps each set)
  • Rear leg elevated split squats (8, 6, 4, 4)
  • Split squat jump, no switch in between (3x5)
  • Dumbbell bench press (3x6)
  • Ab rollouts (2x10)

I kept the weight low for all of these, it is my first day back lifting in a long time due do recurring injuries. It felt great to get back into it though and I really have a lot of faith in Coach Sam’s new programming. We also do exercises before and after lift, such as “prehab” work (work to prevent injury) and med ball stuff for explosiveness, but I can’t give away all of our secrets in one post 😉. I LOVE the snatch, it might be my favorite movement. It’s super technical and recruits lots of different muscle groups that are responsible for jumping high, running fast, and throwing far — perfect for a decathlete.

A lot of people make the mistake of going too heavy before mastering the technique (lookin’ at you, Ranjit). But loading isn’t necessarily the goal here. When we want to move more weight, we power clean or squat or deadlift. To progress in the snatch you must master these components in this order:

Technique ➡️ Speed ➡️ Weight

If you don’t have the technique down, don’t even worry about speed. Same goes for upping the weight on the barbell. Don’t go heavy until you can go fast let alone do it properly. Speed and explosiveness are why we’re snatching in the weight room as track athletes, so we try to get that barbell as fast (and safely) as we can over our heads. So I’ve been trying to keep it lighter and bring up my speed, mastering that hip thrust before I go up in weight. If I can get faster and thrust my hips more, I’ll maximize output from the snatch. Full, quick, and powerful hip extension is massively important in the explosive events such as throws and jump.

If you want to learn how to snatch properly: this is one of the best videos out there for learning the basic power snatch.

Stay tuned though. In the next couple weeks I plan on going in-depth on why track and field lifts tend to look more like this:

rather than this:

Beef 💪

Note about posting

Since I’m attempting something ambitious with this blog (quality daily content) I’m going to have to experiment with how I approach these. Everyday I’ll try to have:

  • an intro paragraph
  • breakdown of that days work
  • expansion about anything significant below (the blog post)

At minimum I will try have the first two sections every day. The rest of the blog post will depend on my free time and whether or not I think something about worth writing about. Some days I’ll get really into something like why we warmup the way we do, other days I’ll just let you know briefly what I’m up to.

Today was one of those short-ish ones, but I’ll be shooting for 2–3 real blog posts per week, where I can explore some interesting topics unique to the track world. Let’s see how this goes.

This is part of a new project of mine to share an authentic NCAA division 3 track and field experience. After 8 years of competing at the high school and college level, this is my last season of competition before graduating. Track is a pretty widely misunderstood sport so I wanted to offer as much insight into this world before saying goodbye.

For more, be sure follow me on the decathlog, twitter & instagram 👍

If you liked this post, click the 💙 to spread the love. Thanks!

Like what you read? Give Tom Wang a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.