Meanwhile in Belarus …
2008 Olympic champion and still snatch world record holder Andrei Aramnau is back to training after a long hiatus packed with injuries.
He started posting regular videos, sharing his training and giving tips.
Thanks to Sergiy Turchyn (@sergiywl) on insta for letting me post his translations here (see posts below).
Translated Notes from Sergiy:
How I became Olympic champion?
I was born on April 17, 1988 in Borisov, Belarus. My first childhood memories are when at I saw my future wife take her first steps. We know each other since childhood.
Even before going to school I loved fishing. This was the only reason to ever skip training. My family was not rich. We lived near a railway station, not a very safe place. Most of my childhood friends are either in prison, alcoholics, or drug addicts. I got very lucky to become an athlete instead. I was a strong boy. At 9 years I was already chopping wood. Viktor Groda, 2 times USSR medalist, who lived in my building, took me into a weightlifting gym. I wanted to be strong and handsome like him. Never became as handsome.
At 10 years old I started training. I was strong, but my technique was bad. I say that I know all technique mistakes in weightlifting because I went through all of them myself. I think I had all possible technique problems in my life. In 14 years I started training very seriously. I was always the first to come and the last to leave. I was kicked out for staying too long. There was nothing to do at home. My friends already started with alcohol and drugs, I wasn’t interested in them. I came to tarin at 3pm and left at 9. I almost never skipped training.
At 14 I reached Master of Sport. Then I was noticed and started training for U17 Europeans.
When I was born I had 6 fingers on my hand thanks to Chernobyl. Coach gave me an ultimatum: to train for Europeans I had to cut off the finger. At 14 years old I was very scared, but I went by myself to Minsk to cut it off. Because my parents were not able to get me back from the hospital, I escaped by myself.
Then I started breaking all the records. I broke many records, probably about 500 records total, including all the children ones. I broke 10-15 records each competition. I set 27 records in the Olympics as a junior. At 19 I won WWC. At 20 I won the Olympics.
I am a person who likes science. I always fixed my technique using scientific principles. I watched other athletes to learn about human movement. For those with technique mistakes I advise to watch others and try to imitate them.
Here are some notes from early Andrei Aramnau videos. I still haven’t seen the recent ones.
Future plans: 2 months ago got back into training. Already lifted 160+180. He feels that can still compete. This year is for recovery. The main goal is 2019 European Games [Note from Sergiy: I don’t see weightlifting in the program]. After that he will see how everything goes.
- 2 herniated disks at 19 years old, went away completely because of this back exercise. When you have back pain, do it
- 3-4 times a day. Otherwise, once a day is enough for injury prevention. The first 3 minutes seem easy, then it gets harder. 5 min is enough.
- Big knee problems at 14 years old. Since then every day Andrei does knee extensions. 4 sets of back extensions and knee extensions every day. Boring, but important.
After Olympics started getting quad problems. Always wanted to break records and got small muscle tears, that finally resulted in quad tears.
Got hip problems later on. Andrei stopped training in 2014 because he thought he is done. But then one day he wanted to show technique to an athlete and realized that pain is gone. In 3 years of no training (he is 29 now) everything seems to be gone, so he started again.
If you miss more than 3 days of training, you will start getting weaker. Andrei got sick recently, so missed 4 days. He recommends to wait a little longer after antibiotics, but started training himself because he still wants to win medals.
About bench press: thinks it is useful, but not too much. Too much bench results in forward jerks.
In training, after heavy sets Andrei does one final lighter set, so that muscles remember the easy feeling and not the heavy feeling. Muscle memory is important.
Pull up record: 16 times in 18 years old. On average about 10 times when in good shape.
Regarding YouTube channel, Andrei asks for any kind of help/advice since he is new to YouTube and Internet in general. If anyone can help with the channel, would be great.
Bodyweight: 112.4 (after 3 days of sickness)
Athletes most often miss snatches in the bottom. The way to fix it is simple: work on the bottom position. Sit in the bottom longer. Do overhead squats after snatches. Get shoulders strong in this position.
All kids of presses are also good. Shoulders and elbows are very important in the snatch.
However, if you work on bottom position too much, you can get Bursitis that will make your knee unable to bend properly. Work on the bottom position, but don’t go too crazy about it. Everything in moderation.
Correct second pull is very important. The bar should only touch the body at the second pull point. Friction slows down the bar. The second pull should be very short and powerful.
Brace yourself in the starting position. Bad starting position – everything goes wrong after that. The goal is to make legs and back do all the work. Do not pull with your arms. Back becomes less rigid and second pull becomes less explosive [Shows the straight vs bent finger stability].
Don’t retract scapula. It should be relaxed. Nothing should restrict the bar motion during the explosion. Damping effect will make the second pull weak. Only back and legs are used at the same time.
If you have muscle imbalances, use correct technique and correct muscles will have to be used.
Because of leg problems before, Andrei doesn’t hold the bottom position. People with weak shoulders should not take him as an example.
In the clean you want to catch above the very bottom and use the bounce. In the snatch you catch as low as possible.
Back extensions: one exercise, but can get 2 different effects. Before training it is warmup, after training can be used for back strength. Same applies to leg extensions.
Long warmup is very important. Spinal cord has glands that after 40 min of training start producing some hormone that strengthens our muscles and bones. That’s why 1 hour training sessions are too short and can only be used to maintain strength, but not increase it.
Jerks, Grip, Warm Up
After last Europeans tries to pause before jerk to avoid the same mistake of jerking immediately after standing up.
Jerk grip width depends on shoulder and upper back mobility. On average, grip width should be so that shoulder-elbow distance will be the same as elbow-wrist [on the picture].
Releasing your grip in the clean is a big mistake. When you receive the clean, you should maintain the hookgrip and only change to normal grip before the jerk. If you don’t maintain the grip in the clean, upper back can round more and it takes more energy to fix it later.
For better front rack position you can do front squat with straps. Have someone pull elbows up in the bottom position [on the second picture]. Another good shoulder stretch is to sit at the bottom of the squat jerk position.
Andrei emphasizes long warmup. 40 min warmup and 20 min with working weight is normal. For example, in the snatch session he did 4 sets with 70kg, 4 sets with 90kgx2, 4 sets of 110, 4 sets of 130, then 140×3 and 150×3.
Receive the snatch 1-2 inches above the very bottom, so that you can go lower in control if needed.
If you second pull is on the quad and not on the pubic bone, it’s a mistake. The bar will not fly as high. Second pull should be very short – 1-2 inches. Two ways to fix low second pull: 1) widen your grip 2) be more patient and make the first pull a little longer
The injury prevention exercises Andrei talks about in his videos are for prevention only, they will not cure any serious problems.
Weightlifters spend too little time on wrists and calves. If wrists are weak, you can lose the bar in the second pull of the snatch. Wrist curls and reverse curls are good for the wrists. Strong calves help to throw the bar higher in the second pull. They also help to maintain the back angle in the first pull and keep shoulders over the bar.
The exact weight jumps don’t matter as much as being warm during the warmup sets. You can do 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, etc. for one set each. You can also do 5 sets with 70, 5 sets with 120, and so on.
Andrei likes to front squat before rack jerks (each set) to warm up the knees before the jerk and keep them healthy.
Squatted for 10×10 and 1×20 with 120kg. This kind of training is good for blood vessels and blood flow. Helps to feel better.
Weightlifter doesn’t need a lot of bicep curls, but if you do them, use clean grip or slightly wider. Close grip curls are bad for the lockout and rack position.
Many people say he should lose weight. He understands everything. Andrei was 120kg 2 months ago, 112 now. He currently uses almost no supplements because no money.
What to do at the end of training sessions? You should always understand your weak points and work on them. Small things like grip or forearm strength. There should be no weak muscles.
Speaking about forearm strength, when Andrei was snatching around 210kg he could physically do more, but was afraid to attempt because he felt that his elbows might snap with so much weight.
His Own Programming
Andrei Aramnau talks about his programming
He emphasizes training by feel. He likes to experiment and record volume, feeling, etc. to learn his body. He does not plan percentages, always trains by feel. It’s very important to know your weak points and be realistic. Don’t push when you should not push.
2 options: train once a day (6 days a week), twice a day (MWF twice, Sunday off)
For 6 days a week like he trains now:
- Monday: snatch, then pulls 110%x3x6, squats or pulls (depends on how snatch goes), light BB work for GPP.
- Tuesday: clean and jerk, 2+1 or 1+2. 2-6 sets. Then pulls.
- Wednesday: snatch variation. Which variation depends on feeling. Doesn’t like power snatching (it is technique exercise and bad for knees at high weights). Weak back – below the knee hang for sets of 3. Weak start position – lighter snatches for speed. Weak 2nd pull – from blocks.
- Thursday: GPP, assistance stuff. Everything for weak points, by feel. Presses, snatch balances, jumps, bench, all these kinds of stuff. Then sauna. Light day.
- Friday: C&J. If snatch is doing worse, do snatch. This is a heavy ass day.
Then pulls, squats and presses. Then back assistance. Friday is a hard day.
- Saturday: slowly get ready for the weekend. Recovery kind of training. Good warmup. Light weights to recover better. To maintain the feeling.
- Sunday: only if absolutely need, do something super light. Only if you start feel weak with no training at all.
Main secret: weekly plan not as important. Should have 3 week plans. In a good shape, 2 weeks load, 1 week deload (conserve energy, like charge the battery). In bad shape, 1 week load 1 week deload.
Listen to everyone, but do whatever works for you. Learn how your own body works.
Training 9 times/week is easier. Workouts are 1.5-2 hours instead of 3-3.5. No extra assistance stuff at the end. Morning workouts are lighter. Evening workouts are heavier.
Andrei’s Best Lifts
- They all happened at 18-21 years old.
- Snatch 200 from any position easily
- Block snatch 210×1, 205×2. Wanted double with 210 but too scared to hurt elbows
- Snatch 205 x1
- With straps 200×3
- Above knee hang snatch 200×3, 205×2
- Clean from blocks 250
- C&J 240, 5 times in life
- C&J 235 2+1
- Front Squat 290×1, 280×3
- Back Squat 310×3
- Never maxed out in assistance lifts not to risk injury
- Back Squat 300x3x3 was routine
- Clean Pull 280 no problem
- Clean Pull from blocks 300 for speed
- Bench press 180
- Rack jerk 260
- Power jerk 260
- Snatch balance 240×3
- Snatch power jerk 280