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Old 05-07-2007, 01:07 PM   #20
Elliot Royce
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 317

As a neophyte who's benefitted greatly from a competent coach, I entirely endorse the idea of getting really competent someone to watch you. It's worth travelling some distance to do so. It's funny: a fully certified trainer with his own gym came down to see what my coach, Gary Valentine, was doing two weekends ago. Gary stepped out of the room, and I said to the trainer," you're going to learn a lot...Gary knows exactly how to coach people without insisting on their learning by the book [Burgener workout for weeks and months till you're perfect]. He figures out exactly what's holding you back and then focuses on that while letting your other imperfections not get in the way." The trainer said, "well everyone does it his own way...I've been training people for 9 years and was responsible for the PT for an aircraft carrier." I didn't argue with him. He then went on to explain that he was unable to do squat cleans because of lack of flexibililty. Knowing how inflexible I am, I figured this was just an excuse.

Yesterday, I see the same guy and ask him whether he had learned anything. The guy broke into a huge smile and said, "absolutely...and now I know I'm not inflexible." He then went on to do some great squat cleans.

My point, besides getting yourself a good coach, is that there is no one way to do things. Clearly, loading a maximum weight on the bar and going for it come hell or high water is going to get you injured. At the same time, I would still be doing Burgener warmups and not squat cleaning if I had waited for perfect form. A good coach will tell you where you can move forward without risk on the weights and where you can't. For instance, because I'm now clean pulling properly, Gary says, go for it, do it until you can't do anymore. But on the snatch pull, he won't let me do it without him.

So I would come down somewhere in between and if you don't have a coach, I would definitely lean towards the more conservative until you are sure your form is right.
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