Monthly Archives: January 2010

Athlete Feature – Ubaldina Valoyes

Coach Ivan just came back from Colombia where he continued his study of the highly sucessful Colombian system. In recent years, Colombia has risen to be one of the top weightlifting countries in PAN America as well as in the world.

Ivan worked with World medalist Ubaldina Valoyes (pictured with Ivan) at the Bogota high perfomance training center, Salitre. Below is a factual profile on Ubaldina.

Ubaldina’s Stats:         
Highest placement at JR worlds: 3rd

Highest placement at Sr Wrolds: 5th
Highest placement at Pan AM Ganes: 1st
Highest placing at the Olympics: 7th

Best competition snatch: 112kg
Best competition Clean and jerk: 138

Best training snatch: 115 kg
Best Training clean and jerk:145 kg

Best back squat: 180 kg
Best front squat: 155 kg

Ubaldina was discovered by a Cuban coach in Colombia while she was a shot put thrower. After seeing her throw, he told her she had better physical conditions for being a weightlifter than a thrower. Specifically, although she was a good thrower, she was not tall enough to be Olympic level. Culturally, this is interesting- rather than tell her to quit throwing because she was too short, he recommended that she switch to weightlifting. He saw that she still had great explosiveness and athletic talent and could use her height to her advantage in weightlifting.

Aside -This is very similar to Olympic Champion Maria Urrutia’s story. She was also a thrower from Colombia who switched to weightlifting. She later won the 2000 Olympic Games. Maria Urrutia is now a member of the Colombian congress.

Ubaldina admires the Chinese lifters. She has friendly competition with Damaris Aguirre from Mexico. She is great friends with weightlifters Cinthya Dominguez from Mexico and Hernandez from Cuba.

Ubaldina has been fitted for weightlifting shoes, and will proudly be wearing the Risto weightlifting shoes in this year’s international competitions.

Why weightlifting shoes? Why a good bar?

Often I am asked: “Do I need weightlifting shoes?” or “Is there really a difference in bars?”

To both, I would say “Absolutely!!”.

Why weightlifting shoes are the best thing since sliced bread for anyone using weights:
If you have never worn lifting shoes and regularly use free weights, a good pair of shoes will easily increase your max by 5-10kg or 10-22lbs. This is because weightlifting shoes have a hard, less compressible sole. A good shoe also has a well constructed leather upper that will support your foot with radial and tangentially compressive forces.

The hard sole allows you to efficiently transfer force to the floor. So, whether you’re doing a deadlift, snatch, or squat, you want all of your hard Work or energy transmitted to the floor. A soft, squishy rubber sole will waste your Energy. A typical sneaker sole will actually act as a damper, sucking the energy out of your lift.

Think of your lift like thrust out of a rocket. You lift the weight up by as an equal and opposite reaction from pushing against the floor. Again, visualize it like thrust coming out of a rocket- a rocket explodes upward into the sky by shoving expanded gasses out a nozzle which then push against the surface or gasses outside the exhuast nozzle, shooting the rocket upward.

The upper gives support to the structure of your foot. One should not lift bear foot as your foot will spread out and flatten during heavy reps (not good for arches!!). Sure, you can find photos and video’s of World champs showing-off by lifting in a pair of sandals or no shoes. And, this is not something they do day-after-day or at competitions, winning Olympic Golds and breaking world records.

Most importantly – SAFETY! A good pair of shoes will prevent lateral rocking, protecting your ankles. A well contructed shoe will keep you more stable and in control of your lifts.

Try lifting a few reps in a pair of sneakers, then repeat the same reps in a pair of lifting shoes. It’s night and day. Its like driving a Hyundai Accent then jumping into a BMW M3.

A good bar spins. A good bar oscillates. Both qualities prevent wrist injuries. Bushings are no where near the same as needle bearings. From working in the jet engine business, I can tell you that bearings are an art form in there own. Ford focus is to Ford mustang as Bushing bar is to needle bearing bar.

Side note:
By the way, Risto shoes are made of leather with a wooden sole. We do this purposely as both the leather and wood will, overtime, form to your foot and stance. We do not use plastic or vinyl uppers, as plastic does not break-in, it doesn’t mold to your foot anywhere near as well as leather. Leather is more expensive too. We do not use a plastic sole as hard plastic stays in the same mold from which it came. We are all individuals and need a shoe that will mold into something a little but like ourselves. Wood is hard, yet flexible and will form to our stance over time.

Risto Weightlifting Academy in the Press

This past weekend, the Portsmoth Herald was stopped by to see what the Risto Weightlifting Academy and CrossFit Portsmouth were doing with respect to New Years Resolutions.

Here is the link:

Our answer- Come to Risto to get results. We are all about high performance and building champions.
Don’t waste your time and money on souless gyms, lacking expertise.

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