Monthly Archives: March 2011

Seminar -April 16, Dr Alfredo Herrera, the Legend

How would you like to be able to predict your lifts? Would you like to be able to predict what you will be lifting in six months with in a 2% margin of error?
How is it possible that a TINY, POOR country like Cuba can produce so many Olympic and World champions?

Before I met Ivan, I thought there was some level of voodoo in Olympic lifting training. I never knew that there was an actual science that could accurately forecast what my potential was and provide me a method for acheiving it.

There is such a scientific system that can be readily applied by most coaches– it is called Strategic Direction.Strategic Direction is a Cuban system that is applied to all Olympic sports in Cuba. It’s cycle starts the 4 years proceeding an Olympic Games. Strategic Direction’s goal is to acheive as many medals as possible in the Olympic Games.

Coach Ivan Rojas had received training in this system in the 90’s. At Risto Sports, we started formally using this system just over a year ago– and it works. I increased my training lifts from 70kg to 84kg snatch and 85kg to 102kg clean in months.

A piece of the training was still missing. We needed an expert in this system such that we could mature our thinking and application. We first worked with former Director of the Cuban Olympic Training Center (Cerro Pelado), Juan Carlos Veliz (immigrated to USA), who conducted formal classes on the system with us.

Our next step was to work with one of the founding fathers of modern Olympic Weightlifting theory. Someone who worked on the forming of the Soviet system (everything today is based on the Soviet system, it like Newton’s Law of weightlifting) from which the Cuban Strategic Direction was created. Specifically, the Cuban system synthesizes the former Eastern Block research and newer Cuban research Most importantly, it adapted this research finding to Cuba’s own socio-economical reality.

We contacted Dr Alfredo Herrera (now a US Citizen) who is now the technical advisor for the Risto Weightlifting Academy. When I first met Dr Herrera, it was like someone lifting a veil from over my eyes. I could see more clearly than ever before. When I indicated my goals for lifting, he laughed at me as, from his perspective, it would be a cake walk for me (ie it would be really easy with his even more sophisticated training system). It was similar to the way new lifters walk in our gym, wanting only to snatch a meek 60 kgs, and we get them to snatch well over 100 in a few months. In other words, we are really excited and humbled to be working with DR Herrera.

Dr. Herrera has an amazing Curriculum Vitae.
He completed his Post Doctorate in the Soviet Union in Theory and Methodology in sports Training and Physical Education and Weighlifting at the State Central Institute in Moscow (Russia). His Doctoral degree was completed at Pedagogic Science from the State Central Institute of Physical Culture in Moscow, USSR (now, Russia). He has a degree in phycisal eduction from Manuel Fajardo University in Havana, Cuba.

He has conducted seminars around the world and taught at prestigious universities. At Cuba, the president of the Technical Committee of the Cuban Weightlifting Federation, where he actively engaged with the training of coaches and athletes. He was also a member of the International Weightlifting Committee.
He has worked with many famous Olympic Champions including Pablo Lara of Cuba. He has coached the Colombian National Team, culminating in Maria Urrutia’s Gold medal win at the 2000 Olympic Games.

As a service to our family of strength athletes, we will be holding a seminar April 16th at 10AM at Risto Sports. Go to, click on training seminar item. For group pricing and travel info, contact me by email.

Risto Sports Dominates & Arnold Weightlifting Championships

Carlos and Yoni receiving award from Arnold

This past weekend, Risto Sports sponsored the 2011 Arnold Weightlifting Championships. Along with showcasing our products and services to the thousands in attendance, Risto Sports was represented by several high level athletes.

Risto’s Ivan Rojas coached the Andica brothers (Colombian National & Olympic Team) along with Gwendolyn Rojas(LG 7 yr old) and Gwendolyn Sisto (2010 World Universtity Championships).

Most notably, Yoni and Carlos Andica performances earned them top cash prizes–as well as being recognized by Arnold Schwarzenneger. LG showed some awesome technique at her first big meet, ever, and Gwen had the honor of lifting in the women’s elite session.

A huge THANK YOU to Columbus Weightlifting ( people like Mark Canella, etc) who put this meet on.

Below are sequences of Coach Ivan, Gwen, LG, Carlos, and Yoni in action (click on “view with pic lens” for Cool Iris slideshow):

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