The training of our lifters….

Today we’ll post the training of Gwendolyn Rojas.

Age; 12

Best snatch: 55 Kg

Best C & J: 67 Kg

Best Back Squat: 82 Kg

Titles; 2014 and 2015 USA Youth National Champion

Day 6 1.- Snatch 35×3 40×3 44(2×3) 47×2 50(2×1) 22 reps
2.- C & J 45×3 50×3 54(2×3) 56×3 60(2×1) 22 reps
3.- F Squat 45(2×3) 50(2×3) 55(2×3) 60×3 65×2 23 reps
OBS 388 reps. 106 snatch. 106 C&J. 128 squats. 48 pulls


The daily training of our competitors….

Our lifters have competed at every possible level in weightlifting. From local meets to continental,world and Olympic level.

I’ll start posting their daily workout at radom. One day one lifter’s program of the day and the following day some other lifter’s.

Today I’ll start with Rocio Navarro (team Panama)who will compete in 2 weeks at the Pan Ams in Cartagena. She’s seeking qualification for Rio 2016. In April 2016 she competed in Rio at the Olympic test event.


Snatch 94 Kg

C&J     116 kg

Back Squat 170 kg

Front squat 136 kg

Weight class 69 kg

Age 25

Saturday 05/21

Morning session (session 8 of the week)

1.-  F Squat 95×3 100×3 105×3 110×3 115(2×3) 18 reps
2.- S Pull 80(2×3) 85(2×3) 12 reps

Afternoon session (session 9 of the week)

1.-P. S B Knee 55×3 60×3 65×3 70(2×3) 75×3 80×3 21 reps
2.- J B Neck 75×3 80×3 85×3 90(2×3) 95×3 100×3 21 reps

After each session ab work, some body building and after every session Ice therapy.

rocio cart

Daniel Nunez super human and Olympic champion

Weightlifting has become popular once again. This new popularity comes with a huge number of new “experts” of all kinds– well, mostly Internet experts and also the overnight ones who think they know about the rich history of our sport by repeating over and over almost like a Mantra exotic names (Ilyin, Klokov, Krakav, Krikiv,etc).

While working as a consultant for an International Weightlifting Federation at a Pan American championships, serendipitously, I happened to sit next to one of these “experts”.  I overheard all the wealth of  knowledge(sic) that was being transmitted by one of these above mentioned experts..

Sitting close to us was the 1980 Olympic champion Daniel Nunez. When I pointed this out to the expert, he said, ” Daniel who???” Hispanic last name?? not Russian or Eastern European??? well he didn’t know who Daniel Nunez was.

Daniel Nunez is by far one of the most impressive Olympic and world champions ever.

I first met him in 1983 at the Pan Am games in Venezuela, and later at the Manuel Suarez in memorian cup. Years later in 1989 I was lucky to train under him and that’s when I saw how a good coach should be.

What makes Daniel Nunez impressive is not only his Gold medal in 1980 in Moscow (the hardest games for weightlifting) or the fact of being the first latin American to win an Olympic gold medal in Weightlifting but the number of world records he’s broken…20 in total!!!!!


Yes, Vassily Alexeev broke more than that and also did Naim Suleymanoglu; not so fast there…let’s check Daniel’s most impressive  World records:

Junior World Records

On September 1977 he broke a Snatch world record 112.5 Kg in Germany, less than 60 days later in Mexico he broke a snatch 113kg and a C&J138 world record…not enough? still in 1978 and only 2 days after those 2 world records in Mexico he broke again 2 world records in Cuba snatch 115kg and Total 252.5kg.

1978 again more world records:

March 11, 1978 snatch 115.5kg, May 12 Olympic total 255Kg.

At the worlds in the USA in 1978 he broke 3 world records snatch 117.5Kg, Olympic Total 257.5kg, Olympic total again 260Kg. All these records were set on October, 10 1978. KNow what happened 11 days later?? that’s righta new world record in C&J 143.5.

Senior World Records

As a Seior lifter he also broke several records within the same year..the most impressive ones:

November 12, 1982 Snatch 136.5Kg in Sweeden and 9 days later in Denmark a new world record 137.5 Kg also in Snatch…


Being in the sport most of my life I know what it takes to win a competition, let alone break a world record and doing it again days later…it’s plainly not human.

These days I have the privilege to work with him in the preparation of Panama’s elite’s athles for International meets.

D PAnama

Weightlifting for dummies..the Clean and Jerk Structure…..

As well as in the Snatch the Clean and jerk is also divided in Actions, periods and phases.


Clean St Blog


JJerk Struct blog

C & J Sequence

The same as in the snatch the importance we put the the bar path (specially in the jerk due to its complexity) is key;

Jerk bar path


A very common errr among beginning weightliftres is that they lift their hips firat and try to clean the bar with their arms. The brain will always tend to use the weaker muscles first. Proper tarining of the clean technique will lead to use the different muscla groups in the correct order to have a very effective clean..

Muscle work in clean


Correct bar path in the Snatch

In my previous post I talked about the Strsucture of the snatch (Actions, Periods, Phases) there isn’t such a thing as the first pull, second pull,pockets, double bender, triple extension (my favorite).

It’s of key importance to pay attention to the bar path. A corrcet and proper bar path will result in a successful lift. Using the worng muscle groups and the wrong time will result in failing an attempt. Remenber in a competition we only have 3 attempts for each lift and we need to take the advantage of each lift.

Correct bar path of the snatch

Snatch bar path II


Weightlifting for dummies…The Snatch Structure…..

Please, please stop inventing names for the different phases of the snatch. I’m sick of hearing the fisrt pull, the second pull, the third pull, the double bender, the triple extension, the pockets, the undertaker (actually that’s an IWF wrestler). If there’s going to be a second or a third pull the movement has to STOP and as we know stopping the bar is an illegal movement.

This is the Structure of the snatch (Lukashov 1972 and Miulberg 1988)

The snatch is composed by ACTIONS, PERIODS and PHASES

ACTIONS.- Preparatory, Pricipal, Final

Peparatory action: Initial position, Snatch from dynamic or static position

Principal Action: PUll, lift off, previous impulse, shock absorption, final impulse

Turn Over: Slide, jump

Final Action: recovery, fixation

Snatch Structure II

Snatch Structure Dammi


The Height of the lifter for the right weight class is extremely important to achieve good competitive results. The height of the lifter needs to be appropiate for the right weight class. This well balanced ratio will result in better results.

Gaining body weight should be a well planned process keeping a good gain in muscle mass and controling the body fat compositon.

Our competitive athletes train in cycles of 12 weeks. The first thing we do is to measure the BFC and we expect the lifter to gain same weight by week 7 and lower the BFC a bit. Another control will be on week 10 and also week 12. Those controles of weight and BFC are done together with the tests of maximum lift we execute in that cycle.

We use this chart as reference (again there could be exceptions)

DIV 56 62 69 77 85 94 105 105
HEIGHT 4’9″ 5’2″ 5’4″ 5’5″ 5’6″ 5’7″ 5’8″ 6′
Diff +/- 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.18 Inch 1.96 Inch

Any questions please email us

Phone 207 844 0449

Lider 1 155


Split Jerk or Squat Jerk…that’s the question….

The Jerk is one of the most (if not the most) difficult lifts around.

Let’s see how hard it is :

to start we execute the jerk after cleaning a heavier weight than the snatch. If we focus and study the snatch we’ll find that elite lifters (world/Olympic level lifters) can lift as fast as 150-150 m/s (meter per second)when working with intensity zone 3 (70%-80% of max) and 120-130 with zone 5 (90%-100% of max) . Wow that’s fast….., but how about the Jerk ( with lots of more weight)what’s the speed of the bar? 250 m/s to 270 m/s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In order to achieve this speed we need to produce a great amount of power and technique needs to be perfect….which jerk is the most efficient?

I’m sure we’ll get tons of responses on this questions (mostly from Internet experts or as I call them overnight coaches with thousands of youtube video watching).

My answer to this question is: It’s really doesn’t matter…whatvever fits better to the lifter. We need to focus here in what is really important or what phase is important in the jerk.


The most important phase is HOW MUCH TIME LIFTER SPENDS at the bottom of the dip before initiating the drive. World and Olympic lifters (the likes of Dimas, Suleymanoglu, Taranenko, khkiasvillis,etc) spend anywhere between 0.04 to 0.08 seconds. It’s reported that the time of Yurik Vardanian (yes the father of our own Norik) was a pretty steady of 0.04 seconds. That explains his lifts of 224 Kgs at 82.5 Kg body weight.


Another important factor would be the angle of the legs in the dip (bottom of the dip) 165 degrees to 177 degrees…

By fixing or adjusting the position of the wrists we have increased the jerk of some international lifters. The wrists form and angle of 90 degrees with the ceiling…

BTW which would be the best exercise to improve the jerk:

The best extercise todo so is Jerks behinds the neck…how so?

Russian researches found out that in high levelinternational competitions the lift with the most misses was the C&J (77.3 % of all misses) the portion with highest misses was the Jerk (77.9 %).

They tried 6 differnt exrecises to fix this technical issue. The jerk behind the neck was the one with best results for the following reasons:

1.- Better control in lowering the time at the bottom of the dip (more power=more speed)

2.- The lifter uses his heels to prepare for the jerk and uses them in the drive

3.- Better  control of the position of the elbows to avoid the bar falling forward

4.- Better positioning of wrists

5.- Less injuries

6.- Can even use heavier weights!!!!!!!

Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us

207 844 0449





How to develop competitive lifters….

Team Risto was present at the 2015 USAW Open in Reno Nevada. Our lifters didn’t win any medals and only one lifter competed in the A session of her division. I couldn’t be more proud of our lifters and their individual path to this competition. Each of them started weightlifting late in life (not when when they were 12 or 13 as it would be ideal) and went to this meet with a year of training with us.

Christopher Kenney;

Lider 1 155




Chris started our Soviet system in November, 2014. His initial Olympic total was 205 Kg in the 85Kg class. At the American Open his total was 276 Kg in the same weight class. He showed an improvement of 71 kgs and 34.63%.

Jessica Weisman (MASTER LIFTER)

Jessica Finland

Jessica Started with us in September 2014 and her total was 149 kg in the 69kg class. Jessica is 38 years old and in June 2015 she took the Silver medal at the 2015 Pan American masters Championships in Savanah GA, later in September of 2015 she won the Gold medal at the World Masters Championships in Finland 69 Kg class, age group 35 to 39 years old.

At the American Open and in her very first national meet of any kind she Snatched 80kg and C&J 90 Kg. This is an improvement of 21 kg or 14%.





Dr Frankel joined our program in September 2014 with a total of 110kg in the 48 kg class. At the American Open her total was 129Kg in the same weight class (48Kg). She improved 19 Kgs or 17.27%.

We also had Ernie Prempeh who started training with us in October 2014. In July 2015 Ernie started training for Team Ghana so he switched coches and now he trains under Dr Kyle Pierce (Ghana’s National coach). Ernie also showed great improvement. He started with 214 Kg total in the 69kg class and at the American Open his total was 243 kg also in the 69 kg class. Improvement of 13.35%


The lifters that started and finished with us this year of preparation had an average of 22.11% of improvement. Any coach that has directed a natinal team or has trained elite lifters knows that an improvement in a year of 4.8% is huge!!!!

How were we able to get this 22.11% average improvement with part time lifters with an average age of 32 years old ???

we pay attention to the individuals needs of each athlete and emphazise in their weaknesses so they can become their strengths.(please read our article on Soviet System in this blog)

Female athletes need to be treated diferently as male athletes due to the difference of quantity of their tesoterone (lower in women) and strogen (lower in men).

Women can take high volume training better than men and the higher percentage of repetitions has to be in intensity zones 5-4 (50/60-60-70%) and in men intensity zone 3 (70-80%).

The weekly distribution of the load was:

day 1 80% day 2 85% day 3 89% day 4 70% day 5 85% day 6 85%-90%. *** max out only on days 6 of week 7, 10, 12.

The number of weekly reps between 370 to 630 reps per week.

We expect greatt things from our team in the future. Our junior lifters wil start competing in 2016 and we also have a goo number of MASTER LIFTERS that want to make an impact in Weightlifting. Our Masters will compete in Japan.

Interested in joining us ?

email us to or call us 207 844 0449






The Soviet System for Weightlifting….

The Soviet system for Weightlifting is based in the Hegelian dialectic principles:
Thesis Antithesis
And it was Philosophy students inspired by Marx and Engels ideas that started creating a training system for factory workers and farmers to get fit and ready to fight a revolution against the Tzar. The first equipment used was kettebells which is part of the national folklore and costume.
After the triumph of the revolution in 1917 and with the creation of the new Soviet Union this system was implemented very successfully in other sports.
The Main Specialists that founded the modern Russian Weightlifting System or Soviet Weightlifting System are:
Arkady Nikitich Vorobiev (1924- 2012) Alexey Medvedev Sidorovich (1927-2003)
Arkady Vorobiev. He won two Olympic golds (1956, 1960), was World champion four times (1954, 1955, 1957, 1958) ,and won silver in 1959 and bronze in 1961. Vorobiev was also three times European champion (1954, 1955, 1958), while taking silver in 1959 and bronze in 1961. He also set 21 middle-heavyweight world records – nine in snatch, three in clean and jerk, two in press, and seven in the total.
Vorobiev was not just a sportsman, but also a remarkable scientist. During his sports career, he graduated from the Medical Institute and defended a dissertation for the Candidate of Science degree afterwards, in 1962. In 1970, he defended a dissertation for the Doctor of Medical Science degree at the Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine in Moscow. Since 1977, Vorobiev was the Rector of the Moscow Oblast Institute of Physical Culture and Sports. In 1995, was elected to the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
His system was created by researching methods to prevent muscle loss on Cosmonauts. He promoted training with high intensity and low volume also research of recovery systems were conducted as well as medical methods.
Alexey Medvedev Sidorovich (1927-2003) was invited to many countries. He traveled to China many times, lecturing at Beijing University of physical culture, provided practical assistance to China’s weightlifting squad that received the title of Honorary Professor of Beijing University of physical education in 1957 and 1958, a. Medvedev wins the world title in the heavyweight category. The award he has received, for the first time in the history of the world of weightlifting. Alexander Medvedev, the first Soviet Weightlifters and third in the world reached a result 500 kg of Triathlon. 196, became the coach of the national team of the USSR on weightlifting. In 1964, for the preparation of 3 Olympic champions (A. Vahonina, R. Plufelderand , l. Jabotinsky) Alexander Medvedev worked as head of the weightlifting at the Russian State University of physical culture, sport and tourism. Under his leadership, the Department has done a lot to prepare for weightlifting specialists not only for Russia a from other countries: Cuba, China, Poland, Bulgaria, DPRK
Medvedev was a carpenter and he promoted High Volume and low intensity.
The famous Vasyli Alexeeved is the most outstanding example of the success of this system. From 1961 to 1967 his performance was poor and not Soviet team level. His training system was changed to high volume, training isolated muscles and lots of complexes with 40% to 70% of maximum result.
From 1967 to 1979 he came to dominate the Weightlifting world and become the lifter with the highest number of records broken in history.
One of the features of the Soviet regime was pragmatism..whatever worked was good so both Vorovieb and Medvediev were given carte blanche on training lifters provided they got results.
At Risto Sports we use the High volume system and we have been very successful. We have had lifters improving results greatly in matter of seconds.
Our lifter Chris Kenney(85 Kg class) started training with in November 2014 with a total of 205 kg by September his total was 275 kg. Ernie Premphe improved in a year 26 kg, 69 kg class(total was 219kg to 255kg). Jessica Weisman started with us in September 2014 and won the World masters Gold medal in Finland last month(her total was 135-140 and in Finland 166, since then she hs improved those numbers). Amylynn Frankel (48 kg class, 34 years old) went from 107 kg total to 128kg a couple of weeks ago.
We have many more examples and testimonials (please visit our facebook page for testimonial)that we can show and talk about.
We work with anybody willing to work with us either at the gym or remote training.


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