Why Wednesdays

Why work on timing

Chris Ackland, Head Coach, Melbourne

22 August 2016

Timing in weightlifting is crucial, it can be the difference between life and death (see the photo below). When learning the Snatch or Clean and Jerk we will generally work on positions first and then start working on your timing.

Working on timing is very beneficial, like a basketballer practicing free throws or a martial artist drilling a technique until it’s perfect. The aim is to never let weightlifting movements look different no matter what the percentage is. The aim is to make them all look and, more importantly, feel the same from 50-100%. Bruce Lee said it best – “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Group Shot.

Photograph by @acklland Unsplash

A good example of working on timing; this week is my peak week, i have a heavy day where i hit my openers for a couple of singles, medium day where i hit 80% powers for doubles and light day where i hit 65-70% for a few singles. It’s not a lot of work and sometimes as a lifter i can get a bit ancy and want to lift or pull heavier loads to make sure i still have my strength. When i feel like this i will allow myself to lift but nothing about 50%. These small half hour sessions are so light i do not include them in my volume for the week. Their main objective is to help me iron out any kinks in my lifting and make my lifts feel smooth as butter.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

– Bruce Lee

Now in saying all this, does that mean if i want to get stronger I just need to work my timing? Absolutely not, the body adapts through stresses its put through and unfortunately working on timing with light loads is not enough stress to create an adaptation for strength gains. Ask yourself “Why” am i snatching today and if the answer is to help with timing then you will not need to lift heavy loads that day. If your answer is to increase overall strength then it’s time to push the weights. How often do you see smaller guys and gals at the box with great timing out lift their stronger counter parts?

Always remember, “Timing beats speed, precision beats power”

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