A decrease in accelerated velocity (deceleration) when handling maximal effort weights is, in most cases, the cause of missed lifts; rather than some problem or error with technique. It is a decrease in velocity that causes the technical error.

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Ratios and Formulas

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The ratios and formulas I have developed are close approximations, and are accurate within a small range of tolerance, but are not infallible. Each individual lifter will need to determine what their ratios are based on their own data; with respect to the formulas I have created below. I have used these on hundreds of top lifters as well as intermediate lifters and myself, and the results are surprisingly accurate, regardless of age.

Ratio 1a:

Clean & Jerk to Back Squat ratio 

The ratio of a current PR clean & jerk to a back squat, when the ascension time is 1.0 second during a full squat, would be approximately 86%. Slower times in the back squat can move more weight, but the efficiency of motion between a 1.0 second back squat and a squat slower than 1.0 second is less, and the ratio will become less than 86%.

Example 1: A lifter has a back squat of 200k in 1.6 seconds and has a clean & jerk of 150k. The raw ratio of clean & jerk to back squat is; 150k / 200k = 75%. 

To determine what the lifter needs to back squat in 1.0 second in order to achieve a 150k clean & jerk we take 150k and divide

it by 86% which gives a result of 175k (approx.). The 200k in 1.6 seconds was equal to 170k in 1.0 second. This means the lifter’s clean & jerk should be 170k x .86 = 146k. This determines what the overloading is for the clean & jerk, which is 4k. Training should be based on the 146k and not the 150k. Training methods based on times in motion are discussed in other articles and in my books.

Ratio 1b:

Clean & Jerk to Front Squat ratio 

The ratio of a current PR clean & jerk to a front squat, when the ascension time is 1.0 second during a full squat, would be approximately 100%. Slower times in the front squat can move more weight, but the efficiency of motion between a 1.0 second front squat and a front squat slower than 1.0 second is less than 100%.

Example 2: A lifter has a front squat of 200k in 1.6 seconds and has a clean & jerk of 170k. The raw ratio of clean & jerk to front squat is; 170k / 200k = 85%. The front squat in 1.6 seconds is equal to a front squat in 1.0 second of 170k, therefore the 1.6 second front squat creates 30k of overloading and also causes the overall time in the clean to be slower. 

The only qualification for ratio 1b is that the front squat must be executed exactly as the lifter executes the ascension part of the clean during a clean & jerk. It cannot be a power lifting style front squat, where the grip is different or one where the back is rounded during the ascension. However, in order to even achieve a 1.0 second front squat with 100% of PR clean & jerk the technique would be almost forced to be the same.

Clean Pull to Back Squat 

There is no meaningful correlation between the pulls and squats; both are separately determinative. The only relationship is in how these two assistance lifts are trained and timed. The squats are timed during ascension and the pulls are timed from liftoff to where the bar reaches just below the knee joint. The non-decelerated time in the squats is 1.5 seconds or faster, preferably 1.0 second and the optimal time in the pull to the knees is 0.33 seconds. There will be no overloading if these times in motion are adhered to strictly during training and regardless of the reps or sets of reps. It is the decelerated actions that causes overloading and damage to the muscles sometimes bringing on DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). In my opinion this damage is mostly to the slow twitch fibers which for the weightlifter need to be trained at those velocities or times in motion that will not harm the muscles and will allow the lifter to recover faster from one training session to the next.

Decelerated squats and pulls will also cause the squats and pulls to become out of sync or equilibrium, a malady known by lifters as a weakness which can miraculously be fixed by backing off one in order to push the other back to equilibrium. The squats and pulls will never be out of sync if times in motion are adhered to religiously, because it’s the overloading due to the times being slower and the weight being too heavy that causes the squats and pulls to become out of sync.

Ratio 1c:

Snatch to clean & jerk 

Snatch / C&J = 80% 

Example 3: The lifter with a 150k clean & jerk meet PR, should have a snatch meet PR in the area of 120k.

150k x .8 = 120k.

80% is a normal acceptable approximation of snatch to clean & jerk. The snatch to clean & jerk can be anywhere from 70% to 90%. Anything well outside the acceptable norm of 80% should be looked at carefully in order to make changes to average monthly levels of intensity between the snatch and the clean & jerks. The monthly average level of intensity in the snatch can be equal to but never greater than the monthly average level of intensity in the clean & jerk.

Ratio 1d:

Snatch pull to clean pull 85%

Example: The lifter has a 200k clean pull, thus; 

200k x .85 = 170k snatch pull 

The reason 85% is used instead of the 80% is because the pulls do not contain the motion of pulling under the weight, so the 1st and 2nd pull are the primary motion in both the snatch and clean pull. Only the width of the grip is a factor. When lifters do snatch pulls and are somewhat amazed that they can almost snatch pull as much as they clean pull the reason is due to the disproportionate correlation between the snatch and clean & jerk and the snatch pull and clean pull.

Equivalent Force Formulas 

Equivalent force formulas are based on my hypothesis pertaining to the fast twitch muscle fiber’s role in generating momentum from velocity. In weightlifting force is produced at times in motion (t) of less than 1.0 second and force has to be overcome when those times are slower than 1.0 second or at the point where the motions of the lifter begin to decelerate. Deceleration is the key element that should not be allowed to occur during any part of any lift or any rep in any set of reps during training. 

Formula 1a

In order to interpolate a squat slower than 1.0 second to a 1.0 second squat the following formula can be used;

Sq - [(t - 1) x 50] = eSq1

Where (Sq) is the actual amount of weight handled, (t) is the actual time standing up out of the squat, and must be slower than 1.0 second. The difference in the time is multiplied by 50 and this is then subtracted from the original squat (Sq) to arrive at what the equivalent squat in 1.0 second (eSq1) would be. 

Example 4: A back squat is achieved with a weight of 180k in 1.2 seconds. 

1.2 minus 1 = .2 x 50 = 10k and 180k minus 10k = 170k

The multiplier of 50 represents 5k per 1/10 second or 5k x 2 tenths = 10k

5k per 1/10 second is used when the squat is slower than 1.0 second and 10k when the squat is faster than 1.0 second. 1.0 second would equal 0k per 0 second.

Example 5: A lifter does a PR back squat of 220k in 1.7 seconds. The equivalent in 1.0 second would be;

1.7 - 1 = .7 x 50 = 35k and 220k minus 35k = 185k in 1.0 second

Moving a weight slower allows more weight to be handled in the squats, but it does not mean the lifter has progressed their ability to snatch or clean & jerk more weight. In the above example the lifter’s functional efficiency is tied to the 185k in 1.0 second and not the 220k in 1.7 seconds. The 185k needs to be used to calculate the equivalent clean & jerk;

185k x .86 = 159k

Training should be based off the average equivalent clean & jerk and not necessarily the lifter’s gym or meet PRs as many times those PRs are achieved through overloading or slower times in motion. Overloading would be achieving a PR clean & jerk that is greater than the lifter’s equivalent clean & jerk and/or the overall time in motion is slower than 2.5 seconds.

Formula 1b

Interpolate a squat faster than 1.0 second to a 1.0 second squat;

Sq + [(1 - t) x 100] = eSq1

 Where (Sq) is actual weight of the squat, (t) is the actual time in motion, and must be faster than 1.0 second. The difference in the time is multiplied by 100 and this is then added to the original squat (Sq) to arrive at what the equivalent squat in 1.0 second would be (eSq1). 

Example 6: A lifter has a front squat of 180k in 1.2 seconds and does 160k in 0.8 seconds. 

1.0 - 0.8 = .2 x 100 = 20k and 160k + 20k = 180k in 1.0 second

This lifter should be able to clean & jerk 180k, albeit there are other considerations that will be discussed later on, but in general the lifter should be able to clean & jerk whatever they can front squat in 1.0 second. 

The reason there is 5k per 1/10 when moving slower than 1.0 second, and 10k per 1/10 when moving faster, is because the fast twitch fibers are 100% in play at faster times in motion than they are at the slower times. The 5k and 10k are used as close approximations for the sake of simplifying the formulas to get close to a somewhat accurate picture. This is not an exact scientific expression because of the many factors among lifters that preclude such exactness to be achieved, however, these formulas are a close approximation of what can be expected and have held up to scrutiny in hundreds of tests.

Formula 1c

Determines the 1 rep equivalency when multiple reps in one set are being executed. 

Sq + [(R - 1) x 5k] = eSqx1 

Sq = total weight squatted

R = the total reps in a set

eSqx1 = the equivalent squat in 1 rep

Example 7: A lifter with a front squat of 180k in 1.0 second does 160k x 5 in a 1.0 second average time in motion;

5 - 1 = 4 x 5k and 160k + 20k = 180k in 1.0 second.

The 160k x 5 in 1.0 second is equivalent to 180k x 1 in 1.0 second.

Example 8: The same lifter has a back squat of 210k in 1.0 second and a month later does 170k x 6 in an average time of 0.8 seconds;

Step One: Figure the equivalent time in motion using formula 2b;

1 - 0.8 = .2 x 100 = 20k and 170k + 20k = 190k in 1.0 second

Step Two: Figure the set of reps equivalent using formula 2c;

6 - 1 = 5 x 5k = 25k and 190k + 25k = 215k in 1.0 second.

Since 215k is greater than 210k then the lifter can take the 215k back squat and multiply it by 86%;

215k x .86 = 185k

185k should be used to program the training of the clean & jerk, as far as the application of percentages is concerned. However, writing a program, is more effective when the prior monthly average of equivalent clean & jerks is used.

Multiple sets should not be used to calculate equivalent squats in 1.0 second, use only the best set of the workout. Sets where the time in motion of each rep is slower should also not be used. The times in motion should be the same for each rep in ever set, in order for that workout to be effective.

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