Tag Archives: Tedd Van Vleck

Training for the Older Lifter

By Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck and his brother Tedd who is over 11 years younger.  Over the years we have talked a lot about training but our age difference has meant we follow different programs.  Age makes a difference in how you train!

Thom Van Vleck and his brother Tedd who is over 11 years younger. Over the years we have talked a lot about training but our age difference has meant we follow different programs. Age makes a difference in how you train!

Shot Put Gold medalist Adam Nelson told me, “Most training programs are designed for a younger athlete and older athletes need to train differently”.

I would say training programs need to be adjusted over the life span.   When I turned 40 I told my Uncle it seemed like when I was a teen I could work out hard every day.  Then at 30 I needed a day to recuperate from soreness.  Then at 40 it seemed to take a week to get past a heavy duty squat workout soreness.  My Uncle, who was pushing 60 and still training very hard said, Thom, I’ve been sore for the last 15 years!”.  I laughed but he was serious!  He said, “If I waited until I felt 100% I’d never workout again”.

So the body doesn’t recuperate as well.

Then there is injury which is different than recuperation.  I remember being young and pulling a muscle or straining a tendon and it recovering very quickly.  Now things stay hurt longer and some things just continue to hurt even after they have healed.  I tore my hamstring many years ago and I will still “feel it” from time to time.

So injuries add up and then don’t heal a quickly (or ever!).  The reality is injury is what ends most lifters competitive careers.  Not age.

Finally, there’s the responsibility that comes with age.  I remember spending a lot of time as a teen lifting, reading about lifting, thinking about lifting, watching other lifters lifting….you get the idea.  I just don’t have that kind of time anymore.

So you don’t have the time as an older lifter.

So the older lifter has to think differently.  They have to be smarter with the lifts they train, manage their time, and stay injury free.  If they get injured they need to address the injury and be less likely to “train through the injury”.

So for me it’s the “Three Keys” for the older lifter.

1.  Facilitating Recuperation

2.  Avoiding Injury

3.  Managing time

So how do you facilitate recuperation, avoid injury, and manage time to achieve the goal of being strong?

Let’s think about adaptation.  Lifting is really adapting to heavier loads.  Younger lifters can adapt faster than older lifters.  Thus it is often beneficial to change up lifts for a younger lifter.  Simply put, they adapt faster.  So that means the older the lifter, the slower they adapt.

The thought is as a younger lifter you need to change up lifts and avoid getting “stale” which is the body resisting adaptation.  So the older lifter needs to work the same lift for a longer period of time.  By doing the same lifts longer they would avoid injury.  Sure there’s a trade off but an older lifter will lose more time injured than the younger lifter so he need to avoid injury more than just gain strength.

Another thing the older lifter can do is find a happy medium for the poundage being lifted in training.  It is ingrained in every strength athlete to lift more and more weight.  They don’t refer to weightlifting as progressive resistance for nothing.  But for the older lifter there needs to be a limit.  I believe that should be around 75% of one’s max and keep the reps explosive and low at 3 sets of 3.  This will allow you to walk that line between getting stronger (or just keeping strength) and injury.  You will also stay in a good groove avoiding squeezing out reps that lead to poor form and injury.

The next concept sounds counter to what I’ve just said but think about it first.  The older lifter needs to lift 3 to 5 days a week.  Essentially, more often than a younger lifter.  But it’s the way the lifter trains (doing 75% instead of higher percentages, the same lifts more often, and walking away rather than crawling away) that makes this lifting scheme work.  To be clear, I’m talking about doing the SAME lifts every workout, not a split routine. So you end up lifting less volume but doing it more often.  This scheme also helps you manage time by keeping you in the training hall more often but for less time.  I also believe by training lifts more often you need less time to stretch, warm up, and all that.  Because you are essentially staying in a lifting groove.  Your body is ready every day to train.

I think a final benefit of following this program is I am enjoying my training more than I have in years.  I don’t crawl out of the gym and don’t avoid stairs for three days.  The hard part is that I often hit a very good set and in the past that’s when it was “go time” to load up the bar and do something REALLY heavy.  Now I simply walk away or move to the next lift.  But that means I’m ready to go again in the next day or two.

So here’s some basic points:

  • Lift for 3 days a week 45 minutes max duration
  • 3 sets of 3 reps on average with a 6 rep max
  • 5-10 minutes foam rolling and dynamic stretching
  • Same workout everyday as the philosophy is master’s throwers don’t adapt as quickly
  • 75% of max and if a consistent tempo can’t be maintained then drop the weight. Lose the ego!

The type of lifts that give you the biggest bang for your buck (lift smarter, remember!)

  1. Hip Hinge Pattern Movements (i.e. Power Snatches, Cleans, Deadlifts).
  2. Unilateral/Bilateral Squat Movement (i.e. Squats, lunges) followed by Post Activation Potentiation (PAP) such as broad jumps, vertical jumps, sprints.
  3. Pushes (i.e. explosive type pressing movements) followed by shoulder prehab work.
  4. Core work (2 or 3 weighted core exercised for 6-10 reps which may include decline crunches, standing bar twists, handing leg raises).
  5. Competition lifts:  Work them in but focus on the technique and stay at 75% until competition day.  Going heavy too much in training just means more injury.

Gettin’ Flipped Off!

by Thom Van Vleck

Tedd Van Vleck, part of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, works on flipping an 800lb tire

If you are a true All-Rounder you probably are always looking for new ways to train.  I would guess everyone that follows training at all has at least seen the “Tire Flip”.   It has really gained in popularity the past couple decades and is really is a “new lift” in the grand scheme of progressive resistance training.  I can say from my personal experience it is a great “head to toe” exercise and you engage every muscle at some point.  It also build cardio as I know a few flips with an 800lb tire will leave me gasping for air.

Another USAWA member, Eric Todd, has a great video on this that should be watched if you are interested in the tire flip.

YouTube Video: Eric Todd Tire Flip

Eric gives a good description.  Here is what I think about on the tire flip.

Stand about a foot or so away from the edge a little wider than my deadlift, maybe more of a squat stance.  Get low into a squat position and get my fingers under the bottom edge and my shoulders and biceps pressed into the tire so close my chin is on top or over the top of the tire.  I also set up with an angle to drive into the tire…NOT come straight up.  As I come up I’m thinking speed.  Not deadlift, but clean.  Trying to get that tire into the “2nd pull” range of the clean or the “hang clean” range and then exploding up.  When the tire is past that pulling range I take a small step with my left foot and drive my right knee into the tire trying to drive it with my hip and keep the momentum going.  That small step allows me to keep up with the tire as it moves forward.  Then I try to get my hands into a “bench press” position and get my shoulders under the tire to finish it.  If you are in a contest and doing the tire for distance, I liked to try and shove the tire as hard as I could…sometimes you can get a little extra distance on it.  At the least in practice it’s a strong finish to a good exercise.

Here are a few cautions.  First, keep in mind the tire can…and will…fall back on you and many have been seriously injured in this way.  I just try and stay aware but a spotter with a milk crate to slide under the tire as it goes up is a good idea.  We had a guy in a strongman contest I ran a few years ago have it fall back and after that I used the metal milk crate.   Another major issue is guys will try and “curl” the tire.  Trying to move weights that heavy with the biceps only is asking for a blown bicep.  Use your legs, hips, and back.  In Olympic lifting they teach the arms are just hooks and flexing the elbows can actually dampen the pull of the hips.  Finally, use a tire that’s light enough to practice good technique on and not the heaviest one you can barely turn….that’s like maxing on the deadlift every workout.  Eventually it catches up to you!

As I said, I’m seeing tires everywhere.  I think they are great, but like anything, you should know what you are doing!

JWC Expands!

by Thom Van Vleck

The newest addition to the USAWA's list of clubs: The Jackson Weightlifting Club: Transcon!

The last weekend of August the three JWC Members, Josh Hettinger, Mitch Ridout and myself made the trip over to Galesburg, Illinois where my brother, Tedd, had just bought a new house due to a work transfer.  He had a beautiful, huge garage and wanted me to work my magic and set him up with the home gym for the hardcore lifter and that’s exactly what I did.  I felt like an interior designer for hardcore lifters!

For the platform we have two layers of 3/4 CDX board with a top layer designed for two lifting platforms side by side with plywood in the middle of each and heavy duty rubber for where the bar will land.  There is a power rack that used to belong to Zach Schluender, a top Olympic style lifter who has snatched around 375 and Clean & Jerked  around 440lbs as a superheavy.  There are squat racks that once rested in the Old JWC gym that just about everyone that’s ever lifted for the JWC has used, made from old truck wheels and axles for uprights.  He has a steel log for strongman training, two full Olympic sets, adjustable squat stands, a bench that once belonged to Russ Murphy that adjusts to several angles and is heavy duty, and an assortment of other equipment.  I even made him a metal sign with the JWC logo on it.  I should start a new business in hardcore gym design…I’m sure there’s a huge market for that out there!  Not only is Tedd’s gym ready for a hardcore workout but it already is filled with history of big lifts and lifters that will inspire your workout!

A fitting end to a hard day of training: STEAKS on the Grill! On a "Green Egg" no less, Al likes these so much he has TWO of them!

This will not just be a second location for the JWC but a second club. My brother is hoping to get some local guys interested in lifting and even hosting a meet in his gym!  He even plans to register his gym with the USAWA!  We have called it tentatively the “JWC Transcon” because Tedd works for the Railroad and the “Transcon” is the busiest Rail line in his company AND since has had to move his gym twice we wanted a name that could fit anywhere he goes…..but that name isn’t finalized yet!

The weekend was about as good as it gets.  We had a work day setting up the gym and moving things in the house.  Then we went to Peoria where we competed in the Scottish Highland Games on the next day.  Then the third day was lifting and grilling big steaks on Tedd’s new “Green Egg Grill”.  So, if  you are in central Illinois area or know someone who is, there is now a place for you to train.  Stop by and see Tedd and check out the JWC Transcon!

Just for Laughs – the King of Beasts Training System

by Thom Van Vleck

What do the two guys on the left and the lion on the right have in common? They both follow the King of Beasts Training System. The program's innovator Mitch Ridout is pictured on the left, and his one pupil Tedd Van Vleck is to his right.

It is my goal in life to make the King of Beasts or KOB training system as famous as the ab roller or Tony Little’s “Gazelle” fitness system.  As a matter of fact, when you think of Mitch think of Tony Little.  For those of you unfamiliar with the KOB it is based heavily on Mitch’s keen observation of the “real” KING OF BEASTS, the mighty lion.  The lion lays around all day “recuperating” (a key principle).  He only gets up for a contest (fight) and for sex (Mitch’s wife is expecting twins).  Diet is primarily very rare meat and lots of it, followed by extended slumber.

Anyhow, the KOB training tip of the month has to do with cross training.  Mitch has taken up Scotland’s “other” sport (no, not curling). Golf, yes, GOLF!  They call it a sport and I guess it is one.  Mitch likes to cross train with golf as it requires little real effort and if you have a cart it requires almost no effort at all.  Plus, it can be quite satisfying to the ego.  Afterall, Mitch could never throw the hammer or 28 a hundred yards and he can hit a golf ball almost that far….all in the air, too.  Mitch really wows them when he takes his driver three turns around like his hammer before actually hitting the ball.  Occassionally, he actually lets go of the driver and tape measures it before moving on to the bunkers. 

So the tip of the month is:  Cross training with Golf!!!  You’ll feel like the KING OF BEASTS!!! 

(Webmaster’s comment:  The KOB Training System must be catching on.  I hear another JWC member, Tedd Van Vleck, has taken it up as well, and is making an attempt at Golf.  It is also rumored that Tedd has purchased a Big Green Egg to add the meat element to the KOB program he’s on.  Don’t be discouraged Tedd, as succeeding on two out of three key parts of the KOB Program is not that bad!!!!)

CREDIT:  Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #1, Issue #3

2011 Nationals: Meet the Loaders

by Thom Van Vleck

Mitch Ridout and Tedd Van Vleck were the loaders for the entire meet and didn't make a SINGLE MISLOAD!

Every meet I’ve been to the loaders have been thanked and rightfully so.  I’ve been a loader before and one time at a meet with about 70 lifters!  It’s hard, thankless work.  The only time anyone notices the loaders is if there’s a miss load!  And at Nationals there were none!  So these guys were barely noticed.

Often, when you look for volunteers for loading the room will empty quicker than a request for a suicide mission during Armageddon!  But I had two guys step up to save the day.  My brother, Tedd Van Vleck, and my “brother from another mother” Mitch Ridout.  Actually, Mitch rented a room from my Mom at one time and she jokingly calls him her “favorite” son (at least I think she’s joking).  Mitch has been my friend for over 20 years and anybody that can put up with me for that long deserves a trophy……especially after the work I get out of him!

Tedd and Mitch both were signed up to lift.  But I was short loaders and I asked them to step in and they took a bullet for JWC team (or maybe Team Ledaig wouldn’t have had a cake walk for the team title!…..Ok, so maybe they would have still won since they had the best lifter in both men and women’s catagories).  But that thinned the JWC ranks out considerably.  I do know that my brother said at the end of the day he wished he’d lifted instead….he thought he’d be less sore!  I also noticed that Dean Ross, who lifted in the morning session, was helping Mitch and Tedd in the afternoon.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes these meets work!

So a special thanks to Mitch and Tedd for being our loaders and allowing the lifters to focus on lifting!  We appreciate you!

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