Conversations With A Champion. Joe Dube
Note: Joe Dube was the last American to win a world championship in weightlifting.
"To be a Champion you have to be Strong and lift like a Champion."
In writing this article I had several email conversation with Joe Dube and I want to personally thank him for his contribution. I was originally going to weave his comments into the article but felt that they stand on their own. Enjoy...
Q: What are some of your best lifts:
Joe: Some of my best's on the Squat was: 660 x 23 reps, 710 x 17 reps, 745 x 5 for 4 sets. As I said, these were full rock bottom and with my feet about shoulder width or a little less. Sometimes I would do them with a nar- row foot spacing, about a foot apart. This would help my pulling from the floor. I also would do about once every 10-15 days, Quarter Squats, taking the weight off the racks and stepping back. I worked up to around 1400 lbs. for 3 sets of 10 reps. This really helped the drive in the Jerk.
My best ever "Power Clean" was 452 and my best Clean & Jerk was 485. My best Clean & Press was 475 un- official, 463 official. I once did a Military Press in training with 429.
Q: What is your opinion on the role of squats for a weighlifter?
Joe: I believe as Paul Anderson did, that Squats will increase a lifters Clean & Jerk. It's common sense that if a lifter with good technique and is flexable, and increases his leg power considerability, will C & J more. Paul Anderson, the "King" of the Squat. had the power, in my way of thinking, to Clean & Jerk 550 - 600 lbs. If he had the flexibility and technique, he would have done a lot more than he did. Paul and I discussed the values of the Squat and this is why I decided that I was going to work on this exercise and make good of it for my lifting.
Q: Joe do you feel military press still has an application for todays lifters?
Joe: I do think that Military Pressing is beneficial for the lifters overhead strength for the Jerk and should be practiced or included in the schedule. Other good exercise's for the lifter to do in their training is the Push Press and Power Jerks. These are great movements for the lifters shoulder power as well as their overhead lockout power.
Q: Do you feel that the dead lift is applicable for weightlifters?
Joe: As for the Dead Lift. I think they are great for developing that overall back power for the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, " if done in the correct way" with the Clean and Snatch Grip. And what I mean by this is, pulling with your back flat and in the same position as you clean or snatch. They also should be done with explosive speed at all times. I don't believe and I would not recommend that an Olympic Lifter do them slow with max. weights.
Again, I do believe that Dead Lifts are a must for the Olympic Lifter. I have seen a lot of lifters doing their Pulls with straps and with a shrug. They were only working up to about maybe 20-30 pounds more than they could clean and doing only a single or double with it. . I think they should be working up to maybe 50 -100 lbs. more than they could clean and doing anywhere from at least 3 to 5 reps with the weight. They are missing out on de- veloping greater pulling power by not doing these as I mentioned.
Q: How strong do you feel a weightlifter should be?
Joe: I think that an Olympic Lifter should have big Squats and Dead lifts and try to be as strong as they can get.
Q: Did you ever do a max dead lift just to see what you could do?
Joe: Don't ever remember trying any limits on the dead lifts during the later years of my lifting. I did do them, but did them in sets of 5's most everytime I did them. They were always done with the correct olympic pulling position and with explosive speed. I know that I did work well over 700 lbs. for sets of 5's. I always like doing these in sets of 5's.
Q: Do you have any thoughts and feeling on how USAW could have used the great knowledge resource of our past world and Olympic champions?
Joe: I think that the USAW should have contacted Lifting Greats years back and tried to get their thought's and knowledge on training and what they would suggest that younger lifters do in their training.
Thanks to Joe Dube
In conclusion a big dead lift or squat alone will not ensure success; limit strength must be converted into suc- cess on the plat form. In racing terms a powerful engine in a car or motorcycle will not guarantee success, the total package must tuned and developed to take advantage of the increase in power. The same goes for weight- lifting An increase in pulling and leg strength needs to be developed and converted into success in competition. However all things equal an excess of strength will always beat a lack of strength. Strength is like money; hav- ing a lot of it is better than not enough.
Here are couple of ideas for add dead lifts into ones training. Please feel free to submit your own and I will gather them together and have Mike post them on the site at a later date.
I thought I was so smart in developing the following routine only to see a version of it being used over in Japan and a variation of it used by some power lifters here in the States. Dead lift first once your finished dead lifting reduce the weight to what is normally done for pulls, perform the pull s, then further reduce the weight and do a clean or power clean variation that way you finish with speed. I stated above I learned one ver- sion of this in Japan where like us here in the States most lifters are self supported and training time is limited. This can also be done using a Snatch dead lift.
Mike Burgener has a DL/RDL combo that may be of interest to some of you. pick weight off ground keeping tight and back at the same angle all the way thru to the end of the first pull....then drive the knees forward (scoop) creating a high chest...right before the explosion phase of the lift....then extend upward (stand up). at this point its just positioning work, but I anticipate that the lifters will be lifting well in excess of their cleans and or snatch. Give it a try and feel free to feedback.
In preparation for this article I talked with various lifters and coaches and want to thank them for their time and input. In particularly Joe Dube, Pietr Elmendorf, Lou De Marco, John Davies, and Chikara Takahashi among others.
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