Sylver, on 20 September 2011 - 07:53 AM, said:
1. How do you determine the starting weight to use for the various exercises?
As much as I can handle? 70% of my 1 rep max?
Err on the light side. Do 2-3 warmup sets of 5 to get a feel. Your first 3x5 should feel easy. Technique should be good, the bar should move quickly, and you shouldn't have to spend a lot of time resting between sets. 3x5 takes a toll on the body. It will take several sessions to get used to it. Don't think of light sessions as a waste of time; think of them as practice. If you're adding ten pounds a clip, the bar will get heavy very soon.
2. Power clean
I am not sure about the technique. I have tried to do it based on a few descriptions I found and some youtube videos, but I am not confident enough about my technique to try with weights heavier than what I can easily lift "normally". Is there a good, reliable reference on the technique?
There are several good reference sites, including Catalyst Athletics and the Glenn Pendlay/California Strength site. It's obviously better to have someone coach you, but some people do quite well just with references. At some point, you'll want someone to watch you, even if you have to tell them what to look for, e.g. "Watch this rep. The bar should move in a straight line. Tell me if it moves up in a line or if I'm pushing it out to the front."
Compared to a progressive pick up from the floor, how much weight should I work with? Let's say I can pick up 100kg from the floor, how much should I try for a power clean?
Good questions. The terms get mixed up a bit. The clean can vary by 1) starting height and 2) catching height. A full clean starts from the floor and is caught in the bottom of the front squat position. Here's where we go from there.
Full (default): starts from floor
Hang: starts above the knee to mid thigh; is often dipped to the knee or below the knee before pulling
*Some people dice up the hang to low, medium, and high or some variation.
**Tall: This starts standing up. It works the dynamics of the third pull (under the bar). Tall cleans are usually caught in the full squat position. It doesn't make sense to do much else with them.
Full (default): bottom of squat
Power: knees are above parallel
Muscle: pretty much standing up
So you can have hang cleans, power cleans, hang power cleans, whatever. If you're just working on these, start with power cleans (pull from the floor, catch it with thighs parallel or above).
3. warm-up and/or cardio before lifting?
What kind of warm-up do you normally do before lifting?
No cardio for warmup. Some people suggest that you burn more fat if you do cardio before weight training. These people are pasty and weak and have chronic halitosis. If you're lifting to get strong, then don't do anything compromises you getting strong (like doing cardio before weight training).
Ideal warmup: something that warms up the body. Really. Mobility prep, prehab, rowing, gymnastics movements (dip/squat/chinup). If you want to do foam rolling, band work, or other crap, do it between your warm up (or even work sets on cleans and squats). Save the stretching for later. Or never. Mobility>flexibility.
My warmup: talk trash to other people while I'm setting up my rack or platform. Pop my neck and hang from the bar for a few seconds. Start squatting or cleaning with light weights. Keep in mind I'm held together by scar tissue, spackle, and a poor attitude. Use my warmup at your own risk.