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From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

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"PRís are built one pound at a time." The trademarked motto of Piedmont Design Associates (PDA), the worldís prime supplier of fractional plates and purveyor of eclectic lifting paraphernalia

Sticking Point? Try Fractional Plates

(John Szimanski has died. Please see below)

Piedmont Design Associates (PDA), of Malden, SC, a company run by an interesting fellow by the name of John Szimanski, Jr., was founded to fill the need for fractional plates. And for anyone whoís been training for a while, the need is likely to be considerable. There comes a time in just about everyoneís training career when gains are hard to come by, especially in standard jumps 2 Ĺ kilos or five pounds. Upping your PR five pounds a crack just doesnít work anymore. Every time you try it, you hit a brick wall and become more and more frustrated. Thatís when fractional plates, which generally start at 1/4 pound or 1/8 kilo, can get you going again.

As John Szimanski says, you generally canít feel the difference when you add one pound to any load over 100, and if you keep doing it week after week or even month after month, you can make some exciting progress.

Simply slapping an extra pound onto your PR isnít the best approach, however, according to Szimanski. Itís better to rest a week or two first, to re-charge your batteries. When you resume up training, Szimanski suggests backing off your poundage 30 or 40 percent, to allow you to get some momentum going again. Add 10 pounds a week for several weeks, and then five pounds, until youíre back to about 95 percent of your recent best. Thatís when you switch to one pound at a time, and as he puts it, "you never look back." Itís up, up and away after that. Theoretically, at that rate, you can add 50 pounds a year. While thatís probably a little too optimistic, the odds are that youíll make meaningful progress, one pound at a time.

I suggest plugging fractional plates into a periodization plan, such as those described in Ripped 3, Lean for Life and Challenge Yourself. Thatís what Iíve done, and it has worked very well. Instead of trying to add five pounds to your best at the end of each training phase, lower your sights and shoot for a pound or two, which is more realistic when you have many training cycles under your belt. Believe me, itís a lot more satisfying to add one or even Ĺ kilo to your PR in the power snatch, and do it regularly, than to try for an extra 2Ĺ kilos Ė and fail cycle after cycle.

Special Notice: John Szimanski, the founder of PDA, passed away unexpectedly.  The website is no longer operational.  We do not know any place that is making a similar product.

John was also a great admirer--and biographer--of Arthur Jones; see http://www.cbass.com/ArthurJones.htm 

We only knew John through his PDA Bulletin, his biography of Arthur Jones, and an occasional email exchange. Even though we never met him in person, we can say without hesitation that he was a very special person who will be dearly missed by his friends and many more who he touched in one way or another. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to his close friends, his wife Brenda and his family.

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Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com., FAX (505) 266-9123.  Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.

Copyright©2000 Clarence and Carol Bass.  All rights reserved