Umm . . . We don’t DO that

“Today we will be doing panda pulls before the snatch and clean & jerk exercises,” explained Coach Ed, head coach of the Guam national team.  Coach Ed continued talking, but my mind was consumed with getting out of the panda pulls.

Our family recently moved to Guam, and my son, Hutch, and I are trying to integrate into the weightlifting community by working out with the national team on Saturdays.  Hutch and I have had a unique weightlifting journey.  We began lifting in Kansas with Coach Boris Urman, who taught us Russian weightlifting techniques.  We then moved to Germany, where we spent three years learning German techniques.  Like German engineering, German weightlifting is sophisticated, powerful and efficient.  I prefer this style of lifting and resist anything outside of the 38 established German weightlifting exercises.

So, when Coach Ed introduced the panda pulls, I wanted to say, “No, thank you.  We don’t do ridiculous, useless exercises.”

However, I just wrote an article that advised people to be humble and open to new ideas:

Don’t assume that your way is the best way.  Always seek to learn from other coaches.

So, instead I consented to the panda pulls.



And guess what?!  By the end of the workout, I had an epiphany.  The third pull is an active PULL, not just a drop under the bar.  The panda pulls reinforce this movement.



Should you start doing panda pulls?

Maybe, maybe not.  The point is that you should be open to new ideas from other experienced athletes and coaches.

This does not mean that you should change your plan and programming with every new idea that comes along.  Make a plan and stick to it, but be flexible enough to incorporate new skills and movements as you gain more knowledge.

When did you learn something unexpected?  Share your story in the comments below.


By |2017-11-04T00:13:04-04:00October 21st, 2017|Athlete Resources, Training|

About the Author:

Susan Friend is a weightlifter, coach, and weightlifting enthusiast. Susan has participated in both the U.S. and German weightlifting systems, along with her son, Hutch, who holds four U.S. Youth National Championship titles and one German Youth National Championship title.


  1. Tripp Morris November 3, 2017 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Good perspective and excellent on you for practicing what you preach. I am wondering if you have a link or know of a book (in English) which details the 25 established Weightlifting exercises? Or maybe you have written an article? Thank you for doing what you do and sharing your insights.

    • Susan Friend November 4, 2017 at 12:03 am - Reply

      Hi Tripp, German weightlifting clubs have a standard list of exercises that they practice. You will be familiar with all of the movements. I will email you the list.

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