The Seven Year old Interview!

“THIS INTERVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY CONDUCTED FOR THE Underground Strength Coach I believe in 2005. This is an Interview that I did the last season of training with Jud Logan at Ashland University. During the 2005 season  I broke the Canadian National Record in the hammer….I have been searching for this interview for 5 years…and Zach has allowed it to make it to google! I apologize that some of the links no longer exist.”
This is the Link to the Original Interview; CLICK 

Interview with Thrower & Power Athlete, Derek Woodske

1. Derek, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some of our questions. For starters, tell us about yourself, where your from, what you train for and make sure you give our readers your site which is bad ass.

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Answer: I am originally from a small logging town in South Eastern British Columbia called Parson. It is your typical Canadian town of about a 250 people, with one small mom and pop store and a hockey rink. In fact we lived on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains and our town had a little ski hill as well, that you could turn on with a light switch at the bottom. So in some ways it was far from typical! There were a number of lakes around the area, so growing up most kids rode motocross and water skied during the summer and snow skied or sledded {snow machine riding} all winter. I was no different, and at the age of 14, I started reading bodybuilding magazines which I think were just a progression from comic books, and in return I started lifting weight in my basement on an old home gym. I played most sports, but excelled at Volleyball and Track and Field by my senior years of high school. All of these things from my youth are responsible for the style of which is my site, and that is why it is a little different in style then most sport, slash weight lifting websites.

2. You are a power athlete,there is no way you can be weak and havea crappy training program to throw far. Talk to us about how you train to get brutally strong and powerful. We want to hear about the hardcore stuff.

Answer: Well my training really has shifted around over the last decade…yikes did I say that out loud! Shit, 28 sound old when you put it into that kind of context. Anyway, when I started training outside of the magazine guided youth, I really turned to the Olympic Lifts and more traditional training styles; I spent a year in a town called Trail BC. Trail is a small industrial city south west of where I am from in Canada, and they have always had a great tradition of athletic achievement as a community. The town is very old world and half of the signs on Main Street are written in Italian. They continue to produce great NHL hockey players and Major League ball players, however, I ventured to Trail because of the Hall of Fame coach Willie Krause. Willie was about 86 years old when I got there, and he immigrated to Canada following the Second World War. This guy was hardcore all the way, we trained in his

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basement which was no bigger then my current bedroom. In fact his athletes dug out that basement during the 70’s before they
bricked it in and turned it into a weight room. It was awesome you would have to walk through this broken hole in the wall to get into the cellar like room. There was one wooded bench, all wood! A pit for Olympic style lifts and an area for sit-ups or dumbbell work. There was a silhouette of sweat on the bench from the years of training that occurred in the basement, and Willie would wipe a mark on the glass window waiting for the perspiration to highlight it. That is when he knew that we were working hard and everything that we did was circuit style. The funny thing is that there was no bathroom, but there was this water sink around the corner when you got thirsty, or if you had to hurl. For a whole year, it was two days a week of circuits! We would pack about 7-9 people in this little room and we would crank through 25 exercises three times as a group in 55 minutes. Willie would stand behind the bench to spot, and would not let you go up in weight unless you could make the plates chirp at the top. Slow movements were not allowed at all, and we had some world class sprinters and decathletes training at that time. The women were all very strong for their age and hot if I remember correctly, mostly multi-events and pole-vaulters. You put a bunch of teenage {really fit} women and men in room that small and make them train like animals, I am surprised that I didn’t get laid more…Hmm, if I only knew then what I know now. Anyway, so that was my first introduction to the real world of iron and from there I went south to the State of Idaho where I trained under coach Bud Rasmussen(University of Washington) and Pat Corbett. I learned more traditional periodization from these guys and they put me on the path to success in track and field. As a sophomore, I split cleaned 362lbs at a weight of 228lbs,{ the split being a carry over from the days of Willie}. In Idaho, I achieved enough success to make it to the NCAA div one level and that is where I got really strong. I squatted 550×10, 600×6, and 700×1 to parallel no sissy fucking shit, and cleaned around 400lbs. This is also where I learned that weight gain, and functional weight gains are two different beasts of the same name. During my second winter at that level, I

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Throwing in 2005 at The Ohio State University…

blew my patella tendon in half and was told that I would never be an athlete again…nor should I say walk normal again. That sucked, but I bounced back, and one All-American a national championship and national record remind me of that. So there was a down time in there for about 2 years where I was doing a lot of function rehab and it wasn’t until I got to Ashland Ohio, with Jud Logan that I started to move some real weight again. I learned that there was this strength coach out there as well that had all the new ideas, and his name was Charles Poliquin. This is when I became a believer in his gospel, and started to read not only his stuff, but also the sources which he sighted when writing an article. So I became familiar with Louie Simmons, Mel. Seiff, Jean Boutet, Buddy Morris, Cometti, Tom Myslinski, Ian King, Thibaudeau and Dave Tate. These guys are always a source of new information to me and I love it, also I was opened up to the world of T-Nation, where I will get a lot of articles for and in return I plug the shit out of their site because it’s awesome. So anyway, back to the lifting, I started to incorporate aspects of German Volume Training, German Composition Training, Time under Tension, Functional Isometrics and all that other stuff with huge names and big results. By doing so I was able to get to a 675lbs deadlift in eight workouts, a 500lbs box squat single on to 11” box and 308lbs snatch from a mid-shin block. This season, I also wrapped up for the first time in years and crushed a 550×7 back squat and in nine workouts hit 675lbs for a single. To be honest I should have not been a wiener and just punched out 700+ because it was an easy lift. So in a nut shell that is my lifting progression, minus the details and to this day I lift on a 4 day a week split, with two sessions a day for sled and dynamic work. I think that for the most part throwers in the college setting can train a lot harder then their coaches realize, and you have to take advantage of that. Volume is key in development, which is what the biggest difference between the ways the European athletes train and we train. They may not spend all their time in the weight room but their total training volume is very high regardless.

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3. Do you work on throwing other implements to improve your throwingin your true events? For example, do you throw kettle bells, kegs, or any other odd implements? I once read about a top throwing coach who trained his throwers by using SPP techniques predominantly. So rather than doing traditional strength training he had his athletes throwing various types of objects. In a way I guess it was the conjugate method in relation to each of the throws. Talk to us about this (sorry, loaded question, I’m new at this stuff).

Answer: I absolutely believe in functional strongman training, dinosaur training, or old school training in the preparation for sport. I personally limit my secondary throwing to Puds, which are a style of Kettle Bell and this is because the total throwing volume must be monitored the way that you would monitor volume in the weight room. This is what helps a coach or athlete figure out where the changes must be made in regards to Peaking. However,

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I believe that during the GPP phase of the season, especially for the college age athlete there is a great place of old school training. For example, in Ashland we will incorporate a 6 week progressive block of training that will have everything from heavy bag carries to truck pushing contests. This is the type of training that makes you oil field strong, like the guys that come into the bars at the end of a week spent turning pipes, and you would swear they were made from the metal they handle. Plus it weeds out the pussies and that is important at the college level because it is no longer recreation. If you want to hang out and do a half effort, go to the fucking mall. I know that Tudor Bompa {love him or hate him} wrote a workout for an elite hammer thrower in Indiana, and his workout didn’t have any Olympic lifts in it what so ever, they did a lot of bag throws for rotational strength. Tudor believed that there was not enough sport specific carry over from the Olympic Lifts to the throw. Perhaps, but I cannot think of any other way to truly work the dynamic of strength/speed and speed/strength without having some Olympic movements. I will say that I am not sold on overhead pressing, for shot-putters and Soviet coach Anatole Bonderchuck told me that the clean is of not much benefit to a shot-putters over 19m. So take that for what you will, and the reason that I don’t like the overhead movements is more do to volume or overuse related injury. The last thing you need is a shot-putter that can’t ‘put’. Also I believe that there is a need for a higher degree of emphasis in the upper body lifts then most hammer throwers perform. Too many hammer throwers fear the bench, but there must be some relative strength in the upper body.

4. Where does strongman training fit into your overall training program,if at all? What lifts do you feel have given you the best return in benefits?

Answer: I believe that farmer’s walk, sled drags, grip strength and deadlifts are essential for elite throwers. The Farmers walk is amazing for developing overall body coordination and stability. I am a huge fan, in fact my 78ft weight throw came off a cycle of sled workouts designed to follow the previous day’s body part. For example, if I squatted or trained legs on Monday, I would do

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Joe Woodske, Jud Logan, Derek Woodske, AG Kruger, Dylan Armstrong. This photo was taken in 2003 at the Penn State Relays.

the lower body sled workout on Tuesday morning before I threw. Then I would workout again that night in the weight room. The sleds are almost exclusively concentric in nature, and they helped me recover for the week. I love sled training if it is preformed properly. I know that Poliquin is a big proponent of sled training and check out for a DVD on this style of training in the near future.

5. How often do you incorporate any of the oldschool/strongmanlifting tools (sandbags, sledge hammers, sleds, kettlebells, stones, etc.)? When using these lifts, what type of set – rep paramater do you use?

Answer: For me personally it is a larger part of the fall or off season preparation then it is during the competitive months. We do train very ‘old school’ and in October we often travel to Sugar Creek in Ohio to compete in the annual 138lb stone throw for distance at a little Swiss Festival. It is a lot of fun, and it’s good for building that competitive spirit. As far as specific training parameters, you will see us using the ‘kettle bells’ to strengthen aspects of

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the throw. During a typical session, we will either start with the one arm releases mimicking the hammer release, or finish with them. About 20-30 reps will do the trick. The other thing is that during the indoor season we are already training with oversize weights in the sense that the 35lbs weight is very unforgiving. You really need to watch that you are not beating a dead horse with all of the exercises that have transference, because the next thing that you know, you have been throwing for 3 hours a day! Too much, I know that I mentioned the Europeans in their volume but there can be too much of a good thing. When we set up our dinosaur games in the fall for conditioning, we are looking more for the effort and the training is very unorthodox. We will go from sled drags for 50m, into sand bag carries {fireman style} for 50m into a truck push or overhead shot-put for time or distance. This will be in a circuit style, and we may go through it a couple of times. There will also be the grip strength days, with the rolling thunder, anvil, block and Thomas Inch Dumbbell. I keep waiting for that one freaky freshman to not know any better an pick it up! The one training tool that we have never used is the sledge hammer, I see its application, but its hard to get 25 hammer for the team.

6. Derek, thanks for taking time to answer our questions. We appreciateit big time. Plug your site one more time so our readers can check out your updates on the site. Hopefully we can follow up with a phone interview in the future!

Answer: Yeah stop by and check out my two projects. and!


Taken a month a go….

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                                      Above, Derek gets some serious vert in the gym!

There you have it! That was a kick ass interview with Derek Woodske. If you know of other power athletes that would make for a cool interview post on the forum and we’ll see if we can contact them!

Until then, fuel yourself with motivation from Derek’s interview! That hole in the wall gym (literally) sounded like a great place!

For more great interviews and tons of hard core training information visit

For more great interviews and tons of hard core training information visit

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