I want to take a moment and acknowledge the fact that Coach Wu...

A video posted by Diane Fu (@dianefu) on

I want to take a moment and acknowledge the fact that Coach Wu (@wuchuanfu) and I have been working together for close to a year now. At face value, it doesn’t seem like much. However, if you consider the hours in which we can actually meet, converse, and train, then that’s when you realize the dedication Coach Wu has to his craft.

Singapore being a lofty 16 hours ahead, Coach Wu is often Skyping with me well past midnight talking about movement theory, Chinese weightlifting system and methodology and coaching me through various exercises. This is all on top of his normal job of being the nation’s federation team coach.

This morning we worked on an exercise Coach Wu calls the 1/2 back squat (we know it in the states as concentric back squats). Often used in training to overload a sticking point or increase muscular recruitment out of the hole (we started me higher today so I can focus properly on control over the movement), the focus today was to relax the back so the legs can perform the work. Not to be mistaken for being “loose”, the idea is to learn how to appropriately match the tension of your back against the weight on the bar. A term Coach Wu calls “just nice”.


The theory behind this is as follows:


1. Being relaxed (or just tense enough) allows the smaller muscles of the back to engage and work. Too much tension and the movement suddenly becomes stiff, disengages your kinesthetic awareness of the legs and only trains the larger muscle groups.

2. Being relaxed also enables control which correlates to an ability to make micro adjustments as you move through the exercise. Being too stiff will cause the body to move very abruptly making a reclaim of position more difficult.

3. Lastly, demonstration of control develops awareness. This awareness improves the quality of the overall lift and can be seen as a form of skill acquisition where the athlete gathers a deeper understanding of the movement (a feeling if you will) beyond just the hard technical nuances.

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