Clarence Kennedy

The Wizard, Harry Squatter, Jacked filthy Frank...the list of memes continues. Clarence Kennedy is a bit of a myth and a legend in the weightlifting world. Strong enough to squat baby elephants and skilled enough to compete at an Olympic level...but yet we rarely hear anything from him. His internet fans wait patiently for an unscheduled random YouTube upload or instagram post to learn more.

Well, fear not we have been lucky enough to grab some of Clarence’s time, in between sets of course, to answer some of your questions. We got you to submit your questions over the last few weeks and the Wizard has chosen a few to answer. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

Clarence in motion

How often do you deadlift given that you squat everyday? Even smolov doesn't allow you to deadlift with just squatting 4x per week. Do you have some sort of light days in your squat everyday program?

I don't deadlift often at all, maybe 2-5 times per year. Of course, this is not including snatch or clean pulls and their variations. Usually, my deadlift increases alongside my squat, so I can improve my deadlift without training it.

I definitely do have light days in my program. These days I usually have 3 heavy sessions, 2 moderate sessions, 1 light session and 1 day off.

Are there any additions to your accessory work other than the ones you mentioned in your ATG interview? Do you have a specific day for all accessories only or just simply put them towards the end of your workout?

No! The accessories I mentioned in that interview with allthingsgym is basically all I do with some minor variation. I don't have a specific day for accessories, I usually just do them after the main lifts. There are some periods in my training where I don't do isolation exercises/accessories at all and the main focus is put on the Olympic lifts and/or the squat, bench and deadlift.

What have you tried in your programming that was terrible for you that you will absolutely not do again?

There are quite a few things that I have done that were not wise at all!

A few months back I tried higher intensity training. This involved just working up to one top set in a range of exercises, lowering the volume significantly in my training. All that this resulted in was multiple minor injuries and no progress, after this, I came to the conclusion that I just respond better to high volume training.

Back in summer 2013, when I trained in Poland, I went from back squatting maybe 5 times per week and front squatting once per week to doing front squats 10 times per week. This was a huge transition for me at the time and this resulted in my knees exploding. It was a terrible idea and I needed surgery later on.

Clarence with barbell overhead

What’s been your longest plateau in the lifts? What weight and how long did it take to break?

From December 2015 to August 2017 I basically made no progress on my back or front squat. This is because of a knee injury I picked up during this time. It was possible to train, but it was impossible for me to do high volume squats with high frequency, which is what I've done in the past to progress. The lack of progress may have been just because a 300kg/661lbs pause squat was close to my limit.

Over time I learned to train with the injury and now I'm making progress (I have pause squatted over 300kg). If you look at my squat videos from 2015 and compare them to now, my form is quite different and it puts less strain on my knees. I've also dropped the number of heavy squat sessions I do in a week, so now I'm making better progress with less effort.

How do you adapt your lifting training when you also opt to do some tricking? How do you manage those two?

I really don't trick that often at all, maybe on average once every two months. Unlike strength training, you can get away with tricking infrequently and still maintain your progress or even improve on your tricks.

Even though I didn't do any tricking for a few years at one point, the power and speed of my tricks improved dramatically. If you compare old tricking footage of me before I started strength training to now you can see the difference. So even without practicing tricking it improved a lot just by strength training.

If you want to train both of them together it is possible, although you won't progress as fast compared to if you just focused on one. During certain periods you could focus on strength training (like during the winter when it sucks to trick anyway) and other periods you could focus on tricking (during summer when the weather is nice). One tricker that I know who trains both lifting and tricking frequently is Hadyn Wiseman, he would be a better person to ask!

We will keep this blog post short and sweet. If you have any questions about Clarence’s programming then download the Gravitus App and follow the legend himself. You can find Clarence on...

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Alice O'Connor

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Alice runs Gravitus' social media. She loves all things athletic, especially CrossFit, weight lifting and climbing. 9/10 times you can find her at the gym, and the other 1/10 she's dreaming of training.