Monday, August 31, 2020

Taito Haara - Terry Todd (1978)



Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed








One of the most exciting things about a world's championship is the sight and sound of men from many nations mingling in the lobby of whatever hotel they happen to inhabit. To be in on the picture-taking, the verbal and nonverbal communication, and the exchanging of addresses and routines makes an old dyed deep down in the wool powerlifting fan like me almost terminally happy. The mood is a mixture of pre-contest tension, culture shock and simple euphoria and only a few truly unusual men have the physical presence to diffuse the mood and attract the attention of such a group of athletes. 

Larry Pacifico and Ron Collins, of course, are two such men - both having become almost mythical through their years of victory - and when either of them enters the lobby all eyes are drawn to him. And naturally, when Don Reinhoudt lumbers majestically through, smiling and waving and being careful not to accidentally squash someone or knock the wall down, all conversation ceases. But other than Doug Young, with his unbelievable physique and his dark and brooding demeanor, no one else seems to be able to command the attention of a lobby full of national and world record holders and champions. 

At least no one had until last year when Taito Haaro walked in, bearing his 280 lbs lightly and purposefully across the lobby of Hotel Yorktown. 

Many of us, of course, knew of his great career in Olympic lifting

http://www.chidlovski.net/liftup/l_athleteStatsResult.asp?a_id=2987 

his two Olympiads (including the most recent one in Montreal), his silver medal in the snatch in the heavyweight class a few years ago and his many records in Scandinavia in both Olympic and Powerlifting - but we would have been impressed even so, because Haara really looked the part of a strength athlete as he moved with heavy grace toward the registration desk.

After having seen him, all of us were anxious to watch him lift - to see for ourselves is he would fulfill the promise of that first night in the lobby. And he did not disappoint, making all nine lifts to win a second place with a fine total of 2038.75 lbs via 793.5/473.75/771.5. His 793.5 squat was the second highest in the meet, only Reinhoudt's 859.75 being heavier - and it was beautifully done, deep and powerful. 

Face it - even those of us who understand, appreciate, and approve of a hiplock. borderline squat are STILL impressed by a rock bottom, narrow stance, flatbacked squat with a heavy weight. And that's what Haara gave us. 

After the contest, I spoke to Timo Kekkonen, another big Finn who often travels with the team and I asked him to take some training photos of Haara and get his routine and to send the material to me so that I could present it here. And so, a few days ago, when I walked up past the barn to my mailbox, I was pleased to find a thick packet of information and photos, postmarked from Finland.

It turns out that Haara is 34 years old and lives in the town of Lahti, where he is the chief constable. As a teenager, he trained in the summers on the javelin and in the winters on the skis. At the age of 20 he got his first taste of iron, and he messed intermittently with the weights until he was 28, at which time he began to train seriously on Olympic lifting.

Partly as a result of a tendon he tore while snatching, he became interested in powerlifting, since for several months he was only able to squat and deadlift. Excited by the gains he was making, he entered a powerlifting meet and, at a bodyweight of 260, he squatted 683.5, benched 418.75, and deadlifted 716.5. This was in late 1973. 

In early 1976, he powerlifted again, this time as a 242-pounder, scoring 661.5, 418.75, and 694.5, then followed this performance with a better one (693.25, 430, 727.5) two months later, also as a heavyweight.

Prior to the 1976 World's, his best total as a super was 1939.25, via lifts of 771.5, 440.75, and 727.5. He made this total only one short month befor4 the World's (and less than three after the Olympic Games), so it seems obvious that, if he wishes to, he can go far higher in all three lifts. And, according to my friend, Timo, he wishes to. Timo's own words were, "Taito has been trained very short time powerlifting, but in order to train for Australia he trains very, very hard." 

His program is a good one - heavy and hard - and with it Haara hopes to reach a total of 1050 kilos (approximately 2315) at the World's Championships in Australia. In order to do this, he plans to increase his bodyweight between 35 and 50 lbs. 

Prior to the 1976 World's he followed the program below. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT HE BEGINS EACH WORKOUT BY TRAINING ON ONE OF THE OLYMPIC LIFTS. 

Sunday: 

Snatch

Deadlift
220x10, 330x8, 440x5, 529x3, 595x3, 639x1, 683x1

Situps with Weight
33 lbs x 10, 44 x 10, 44 x 10


Monday: 

Clean and Jerk

Squat
220x10, 330x10, 396x8, 449x6, 551x3, 617x3, 683x3

Good Morning
220x5, 330x5x4 sets

Bentover Row
264x5x3 sets


Tuesday:

Jerk

Bench Press
220x10, 308x8, 352x5, 396x3, 418x2, 440x2, 396x3, 352x6, 220x10

Triceps Pushdown
88x10, 110x10x2

DB Curl
66x10x3


Wednesday: 

Snatch

Deadlift
220x10, 330x5, 440x5, 551x3, 617x1, 705x1, 749x1

Bentover Row
220x8, 264x8x2

Weighted Situp
44x10x3


Thoisday

Jerk

Squat
220x10, 330x8, 440x6, 529x4, 595x3, 661x1, 727x1x2

Bentover Row
220x8, 264x8, 308x6

Good Morning

264x5x4


Friday:

Clean and Jerk

Bench Press
220x10, 308x6, 352c4, 396x2, 429x1, 463x1x2, 352x6, 308x8

Triceps Pushdown
88x10, 110x10x2

DB Curl
66x10x3

The hardworking Finn feels that powerlifting routines should be simple and that great care should be taken not to miss workouts and to keep the level of enthusiasm high.

He eats, well, A LOT. Meat, potatoes, black bread, cheese, and a gallon of raw milk a day. Between 7 and 8,000 calories each and every day.  

Haara still loves the Olympic lifts and wants an 881.75 total before he quits. This might break down as a 380.25 snatch and a 501.5 clean and jerk - both truly heavy lifts for a non-specialist. 

If he reaches these poundages and can add to them his goal of a 2315 powerlifting total, he'd almost certainly be the strongest 5-lift competitive athlete in the world.

Enjoy Your Lifting!







 

         






















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