OMG Face.

August 29, 2011

This is CC.  We’ve been working together for the past 6 months.

This is her breaking a JR PWA record after breaking it minutes earlier.

Yesterday we traveled to Cotati, CA for the annual Redwood Empire Championship held in La Plaza Park.  Outdoor meets are usually fun, but this one is especially fun due in part to the beer, wine, and BBQ concessions available to the spectators.  This is a pretty laid back meet with pretty much every club in Northern California in attendance, but with a relatively small amount of lifters actually lifting.  Everyone pretty much goes to hang out.  Good times.

Anyways,  after CC snatched 61 on her 2nd attempt.  I went over to the score table to declare her third when the announcer informed us that she had just broken the JR PWA snatch record in her weight class.  Having never broken a record in anything before, I looked over at her like this:


I regained my composure and then declared 64 for her 3rd attempt, which she buried easily.  She went on to clean and jerk 80kg. for a PR and qualified for the American Open.


Rack It.

August 25, 2011

I’ve been squatting frequently.  This means that the lifts will suffer for at least another month or so.  This also means that this is a great time to work on improving technique and making my lifts more consistent when the weights actually do get heavy again.  Here’s some video of some power cleans from today.  I’ve widened out my stance and grip quite a bit and it’s working out nicely.  The only issue I can see from doing this is the added difficulty of racking the weight on my shoulders.


Favorite T-Shirt.

August 22, 2011

I’ve decided that while I’m busy working on my front squats, I should try to fix a few technical problems that I’ve been having with my lifts.  I’m a big believer in “setting up a lift.”  What I mean is, that when a lift is pulled properly to the knees,  chances are that it will finish correctly through the hips.  Lately I’ve noticed that I have been inconsistent with my hips which also means that I have been inconsistent from the floor.

Along with playing around with my foot and hand position on both lifts, I’ve been paying careful attention that my shoulders are locked down and tension is felt all the way through my traps before I start.  I, along with many beginners have a tendency to be a little “musclebound” in the starting position from the floor.  In an attempt to have a solid back position, lifters will often bring their shoulders back as if performing a row from the floor.  What needs to be happen in most cases is that the shoulders should be relaxed and pinned down into the socket in order to minimize any inconsistencies during the first pull.  The reason for this being that this shoulder position most likely cannot be maintained during a maximal effort and excess motion will be added to the liftoff, pulling the lifter out of position.

Observe the 1st rep from this flushing set I performed after taking up my snatches today.

I do a pretty decent job of maintaining proper body angles from the ground.  Not a whole lot of movement going on besides my knees pushing back, putting me into an advantageous position to hit the bar with my hips.  Naturally, my technique begins to disintegrate as I get more and more fatigued.  But I hit a pretty decent 6 reps regardless.  Also, I’m wearing my favorite T-shirt.

Mission Successful.

August 20, 2011

It’s days like today that make me thankful that I began writing this blog.  I met a bunch of really great people today that I probably otherwise wouldn’t have met.  And with the help of my athlete (and business partner in this particular venture) we put on a workshop that I feel proud of.  Afterwards, we had a BBQ/bro-out session/lifting session.  An ideal Saturday afternoon.

Crossfit Monterey homies.

A big thank you to everyone at CFM for having me and I hope to see ya’ll at some local weightlifting contests.  I’ll be back.  And next time I’ll come wearing my singlet.

If you own a gym and are interested in having me come over for a technique workshop feel free to contact me . . . bro.


August 19, 2011

On my way to Monterey for my workshop.

This man wants to improve your snatch.

Debating on whether or not I should wear a singlet.



August 17, 2011

Today I failed for the second time at a 205 front squat with no belt.  I’ve grown fixated on the idea of getting a new squat PR without needing the assistance of a belt.  I feel like once I actually do get a new PR, I can move on and start making bigger gains with my once again, belted self.  That being said, IF I had worn my belt, I’m pretty sure I would’ve gotten it.

Which brings me to my next lifting story.

Shortly after my 310 total at the Norcal Open, I spoke to my friend, Jasha Faye about the recent progress I had made over the past few months. Jasha is a former resident athlete at the Olympic training center and set some JR American records in the 90s.  I think his best lifts are something like 165 and 190.

Anyways, I respect him very much for all his years of experience and occasionally go to him for advice on lifting or programming.  He is a both an excellent technical coach as well as a great motivational coach.  And when I say motivational, I don’t mean that he stands next to your platform and congratulates you every time you hit 85% of your maximum.  I mean that he is a very good judge of character and knows exactly how to push you to the best of your ability.  And you begin to trust in yourself through your trust in his years of experience.

So anyways, we were talking and I say, “Yeah, I can clean anything IF I can rack it.”  I mentioned my poor shoulder flexibility and what I had been doing to work on it.  To this he replied:

IF my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.”

Moral of the story:  Fuck IF.  Everyone has IF.  IF you can’t do something, don’t make excuses for yourself.  Accept your faults and work on them until there is no more IF.

This isn’t a motivational blog, but I thought that it was a funny story.

Jasha runs lifting workshops at various gyms in Northern California.  Feel free to contact me if you want more info.

Oh, I guess that I should mention that I am also running a workshop on August 20th at Crossift Monterey.  Contact Jacob at CFM for info.


Tuesday PM:

Power snatch and power clean and jerk:  100/120.

Snatch balance:  doubles at 120.

Today AM:

Front squat:  70, 120, 160, 190, 210 miss, 70, 120, 170, 190, 205 miss.

Snatch: Worked up to 120.  Missed 135.  Worked up to 120 again and missed 130.


I started calling my PM group “Alpha Flight.”  Let me explain.  I mass texted eveyone, informing them that 6PM was the workout time.  I only said, “Team Alpha, assemble at 6.”  Throughout the course of the day, I kept on saying “Team Alpha, which turned eventually turned into “Alpha Flight,” named after the rag tag Canadian version of the X-Men.

I would either be Shaman or Sasquatch.

Anyways, the Alpha Flight workout was:

Snatch: 3 singles at 90%.  Go down to 70% and work back up doing 1x snatch, 2x hang snatch.  I ended up doing 120 more than a few times and then getting a triple at 110.

Clean and jerk:  2x clean, 1 jerk.  I only got up to 120.  My legs were so spent that it was a fight to stand up with a paltry 120.  So I called it.

Behind the neck push press:  I hit a few triples and eventually failed at 140.


August 12, 2011

I wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t.

At 66kg. She easily squats 120 for a 10 kg. PR.

This is a JR athlete that I’ve been coaching for about 6 months or so.  When we first began, she was on a 3 day a week program.  Her primary sport is volleyball and with a rigorous summer conditioning program for her school team, I didn’t want to overwhelm her with a NEW sport and potentially leave her at risk for injury because I pushed her too hard without knowing how her body responded to my programming.

I wrote up a pretty standard Olympic lifting program, covering all the bases and giving her a nice amount of variety into her workload.  However, every Friday would become the day when she would take up both lifts to a maximum almost exactly how she would in competition, usually giving her 3 misses at both before moving on.  We followed that format for a couple months until she voiced that she would like to start coming in more often to practice the lifts.  So we bumped up to 5 days a week and have been doing that ever since.

The thing that made this particular lift inspiring to me was that for a 10kg. PR with no belt and knee sleeves, (wait as long as you can to add the belt and sleeves!  It’s worth it.) it didn’t really look that difficult.

The nice thing about weightlifting is that coaching it is extremely easy when you’re working with talented athletes.


August 8, 2011

CHOO, CHOO! All aboard the hype train.


Don’t act like you don’t care.  I’m going to get them for the same reason I got the Nikes: because they look cool.  And don’t even try telling me that you got your Nikes because the “heel cups your foot better.”  Bullshit.  They look cool.  I’m glad that Adidas is actually trying to make weightlifting shoes fashionable because that makes weightlifting fashionable, which in turn gets more people to do it, which in turn brings more money to the sport.  Swolonomics.


This week will be a lighter week in terms of squats.  I think I squatted 6 or 7 times last week, at least 4 of which were front squats which wreck me every time.  This week needs to be lighter.  I’ll be focusing more attention onto the lifts, doing variations from the blocks and hanging.  I may squat only twice, we’ll see.  Anyway’s it’ll be kind of boring so I wont post anything unless something interesting happens.


I moved.

Also.  Very proud of all my athletes that competed at the Kono Open. Very proud indeed.

Good Morning.

August 2, 2011

Occasionally I will go on youtube and watch lifting videos.  This is usually a mistake because sometimes after watching a video, I will scroll down to the comments section and read the idiotic hate and criticism vomited onto the keyboard by the internet heroes who, once behind the safety of their laptops, suddenly grow 10 feet tall and have a masters in exercise science.  That’s why I don’t allow comments on my videos.  i’m just not interested on what people on youtube have to say.

But I digress.

The most entertaining lifting videos on youtube are power clean videos from high school or college athletes.  Hands down.  The techniques is always terrible.  The people are always excited.  And the weights are always surprisingly heavy.  To be honest, I’m only half kidding when I say that I wish people in the Olympic Weightlifting community acted in this manner.  And I also see these videos as “proof”; proof that America could be a dominant force in weightlifting if our genetic crop chose individual sports like weightlifting.  We need more athletes.  We need more meatheads.  Instead we have a bunch of guys like me running around who work hard, actually know how to lift weights, but simply lack the raw talent.  (I’m not talking about any of the guys in the upper echelons of the weightlifting crowd because they’re obviously athletic, nor do I mean to offend anyone who competes in weightlifting because if you compete, you are an athlete.)

Here’s some entertaining ones.

See what I mean?  Terrible.  Absolutely terrible technique.  But so entertaining.  Think if we could get guys like this to actually train.



F. Squat:  170kg.  Getting easier.

Snatch off the blocks:  Finding my hips again.  took it up to 110.  Took some more from the floor at 100.

Clean pulls: triples at 140.  Finding my pull again.


Front Squat: 180kg.

Light snatch and cleans.

Behind the neck jerks from the rack:  hit 180kg.  Missed 200.

Good mornings with Team ST:  These were supposed to be done with a wide stance.  I kept mine narrow to make it more helpful for weightlifting.

Presses:  Kept it light 5×3.

August 1, 2011



Front Squat: took it up to 160.

Light snatch and clean and jerk: technique.  Both are feeling pretty “off” due to not practicing as much.

Back squat: took it up to 180kg.

Push press:  Kept it light.  Sets of 5 at 70.


Front Squat: Hit a nice 190 with no wraps or belt.  Went for 205 and missed.  I may try again tomorrow morning.

Snatch:  I actually had a training partner today.  Alex Lee is a Hassle Free 105kg lifter.  He lived at the OTC for a few months.  We both took up our snatches.  I hit 120.  he hit 125.  Finished with a few back off sets.