Good Technique Drill.

January 31, 2012

CC competed at the JR Nationals this weekend.  She placed 5th in her class, totaling 63/85.  I’m super proud.  More on that later.

She walked in the gym Monday afternoon after I had told her to take the week off and asked what she should work on.  I’m super proud.  I was fooling around that morning after my squats working on light, technical work and finally settled on a fun little drill that addresses most of my problems with my technique.

Check it out.

Basically, what we have here is:

1) A full clean with a nice, healthy pause at the knee to ensure proper position.

2) A squat press.  A friend of mine commented on how he liked the thruster and I, like an asshole, refuse to call it that as it is a made up name for a real exercise.  Another acceptable name could be “inefficient push-press.”  This is nice for those of us who let go of their grip on the bar to get some work in with a full grip to improve posture and rack position.  If you are out of place on this or  don’t at least have all your fingers underneath, you won’t be able to complete the movement.

3) 2 dips followed by a squat jerk.  I’ve started focusing on how important the dip position is only lately.  If you drive the bar inefficiently, then it will end up in the wrong place (either in front of you or behind you).  And the squat jerk is for some added flexibility/overhead work.  Really the only real reason to squat jerk is to prove that you can do them, but just as the saying goes “you can never be too strong,” you can also never be too flexible.

"1 dip drive, 2 dip drive, 3 dip drive! AH AH AH!"


Sincere Post.

January 27, 2012

CC and I are traveling to Itasca, Illinois tomorrow.  She’ll be competing in her first ever national meet and I’ll be coaching at my first ever national meet.  It’ll be a big weekend for both of us.  I just wanted to take a moment to thank you.  Yes, you.  Whether you bought a shirt, donated, read the site, left an encouraging message, made me cookies, whether you did all of that or you did none of that, thank you.  Either way, you’re here and you’re contributing to the mission.

When I was 18, I discovered weightlifting.  November of 2005 I entered my first meet, snatching 77kg. and clean and jerking 106kg.  Shortly after that, I decided that it would be cool if I trained for the mother fucking Olympics.  I know better now.  But you know what?  The mission is still the same: do whatever I think is important, no matter what the cost.  7 years later, weightlifting hasn’t gotten me anything except for the fact that I have a sweet ass job, a blog, funny stories and big legs.  I’m still the same idiot kid who wanted to go to the Olympics, but now I have years of experience under my belt.  All I want to do now is snatch 150+, clean 180+ and win a national meet (and I’ll do it too).  So I train with intensity of a starry eyed, ignorant kid.  And I coach like the same kid but after years of doing it wrong, I can coach it right.  Funny how that works.  Lifting makes me happy.  That won’t always be the case, but as long as I’m living in pursuit of whatever speaks to me, I’ll feel like I’m doing what I was put on this earth to do.  I’m not content to just live, eat, make money, fuck, and die.  I gotta be in pursuit (of whatever).  I gotta get my white whale.

CC is going to lift like a champ this weekend and I couldn’t be more proud.

Also.  To everyone whom I’m working on art projects for, sorry for the delay.  Last week and especially this week have been crazy.  I’ll be sure to take my tardiness into account when I set my commission.  Thanks for your patience.

I Swear I’m Not A Tool.

January 24, 2012

Good day Sacramento came to my gym today while I was working.  At 5:30 this morning.  At first I was like, “Yo, let me work!”  Literally, I was working.  But then Ol’ Brown Thunder decided to give the camera some love.

Watch me work HERE.  

If you just watched that, you might have realized that I may in fact be the most awkward person to appear on local morning news.  I’m such a dork.  “Thanks, I work out.”  Nice one, Ben.  Had I more time, I might have said something funny like, “Oh this ol’ thing?”  or “SUP. Ben.”  After which I would have gestured the news anchor to feel my forearms.

I hope you were entertained.

Let Him Work.

January 24, 2012

CC and I went to a local meet in SF this weekend.  Neither of use were competing because she has JR Nationals this weekend and I just don’t feel like it right now.  The nice thing about local meets in Norcal is the amount of high-level lifters in the area.  Check out big Donny doing work on a 210kg. clean and jerk for his 2nd attempt and barely missing 214 on his 3rd.

Let this man work.

Workouts: 1/23-1/28.

January 23, 2012

I was angry all day today.  I decided to go back to school so I can finish my degree in Exercise science with a concentration in jumping through hoops.  CSUS is a terrible school.  Myself along with thousands of other people are not going to get into classes we need this semester so that we can continue to waste more money on future semesters.  I was going to get drunk and write a rant on how much I hate that god forsaken waste of space.  But I thought about it.  And you know what?  I’m better than that.  Besides, I’ve wasted enough time and money on that giant clusterfuck.  There’s no way I’m going to let it intrude on something that I actually enjoy doing.  I will say this though:  There is always time to train.  If you’re working full-time and going to school full-time, you can still train full-time.  Just watch me.  I’m going to do it out of spite.


Most of my day was devoted to the pointless attempt to add classes that actually counted towards my major.  Me and like 50 other people.  For each class.  So needless to say, after a busy day of getting fucked by the CSU system and shuttling back and forth between work and school.  I wasn’t setting myself up for a good workout.  This week is going to be hectic because I’m scrambling to add classes.  So I may be on a one a day schedule at least until the end of the week if not the entire semester.  2 a days are only useful if you have a rest period in between.  If there is no rest period, you might as well not step into the gym a 2nd time.  But who knows, I’ve done it before and I’m not sure what my final schedule will actually be.  2 a days may still be possible.

I chose to do the lifts first because I knew I would only get one session in.  I’ll have to decide after this week what my training schedule will actually look like.

Snatch: worked up to 120 doing snatch, hang snatch.  It actually felt pretty good.  Finished off with hang snatch for sets of 3 working up to 110.

Cleans: 150 went up relatively easily.  The squats are working!  Too bad I’m going to start the volume and squat-centric training all over again for at least another 8 weeks.

F. Squats: 3×8 at 130 no belt.  Although, a man my size probably shouldn’t be bragging about squatting anything less than 180 with no belt.  It actually felt pretty good.  Considering I was backsquatting 140 for 3×10 a month and a half ago, I would consider this progress.

Many human flagpole attempts.  Game on.


Walked in the gym feeling awesome, even after another day of being shit on by CSUS.

Power snatched 110.  Almost had 120 but sunk down into the hole.  Same story with 140 power clean.


Back squat:  no belt 3×3 at 190.

Deficit snatch:  120.  2×5 pulls at 125.

Flag practice.  Come at me bro.


snatch:  my pull felt awesome.  but my legs were tired.  hit a really nice 120.

Clean and squat jerk:  Squat jerked for funzies today.  Belted up and hit 90, 110, 120, 130 and then clarked 140.  Discarded belt and worked up again, making 140.  It surprised me.

Then more flag practice.  Come at me, bro.



January 23, 2012

I had a pretty shitty day today.  So when I finally had a chance to get a workout in at the end of the day, I needed to blow off some steam.  I ended up doing MANY human flagpole attempts after my workout.  I know.  What the fuck, right?  In my entire life, I’ve maybe tried to do this a handful of times without any success.

So a couple of buddies of mine asked me about my ab routine after I posted it on Friday.  Inevitably, the human flagpole question came up.  And, like a dick, I said that it probably wasn’t that difficult.  And even with my big legs, I’d probably be able to do it if I gave it an honest try.

So now I issue a challenge.

I bet you that I can do a human flagpole before you do.  Granted, I started tonight.  So if I ever succeed, you would have an extra 24 hours to complete one and become champion.


1) No gymnasts.  Weightlifters with big legs preferred.  Naturally, our main goals as weightlifters are to get bigger squats, snatches and clean and jerks.  Think of this like a side-quest in Legend of Zelda.

2) There will be 2 weight classes.  215 and above (heavyweight) and 215 and below (lightweight).  I will be competing in the heavyweight division because I’m 245lbs of brown thunder.  I also challenge any woman above 165lbs.  Lightweights for women will be 165 and below.  So, to be clear, there will be 2 total winners: heavyweight (M/F) and lightweight (M/F).

3)  You will post a youtube video of yourself performing the human flag in the comments section of the most recent post.  You also must video the weigh-in.  I don’t want to see you weigh-in.  Just zoom in on the scale and that will suffice. Scout’s honor.

4)  You gotta hold the human flag for 2 Mississippi’s.

5)  Winner gets a T-shirt.  If I’m lucky, I’ll win myself a damn shirt.

Game on.

Come on, what else do you have to do?  Don’t act like you never thought it would be kinda cool to be able to human flag.  Now you have an excuse to practice and win a sweet ass T-shirt.

Hey, Bros.  I’m doing this really great exercise program.  It’s called P90X.  Have you heard of it?  Apparently it uses this brand new principle called, “muscle confusion.”  I’m not sure what that actually means, but it gets you really lean and aesthetic, which is what I’m going for.  I’m not trying to get bulky, bro.  Because that always happens immediately after I start lifting weights.  I swear, I’ll do one set on the decline bench and another on the tricep dip machine and I look like Ronnie Coleman.  No.  I want to look athletic.  Because weightlifting when combined with a proper strength, agility and conditioning program is NOT how you get more athletic.  I’ve been on P90X for 60 days and I can already see some middle ab!  Women love middle ab because that’s how you KNOW that you’re in shape. And all I have to do is workout in front of my TV for 60 minutes and cut my calorie intake in half!   Maybe at day 90, I’ll get that “V” that I’ve always dreamed of.

Check out how confused my muscles are getting.

OK, I’m done.  And you’re welcome for the money shot.  Really this was just an excuse to claim my ab routine before someone steals it.  Because, you know, everybody’s always checking out my middle ab.

Ask me how I feel about TRX Bands, Bosu balls, and combining 2 perfectly good exercises together to make an extra functional exercise.

Deficit Snatch?

January 19, 2012

I’m pretty wrecked from yesterday.  This is pretty standard for a Thursday, which I normally use to do the power variations of the lifts.  But today, I thought I’d try out something different.

Deficit snatch.  Difficult.  But not as difficult as you might think.  Lately my lifts have been in the toilet, mostly due to the greater emphasis I’m placing on squatting for the moment (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).  But the most I’ve snatched in the past few weeks is 135 with an average of hitting 120 or 130 every time I’ve taken up my snatches.  So, by comparison, 120 from the deficit doesn’t seem that bad.   And I actually didn’t max out, I just decided to call it after 120 because it just seemed like a good place to stop.  All in all, I’d say it’s a fun exercise and could be useful for some people in some situations.

I’m not an expert.  But having done them, I can now form some sort of opinion on why deficit snatches may or may not be useful in certain situations.

1) This is a no-brainer.  The bar must travel greater distance, so the lift is more difficult.  Duh.  Maybe if you wanted to force yourself to keep the weight light, such as on a planned lighter day, you could sub this exercise instead of doing the power variations. You could take this exercise up to max . . . like a real max.  But I don’t see any utility in that.  This doesn’t seem like the exercise that you want to be going balls out on.  Unless of course, you’re Dimitry Klokov.

2) The bar in a lower position places you in a more upright squat position from the floor.  Whether this is a “good” or “bad” thing is up to you.  One could make the argument that because of this, the act of “getting over the bar” is also exaggerated, which could be useful if a lifter is not getting enough pop out of the bar.  Also you must concentrate a little bit harder off the floor for obvious reasons.

To me, this seems like the type of exercise that should be saved for advanced lifters looking for some sort of variation on a planned lighter day.  But that’s just me.

What do you think about this exercise?

For whom would they be most useful?

How should they (if at all) be implemented?

Will they make me jacked like Klokov?


Workouts: 1/16-1/21.

January 17, 2012


Back squat (no belt):  Singles this week.  Hit 220.  Most I’ve done with no belt before.  Felt pretty good about it.

Light snatch and clean

18 pull-ups.

Hanging ab routine.


Hang snatch: an ugly 120kg. and a few light sets.

Cleans: 120 for 3×3.  130 for 3.  2 pulls 1 clean at 120, 120, 130.

So tired from squatting.


No hook, no feet snatch (no. no snatch): light to warm up.

Cleans:  60kg. for like a million reps to loosen up.  Once loosened, I moved on to hang cleans.

Hang cleans: 130kg.


“Your overconfidence is your weakness.”-Luke S.

Front squats:  I had a pretty good squat day despite making a couple of really dumb errors.  I no belted up to 180 no problem.  Then, like an idiot, I jumped to 195 despite taking only a 10kg. jump the set before.  I missed it, but it was actually a pretty decent attempt.  In any case, 180 is the most I’ve ever front squatted with no belt before.  Not really a PR, but I’ll take it.  But then, like an idiot, I started all over again with a belt.  I worked up and easily hit 190.  That was where I should have stopped.  Again.  But instead, like an idiot, I took a 15kg. jump to try and get an all time PR, knowing that I was in no position to PR.  I missed.  Go figure.  But I did have fun playing with big boy weights again.


Snatch:  Hit a disgusting 110 and then missed 120.

Cleans:  singled up to 140.  Then did clean pulls 1p to 180 for doubles.  After that, I decided it would be fun to do a benbata set of power cleans at 120.  10 reps. Holler at yer boyee.  Altogether a pretty fun workout.


Deficit Snatch: (see post above).

Power cleans.


Back squat:  No-belted up to 210.  Missed 220.  Next week, I’ll be going back to higher volume.  Possibly doing 2 front squat days, 1 back squat.  Possibly adding back in the belt.

Snatched 120.

Oh yeah, later I did bench press with bands. A set of 3 at 110.  Took off the bands and did 225lbs for a set of 20.


CC’s last heavy sesh before JR nationals.

Snatched up to 130.

Cleaned 140.  Legs just dead.


Gamer Part II.

January 16, 2012

Some people compete.  Others crumble.  And some thrive in competition.

CC had a nice little “scrimmage” to get her ready for JR nationals in a couple weeks.  There was a small meet yesterday, primarily meant for high school students.  We talked about it and decided that it was a good opportunity to get on the platform and get in that competition mind-set.  I think my exact words were “this is a scrimmage.  All I care about is making our openers.  63 And 82.  Beyond that, just have fun and treat it like practice.”

That was the plan.

But then I saw her warming up in the back.  She snatched 45 for a set of 3, turned and looked at me and I swear to God the spirit of Pyrros Dimas was in her.  You remember that Ironmind poster with Pyrros Dimas and he’s all jacked and you can see his 6 pack through his singlet and he’s holding up the number 1?


Yeah.  That was her.  Except . . . you know.  A girl version.

New plan.  LET IT ROLL!!  She ended up getting a 69kg. snatch and 86kg. clean and jerk, just barely missing 71 and 87.

Anyways.  She killed it.  We’re both really excited for JR Nationals in a couple weeks.