Avengers, Assemble.

April 30, 2012

I didn’t have time to write a real post today.  So here’s a look at what we did yesterday.  I’ve been a big fan of this drill: 2 hits, 1 hang snatch.  Super helpful.

Yes, Derek and I were throwing the fabled hammer, Mjolnir at each other.

Also, who’s dressing up for the midnight showing of the Avengers?

If you were a member of The Avengers (any team configuration) who would you be and why?

While coaching, it is always important to keep in mind that I am not the teacher, the barbell is.  A simple fact of motor learning is that there is a huge difference between knowing about something and knowing how to do something.  I could tell you all the tasks necessary to be able to successfully dribble a basketball and shoot it in a hoop, but if you were to ask me to do it, you would see why I was always picked last in P.E.  This concept is even more apparent with a barbell.  That is why you will never see me in the gym, giving extended lectures on how you are not actually shrugging the bar upwards as much as you are extending and guiding yourself underneath the bar.  You will never hear me say the words: scoop, double knee bend, first pull, second pull, catapult or triple extension.  All of these phrases are just minutia; great for describing weightlifting while discussing it but not very effective for getting an athlete to snatch 120.  And I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start weightlifting so that I could critique Youtube videos and contribute to discussions on forums.  As a coach, it is my job to facilitate learning.  This is done first by analysis and then by choosing exercises and rep schemes that address any issues that I see, as well as reinforce what the athlete already does properly.  Simply put, I think much but say little.

Derek knows this better than anybody.  I will be sitting on my stack of 20kg plates.  Propped up against a squat rack, I will sit and watch as he misses 85% of his best snatch 3 consecutive times in a row.  He knows the rule: “three and then you’re done (unless I say differently).”  Slowly, he will turn to me, a half-grin upon his face, hoping to deter what he knows is coming next.  I extend my weathered paw.  And with one waving motion I signal for him to strip the bar to 50kg.  With my battered wing still extended, I assume a different identity.  I am no longer Brown Thunder, but an old hermit at the bottom of the mountain, my words; a guide to the summit.  I am the owl poised atop a branch of an ancient sequoia.  I am 1,000 years old.  In the raspy growl of a retired samurai, I say this:

“One from the ground.  Two from the hang.”

Derek hangs his head as if he’s heard this 1,000 times before.  He hasn’t.  Not yet.

This is probably the most accurate image depicting how I look in between sets.

To you younger coaches out there just getting into the game, my advice is this.  Keep your analysis concise and your solutions simple.  Leave the elaborate explanations to the experts who’s book you’re reading or the online Olympic weightlifting heroes who peruse Youtube looking for videos to “dislike.”

7 Years Hard Luck.

April 23, 2012

After seven years of competing in Olympic weightlifting, I finally got to stand on the medal podium.   I’m not sure what that says about me (if anything) other than the fact that I REALLY enjoy Olympic weightlifting.  In any case, I was happy.  I’d like to thank my training partners.  Without you, I’m nothing.  Thank you to my parents.  Whenever I’m figuratively on rep 18 of a 225 football combine max bench press for reps, you’re there to give me a spot and make sure I hit at least 22 before I rack the weight.  And thank you for reading.  Seriously, it means a lot.

CC killed it.  3rd place at her 2nd National meet?  Yeah buddy.  Her progress is simply amazing.  Afterwards, she decided to take up her Front squats for a PR triple just for good measure.


April 20, 2012

I snatched 148 tonight!

The last time I PR’ed in the snatch was over a year ago at Cal Strength.  I’m very excited right now.  I’ll write more later.  Time to celebrate.

Fired Up.

April 16, 2012

Check this out.  Pay special attention to how CC is absolutely KILLING it in the gym lately.  Ever since JR Nationals, she’s been on a warpath to greatness.  As you can tell by my reactions/yelling in the background, I’m kinda fired up about it.

Footage/write-up for the National University Championships is on the way.  We both received medals.  I’m fired up about that as well.

Sup Ya’ll,

CC and I are in Louisiana for a meet.  So far, we ate a meal at The Cracker Barrel, trained a little bit at the campus and I learned how to use a smart phone.

Click HERE to view the live webcast.  CC lifts at 3PM today and I lift at 12:30PM tomorrow.

Here’s a Cal strength video.

Get That Doughnut.

April 11, 2012

I have found my place amongst an exceptional group of people.  I thought this as I sat upon my stack of 20kg plates, looking at what I had created.  Actually, I suppose I didn’t really create anything.  WE created something.  We are a group, a team; and each of us makes his or her own contribution to the environment that we create.

I walked by Derek’s platform this morning and then stopped.  A red, a yellow, a green . . .120kg?  The last weight I saw him take was 105.  I looked up and he was already staring back at me, expecting me to tell him to take those god damn weights off and instead take a more reasonable jump.  I took about 2 seconds before responding.  I weighed out all the different factors a coach should:  15kg jump, that’s not a good decision.  5kg over his PR, not a good decision, he missed 105 once before he made it and even then it didn’t look all that good.  He’s front squatted 130 for a set of three but he’s still so new to the sport that his technique is still very raw.  2 seconds later I pointed at him and told him as intensely as I could, “Derek if you’re going to load it, you had better lift it.”  I didn’t start lifting weights so I could wear a tie and make good decisions and neither did Derek.  So I let him work.

He missed that 120 four times in a row.  Now everyone was watching.  “Derek, if you clean this weight, I’ll give you this doughnut.”  Cecily had brought me a couple doughnuts because I had a crappy workout the night before and got all emotional about it.  Nothing cheers up a fat kid better than doughnuts.  But I was willing to make the sacrifice in the name of progress.  Here is his fifth attempt.

Congratulations, Derek.  You got that doughnut.  I asked him if it was tasty.  He said, “it tastes like 120kg.”  Delicious indeed.


CC and I will be travelling to Louisiana this weekend for the National University Championship. Should be fun!

Just when you thought it was over.


Introducing the new line of professional work attire.  “LET ME WORK,” an ode to getting totally jacked beyond reason.  Here’s to finishing up your set no matter what.  Reckless? Yes.  Yoked? Yes.  Sleeves? No.  (I’m assuming that you rip the sleeves off of any shirt that you buy for me.  Perhaps a trap cut?)  I saved you the extra 5 minutes to tear off the sleeves by releasing a tank top version as well.  Ladies, stay tuned for some different shirt options.

Check out my store HERE. Buy a shirt so I can buy groceries this month.

Big thanks to my homie, Brian for the shirt design.

Reader Submissions.

April 6, 2012

Aight.  i just got home and made dinner: eggs and chicken.  Here’s the submissions from readers who wished to participate in the first annual NATIONAL PIN-UP DRAWING WEEK.

+1 for the fishnets.

Love it.

This one was sent from my friend Paidi.


Yup.  That’s a cow.

Here’s one of an actual human.


Check out this one.

Lovin' the old school hair style.

And my personal favorite (because I ate them.)

Cookies. Sexy cookies.

Anyways, I had fun this week.  I got kinda motivated to start drawing again.  Any ideas for the next themed week?



April 5, 2012

Here’s the idea that I drew yesterday.


Here’s what I drew today based off of that.

Aphrodite. The goddess of women that are too attractive to even talk to.

That’s all I got for this week.  If you want to contribute to the first annual NATIONAL PIN-UP DRAWING WEEK, e-mail me something by tomorrow morning.  I’ll be busy for most of the day, so I should have the post up by tomorrow night.  I’ll add to it if people send in late submissions.  Happy holidays.  And by holidays, of course I’m referring to the first annual NATIONAL PIN-UP DRAWING WEEK!