Friends,

I feel very fortunate to be able to tell you that I am now the proud coach of nine weightlifters all of which I believe to be capable of competing at the national level in their respective age and weight categories.  This is a big change for me as I have always been accustomed to training with few partners or by myself for most of my weightlifting career.  But now I have my own team for which I’m responsible, each one of them making a unique contribution to the group dynamic.

What a crazy bunch.

I owe much to be able to say this to you now.  I owe a great deal to my bosses, Tara and Camilo for giving me such a great space to work with and for giving me the freedom needed to create a solid team training environment.  I owe every single coach that I’ve worked with for giving me a solid foundation for my sport and for passing down the knowledge needed to coach lifters of my own.  I also owe a great deal to Cecily (CC) for being the first athlete to trust me in coaching her as a full-time lifter.  Cecily, we’ve both grown as lifters in the past year and I want to thank you for pushing me to grow as a coach.  Thank you to my parents for your understanding but mostly your patience.

CC’s 98kg. Clean and jerk.

So here it is.  I’ve got a full team of lifters who will all go to national meets at some point in their career, all of whom invest in themselves every day with their efforts in the gym.  Having been in this sport for almost a decade, I know it requires even more than that if you plan to compete in national meets which are often halfway across the country.  It requires money!  So when Tara approached me with her idea for a team fundraiser, I was all for it.  I am notoriously terrible at planning anything, much less a fundraiser.  But with her masterminding the operation and my team working together I knew we would be able to pull it off.

The event is called, An Evening at Club Swole.  It’s going to be a casino night complete with gambling tables (for prizes), live music, food and drink.  It’s going to be a fancy affair; so fancy that I even bought pants.  Pants that fit.  Please, come and hang out.  It’s going to be a blast.  Tickets are twenty bucks.  See me, Tara or any one of my athletes for tickets.

I’ve been tempted by a few to wear a trap cut sport coat. It’s not off the table, but I think I may actually try to look nice.

And as always, the link to my personal travel fund is HERE.  The first person to donate over a hundred will have a new T-shirt design named after them (Like: CC special.  Get it?) and I’ll even send you one.

To health, passion and lifting weights.

-Ben

The Hits.

July 18, 2012

Not sure how many of you out there are fans of LCD Soundsystem, but if you are, you will definitely want to try and make it to this.  Shut Up and Play the Hits debuts for one night only tonight in US theaters.  From what I understand, it basically documents the last days of the band leading up to the final show and of course centers around frontman, James Murphy.

I get off work around 7ish, so I might try and make it to my local theater.

Random Videos Post.

July 12, 2012

Yeah, I’ve been kind of out of it this week.  Haven’t wanted to write anything.  Here’s a bunch of random videos either from training or from our most recent meet.

Here is me cleaning 160 off the blocks for a set of 2:

I’ve been doing a lot of work off the blocks lately, mostly because my left hip has been giving me some issues while pulling from the floor.  I’m a fan of working off the blocks in general because it helps you get more work done than you would if you just pulled from the floor or from the hang all the time.  This is especially true for cleans.  In any case, I believe the extra work off the blocks is translating nicely to a better, more powerful pull.

Here is my 145 competition PR:

Here is some dece’ squatting from this week:

CC gets that 130kg. pretty easily on some pretty tired legs.  I can’t wait to see what she gets once I have her start using a belt.  John is my new 77kg. lifter.  I haven’t seen them but his current bests in the squat are 170FS/180BS.  Derek also indulges in three Flying Dutchmen. For those of you who don’t live in California and have access to In-N-Out, a Flying Dutchman is 2 burger patties and 2 pieces of cheese.  Yup.

Redwood Empire.

July 10, 2012

The gang and I competed in a fun and competitive meet held outdoors in little town of Cotati, California.  5 lifters from my team competed, all of which performed very well on the platform.  I lifted as well.  It was my first meet coaching ALL DAY and then lifting afterwards.  I made out with a meet PR snatch of 145 and a PR total of 312.  I was THIS close to making a 317 total with my 2nd attempt clean and jerk, but I just didn’t have anything left in the tank.  All things considered, I’m happy with my performance and very proud of all my lifters who competed.

Here’s a sweet picture of me snatching 145.  Thanks to Jim Shmitz for the photos.

I had such a bad “bro tan” the next day from being out in the sun while wearing that sleeveless shirt.

A quick word on PR’s on the platform vs. PR’s in training.

I sort of put myself out there with this blog thing.  Everybody knows I’m going for that big 330 total and I won’t be satisfied with anything less.  So I’ve had more than a few people talk to me asking why I don’t just open with the 150/180.  Seems reasonable.  After all, you get 3 shots at each right?

The main problem with that train of thought is that at the end of the day, a weightlifting contest is a sporting event. You go to these things to make lifts, not miss them in a fantastic manner.  One must think objectively and strategically about what is the maximum that I’m able to lift given 3 attempts on a given day.  That is why training PR’s are almost always higher than PR’s achieved on a platform.

Training is training.  You give yourself every opportunity to succeed.  3 attempts?  7 attempts?  12 attempts?  I’ve seen lifters go after maximum weights and succeed after several failures, even after going back down in weight and working back up again.  Attempts also feel different on the platform than they do in the warm up room.  Whether or not that is a “good” or “bad” thing for you is dependent in the lifter, but opening up with a weight that you can make with 90% certainty is best.  Granted, local meets are local so they essentially mean nothing.  But you still want to set yourself up for success, not failure.  I’m the type of lifter that figuratively “rides waves of momentum” so the more I succeed, the better I lift.

What I’m getting at is that competition day is just one day.  As much as you plan on being in top shape for it, PR’s just might not be there for one reason or another.  My advice is to lift greedy.  Lift as much as you possibly can on that given day.  Whether or not that happens to be your all time best is unknown.  That’s why it’s a sport.

Mt. Trapmore.

July 6, 2012

Here is a test to see if your yoke is sufficient:

(I’m going to say this now. DO NOT DO THIS.  I AM A PROFESSIONAL.)

Place a barbell on your ample mounds of traps and then sit in a deep squat.  Initiate rotation using your traps like a second set of hands.  Complete a full 360 degree (Edit: 180 degrees.  So smart.) rotation and then stand up.  This is great for cocktail parties or making a good impression on first dates (provided you have enough room.)  If someone invades your air space, just say, “Careful, Bro.  You’re all up in my traposphere.”

-Ben

Fourth.

July 4, 2012

When I was a kid, I would occasionally get harassed because I was multi-racial.  When asked, “What are you anyways, Claridad?” I would stick my fat little chin up in the air, puff up my fat little chest, point to my heart with my little sausage finger and proudly declare that “I am American.” (I know that doesn’t really make any sense but it was basically my way of saying, “None of your business.  We were both born in the same city, asshole.)  Then I would run off in my little Vans that my feet would spill over the sides and go read a book or draw some pictures in the library.

‘Merica.

-Ben