Say that 5 times fast.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been really stepping up my game on balancing out my team’s Olympic Lifting training with prehab exercises, functional movements and activation stuff to keep us healthy and prepared to train.  Part of this has been surrounding myself with the right people. Amadeo, the owner of CSP (the gym we share space with) is extremely educated on these movements and I do my best to steal information from him whenever I can.  Additionally, I’ve enlisted the help of a young hot shot who works at the premier athletic PT facility in Sacramento.  It never hurts to ask questions.  And I’m a firm believer that to be successful in the fitness industry, it’s best to stick to what you’re good at.  People don’t come to me to fix hips.  People come to me to fix their snatch, get stronger, faster, more balanced and better looking.  So I’ve been asking more questions and arming myself with more information. When the situation calls for it, I’ll ask others for help or even send my people elsewhere.

This handy little prep exercise is something I’ll throw in the beginning of a team workout or group exercise session.  I’ve been doing it myself for a few weeks now and it’s helped me uncover a gap in my armor.  Obviously this exercise is meant to prepare the glutes for extension (ya’know . . . like in Olympic lifting).  Having the calfs resting on the foam roller helps turn off the hamstring and keeps the exercise focused on the glute only.  If the trainee (in this case, myself) feels the movement work muscles in places BESIDES the glute, this could be a sign of weakness and overcompensation from other muscle groups.

The bottom from is the start position.  The top is the finish.  Have the trainee hold this position for 5 seconds or so until he/she feels the burn in the correct muscle (dat ass).

The bottom from is the start position. The top is the finish. Have the trainee hold this position for 5 seconds or so until he/she feels the burn in the correct muscle (dat ass).

2-3 sets of 5 on each leg is plenty.  You can superset this with other prep exercises in your toolbox that work different muscle groups.  In my case, I noticed that my left glute was actually significantly weaker than my right which may or may not be part of the problem puts me at a higher risk for low back injury.  I actually felt this initially in my right low back when I was trying to work my left glute.  Hold the top position isometrically for about 10 seconds until you feel your correct cheek come to life.  Other problems when doing this exercise is having the foam roller too low on the leg shank.  Put it high up on the calf so your brain doesn’t have such a tough time turning on the correct muscles.  Remember, this is for your ass, not your hamstrings.

Use this to compliment your hip abduction, external rotation and knee flexion prep exercises and your low half should be good to go with a proper dynamic warm-up.

WLforums Interview.

April 6, 2015

Check out this video interview I did with Tony P of  We met at Nationals last year coaching our 75kg girls.  I talk about my experience with the sport, how I became the coach of Midtown Barbell and a little bit of my coaching and programming philosophy.

On the Process.

January 12, 2015

This past year, I began putting more and more emphasis on the development of our process rather than the development of individual weightlifters.  I realized I needed to change the way we were doing things in 2012-2013 and I think this year we finally started picking up steam on the development of a process that is uniquely ours.  Lifters will come and go, but as long as your process remains solid, your team will flourish.

I keep saying “process” and I realize thats a rather nebulous word to use when talking about the development of the weightlifter.  In truth, it’s more of a concept that I think is important rather than finite programming details.  It’s more or less about the values and ideology that you want your team to perpetuate.  I’ve been competing in weightlifting meets for a long time (around 70 meets total) and after all these years I can clearly see who was coached by whom by how they lift, what they value in training and what their strengths are.  When I started to look more closely at US, I began considering what WE value in training, what our process should look like and the overall ideology I want us to personify.  That’s where the whole concept of the “yamdancer” came into play (a story I’ll retell again at some point).  At the end of the day, all we’re doing here is throwing weights above our head for fun.  But whenever you have a group of people come together for a like purpose, certain considerations need to be taken to ensure that the entire group benefits.

Trust in the group.  Trust in yourself.  Trust the process.  #yamdancer

This week, the team is completing the first phase of their mesocycle building towards the American Open.  The way I format my team, we all follow the same schedule as if we’re all competing at national meets.  I e-mail them each a copy of a 4 week lifting block and an 8 week individualized squat cycle.  Actually it’s not a squat cycle.  In general, I’m not a fan of squat cycles.  They play a part in a lifting program as a whole, so I send them “squats within a lifting program” cycles.

Usually these cycles will be a combination of “daily max” and % based work.  For the percentages, I go through the effort of plugging in their actual max and the program will automatically subtract 10% of that for their training max and then all their working weights for the next 8 weeks will automatically fill in.  I’m strict that my trainees stick to their target weights for a number of reasons, but mostly because it makes it easier for me to track progress.  My philosophy is: “you’re welcome to do less if you’re feeling banged up.  But if you want to do more, lets have a conversation about it.”  For this particular cycle, we (I took most of it off) did 3x a week of back squats and no front squats.  I wouldn’t say that’s common and if someone were to ask me, “hey, if I want to get good at weightlifting, should I just back squat only?” I would say no.  But it made sense within the context of our training schedule and I saw fantastic results with the majority of my trainees, both with the lifts and back squats.  I’ll post some video of some recent training PRs made by my athletes when I get some time.  Over the next 8 weeks, we’ll again shift focus, including front squats.  Less back squatting within a program opens up room for other things like more accessory pulling work, so I’ll most likely include more of that.

Welcome to my Office.

February 14, 2014

Here’s a short video I made highlighting our snatch clinic from last weekend.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  A sincere thank you to everyone who came out, I was so stoked to have you in our gym.  Big thanks to my trusty team who volunteered their Sunday to make sure I didn’t look like a fool.  Thank you to Tara, the coolest boss I’ve ever had.

I’m gonna do my little plug now.  If you run a CF gym in Norcal and are interested in having me come to your gym for two and a half hours of technique work, fun times, smiles and Diet Pepsi, get in contact with me.


August 7, 2013

Here’s me trying to hang with the cool kids.  I told everyone who competed at Nationals to throttle back for the next 2 weeks or so.  I want our minds right for the 16 weeks leading up to the American Open.  Go ride a bike.  Swim.  Do a push-up.  I don’t care.  Meanwhile, I’m still working at the gym all day so I decided to hop in with the team ST guys to kill my whole face with some deadlifts.  Honestly, after hurting my back this most recent time, I’ve lost a lot of strength and confidence from the floor.  I never truly got it back even after I got my 180 clean and jerk.  As Mark always says, strength is never a weakness.  Weightlifting coaches can go back and forth all day on the cost vs. benefits of deadlifts but in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with throttling back on the lifts and working on general strength at certain points throughout the year.

My best ever deadlift is 240kg. I got 535lbs here and I hit 505lbs for a double yesterday.  Most importantly, I’m having fun and giving my mind a break from pushing the lifts for a couple weeks.

Snatch Technique Clinic.

July 18, 2013

August 11th.  Mark your Calendars.  I’ll be hosting an Olympic weightlifting clinic focusing on the snatch at my home gym, Midtown Strength and Conditioning.

Here’s a little clip of a technique clinic I did at Crossfit Davis a couple years back. 

Some of the topics that I’ll be covering will include my take on helpful coaching cues and drills that ensure proper technique, sifting through all the bullshit that you will see on the internet and my opinions on what is useful for weightlifting training and what isn’t, program design for the weightlifter and differences between training the lifts for a weightlifter VS. the functional fitness athlete.

As far as the technical portion of the clinic, it will be lecture/practical format.  I’ll have an assistant who will provide demonstrations after which you will break up into small groups and critique each other as you perform the movements.  I have a very simple, yet effective snatch progression, most of which you’ve probably seen online somewhere.  I’ve learned most of what I know about coaching through Paul Doherty and Glenn Pendlay and have taken concepts from both men and implemented in how I coach the lifts.  You will then work up to a single on a snatch before we break and then talk about accessory exercises and other fun stuff.  afterwards, we’ll have some BBQ and beer.

It’s 50 bucks, lasts from 10 till about noon and should be a lot of fun.  Hope to see you there.  E-mail to RSVP.


Here’s the final version of the next 4 week block.

4 week block


If you are not on my team or are not coached by me, DO NOT RUN THIS or it will most assuredly result in failure.  Why? I give verbal directions and alter the program on the fly.  Also, you don’t pay me.  I post this on here for entertainment purposes only.

King of the Hill.

May 22, 2013

An explanation of the team snatch workout for the day:

This barbarian just won the title of “King of the Hill.”

1) You are to take 10 snatch attempts between 75-90%, the goal being to make as many attempts at 90% as possible.

2) Your attempts start at 75%.  So realistically, the max number of attempts one could possibly make at 90% is around 7 unless you decide to take what I refer to as a “Derek Su jump.”  Just kidding, Derek.

3)  Each time you miss, you get penalized by having to strip your bar down to 75% and start over.

4)  The lifter who makes the most attempts at 90% is the “Alpha” and should receive some sort of reward as determined by the coach.   Could be booze.  Could be protein powder.  In our case, maybe I’ll let the lifter decide on a special rule or theme for a Friday workout.



Here is the training block for the next 4 weeks.

4 week block.

This week will be used as a de-load week.  The goal is to get as close to 100% as we can by the beginning of next week, which will be the beginning of a two week intensity phase where we will be shifting our focus back to the competition lifts and away from accessory movements and squatting.  You will notice that we will be working with less percentage based workouts starting next week and transitioning into more of a “daily max” sort of routine.  I refuse to say the word, “Bulgarian” because it’s nothing like an actual Bulgarian routine.  A quick word on my use of the word, “daily max.”  I am now differentiating between this and a “max,”  the main difference being that daily max means the best lift that can be achieved on a given day with solid technique, taking into account all the work that his been put in so far that week and that particular day.  DO NOT run yourselves into the ground with repeated misses, chasing beautiful white unicorns that are actually figments of your imagination.  My role in observing your workouts will increase slightly as a stopping point is relatively subjective for this sort of routine.  At other times, I wrote in little rules to force you to stop after a certain number of misses.  Take into account that our main goal is to have a good showing at our home meet on 5/4, to do that we need to be healthy and fully functional.  You will also see that I used the word, “GPP” (general physical preparedness).  This is one of those internet words that people like to throw around.  Please make an effort to include some sort of general strengthening or (light) conditioning when specified.  I’ll generally throw in bodybuilding exercises like strict rows, bench press, press, grip strengthening, muscle-ups, etc.  Keep in mind that this should not be intense enough to take away from your workout the following day.

For those doing double days, your morning routine will be as follows:  Take up the full competition lifts or power variations to sub-maximal singles or doubles.  Go no higher than 85%.  This will ensure that you will be firing on all cylinders for the afternoon/evening session.  Rest during the mid day will be a priority.  Try to have at least an hour of downtime before coming in for the 2nd session.

For anyone reading who’s not coached by me:

DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ROUTINE OR ANY “RANDO” ROUTINE THAT SOME DUDE POSTS ON THE INTERNET.  Make up your own.  Trust me, it’s better that way.  As long as you’re primarily snatching and clean and jerking, you’ll be fine.  There are many good reasons for this that I’m not going to get into, but mostly because you don’t pay me.  I post this on here for anyone that trains alone to spark some ideas for their own training program and for entertainment value.