Monday, August 20, 2012


I train to compete.  You should too.  Competition creates adversity, and it's through adversity that we adapt and grow as individuals and teams.  Whether you're participating in sport (this includes CrossFit!) or training to be healthy, put yourself on the line and COMPETE TO WIN!  Never just go through the motions.

Competing puts yourself out of your comfort zone and into the unknown, and I love that.  The more we do this, the more we learn about ourselves.  So what if you lose from time to time?  Use losing as a learning experience.  You actually learn more from losing than winning.  Losing can be a good way to learn what isn't working for you, which is key.  It also gives us a reason to train and put our bodies through the ringer from time to time.

This past weekend, I competed in my first weightlifting meet.  Four months of training came down to six lifts- three for the snatch and three for the clean & jerk. I put myself on the line and performed well.

I went 4 for 6, finishing with 99kg, a 4kg PR, on the snatch and 112kg, a 2kg PR, on the clean & jerk.  It was a great learning experience on how to warm up and narrow one's focus during times of pressure.  I also learned that I need to continue to train hard and with focus.  As a newbie to weightlifting competition, I know I have a long way to go if I ever want to be competitive, but until then, I'm still going to put myself on the line and compete!!!

I challenge you to do the same!

Here are videos of my best lifts from the weekend:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vertical Torso in the Jerk

The key to a successful jerk is keeping the torso as vertical as possible while generating as much force onto the bar as possible.  When it comes to jerking, however, there is a tendency to push the weight forward as opposed to straight up off the shoulders.  This results in either a missed or a very unstable lift.  Typically, jerks are pushed out in front due to a slight inclination of the torso.  If this sounds like what you're doing, then you're in luck.  Here are a couple tips for you to take to your next training session:

1) Start with your knees unlocked.  In a recent article on, Hall of Fame Weightlifting Coach, Bob Takano, breaks down a video he took of a female weightlifter at the 2011 Nationals who starts with her knees locked.  Bob explains that "when the jerk dip is initiate in this way, the first joint to bend is at the hips.  Now the torso is inclined slightly forward and it is difficult to generate a powerful drive with the legs."  Starting with knees unlocked, or "soft", will allow you to initiate the jerk dip with knees, not the hip, and help keep the torso more vertical.

2) Drive the knees out.  I see a lot of beginners push the knees forward.  As the weight gets heavier, dipping with the knees forward doesn't allow you to dip straight down, resulting in a forward inclination of the torso.  There is also a tendency for the heels to leave the ground too early.  If the heels come up and you are on the balls of your feet too soon, you lose the ability to generate maximal force.

Set your stance with soft knees (as we talked about above) and turn your toes ever so slightly out.  When you dip, drive the knees out over the toes and explode up.  The knees out creates a pocket for the hips to dip straight down into, allowing for a more upright torso and optimal force production.

Next time you train and are working on jerks, keep it simple and just remember these two cues: "soft knees" and "knees out".  Easy.

Pay attention to the last 5 sequence shots.  Unlocked knees and knees out on the dip!