Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CF Olympic Weightlifting Cert

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to help coach at my first CF Olympic Weightlifting Cert at CrossFit Central.  Personally, I attended this cert almost 2 years ago in San Diego with Coach B.  At this point in my CF career I had started getting my feet wet with coaching, but was thirsty to learn more and get more specialized. Why did I ultimately choose to go to this cert?  Simply, my favorite WoD's were those that had the classic lifts, or their variations.  It ultimately came down to what I enjoyed and was passionate about.

If you're a coach, certs such as this can open your eyes to a new passion and lead you down a career path where people eventually seek you out because of your expertise.  Certs and seminars, however, are not the end all be all.  Please don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you attend a 2 day cert/seminar you are now an "expert" in that modality.  They are meant to be a base for which you are to grow and continue your learning.  Personally, this cert was the catalyst for me wanting to focus on weightlifting and basic barbell movements as both a coach and an athlete.  It lead me to seek out some of the best coaches our country has to offer like Sean WaxmanJohn Garhammer and Ursula Garza Papandrea.

The goal of the CF Oly Cert is to teach participants how to COACH the lifts, not necessarily how to DO the lifts.  While this is the ultimate goal, the first step to getting to that point is making sure you can DO the lifts.  This cert does an amazing job of blending both personal development as well as coaching development.

Every segment of the weekend was broken into 2 parts: instructional and practical.  The instructional portion was designed to teach everyone how to properly perform the progressions and movements.  The practical portion was designed not only to practice what was just learned in the instructional phase, but more importantly, to coach and teach to a partner or small group.

In the small groups that I lead, my focus was to try and develop the "coaches eye".  To do that, I would have a volunteer get in the middle of the circle, do a couple reps of whatever we were working on, and then discuss with the group what we saw or didn't see and how to correct it through verbal and tactile cues.  From there, I had everyone partner up and coach each other.  To help develop the coaches eye further, I made the "athlete" purposely mess up a portion of the movement to see if the "coach" could catch the mistake and then correct it.  I'd like to think that was effective.

Now, if you're just an athlete and not a coach, these certs and seminars are still worth the time and money simply because you get top notch technical coaching by some great coaches.  Also, I've found that an effective way to get better at a movement is to coach it.

By the end of the weekend, I felt we did an effective job of given the attendees a base of knowledge from which to expand upon and improve as a coach.  It was a very rewarding weekend for me in the sense that I was able to be a part of a great cert staff and help in the development of current and future coaches and trainers.  I love that stuff!

* You can also see this write-up featured on The Triune, CrossFit Central's media website.

Competitive Rivalry - Watch This!

Check this video out from last years World Championships with a head to head battle between the two best 105kg lifters in the world!  They happen to be fellow countrymen too.  DAMN!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drive Your Legs

When it comes to most barbell movements, especially the snatch and the clean & jerk, the ability to produce force is paramount.  For any ground based movements (i.e. anything where your feet are on the ground), the legs are crucial in force production.  If you aren't effectively using them, you are not generating the force needed to move the bar effectively.

The mindset with these barbell movements needs to be LEGS first, not arms and/or back.  Ultimately, it comes down to this:  rely more on your bigger muscles and not the smaller, weaker ones.  I'll break this into two parts: pushes and pulls.

1) Pushes:  On overhead movements, the big fault I see is that beginners primarily rely on the shoulder muscles to drive the bar up.  How the hell am I supposed to use my legs on a shoulder press when they're supposed to be extended?  If you "drive" your legs into the ground, even if they're extended, what happens?  They tighten up.  Going back to physics 101, energy transfers through harder material much easier than softer material.  If your legs are tight, you are in a position to transfer energy much more effectively than if you were just relying on your shoulders and arms to get you through the sticking point.

When it comes to push presses and jerks, the same thing applies.  Drive the legs.  Our gym was doing push presses this morning, and a couple of people were struggling with weight that was relatively light for them.  When I cued them to "use your legs" and "drive the legs," the weight shot up!  You can't just go through the motions.  DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE! Use the legs to your advantage and make it easier on yourself.

2) Pulls:  Remember the old saying "lift with your legs and not your back."  It might be an old saying, but its true!  When your'e pulling weight off the ground, you don't necessarily "pull" with your arms, you DRIVE your legs into the ground.  If you rely too much on your arms or low back to pull the weight up, the ability to generate force is greatly reduced.  I touched on this briefly a few months ago here, but I want to touch on this again since it's very important.

The harder you drive the legs, the more aggressive and better your finish will be in the snatch or clean & jerk.

If there's one common phrase that can sum this entire post up it is this: DRIVE YOUR LEGS!!!!!

That's A Leg DRIVE

Sunday, October 7, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure

The USAW is coming out with a weekly video series.  Looks to be a source in knowledge and content to geek out on.  I've posted the first video in the series below. You can also check it out on the USAW website here.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Copperhead Weightlifting Championships

I competed this past weekend in the Copperhead Weightlifting Championships in Van Alstyne, TX.  This is a unique meet because it's held in a barn at a farm.  HA!  There were a lot of competitive lifters, a few of them being national level competitors, so it was great to see some big time lifts!  All in all a pretty awesome time.

Personally, the meet finished very well; however, it started off a little shaky.  I missed my opening snatch attempt, which generally is a BAD thing.  Whoops. Despite the brain fart, I ended up getting my head together and hit my last 2 attempts.  I ended up with a 3kg meet PR and matched my all time PR that I hit just 2 weeks ago.

For the clean & jerk portion, I went 2 for 3.  I made 115kg on my second attempt, which was a 3kg meet PR and matched my all time PR that I hit the Saturday before.  I went for 118kg on my third attempt, but couldn't stand it up after a strong pull.  I need to continue to get stronger in the squat.

The big take aways I had from this weekend were that: 1) you have to be dialed in and focused for each attempt - especially the first one, and 2) you have to have a short memory.  If you miss an early attempt, you have to regather your focus for the remainder of the meet in order to total and be successful.

Below are the video's of my best lifts this weekend.  Enjoy!