Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Saturday, October 27, 2012 4:41:34 PM EST
We went down to Lynnwood, Washington last weekend to attend the CrossFit Powerlifting course. The course was held over 2 days at CrossFit Lynnwood and was instructed by elite powerlifters Mark Bell and Jesse Burdick.
I didn’t know very much about the sport of powerlifting before I took the course and wasn’t really sure what to expect but I absolutely loved it! It was the most enjoyable specialty course I’ve done so far. I picked up a ton of new training tips, programming ideas & cues and the instructors were awesome!
You could tell Mark and Jesse absolutely love powerlifting! They were so passionate about the material they covered and passed on as much of their knowledge as we could absorb! They’ve both been lifting for years and have trained in some of the best gyms with the strongest athletes in the world so it was great to be able to pick their brains and ask them any questions I had.
Over the course of 2 days we covered the mechanics of the box squat, the deadlift and the bench press as well as proper warm-up sequences and all the accessory exercises. We learned the Westside Conjugate Method, developed by powerlifting guru and Westside Barbell owner Louie Simmons, and how to properly implement his dynamic and maximum effort training days into our own weekly routine.
Stan Efferding, a world record holding powerlifter and IFBB pro bodybuilder came in on the second day and gave a brief talk on nutrition and the importance of recovery. He had some great insight and really drove home the importance of good nutrition and proper rest between heavy workouts. I learned a lot in his short presentation and will definitely be paying more attention to my diet and the volume of training that I am doing each week.
Strength is something that I’ve wanted to improve for a long time so the programming that we left with at the end of the course is going to be invaluable to me. I can’t wait to get going and will be starting a 12 week strength program next week! I’m going to diligently keep track of all my training & progress along the way and am really hoping to see some big gains in the next few months!
If you want to get stronger and you’re interested in taking this course, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org - and I’ll pass on all of the contact and course information. It was an excellent course with great coaches and I would STRONGLY recommend it to everyone!
Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Friday, September 30, 2011 11:03:23 AM EST
I successfully completed the Russian Kettlebell Challenge and am now a certified RKC instructor! I can honestly say that it was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done but it was also one of the most enjoyable and definitely one of the most satisfying!
It was held over three days in St. Paul, Minnesota. The first day started off with registration and then right into the fitness testing where you had to complete a pull-up test and a snatch test. For the pull-up test you had to do 5 dead hang pull-ups. The pull-ups weren’t a problem for me because I’ve a been working on them a lot over the last year at CrossFit Vancouver. The snatch test was another story. The purpose of the snatch test, is to test your hip hinge and to see if you have the proper conditioning needed for the course. You have to complete 100 snatches with the 24kg (53lb.) kettlebell in under 5 minutes. Now this might not seem like too hard a task but let me tell you, it is! The first 40 or 50 snatches come off without too much trouble but once you get into the second half and your body starts to fatigue, it becomes a real head game! This is something I trained really hard for and I made sure that I had my numbers down before I left. I completed it in 3:58 which was almost 15 seconds faster than my best previous time. In my group of 13, there were 4 people that didn’t make it. One guy lost his grip on the bell at rep 76, another guy failed on his 99th rep.
After the fitness tests were finished we started with a group warm-up and some mobility drills. I liked that they spent quite a bit of time on this and I picked up some really great stuff. After we were warm we worked on the deadlift, the goblet squat, the get-up and the swing. All of the movements were broken down and we were able to troubleshoot from every angle which I thought was really cool. We finished the day with a pretty intense workout that consisted of swings, swings and more swings! They definitely made us earn our dinner that night!
The second day of the course was probably the longest training day that I have ever experienced! It was absolutely brutal and my body was completely trashed after! Even as I write this blog a few days later I can still feel the tightness in my glutes and the spasms in my back! The day was extremely hard, we learned so much and I absolutely loved it! We would learn a new lift and then drill it and then get put through some sort of workout built around it. By the end of the day we must have done at least half a dozen different workouts! We finished the second day with another grueling workout and I could barely hold on to the kettlebell by the end. I practically crawled back to my hotel room that night and could barely adjust the dials in the shower!
We got tested on 6 different exercises on the third and final day. We were tested by our team leaders in groups of 3 and it was a little bit nerve wracking. I felt pretty confident about my training though and got through all the testing with out any troubles. The final exercise was the turkish get-up which I thought I nailed! My team leader said I did well on it too so I was pretty stoked! I was pretty confident at that point that I had passed the course.
The last two components of the weekend were teaching a person from the area one of the kettlebell exercises and then the final grad workout. I was partnered with a girl from Minneapolis and I taught her the swing. I didn’t have any trouble with that part of the course because I have taught most, if not all of my clients the swing over the last year.
The last component was a punishing “grad” workout that was 20+ minutes long and consisted of swings, cleans, presses, snatches and squats complex. The entire group, all 100 of us, completed the workout together. It was pretty brutal but really awesome when it was over and everybody was congratulating each other!
I really enjoyed myself over the entire weekend. I met some really great people from all over the world; New York, California, New Zealand and Japan! The instructors were amazing and the level of integrity was very humbling! I am very happy that I decided to take this journey and am now very proud to say that I am... an RKC!
Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Thursday, April 21, 2011 3:11:15 PM EST
Marlaena and I went down to Sumner, Washington this past weekend to attend the CrossFit Olympic Lifting seminar. It was a 2 day course hosted by Rainier CrossFit. The facility was amazing and they had the coolest pull-up rigging system that I have ever seen! It was made out of these huge raw log beams and had different diameter tubing, it was pretty awesome! The seminar was instructed by Coach Mike Burgener, an international level Olympic weightlifting coach, and several of his assistant instructors including a national level coach, a former international level competitor and a couple of current junior national level competitors.
The weekend started off outside with a basic warm-up that consisted of sprints, shuffles, high knees, lateral movement, etc. Then we moved inside and did a partner warm-up drill that Coach Burgener referred to as the "Junk Yard Dog Warm-Up"! After the junk yard dog warm-up we each got a piece of pvc tubing and went through the Burgener warm-up. This is a pretty simple sequence consisting of 5-6 movements that are to be done at the start of every Olympic Lifting session. The warm-up only takes a few minutes to do and I'm going to start including it into my daily warm-up routine.
After we finished warming up we went over the pulling and landing stance of the snatch, the hook grip and the various positions of the lift. Then we focused on different progressions including the overhead squat, the snatch deadlift, the snatch push press and the snatch balance.
Once we finished with the progressions we moved into the full snatch but stuck with the the pvc tubing. It wasn't until the next morning that we actually got to load up a barbell and snatch using real weight. We didn't go very heavy though (maybe 40-50% of our 1 rep max) and really kept the focus on technique and speed.
We worked on the clean next. The clean is very similar to the snatch other than grip width and the finishing position so we spent less time on it, focusing mostly on the speed of the elbows when receiving the bar. Slow elbows have been one of my problems so I had one of the assistant instructors show me a drill to help increase my elbow speed and efficiency.
The last thing we worked on was the jerk. We spent a lot of time on finding the correct landing position and proper posture in the landing position. Once everyone felt pretty comfortable with their landing position we were able to load up some barbells and work on the full clean and jerk. Like the snatch, we kept the weights pretty light and kept the focus on speed and technique.
I didn't know what to expect from this seminar or from Coach Burgener but I can honestly say that this was the best certification course that I have been to yet! It was incredibly informative but really fun at the same time! Coach B was an amazing instructor and had a great sense of humour which kept the mood in the gym very light and relaxed! I would definitely recommend this course for anyone involved with CrossFit, anyone interested in the Olympic Lifts or anyone looking to take on a new challenge!
Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Thursday, February 17, 2011 5:45:20 PM EST