Monthly Archives: December 2012

Robin Hood and The Quest for Knowing

I don’t know everything.

There.  I said it.  It is a difficult thing for a coach, a person whose value lies in what he knows and how he transmits that knowledge to others, to admit that he doesn’t have the answers to all of the questions that the barbell poses.

Athletes, beware the coach who claims to have all of the answers, for the moment one claims to know everything, he or she at once knows nothing.

So what is the solution?  Be like Robin Hood.

The answers are out there and I will come for them like a thief in the night.

The answers are out there and I will come for them like a thief in the night.

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  He stole from royalty.  He stole from clergy.  He stole from the greedy.  He stole from the corrupt.  Therein lies a lesson for all of us coaches.  Don’t be afraid to steal from the best.  This is not implying that you rely solely on the intelligence of others to design programming.  Stealing workout programs carte blanche from other coaches displays your ignorance of the art and science of coaching.  There are so many opinions out there as to what makes a great weightlifting/crossfitter.  Scour the world for the best approaches.  Take what you think is best.  Research it.  Understand the thought behind it.  Test it.  Tweak it.  Then, make it your own.  Over the past two years, I have read many books, talked to many coaches across the country, watched countless hours of film, and have slowly begun to make sense of what is valuable and what is useless.  It is a journey that is never over.  Some may see this as disheartening, but I disagree.  Personal growth must be continual.  Afterall, the moment we stop growing, we start dying.

Learn.  Grow.  Excel.



2 rounds Snatch

Barbell Mechanics


2 reps @ 70%,  2 sets of 2 reps @ 80%, 2 sets of 2 reps @85%

Clean and Jerk

2 cleans + 1 Jerk @70%, 2 sets of 2 cleans + 1 jerk @ 80%, 2 sets of 2 cleans +1 jerk @ 85%

*1-2 minutes rest between sets.


High Bar Back Squat


Work up each set.  Last set should not exceed 95% of 5RM.

*Minimum 2 minutes rest between sets.


Romanian Deadlifts


Total Daily Volume/Total Weekly Volume:  74/74



Slow or Fast, but still Strong

What a way to close off the week of training!  On Wednesday we were visited by the extraordinarily talented Amanda Winkler, yoga instructor extraordinare.  Ms. Winkler put us through the wringer!  Too often do we expend a lot of intense energy through the practice of CrossFit/Weightlifting.  Life is all about balance.   Yoga cultivates the calm energy that we seldom utilize during our strength and conditioning.  We need more of this in our training, not only for the potential increases in range of motion and strength, but also to be more in control of our breathing and learn to quiet our minds.  Thanks again, Amanda!

12-19-12 MOVE112-19-21 MOVE312-19-21 MOVE2

With no class on Wednesday, we maxed out on the Snatch and Clean and Jerk on Thursday.  Jeremy E returned back from college and walked away with three new PRs (Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and 5 RM Front Squat).  Things are coming along folks!  Keep your focus on your technique and worry less about your numbers.  Increased weight and awesomness will come soon enough.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s Jeremy’s new Clean and Jerk PR

Also today, the Old Man attempted to snatch 185# for the first time.  If you are going to miss, better to miss behind.



2 Rounds Snatch:  Lift off Transitions, Drop Snatches, Punch and Catch Progressions.

Barbell Mechanics

15 minutes to establish a new 1 RM Snatch

15 minutes to establish a new 1 RM Clean and Jerk

*Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.

*Junior members:  Work from the high hang or hang.  If the athlete demonstrates competency in both positions, he or she may go from the ground.


Front Squat


All levels:  Work to establish a new 5 RM.

12-20-12 MOVE312-20-12 MOVE212-20-12 MOVE1

Love your bumper!

Last day of the Winter Concert.  No excuses not to come and get your pump on Wednesday and Thursday!  Remember, Yoga Workshop with Om Factory’s Amanda Winkler after school tomorrow!  Time to work on your mobility!!!


Barbell Mechanics

Snatch + Snatch + Hang Snatch

Senior Members

2 sets @ 70% of 1RM

2 sets @80% of 1 RM

2 sets @ 75% of 1 RM

Junior Member

Drill Form Like a Mad (Wo)Man!

*1 minute recovery after each set.


For Time:

100 meter weighted run with 45/25 pound bumper

20 Overhead Walking Lunges (45/25 – OHWL)

20 Burpees to Bumper Swings (45/25 – B2BS)

20 Situp and Press (45/25/ – SUP)

100 meter weighted run


30 B2BS

30 SUP

100 meter weighted run


40 B2BS

40 SUP

*15 Min Time Cap for junior members.

12-12-18 MOVE3 12-18-12 MOVE1 12-18-12 MOVE2 12-18-12 Scores

Snatches Save Souls

Two more souls saved from the pits of despair…

Not bad for their first day of snatching!

Barbell Work



Clean and Jerk


*2-3 Minutes recovery  between each set.  Establish a new 3 rep max for each lift.


Front Squat

Senior Members:  6-6-6-6

*60-65% of 1 RM

*1 min recovery between sets.

Junior Members:  5-5-5

*Establish a five rep max.

*2-3 mins recovery between sets.

12-14-12 MOVE212-14-12 MOVE112-14-12 MOVE4

Dark Spaces, Bright Spots

It’s inevitable.  Slogging through a workout, a terrorist infiltrates your once steely resolve and blows the barricades of confidence to smithereens (always wondered where this word came from.  Some digging shows possible origins in the Gaelic word, smidirini meaning “small pieces”…).  That, ladies and gentlemen, is doubt.  Sometimes he sticks around during the workout just long enough to make you suffer.  Other times, even after the workout is over, he camps out in the recesses of your mind.  It is here where doubt truly beats you up.  You finish the workout and are filled with shame.  Shame for not going faster, for not pressing harder, for not paying attention to form.  Long story short, you feel shame for not being good enough.

Let this be your friendly reminder:  it’s ok to be frustrated with yourself for not doing as well as you would have liked for that day’s lifting.  Each day should be a quest to improve yourself.  That journey is fraught with peril and disappointment.  In the end, however, the payback of realizing a mentally and physically bettered self is well worth the sacrifices.  To help you deal with the many setbacks you might face during your dark days, find one thing that you did well during each day’s training.  In other words, find a bright spot of the workout.  For example, you’ve been struggling with almost everything involved with your split jerk (you dip and fall forward, you press the bar up instead of pushing yourself under, you forget to turn your back foot in on the split, etc).  Well, find one thing that you did better than the last time.  “Gosh, I don’t step quick enough in front of that bar, but at least my dip and drive feels a lot better than the last time I tried it.”  When we reflect on our practice each day, make a part of your training finding one positive thing that happened for you.  Find a bright spot…

A new jerk warmup was introduced today.  I’ve been digging about through some books and the interwebs and have come up with a few drills that seem to be effective at ingraining some of the jerk’s key positions and movement patterns.  Two rounds of the following drills:

5 Push Jerks (Emphasis on learning how to dip, pop, and push under the bar, without the complex foot work involved in the actual split)

5 Jerk Step Throughs (Emphasis on stepping through the bar after the dip and pop.)

5 Jerk Balances (Gets the athlete used to being in his or her catch finish position, with appropriate level of knee bend, etc.)

5 Split Jerks (Puts all the aforementioned drills together.)

After the warmup we did doubles of split jerks at no greater than 65% of 1RM for the senior level athletes.  For the many of the junior level athletes, this was their first time and so emphasis was more on technique as opposed to load.  I have to say that the beginners made INCREDIBLE gains from when they started today’s training.  Speed improved, stepping in front of those bars better.  Good work!

Here’s the great Donny Shankle jerking over 450 pounds!!!  Watch the technique and notice that the bar doesn’t really come up that high, but rather he pushes himself quickly under the bar!

We finished off the day with a nice conditioning piece of 4 rounds for time bookended by pushups.  Congrats to Knick for decimating this workout with a 12:20 finishing time!  “The Chosen One”?  Not quite, but a solid effort nonetheless…

Remember, bright spots…



2 Rounds Split Jerk Warmup

Barbell Mechanics

Split Jerk


*1 – 2 Minutes recovery between sets.

Senior Level Athletes:  No higher than 65% of 1 RM

Junior Level Athletes:  Practice form.  Increase weight only if given ok from coach.


50 Pushups


4 Rounds for Time

400 meter run

20 Jumping Splits

5 Push Jerk (135/95)


50 Pushups

*15 minute time cap!


Advanced:  115/75

Intermediate: 95/55

Beginner:  75/35

L1 – 3 Rounds

L2 – 2 Rounds

12-12-12 MOVE1 12-12-12 MOVE2 12-12-12 MOVE3 12-12-12 MOVE4 12-12-12 MOVE5 12-12-12 Scores


"I'm not so sure why everyone is complaining about this workout," said Christian.

“I’m not so sure why everyone is complaining about this workout,” said Christian.

In all fairness to Mr. Schillig, he’s a bit banged up and had to sit this one out!

We are back, Movement!  Back with a vengeance and a couple of new ideas and hunches that need to be tested out.  We started first and foremost with our warmup.  Weightlifting is all about getting into positions quickly and efficiently.  A new warmup is being tested out which (this is my hope at least) will start resolving some glaring issues that I have seen amongst many the athletes.  I’ll try and get a video up on the blog showing the new warmup.

The session started off with an ass kicking warmup.  (Who knew holding a 45/35 lb bar in Position 3 could have been so painful?!)  We walked through all of the new steps and expectations.  With all new tweaks, expect a bit of frustration.  That is only natural as the body has been trained to move a certain way.  There are some movement patterns that we must now unlearn.  Be patient and start taking your warmups SUPER SERIOUSLY.  Move correctly and your nervous system will start to ingrain those efficient ways of moving.  Move incorrectly and…well, you get the point.

Our warmup took a little longer, but I’d rather spend time on the warmup and fixing technique than throwing the kids to some weights with sh*tty form.  We spent 10 minutes working on a clean/jerk complex that involved a pause above the knee.  The pause at the hang does a couple of things.  One, it forces us to slow down our lifts.  Two,(by extension of the former) it allow us to correct our positions prior to “entering the tunnel” and finishing the lift.  The percentages used for loads were quite light as this week is a deload week.

Keeping in the theme of “deload,” the conditioning portion of today’s session was all about pace and consistency.  Sometimes I feel that as a whole, many of my athletes don’t have a sense of pace when they get after workouts.  The importance of pacing cannot be underestimated.  Go Tasmanian Devil style on the first two rounds of a “Five Rounds for Time” workout, and you’ll be gassed for the later rounds.  Today was not meant to lay you out on your back.  Rather, this was to be challenging just enough to get some nerve stimulation, some sweat going, but in the end keep you fresh for the rest of the week.

It was really crowded today.  A blessing and a curse.  Great to see so many new faces, but it leaves me to be a bit more creative with the programming given out equipment limitations.  Thanks for being patient!

Last Foundations course tomorrow.  See you on Wednesday!


Here’s a video of the old man with some analysis.  Hopefully you can learn something from this!

Barbell Mechanics

10 Minutes

2 Cleans with pause above knee +1 Split Jerk

60-65% of 1 RM Clean

*1-2 minutes recovery between sets.


3 sets of 3 Rounds For Time

4 Front Squats (135/95)


12 KB SDLHP (24/16)

*1 Min recovery between SETS

*Record each set as total time including the minute rest.  For example, set one takes 3:20.  Start at 4:20.  Set two is completed at 7:40.  Rest for one minute, etc.  Focus of workout is to go hard enough where you are straddling red line v. being in control and knowing you could still go harder.

12-10-12 MOVE512-10-12 MOVE412-10-12 MOVE312-10-12 MOVE212-10-12 Scores


Shock to the System

This will wake you up in the morning….

Surprised, weren’t you?  No standalone barbell work today as we were focusing on establishing some bigger numbers on our high bar back squats.  Most of the senior members are coming down from the Hatch Squat Cycle and it is time to see how much more weight they can do.  As for our newer members, it was a chance to get after some weight and set some baseline numbers as we move forward in our training.  Keep track of your best lifts!  Revisit them later and see how much weight you have crushed!

Conditioning was short and sweet focusing on the dreaded thruster and ring dips.

Two shouts outs of the day go to K-nick for scaling up and doing heavy clusters (115#) on this workout and also Christian who despite a bumb knee showed up, scaled out push presses for the thrusters, and gutted out those pesky ring dips.  Well done you two!

No class tomorrow as the next round of Foundations begins!



5-5-5 High Bar Back Squat

Work up towards a new five rep max.

*Minimum two minutes recovery between sets.



Senior Members

Clusters (95/75)

Ring Dips

Junior Members

Thrusters (95/75)

Ring Dips

12-3-12 MOVE412-3-12 MOVE512-3-12 MOVE312-3-12 MOVE112-3-12 MOVE2