Coaches Corner

Snatch Clinic!

WOD_01 16 16_3407_edited-1Stacey is ready for the open!  Are you?
Photo Credit: Samantha Conley

The snatch… you either love it or you hate it. It’s one of the most complicated movements in CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting, requiring strength, power, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy, all for just for one lift! If you’re looking to complete a workout like Isabel (30 snatches for time) you’re going to also be incorporate some by cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. I don’t know if you counted that is almost all of the 10 general physical fitness skills! Which makes it almost a guarantee to show up in the open! That and the fact that the snatch been in the open EVERY year in some way shape or form as well. Some years were light and some years got heavy! Are you prepared?!

Join me (coach Meriah) at 9am on Saturday, January 30th for a SNATCH clinic, at our Arvada location. We’ll spend the hour reviewing techniques that you may need in the open. For example tips on how to cycle light weights, how to cycle weights closer to your max, or how to hit a heavy single and how those techniques will differ. Cost will be $20 for the session. Contact to reserve your spot, as there will be limited space available! Let’s work on getting you your best scores for the 2016 Open!

Want more weightlifting join Coach Meriah Saturday’s at 9am at our Broomfield location and work on your Olympic lifts!  Also check out our MBS Strength page on Facebook for the latest class updates, videos and more!

The Blocks

You’ve see them in the weightlifting room, and maybe you you have even used them. You know, to sit on in between lifts, to put your shoes on or hold your shoe tripod.  But actually they serve a purpose more than just to hold the shoe tripod. What am I talking about, the blocks! The blocks can be be used for both clean and snatch exercises. While they can be a bit intimidating, and cumbersome to move, but can be a great tool in your weightlifting arsenal.

Why do the lifts from the blocks? They are a great addition to your training routine. Because they come from a complete stop and above the knee there is less time for the bar to accelerate. This exercise helps develop speed, and rate of force. Also it is less taxing on a lifters legs and back since you’re not pulling from the floor. They can be set to pull from below the knee and above.

In this set up Steve is demonstrating a clean from the blocks just above the knee (give or take 1-2″ is totally acceptable). The execution should be just like your lift from the floor. However, since it’s coming from the block the athlete will feel a shift in weight further in the foot back prior to the bar being lifted off the block.

Check points: Feet are set right underneath you in your power or “jump” stance. Next you’ll see Steve’s shins are almost perpendicular to the floor and if we saw a front view you’d see them pushed out towards his arms. His butt is above his knees, and below his shoulders, arms are relatively straight (not locked), back is flat, lats squeezed and eyes forward. A great way to double check yourself if to record yourself (remember my earlier post?)! When you watch your videos a way to check yourself for a proper set up, is to see if your shoulders are over the top to slightly in front of the bar. Too far forward the butt will be too high (above the head and/or uncomfortable tension in the hamstrings), and too far back will feel a burn or tension in the quads, and the butt will be dropped too low.

When learning the block clean another great place to start are with some block pulls to ensure you’re hitting the right positions before you start cleaning. Start with light weights, and set of 2-5 reps for either exercise.

Want more weightlifting? Our Broomfield location has barbell classes Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm. And remember weightlifting practice Saturday’s at 9am also at the hangar. Don’t worry we’re bringing more weightlifting to our second location in Arvada. Saturday, January 30th at 9 am I will be a snatch clinic! More details to come so mark your calendar and make sure to join our MBS Strength group on FaceBook for weighting videos, PRs, competitions, articles and more!

by Coach Meriah

Working that midline

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I caught this video on my youtube feed and was happy to see it. Coach sums it up nicely:

We already open (extend) our hips forcefully a ton – deadlifts, cleans and snatches, ball slams, kb swings, and box jumps. But, how often do we close (flex) our hip joint??

L-sits and GHD situps coach says. Do them more!

You could take less out of your lifting, and work that midline more.

PS – Get inverted on your hands more often too! 🙂

Why I Love Setting Goals in the New Year


Why I Love Setting Goals in the New Year


Ok, I’m going to try and keep this one short…

I love the New Years. I love it because it IS a fresh start. I get to get a new sheet of paper, collect my thoughts, and start over…FRESH.

I watched Payton as she quickly grabbed a new sheet of paper after the old one was “finished”. Finished is sort of a loose word for what was on the old sheet. It was a bunch of lines, some circles, and a few letters tossed in….But, it was finished, and off she went onto the next blank sheet.

The lesson I learn from Payton as she works on her art, is that kids don’t see failure the same way we do, and they are quick to start over if needed.

First, Payton doesn’t see her lines and scribbles of absolutely nothing, as failure. To her, it’s just her creating…Doing…Trying…Nothing more, nothing less. If she goes out to draw a circus, and draws only one small line in the middle of the page, “it’s a circus.” Never mind, the circus tent, the circus monkeys, the lions, the lion tamer, etc, etc. The single line that she drew is “her circus.” Why the hell not??

As adults, we have formed our thoughts of what success is and what it’s not. A lot of times, it’s probably formed from what we think others will think of it. For instance, if it creates money, it is likely a success. Or, if it gets you ahead, it was likely a success. On the other hand, if it doesn’t create money, or doesn’t get you ahead, it’s a failure…a waste of time. But, why is that?

Why should we be so worried about what other people think? Can’t we just do things because they are enjoyable in themselves? Can’t we create and do things that miss the target and not feel condemned for doing so? Personally, I think so. But, I think we need to practice to break away the conditioning that we have built up around seeing things as failures, when they are actually us just creating, doing, trying.

Second, Payton is constantly living in the moment. She has no time for sitting to the side, listing the pro’s and con’s, and making a list of reasons for why she should, or should not do something. Nor, does she take too much time to worry if a past effort didn’t go as expected. If she wants to put on a dance show, she puts on a dance show. If she wants to draw a castle and princess, she does it. And, if she runs out of white space on the paper unexpectedly, she immediately grabs a new piece of paper and starts over.

We could definitely learn something from our kids here. While, there are definitely some pro’s and con’s to knowing how to plan and prepare for actions, there is something to be said for taking action immediately, and changing plans quickly if necessary.

In summary, I think the New Year is a great time to clean the plate and start everything over fresh. Everything that happened in 2015 was in 2015. Regardless of what happened in 2015, 2016 is a brand new year…if you allow it to be. I encourage you to start the year fresh by stating some goals, putting them down on paper, and going after them. Who cares if you don’t succeed!!!! It’s not actually about succeeding or failing anyway. It’s about creating…Doing…and trying.

Get out there and get after it MBS. I believe in you!


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1,000 Reps

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Sometimes a coach will give you a cue, and it just clicks. Kinda like Andrew in the video; cue given, it’s executed properly, minds are blown and we’ve laid the foundation for a new habit. This was the day Andrew learned to keep his eyes set on a target throughout the lift. Those little orange targets across from the platforms aren’t just there for a stylish hunting lodge feel (but they really do add a nice ambiance don’t they) they are their for you to spot. Sometimes a new cue or habit is an easy on to pick up, implement and see immediate benefits and PRs. However it still take an almost numerable amount of reps for it to become your default or your habit. Meaning you don’t have to think about it, it’s a part of your movement pattern. Check out this article from Matt Foreman, “The 1,000 rep problem: Weightlifting Technique“. It has great advice for any day of the year, but with the open coming up it really has some great food for thought to help you fine tune and focus your training. This way you’re ready to rock when they announce the 2016 Open Workouts!

My top take aways are:
1. Do it, then repeat until you forget you’re working on it. These good reps won’t be consecutive, so get ready to put some work in.
2. Focus more on getting it right, not necessarily “perfect.”
3. There weightlifting training technique and there is CrossFit workout technique. Being dominant in one, might be holding your back from the other. (I say learn when and why to use each of them)
4.Be patient (and enjoy the process! Again, that’s my advice.), because it’s going to take some time to make your changes permanent

Weightlifting is a tough sport, but keep working and you’ll have your own ‘ah-ha’ moment like Andrew! Hopefully I’ll be there with my camera for the record books!

Want more weightlifting? There will be a snatch clinic coming up later this month, and a clean and jerk clinic coming up early February. Watch this blog and check out our MBS strength page for MBS members, for upcoming events, videos and more! And remember Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm are our strength classes/barbell WODs at our Broomfield location.

by Coach Meriah

MBS Lifting All the Weights

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While this video doesn’t feature all the lifting that has gone in this year, because we’ve moved A LOT of weight in Broomfield and Arvada in 2015! It does highlight some great lifts and PRs, along with some of the learning from misses and over comings. Not to mention a lot of fun, laughing and superior coaching cues from yours truly. Thank you for all the great lifting and fun in classes (weightlifting and CrossFit!)! If you can’t tell already, I LOVE weightlifting and I can’t wait to continue to share my passion with you in 2016!

Kim’s Pullups

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Usually I shamelessly plug weightlifting and the weightlifting classes Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:15am and 5:15pm at our Broomfeild location, but I thought I’d take a detour on this post. Kim is one of our hardworking athletes at MBS II, in Arvada.  While Kim has the strength for pullups, she was having trouble linking her kips. In the first video you’ll see her go into her superman, and as she begins to go to what should be a hollow, she swings her feet forward.  This has her momentum barreling forward, but not up.  When Kim is at the top of the pullup you’ll see her legs and feet way out front, and it looks like they are puling her forward.  In the second video I gave Kim the cue to tighten up her hollow position a bit squeeze her legs together more. Now instead of her hips and feet swinging like a pendulum pulling her forward,when she goes from superman to hollow it shoots her up!  At the top her feet are no longer so far out front (and pulling her forward), and her hollow is more in tact. This made getting to the top easier and also allows her to have better control to push herself down and into her kip. In the first video she can barely link the two, and the third is pretty rough.  In the next you can see how much more fluid and easy they look compared to the first.  We made these adjustments on the fly in a workout and she did really well!  As Kim continues to get stronger and more confident with the movement and positions, we’ll be able to make more technique adjustments!  Soon she’ll be able to pump out more reps, more safely and efficiently!  Go Kim!

CrossFit, weightlifting, gymnastics and really all sports or movement, learning the basics is the easy part. Often it is learning to do the movement better that proves more challenging than learning how to do the movement for the first time. It may be frustrating to work on right now, but it’s those little adjustments that take your movement from ok to good, and good to great!  Keep at it, it will pay off!

Get hooked

What is this hook grip thing, and when and why should you use it?

The hook grip, is a specific way to grip the bar where wrap your thumb around the bar, and then grasp your thumb and the bar with the next two fingers by placing your next two fingers on top of your thumb. Then other two fingers fall in place on the bar. This grip much stronger than a regular grip and is best used in pulling movements like the snatch & clean. This grip will help you hold onto heavier weights, especially when you accelerate for the second pull (see my earlier posts on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Pulls).

If and when do you you release the hook? In the snatch, I’ve had coaches really harp on me for not releasing, and some coaches that did not care one way or the other (as long as I lifted big!). In my personal opinion I have the wrist mobility to get proper turn over and not worry about timing the release. However, there are many people that are not as bendy and would have a better (snappier) turnover that the top of their lift by releasing the hook. In the clean, I do both, but under different circumstances. If I am doing CrossFit metcon with power cleans (no squat), which is usually a lower weight, higher reps, and for speed, I won’t release as I receive it on my collar bones. Again I’m fortunate to be pretty mobile in my joints, which allows me to do this comfortably and quickly as needed in CrossFit. However, metcons with a squat (even with light weight) and always weightlifting training, with heavy weights, power or squat, I will always release to ensure my elbows whip around as high and as fast as possible (lightweights need to be fast but not always as high for me).

Small hands (and smell like cabbage -leave the circus)? While you are going to have to keep at it, don’t give up on the hook. It’ll take time and maybe require some stretching. Check out this Catalyst athletics article on some tips on how to stretch your grip (and they get photo credit too). One coach said it takes 2 weeks to adjust, however that was a weightlifting coach, where athletes were on the bar 5 days+ a week.  As CrossFitters that may take a bit longer due to the variety of workouts. Yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable to start, but if you use it regularly you will adjust and it become more natural. My advice; while you do want to have a strong grip on the bar, you don’t have to squeeze the heck out of your thumb!  I also use tape to cover thumbs to help with some of the skin pain. You’ll know you’re getting hang of it when you hook grip your purse, as you run, and/or when you make awkward first date conversation (OK- those where my experiences, yours maybe slightly different).

Want more weightlifting?  Remember there are weightlifting specific classes at our Broomfield location, Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm.  And be sure to add yourself to our MBS Strength Group on FaceBook!

By Coach Meriah

Barbell WOD Explained- Who and What

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You’ve probably heard me shamelessly plug the Tuesday & Thursday Barbell WOD classes at 6:15am and 5:15pm at our Broomfield location. A common question I get about class is people wondering how/when they are ready to come to these classes and what do we do in class? While the barbell movements (snatch and clean, jerk) are ‘more advanced’ movements, you don’t have to be an advanced athlete to attend. These classes are less structured as far as your coach doesn’t necessary lead a group warm, and/or lead you through the workout. You’ll need to be able come in get yourself warmed up and start working and moving. You aren’t expected to know all the terms exactly as they are written, your coach will help you and will help you modify if needed based on your skill level.  Knowing that the clean is ground to shoulder and the snatch is ground to overhead, and you have to do “THIS” (awkwardly demo the movement) to get the bar there is what is most what is needed.  Decent mobility is a plus, but not a deal breaker. My best advice is to come and check your ego at the door.  Be ready for feedback from your coach and be able to step back in weights if needed to do the movements better.

So what do we do in class?  Currently we follow the Barbell WOD from Dave Spitz of California Strength. This program is a 3 day a week program to help improve lifting among CrossFitters. It’s also designed for you to move quickly through a session. Barbell WODs have different focuses for each mesocycle, and have built in weight increases over the 4 week cycles. Here is what Dave has to say about this cycle:

Welcome to the start of the Realization Phase beginning with Heavy Holidays! That basically means that it’s time to prepare and practice potential Barbell work that might appear in the CF Open. This cycle features some high intensity snatch waves and for the first time in our 2015 Macrocycle* we have some Barbell cycling work. This Cycle has substantially less strength volume than we’ve seen in some of the previous workouts but the movements are programmed at higher intensities. This should be a fun four weeks! Your body shouldn’t feel too beat up so it should give you an opportunity to attack these workouts!

*Macrocycle- explained in this Juggernaut article here.


Again I hope to see you at the hangar Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm! If you can’t make those times be sure to join our MBS Strength Page on Facebook. There is a tone of great weightlifting information, videos, and updates on Saturday sessions. FYI: I’ll see you this Saturday at 9am for some weightlifting practice!

By Coach Meriah

PB WOD analysis

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Hey guys, saw some great action on the row, hspu, t2b, du WOD today. I crept up on some of you and took video while you were working out! 🙂


PS – Don’t forget we are having our Holiday party on Friday, December 18th. It will be at the hangar in Broomfield. Arvada folks, please come join us! Let’s celebrate the holidays in CrossFit fashion. Details of the party are still to be announced, but I’m sure you won’t want to miss it!