Coaches Corner

Women’s Weightlifting

This weekend wrapped up the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships in Houston, TX. It was filled with many successes, PRs, American records, World records, and heartbreaks! As I mentioned in my last post this World Championships is extra important as it determines how many athletes each country will get to send to the Olympics in 2016. One of my favorites moments from the event was Jenny Arthur (see the video above) breaking the American Clean and Jerk record at 130kg for the 75kg weight class.  That’s a 22 year old woman, weighing around 165#, cleaning and jerking 308#, not only breaking the record, but is now the lightest American woman to clean and jerk over 300#!  While Jenny is one of our top female athletes there is no guarantee she’ll get to go to the Olympics.  However, if she does qualify, it will only be the 4th time women world wide have been allowed to compete at the Olympics.  The year 2000 at the Sydney Olympics was the first year women were allowed to compete (Jenny would have been around 6 years old).  With the fast growing popularity of CrossFit and revival of Olympic lifting, this was quite shocking to me! That this sport, rich in history, was so new to women at the Olympics. One of the women we have to thank for paving our way in weightlifting is Karyn Marshall, The USA’s First Overall Women’s World Champion.  Not only was she a pioneer in women’s weightlifting, but is an advocate for women’s equality in all sports.  Read Karyn Marshall – The First Woman to Clean and Jerk 300lbs by OLIFT magazine. Where she talks about her journey getting women’s weightlifting recognized in the US (and beyond).  Also, watch her TEDTalk where she recaps her journey in weightlifting and then into CrossFit! Did you know that CrossFit is one of the few sports that offers the same amount of prize money to both it’s male and female champions?!  CrossFit is not only changing the way people look at their health and fitness, but is also one of the forerunners in equality for men and women in sports! Every time you show up to the gym, you are a part of that forward movement!  And they say it’s just a workout….

Want to get stronger to improve your lifts and your CrossFit workouts?  Check out the BarBell WOD classes Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm.  Get stronger, get better technique, be a better human!  For the latest news on Saturday practices with Meriah at 9am, videos, PRs and more check out the MBS Strength group on Facebook!


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Andrew M. set a clean PR of 280# at the 2015 MBS Turkey challenge, in Broomfield last weekend! He has also added more than 30# to his clean over the last few months. Andrew’s been a regular at the 6:15am Barbell WOD on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Coincidence……?

Want to watch the best in the world lift big weights?  The World Championships are going on right now in Houston, TX.  It’s extra exciting this year because 1. the U.S. is hosting and 2. this is the event that determines how many athletes each country is allowed to send the Olympics (read more here)!  You can watch it live here.  And be sure to add yourself to the MBS Strength group on FaceBook for more weightlifting info,  videos, class times, and more!

*Photo Credit: Samantha Conley

Leg Drive

Check out this video of Matt and Jay. In the video you’ll see them do two lifts, one lift has better technique than the previous one. Can you see the difference in the good lifts and the less proficient ones? In Matt and Jay’s first lifts they shift their weight forward before hitting full extension in the hips resulting them them using their back, kicking the bar out and hopping forward. In their second lifts you’ll see a better leg drive through extension, which allows a better bar bath for them to drop straight down to receive the bar. Check yourself:  The next time you are snatching or cleaning, put your toes on a line.  If at the end of the lift your toes (or more!!) have crossed the line you’ve probably shifted forward too soon.  A possible cue to help,  once you’ve passed the knees, feel your weight shift back (but keep those toes on the ground!), pull your knees under than explode up!

Want more weightlifting? Check out the barbell classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:15am with Meriah or 5:15pm with Rich at the Broomfield location. Also be sure to join the MBS Strength group on Facebook for more videos, and information on all things weightlifting (including information on the next Saturday session with Meriah!).

Do I have to go to the ground?

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From the Floor

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High Hang (Hang)

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Do I have to go to the ground every time? A question often asked when there is a clean or a snatch in a workout. CrossFit and Weightlifting use a lot of language not found in life outside the gym (unless your me, I’ll talk about my snatch anytime, anywhere!), so how are you supposed to know to do what?! While it may seem like your coach is making things up on the fly, the workout will actually tell you! The Snatch and the Clean are the original lifts, and they come from the ground (check out my earlier post on when to squat or not). If we want you to do a different version of the original lift we’ll use the word “hang” to indicate that it doesn’t have to return to the ground each rep. While there are a couple of variations of the hang (seen more often in weightlifting than CrossFit, but can and will be used in both sports) unless otherwise stated, the hang means it will start from anywhere above the knee.  In CrossFit metcons a high hang I find most useful with light weights and trying to go as fast. There is less distance to cover and it allows me to cycle reps quickly, however this can be challenging with a heavier weight.  That is when I like to a hang from the knee because I want/need that momentum from up the thigh.  There you have it! If the workout doesn’t need to come from the ground, it will say hang, otherwise it returns to the floor for each rep!

1st, 2nd and 3rd Pulls

Check out Trudy’s 165# clean PR from the Intro to Olympic Weightlifting Clinic at MBS II in Arvada earlier this month! This was her last lift, and one of her best technique wise as well!

1st, 2nd and 3rd Pulls in the Olympic Lifts

By Coach Meriah

If you break down the clean and snatch it can be segmented or broken into three parts, or pulls.
1st Pull: From the ground to about the knee
2nd Pull: From the knees to the hips (at extension)
3rd Pull: The lifter pulling themselves under the bar

First pull:

From the ground you’ll see that Trudy stars with her shoulders are over the bar (in front) of the bar, her back is flat with her butt above her knees and below her head to the point where her shins almost perpendicular to the floor. As the bar breaks from the ground her chest and hips rise at the same rate, she pushes knees back and she keeps the bar in nice and close (without scraping the skin). The first pull end about the top of the knee where the second pull begins which you can pause it at 0:09.

Second Pull:

At the start of her second pull her shoulders are still over the bar, her feet are flat on the ground, and hamstrings are loaded. As the bar passes her knees the weight in her feet shifts back and she begins to pull her knees under the bar. Driving with her legs, she continues to pull her knees under the bar, her torso then comes to an upright position and her knees are bent. If you took the bar away it should look a lot like she is getting ready to jump! The bar makes a light contact at top of her thigh as she shifts the weight in her feet forward as her hips violently extend (JUMP!). At the 0:10 she is a triple extension (ankles, knees and hips) and the bar now as some oompf so she has a little extra time to jump under the weight aka the third pull.

Third Pull:

This begins as Trudy’s feet hit the ground and she begins to pull herself under the bar. It ends as she meets or receives the bar in the front rack for the squat. If you pause at 0:11 you’ll see bar has hit its maximum height, and you’ll see her pulling her self under to meet the bar. If you look closely she has pulled the bar pretty high, and technically meets the bar in a power position, and rides the bar down in to a full squat. While it is less efficient at this point this is really one of worries. The rest of the lift is good and since that bar is so high tells me that she’s able to get under more weight! At 0:24 you’ll a very unique part of the lift, the victory dance and can vary lifter to lifter.

While hitting the correct body positions during these pulls are crucial for lifting your best weights.
A lift doesn’t have to be “perfect” to make a weight. You can overcome small mistakes by being strong, but good technique will determine if you can lift more, if you can repeat a weight, or if can you repeat it fatigued. It also helps keep you safe! Due to Trudy’s strength and technique she was able to overcome some fatigue (an hour and a half of grueling PVC drills!) for one last lift and this PR! There’s much more to come in her lifting future!

In-House Weightlifting Meet Re-Cap

MBS Weightlifting Meet_10 17 15_4712_edited-1Last Saturday we hosted a in house weightlifting meet. We had about 15 lifters (3 women, 12 men) participate, and a great crowd supporting them. Lifters varied in ages, weights, and experiences, but they overcame their nerves and put on a great show! Competing in the snatch and clean and jerk each lifter gets three attempts at each to lift as much weight as they can. The weight on the bar may stay the same or go up so strategic moves are part of the game!

The ladies went first with the snatch, Doreen (who is training for a marathon!) got the whole show started! Richelle had a heart breaking miss (so close to a make!) with a PR weight, and Anke going for weights all in the triple digits! We took a short intermission before the ladies clean and jerk. With the nerves a little more under control they ladies made some solid attempts with heavy weights. Doreen tying her all time PR and Anke with a clean PR at 190#, unfortunately she missed the jerk. Anke came in first, Richelle second and Doreen third. Another short break before the men’s snatch session began. Jake and Erik lead the way for the men, with an incredible save in the snatch for a good first lift for him! A couple of misses and lots of makes the snatches had the audience oohing and awing. Again we took a short break before the men’s clean and jerk session, this is were things got really fun! The weights kept getting heavier and heavier (our judges and loaders Ben, Amy and Steve G) giving them a workout of their own. Several of the men were very close in weights, judging was tough and couple of close calls definitely made things interesting. Forrest missing his first two attempts, needed to make this third to post a total and stay in the running for placing. With a solid jerk, he made his final weight staying in the game! Matt Fuller’s first attempt was above his closest competitor with his final attempt at 300#! Hitting a heavy bottom in the clean, the crowd roaring for him to stand! He makes the clean and now he must make the jerk. With legs being smoked from the stand up, made the jerk increasingly more challenging and unfortunately just wasn’t there. There was a tie for second place, but due to age being a factor in this meet, Garet was bumped to third and Michael H. taking 2nd and Matt claiming first.

Thank you to all the lifters that came out and lifted and to the judges, and audience for cheering them on! Can’t wait to see you all at the next one!  Also a big thank you to Sam for taking photos, you can see all the meet photos here along with your daily workout pics!

Weight lifting meet FAQs:

Doreen is signed up to compete this weekend!  She is also training for a half marathon the following weekend?

Weight lifting meet FAQs:

What do you do in a weight lifting meet?
At an Olympic weightlifting meet competitors compete in the snatch and clean and jerk. They get three attempts at each to lift as much weight was they can. The lifter is credited with their best successful lifts to post a total. In this meet the total will be entered into a formula with body weight and age to determine a male and female winner.

Do I have weightlifting shoes or singlet?
Not for this meet! Wear clothes and shoes you are most comfortable lifting in.

How strong do I have to be to compete?
At this meet there are no minimum weights required. The athlete will chose weights that are appropriate for their strength and skills.

Do I have to have good technique?
While good technique is helpful and important while weightlifting, all skill level and experiences are welcome to compete.

What if I power my lift (no full squat)?
In the sport on Olympic lifting there is no specific range of motion required to deem a lift successful. Meaning if you catch a snatch or clean in a power, a squat is NOT required to be credited with the lift. Meaning powers, splits and squats are all acceptable movements.

What do the judges do?
Ideally there will be three judged. Left, Right and Center. They are there to determine the lift as a good or no lift. Before the weight determined good or not the athlete must have the lift locked out, overhead, in control with feet in a line before the center judge will give a down signal. Judges will then give a red (no lift) or white (god lift). To get a good lift you only need 2 of the 3 judges for a good lift. Judges will turn down lifts due to missed lifts, press outs (elbow re-bends, or lift if pressed out instead of landing locked out) in the snatch or jerk, or if knees touch the floor, elbows touch the body, or dropping the bar before the down signal.

How do I know when it’s my turn:
The lifters will submit a starting attempt at their weigh ins. This will determine the order that the lifts initially begin. The weight on the bar stays the same or goes up so lightest weights will go first.

How fast do I have to lift?
Once the bar is set to the weight for a lifter, they then get 1 minute to start the lift. One the lift is started (passes about the knee), the lifter then has as much time as they need to to finish the lift. If a lifter is following them self, then they will be given a 2 minute clock.

How long does a meet go for?
That depends on the number of lifters. We’ll be starting the meet with the ladies. They will complete three of their snatch attempts, we’ll take a five minute break and the ladies will start their clean and jerks. The ladies will complete all their clean and jerks before a 5 min break, and then the men’s session will begin. Awards will be given at the end.

There is still time to sign up, lifters, judges, bar loaders are all needed. Please contact Meriah for more information. Or sign up today!

Up Coming Weightlifting Clinic and Meet

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In less than an hour of work Mandy improved her technique

from above to the positions you see below!

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The missing link in so much mainstream fitness programming, from bodybuilding to monostructural endeavors, is the neuromuscular piece—in particular, the development of coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. We can sum these elements up as “technique.” Omitting them from one’s training necessarily results in only partial fitness, partial expression of one’s genetic potential, and a decreased threshold of maximal capacity. To increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains (the goal of CrossFit), technique is the crucial connection—whether your goal is to win the game, protect your life, complete the mission, or just be fit for the demands of everyday life at any age.”
—Greg Glassman, founder or CrossFit, Inc.

Technique, according to the founder of CrossFit is something that cannot be ignored when it comes to improving your fitness, and the demands of your life whatever they may be. Come and improve your Olympic weightlifting technique this Saturday from 9-11am at MBS II (Arvada). We’ll be reviewing both the snatch and clean & jerk.  We’ll send the majority of class reviewing positions with PVC and a some time at the end to practice technique with a barbell.  Check out more details and to RSVP go here.

Also, we are hosting a super fun in-house weightlifting meet in a couple weeks on Saturday, October 17th at MBS in Broomfield. This is a great way to practice your Oly lifts and potentially get a PR! Sign ups are at front desks.Please, if you are on the fence or have questions, shoot me a quick email and I’ll let you know if it would be right for you.  I’m also in need of volunteers for this event as well!   Check out the FaceBook event for more information and updates!

Intro to Olympic Lifting


Remember to sign up for the MBS in-house fall weightlifting meet Saturday, Oct. 17th from 9-12pm! Lifters of all skill and experience levels are welcome and encouraged to participate! While some of you are excited by this some might started to sweat under the arms a bit. Don’t worry we’ve got just the event for you! Saturday, October 10th from 9 to 11 at MBSII, I (coach Meriah) will be hosting a two hour clinic focused on the snatch, clean, and jerk (split). We’ll be spending a large amount of time reviewing the three positions of the snatch and clean with a PVC before we move onto the jerk. Depending on the the class progresses I hope to leave 20-30min to apply your new skills to a light barbell. This clinic is great for the beginner lifter who is still learning the lifts and techniques. Along with the more experienced athlete to go back to basics and improve their technique.

Why should you improve your weightlifting technique? The Olympic lifts are more on the technical side of of CrossFit. In regular classes you’ll see them in all forms, sometimes heavy sometimes light! Improving your technique will help you move more efficiently in workouts and help improve your workout times with both light and heavy weights. Not to mention it’s super fun! Even if you never love weightlifting like I do, hitting a good lift is a lot more enjoyable than less skillful lift!

All lifters are welcome to both events, I hope to see you there! If you have any questions about these events or about weightlifting please send them my way at

MBS in house weightlifting meet!


Darrel C. hit this nice split jerk right in front of the MBS logo at MBS CrossFit II Arvada Coincidence? 🙂

Want more weightlifting?  Come join us Saturday, Oct 17th for in house Olympic weightlifting meet!

This informal meet will be for MBS members, friends and family! This will be a fun and informal meet, USAW membership, singlet and weightlifting shoes are not required. All skill levels and experiences are welcomed and encouraged!

What will you do at a weightlifting meet?
Each lifter gets 3 attempts at both the snatch and clean & jerk to lift as much weight as they are able!

$20 to register and prizes to be awarded!  Volunteers (judges, loaders, and more) will also be needed as well.

Come join your fellow athletes, compete and have some fun!

Please contact for more information and join our MBS Strength Group on Facebook for more weightlifting information.