Coaches Corner

MBS in house weightlifting meet!

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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 meriah@mbscrossfit.com for more information and join our MBS Strength Group on Facebook for more weightlifting information.

Lifting solo use video!

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You may have heard me say, if you want to get better at weightlifting you have to lift! While coming to class and working with a coach are the most beneficial, we understand that isn’t always an option. Practice is practice and working on your own is better than no practice at all! A useful tool to help you in your training is to video yourself lifting. I know a couple of you just threw up in your mouths a bit, but it is a very simple and useful way to improve your technique. Aside from seeing how good you look from all angles, a simple side shot will show you a lot about your lift. You don’t have to know everything about weightlifting to make corrections. While it is easy to pick apart every lift here a few obvious things you can start to look for, and are often the base root of many technique flaws.

1. Are you in a good starting position?

Starting positions can vary a bit from person to person and can evolve as you do but a couple of easy things to spot. Feet in a jumping stance, back tight and shoulders over the bar. If you do this your hips should be lower than your shoulders, and above the knees,

2. Do your hips and chest rise at the same rate?

Notice your hips shoot and your big cheeks end up (pun intended) higher than your lil cheeks, before the bar break from the floor? Check your start stance, and make sure you are tight and squeezing the bar to maintain good position off the floor. Chest and hips rise at the same rate.

3. Are you keeping it close?

Once the bar comes off the floor it should trace up the shins, over the thighs, up your belly, just clearing your face until you receive the bar overhead. If you’re seeing lots of space between you and your beloved barbell you need to work on how to keep it close. Learning to engage your lats can help with this, along with And because it was close off the floor and over the thighs, doesn’t guarantee you’ve learned to keep it close the rest of

4. Are you making contact and where?

The barbell should lightly brush off the hips, right in the lap (avoiding delicate areas I hope!) and/or the top of the thighs, and you should be able to feel this. However seeing it helps you connect where and if/how to correct it. The snatch is the easiest to correct if pulling early (hitting too low in the thighs), sometimes it’s a matter of patience, sometimes its’ more complicated.

Don’t worry about fixing everything at once. Start with what was most obvious to you and work on that to start. Trying to fix too many things at once can lead to overthinking, frustration and even paralysis by analysis.  Pick one and move on once corrected. Check out the video above for a little practice. The slow motion option is great in helping you break down your lifts and give you chance to see what’s really happening. You can also share it to the MBS strength group on FaceBook and ask for feedback from your coaches and peers. If you’re not comfortable sharing there ask a coach if they can look at it. We can help break it down and give you some tips on how to make corrections.

Remember you don’t have to know it all to get better! Practice makes progress  and  seeing yourself lifting can help you connect how the lift looks vs how it feels. Also try to make a class when you can.  Remember we’ve expanded the Barbell WOD classes into Tuesdays and Thursdays 6am-7am with coach Meriah (no regular CF class at that time). And remember Saturday practices are now at 9am in the weight room!

New to weightlifting and don’t know where to start? Join me Saturday, Sept 26th from 9-11am for a intro to weightlifting class at the Hangar. We spend a glorious two hours with a PVC going over the basics of the movements. This is great for new lifters, those that have just graduated from CF1, and those that want a refresher. Message me (meriah@mbscrossfit.com) to RSVP or for more information!

The Power vs The Full

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Full!

Full!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Often in programming you’ll often see power snatches or power cleans, sometimes you’ll see squat (aka full) snatch or squat clean, and sometimes you just see just snatch or clean. Here a few things you should know about decoding CrossFit and Weightlifting lingo!

To power a snatch or clean, is most often described as receiving the weight at or above 90 degrees (angle of hip crease to the knee).  Picture on the left shows a power clean, and so does picture two as the crease of her hip is not below the knee.

A full (or squat) snatch or clean is when your hip crease drops below 90 degrees to receive the weight.  Picture three has Melissa demonstrating a full squat, below 90 degrees.

CrossFit workouts will typically discern if they want you to power or squat. However when left unspecified it’s up to the coach (or athlete) to decide if a power or squat will be best to get the desired stimulus (intensity) of the workout.  In weightlifting the squat is generally assumed or implied (since it’s the best for moving large loads) so it’s thought that saying squat clean or squat snatch is redundant.

Why would you want to power?
Power lifts are often used to produce more force in your pull, but also to teach speed under the bar. Technically you have less time to get under since you aren’t hitting full depth, so you have to be fast! (Remember you can drop as low as 90 degrees!). In CrossFit workouts you can cycle through reps faster and you will fatigue differently than you would cycling squats at the same weight.  Standing up from a full squats take more time than a power, and change a workout’s intensity but learning to pull yourself under a weight can also help you be more efficient when a workout calls for a weight closer to your 1 rep max.
Note: If you feel slow (or are slow) under the bar, or get sore biceps after a bunch of cleans, you might be doing a ‘muscled’ version of the lift. If you often catch your snatch with your eyes closed and reopen them after you lockout over head, it’s probably a muscled version of the lift. As it is quite hard to successfully complete a power snatch (or full) with your eyes closed and not lose your balance.  Also a muscle snatch/clean and muscling snatch/clean can also mean two different things, but that’s a whole other blog post!)

Why would you want to squat?
Physics baby! Force x Distance = Work! If you execute the full lift correctly you really pull the bar about waist high. Making it far less work than pulling the same weight up to your chest, neck, eyeballs, or above. Therefor you can move more weight if you learn to pull yourself under the bar into a good squat! Which is useful when going for a maximum load and is what is used most in the sport of weightlifting and max effort days at CrossFit (like today!).
Fun fact: While in the sport of weightlifting the squat is implied, it is NOT required in competition and ALWAYS compete in the just snatch and clean & jerk. CrossFit competitions are all different, a squat may or may not be required, allowed, or even called for!  It depends on what the competition director calls for in that specific competition.

Why is it often ‘easier’ to power than squat?
This could be due to a couple of reasons. It’s completely natural for your brain to freak out when you ask it to drop under a weight, especially a heavy one!  It could be argued that you are not confident in the bottom of your squat and/or under load, and it could also mean it’s not your habit to drop under the bar. Another reason for not dropping, is that you may have too much or too long of a pull, especially with your arms. If you’re still pulling up on the bar it’s hard for the rest of the body to change direction to drop. There are a handful of drills that can help build your confidence (and make new habits!), along with the full lifts (practice!). All these can reassure your brain that you can safely get under a weight, and will eventually allow you to pull or drop into a full squat.  You may have to use lighter weights to start, and it can be a bit frustrating, but don’t give up! If you wait for heavier weights to force you to drop under, it won’t be your habit and you may miss a perfectly doable weight! Make it your habit to drop, so when the time comes for you big lift you’re ready! That PR bell was made to ring, don’t deny it its destiny!

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Where did the time go?! We are nearing the end of our Front Squat, Pullup, Jerk focus and it’s time to retest, and though we’ve just started testing, many of you have already PR’d, congrats!  Because we have been building towards PRs, I didn’t want to give you only one shot, one workout or one way to so, but several chances! As you might have noticed we’ve started repeating workouts from earlier this year, and you can expect a few more over the next two weeks. There are still many chances to PR to come!

This was a our first time trying a focus like this in programming.  While we hope you had fun, we also hope that you saw positive changes! I know as the programmer I learned a lot, I am excited to take those learnings and apply them to the next cycle!

To help you make the most our of the rest of focus, here are a couple of spoiler alerts for the next two weeks to help you make sure you can get in an retest in some way shape or form.

Friday: 3 rep max split jerk
Saturday: Partner or Hero
Monday: limited classes for holiday, expect Hero or partner workout
Tuesday: Baseline and Goat work. (Goats are things you are baaaaaad at. Ok, lame goat jokes aside goats are just weak links and this is your chance to come in an work specifically on ONE.
Wednesday: Max Effort Clean and Jerk
Thursday: MBS Mile and other short max tests
Friday: Max Effort Front Squat and WOD repeat from early June
Tuesday: BENCHmark Girl….hmmm which one?

What’s next?
The next focus will have decided to focus on 2 specific things instead of 3 to help keep variety and more accessory movements etc. Ultimately our goal to make you better humans, stronger, hard to kill, more useful in general type of people. Going back to some basics and see how the less basic movements improve along the way.

Here is what the next 2+ months have in store for you!
Focus 1: Bench Press
What you’ll see: You’ll see the Bench or some variation each week. Along with complimentary movements like pushups, dips, planks and more.

Focus 2: Deadlift
What you’ll see: The deadlifts and it’s variations deficit, sumo, fat bar, back squats to name a few. Not to mention work with rows, good mornings, and more.

With the weightlifting movements you will start out seeing lighter weights, and once again prioritizing good movement before load. Going heavy isn’t going to happen for some time so take this time to back off and work on those adjustments need to make us better in November (or sooner!).

Class flow will be about the same. Daily programmed warm ups, 10 minutes of stretching at the end, etc. Saturdays will continue to be longer, sweaty, and/or partner workouts. The rest of the week will have mixes of short and long metcons, along with strength focused workouts.

Again we hope you saw improvements in you Front Squats, Jerks and Pullups over the last 2 months. We are excited to keep the momentum as we roll into the next cycle!

Please message me if you have any questions, and lets get training!

Weightlifting Wednesday

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Weightlifting Wednesday: Making the Olympic Team
By: Coach Meriah

It’s not as easy getting to the Olympics as some would think. It’s more than being good, it’s more than winning your weight class. There are several steps required for an athlete to make a spot, and it requires more than being the best. This year’s National championship is one of the biggest events to date and with more and more talented athletes. This year is extra important as it is the last chance to qualify for the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) World Championships. Because 2016 is an Olympic year this world championships will be determining spots available to send men and women to the Olympics. How many will we send in weightlifting? Well that depends, the most any country can send is 6 men and 4 women, and the number is determined by the country’s rankings at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. After the 2014 event our women are currently sitting in 14th while our men are 23rd. Putting us in position to send 3 men and 3 women to the 2016 Olympics, however this number can change based on how they do at the 2015 World Championships later this year and is still anyone’s ball game, so to speak. So we could be sending anywhere from 0-6 men and 0-4 women at most. However there are 8 weight classes for men and 7 for women, so even if we were allotted maximum slots how do we pick the best from the best to go. This is why selecting a team to go Worlds (for a chance at the Olympics) is focused not solely on individual achievement but on the USAW’s forecasted ability for lifters to PLACE and SCORE points. So even if you are one of the best in the country that doesn’t mean you’ll be selected for a world team, and without making the world team there is not chance at the Olympics. Due to this selection system it is often complained that we end up sending lifters in weaker weight classes.  It’s a complicated process on getting our best lifters to the Olympics and this weekend is crucial in determining who gets a spot to determine who gets a spot!  To read more about the exact process of how to get the Olympics in weightlifting check out the full article from The Weightlifting Mindset.

Image Credit: Rio 2016 Olympic Logo from Clipart.me

Weightlifting Wednesday – Morghan King

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Weightlifting Wednesday – Meet Morghan King
by coach Meriah

As CrossFit and weightlifting grow, amazing athletes are coming out of the wood works! The CrossFit games have just ended and we now know the fittest in the world!  With Senior Nationals in a few weeks I’d like to introduce you to some of the best in the sport of weightlifting! Starting with Morghan King.

Morghan King is 29 years old, 5’0 and most days weighs in around 109#.  When competing she’ll weigh in at either the 48kg or 53kg.(under 105#, under 113#).  She is one of the newest to the sport of weightlifting compared other world team members, and like me got her start via CrossFit!  She started competing nationally in weightlifting around 2012, in 2013 won the 48kg weight class and a spot on the world team!  I distinctly remember watching her on the platform getting ready to lift thinking, “Wow, that’s a very small, aggressive little lifter!”  My style is to be a bit more stoic on the platform, but not Morghan.  She was going for big weights and the title, she was going big weights, and she was fired up (you can see that energy in the video above!)! Since then Morghan has represented the United States in several international meets and is the 2014 53kg National Champion. Her best lifts in competition are a 79kg snatch (174#) and 96kg (211#) but in training has done as much a 83kg & 100kg.  Did I mention she weighs in just over 105#?

Morghan most recently competed at the Pan American Games in Toronto earlier this month and hit a 79kg snatch, for 48kg Pan Am record, and 96 clean and jerk! Next she will be competing as a 53kg lifter in at Senior Nationals in Dallas. Last year we saw her clean and just barely miss the jerk at 100kg, perhaps she’ll get to do that and more this year!  Since specificly focusing on Olympic weightlifting Morghan has dedicated her life and training to the sport.   She moved from Seattle to South Carolina to train with Muscle Driver team, and has recently moved to Colorado Springs to train at Olympic Training Center.  Morghan is immensely talented and a force to be reckoned with. She is still relatively new to the sport and it will be very exciting to see what she can do in the future!

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The Perfect Week Re-Cap

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Community!

If you are reading this it means you survived The Perfect Week at MBS CrossFit! Five days of five different benchmark girls:  Elizabeth, Eva, Kelly, Isabel and Fran. One just as feisty as the next! Some of the girls you may have met for the first time, while some of you got reacquainted for the second and third time (or more!).  It was a crazy week and a tough one to boot!  Here are some things I loved seeing during “The Perfect Week”.

PRs
Some PRs were because you hadn’t done them before, but many of you hadn’t seen them in months or even years! It’s always fun to your hard work pay off!

COMMUNITY
Friday’s lunch class at the hanger had something like 36 people in it! After a challenging week, in one class alone over 36 people showed up for one of the most loved to be hated workouts in CrossFit! Not only that, but a community that rallied together to support their fellow classmates through perhaps the most intense 3-10 minutes of their workout life! Cheering them on to get every rep done! Misery loves company in the most amazing way when it comes to CrossFit!

ENERGY
You were fired up all week long! Excited or nervous for the workout, curious what was next. The gym, social media, and social gatherings (in and out of the gym) were a-buzz about the week. My FaceBook account was on fire thanks to you guys! This was a tough week physically and mentally, and you guys brought energy and excited everyday!

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED
For many people it was the first time they did 5 days in a row of CrossFit! And topped it with 5 days of benchmarks! You got up and worked out even when you really (really, really) wanted to take a rest day. While I am a big supporter of rest days, pushing your comfort levels and trying something different on occasion can be quite the learning experience. Also, many of you went Rx’d for the first time on some workouts. As I mentioned before these really put your fitness to the test Rx’d or not, way to challenge yourself!

PEOPLE WILL DO ANYTHING FOR A T-SHIRT
And some of you even less than that!

In all seriousness last week was so much fun to coach. Thank you for making it an awesome week of energy and intensity! I’ve already got ideas for next year!

-Coach Meriah

PS. Shirts are looking to be delivered on the 23rd

Changes to programming!

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By Coach Meriah

What’s in a name, that which we call a WOD? By any other name would it still make thee sweat?

Ok, programming might not be on the same level as Shakespeare, but it is definitely an art! As you may have heard or experienced by now, I have taken over programming! Yes, that’s right you are all at my mercy! I take bribes in the form of cash, expensive jewelry, gourmet coffees, food and more!  I used to program back in my Montana days and am very excited to do it again for MBS!   At our recent coaches’ meetings we’ve been talking a lot about our goals. Goals as a gym, goals as a coach, goals as athletes. Among the group a couple of themes that keep popping up, to keep improving ie. be better humans, and to change people’s lives, and I actually think about that a lot as I program. While I like to make jokes that workouts are to punish you, the opposite is actually true. Pat and I have been working to come up with plan to keep you improving, make you a better human and keep changing lives for the better! Keep reading to see that what means for you!

Structure, Standard and Stretching:
You’ve probably already noticed a few of these in classes already. Lots of class interaction, new standardized warm ups, and time to cool down and stretch post workout! Pat and I both could write another 2 paged blog post on the benefits of stretching and cooling down post workout, but we’ll spare you the details for now. In the mean time take this time to stretch it is truly good for you! Your coaches will help guide you to what specific movements, and stay tuned for more sandwich board stretches!

Level Programming:
You’ll also see more specific details for the Levels and modifications to help get you the desired stimulus from the workout.
L3: Rx’d is for the experienced athlete. They do the workouts Rx’d and in the designated time period. Performance focused
L2: Is for the athlete that can do some workouts as Rx’d but often have to scale back reps or lighten the load to keep up. Can be performance or fitness focused.
L1: Is for those still working on building a base level of fitness and confidence with the movements. Fitness focused.

10 Week Cycle:
Now onto the really fun news! In addition to our normal metcons, we are excited to announce that we’ll be spending the next 10 weeks to focus on three specific movements and their outcomes. CrossFit is known for being constantly varied, but it is also important to practice. Our goal with these 10 weeks was to help better guide you to be able to modify or focus your workouts and make progress. It also gives us coaches the ability to help you get the most out of your workout. We see this as an opportunity to get you more consistent focus on specific movements that will lead to changing lives and being better humans!

What do you need to do? Show up and keep working! We’ll be dedicating at least 3 of the 5 days in the next 10 weeks to focus on improving three specific movements. The movements will rotate days throughout the cycle and the movements will fall on varying days each week. We will not be following a specific training cycle. Meaning if you miss front squats the week prior you won’t fall behind on your percentages the next week. There will be variety of movements and rep schemes offered during the 10 weeks and there will be a chance to test/max at the end.  Read below to see what you can expect over the next couple of weeks.

Training Cycle Dates: July 6th – September 4th

Cycle Movement Focuses:
Front Squats
Strict Pullups
Jerks

Cycle Goals:
Proper positions and strength in the font squat
Improving upper body pulling strength
Improve of technique and speed under the bar

Monday-Friday:
A rotating schedule of front squats, strict pullups or jerks. The focus will be posted with the workout.

Saturdays:
Workouts will continue to be on the longer side, Heros, or team/partner workouts.

Sundays:
Gymnastics!

Test Week: September 7th-11th

After we finish testing and celebrating PRs and learnings, the new cycle will start the following week. We’ll be announcing the new focuses and cycle dates then.

We are pretty excited to see what happens and we hope you guys are too!  Here’s to being better humans, and changing our lives!  If you have any questions shoot me a line at meriah@mbscrossfit.com.  Happy training!

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

 

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In the world of CrossFit it seems that we train today for tomorrow’s workout. We are always trying to get stronger, faster, and fitter to get one step closer to that next goal. In the field of competition, whether that is a weightlifting meet, race, or fitness competition, there are a million factors that are unknown and hard to take into account. Such as who you are up against and if their performance will best yours. The one thing you can count on is your effort leading up to the event. You have the choice to never be outworked. Competition day is only the tip of the nail, but those countless hours, days, and months of training, or even your nutrition prep and quality sleep are the hammer behind the nail. If you have your eye on a future event the time is now to prepare. When you put in the effort and make sacrifices towards that goal there is that extra sense of pride so that even when you walk off the field in defeat, you still know that you gave your all.

When competing in any event you will always be outnumbered, but may never be outgunned. The power in the choice is now.

100 Words of Not Fitness

You may have heard of Greg Glassman’s “100 Words of Fitness” in the CrossFit Journal. But, I bet you haven’t heard the 100 Words of Not Fitness.

Here you go.

 

100 Words of Not Fitness

Eat grain and cereal, yogurt and cheese, fruit smoothies, and no fat. Count calories in and out. Practice correct form on the major machines: Leg press, leg extension, leg curl, pec dec, preacher curl, lat pull down, and thigh abductor and adductor machine. Similarly, master your core stability movements: Plank holds, crunches, TRX things, and pushups on the stability ball. Spin, treadmill, and elliptical long and slow. Copy 2-3 workouts from Men’s Health and perform those routines religiously in the mirror. Variety is the enemy. Workouts should be long and sweaty. Minimize risk by avoiding new movements or sports.