Here’s a post for the younger crowd who perhaps coaches at a CF and goes to school.  Maybe you want to get into weightlifting coaching.  I was never all that great as a student, but here’s a few classes that have helped me.  

I wouldn’t say that a degree should nessesarily be a requirement of a good weightlifting coach but having studied exercise science in school, I’d say that there are both classes of high value to a WL coach and classes of very little importance.  Here’s my list of top 3 most helpful classes that have improved my weightlifting coaching and understanding:

3) Anatomy and Physiology:  I’m going to group this as one class because it is offered as such at some schools.  This one is really a no brainer.  Any good coach should have a basic understanding of the structures of the human body and how they work.

2) Kinesiology:  More advanced classes like biomechanics are also obviously helpful but I use the more basic knowledge of movement on a daily basis.

1) Motor Learning:  This class has been the MOST helpful to me as a coach.  Teaching people a skill set suddenly became a whole lot easier when I learned the basics of how a person actually learns how to do things.  Highly recommended even if you’re not in college.  Go on Amazon and buy a book on this subject.  Even just a base level understanding will arm you with knowledge on how to guide others through their learning process.

There it is.  I’m not saying I’m perfect (I’m far from it).  I learn something new every day and occasionally I’ll be surprised that I went so long missing out on a particular aspect of coaching.  An open mind is your best tool both in the lab and in the field.  These are just a few classes that have actually carried over to what I do every day.


May 30, 2014

I’ve got a few pieces hanging up at the Lululemon in the Arden Fair mall. If you call Sacramento your home, come check them out! It’s not every day an Olympic weightlifter hangs up artwork at a lululemon. Come to think of it, I might be the only person to do that exact thing.  A big thank you to my friends at the store who’ve given me a place to show my work (non-weightlifting work) and for being cool people in general.  I’ve now officially had two art shows; one at a comic book store and one at a Lululemon.

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Beautiful ladies.

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My favorite is on the top right.

A righteous warrior set up camp 25 meters off of the roadside. Exhausted from his long journey, he immediately began gathering and processing wood for a fire. Using a short sword, he began chopping branches of dead wood up into sections and then splitting them lengthwise by hitting the spine of the blade with smaller limbs set aside as tools before they were then processed as kindling. It was tedious work which could’ve been easily been handled with an ax but as I mentioned earlier, this was a warrior, not a barbarian. And this warrior’s journey was long so his short sword would have to suffice. Hours pass and the fire was finally self-sustaining. Our righteous warrior could now relax and cook a delicious rabbit he had caught earlier that day.

In the distance, he sees someone walking up the road. A warrior. Our hero could clearly tell by the large spear held in his right hand. He was also dressed in (heavily damaged) armor. What our hero couldn’t see that this warrior was not a righteous one. THIS warrior was a thief, a trickster and an overall bastard. For the sake of expediting the story, we’ll just call him “The Bastard.” Our righteous warrior feared no one. He was deadly with any weapon (including his mitts if necessary) and could clearly see that The Bastard needed help. Our hero invited The Bastard to camp. Shared some of his kill and before long, the two were sharing boisterous (probably) true stories as expected of warriors like themselves.

Comfortably full and safe from dying on the highway, The Bastard once again resumed his bastardly ways that had brought him to his current station in life. He was a warrior, sure. But he was also a coward and not as capable with close range weapons which is why his weapon of choice was a spear (when he wasn’t stabbing people in the back with his dagger). However our villain couldn’t take his beady weasel eyes off of the short sword that apparently caught dinner and started this fire that the pair was enjoying. “I’ve got to get my bastard hands on that short sword. I’m sick of going to bed cold and hungry.” So The Bastard did what a bastard does and came up with a plan to get himself a brand new short sword. He challenged our hero to a (practice) duel. Branches the approximate length of a short sword would be the contested event. If he won, The bastard would win the short sword. If our righteous hero won, he would claim ownership of his opponent’s spear. Our hero, being righteous (and possibly a little overconfident) promised to even give the challenger some lessons in fighting techniques since he had the clear advantage.

So the two began practicing. The righteous warrior was as good of a teacher as he was a fighter and soon his opponent began to pick up a few of the intermediate techniques including the deadly “triple decapitation” attack and the “double knee break.” But The Bastard had a trick up his sleeve; a simple, yet effective distraction that he used time and time again to con opponents of higher skill levels. The Bastard simply said,

“You have phenomenal skill with the triple decapitation and double knee break. I think I’ve picked up the basics, but it would be really helpful if you could tell me how YOU do it. Tell me about the finest details of your arm swing. Do you angle the blade completely horizontal or at a slight angle? What about your grip? Is your index finger fixed tightly on the choil or is more pressure put on the sub-hilt?”

The warrior was confused. He never thought about it like that before. He was a talented teacher and deadly with those techniques; never absent minded during training. But it had been so long since he began his training, when our hero, performed the double knee break on his unlucky opponent, he just performed a double knee break. He had no time for the finer details because his technique was already set after 15 years of training.

“I don’t really see the benefit. But sure, I’ll do my best to explain MY technique.”

The two practiced though the night. at dawn, the two dueled. Our hero lost.

The end?

The above story is fake.  But paralysis by analysis is a real thing.  Want to know how to mess with a tennis player?  Ask him about his backswing mid-match.  Want to mess with a weightlifter?  Draw his attention to a minute detail of a lift at 90% or more or in a competition setting.  There is a time and place for analysis.  The competitive environment is not it.  

My First WL Hero.

May 27, 2014

The very first weightlifting video I ever saw was this one from Ironmind.  And Stefan Botev was my first weightlifting hero.  Here’s why.

I still remember seeing this clip for the first time in 2005.  Be sure to check this entire video out (buy it, you cheapskate.)  It’s basically just a bunch of Europeans training in a Chinese training hall before World Championships.  It’s amazing.

After this week, the team and I will again shift focus.  Most likely we will only be squatting 2x per week but we’ll be getting even MOAR reps with the lifts.  I might even add some pulls in as well.

Keepin’ it Weird.

May 20, 2014

So I went to my parents house the other day and fired up my old laptop with a bunch of old and weird “songs” that I wrote like in 2007-2008.  A few tracks I even try rapping over.  Spoiler alert: I decided to stick to lifting weights instead.  Anyways, I threw together a video last night of some recent team PR’s and showcased one lift in particular, the “mixtape snatch.”   I didn’t make this up but I don’t know anyone else that does it.  It’s helpful because you have to pass over your knee 3 times in one lift.  Enjoy.  And listen for the “muppet voice solo” around the minute 30 mark.  Yup, that’s me and my BFF, Kevin.

Oh, and Lindsay also cleaned 100 off the low blocks which I’m STOKED about.  Jen and Paige aren’t too far off either.

This one’s straight out of the USAW handbook (I think.  Honestly I haven’t looked at that thing in so long.)  This is my favorite stretch to alleviate mild shoulder impingement.  I’ll superset this one with “hand slides” with my back flat against the wall and shoulder rotations with a wooden stick.

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"Sup, girl.  You want to alleviate some shoulder impingement?"

“Sup, girl. You want to alleviate some shoulder impingement?”

Check it.  I finally posted the video of the PWA Championships.

As I said earlier, this was a huge meet for us.  Im still stoked off of how we did as a team.  The man, Max Aita paid me a compliment; saying that all of the people coached by me looked pretty good.  That’s as good as gold in my book because that’s a weightlifting dude I respect.    I’m really happy with my group right now.  We’ve got a lot of really talented up and coming lifters.  I estimate that by nationals next year, I’ll have a SQUAD coming with me.


Photo credit goes to THE Jim Shmitz.

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Move On Up.

May 5, 2014

Sorry, I’ve been a little behind on my posting lately.  The team and I have been busy (which is a good thing).  A few of us did a meet this weekend which I’ll probably be posting a video of (with commentary).  It was a big one for me as a coach.

Jen qualified for Nationals; which is huge because she’s been competing for at least a few years so I know she’s had her eye on Nationals for a long time.  I’m glad I was part of that final push to get her to the next level.  I’m not taking anything away from the work she and her earlier coach did before she joined up with me.  It’s relatively easy to make a good lifter great if she comes in with a solid base.

Emelie is one of my longtime lifters and has stuck around to really reap the benefits of her training.  She’s now lighter and stronger than ever.  She officially snatched 10kg over bodyweight yesterday in competition (84kg woo!) and walked away with a meet PR clean and jerk.  She’s only been lifting for around two years and I’m excited to see what kind of numbers she’ll be lifting in two more years.

Cameron, our club president had a rough meet but honestly, his numbers from yesterday are consistent with what he’s been hitting in training.  We’re currently trying to problem solve what’s limiting the higher numbers.  He looked awesome after he came back from a weekend seminar with Jacob and Don McCauley so we know he’s got a lot more in the tank.

Paige, one of my newer lifters has been working hard trying to adjust to a new training system and new technique changes.  She came to me already VERY strong (she can fsq 100×3) but also pretty raw when it comes to the lifts.  She ended up with some meet PR’s but we’re both excited to see what she’ll be lifting in 6 months.

Dean and I had some issues with miscommunication and I ended up not seeing him lift.  But he took it as a good training meet and hit some good 90% lifts that are mostly consistent with training.

Until I post the video from this weekend, here’s another training video with one of my all-time favorite tracks on it.