Monday, December 24, 2007

What's next, Lulu?

Tallulah Belle (Lulu) says there's lots to do in 2008! Thanks to all of you who have supported Iron Maven and this blog during 2007. It has been a challenging year and afforded me many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

I want to especially thank Alex P, Vern G, Joe P, Catherine I, Dan, Brandon, Laurie, Jill & Geoff G, Big Mel, Coach B and the Queen Bee, The Goils (A, B, C & Sssssss), PJ, G, Sister, and of course, Mr. Kevin, for being there during the tough times and motivating me to reach higher.

I have enjoyed and been inspired by meeting and working with my many new CrossFit friends. Who knew so many adults aspire to physical health! (P.S.--Jen, I haven't forgotten about guest blogging for you!)

I wish you all strength and health as we embark on the new year. Keep your minds open and stop to smell the roses once in a while. Challenge yourself physically and intellectually. Read more. Ride more. Write more. Squat. Sing. Reflect. Contribute.

Make the world around you a better place.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday's Functional Path

Take 6-8" of snow. Find your shovel. Add some slushy, icy car tracks in and out of the garage from this morning. Equals one serious functional training session, a.k.a 50 minutes of continuous hell. Do it before or while the sun shines directly on the pavement. I waited too long and did not get the benefit of the sunlight to melt the remnants. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Murphy, My Own LOL Cat

So Murphy is now 10. That means I've been a practicing PT for 10 years. Wow. Need to reflect on that and jot down a few thoughts soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do you know where your feet are?

Kyle Yamauchi (62 kg) demonstrates efficient footwork and transition from the second to the third pull with this over double-bodyweight (137 kg) clean.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

That extra 5%

Jeff Wittmer won the 94 kg weight class at the American Open and also won best male lifter for that event with 156kg snatch/190kg c&j. Jeff is currently the 4th ranked male weightlifter in the US and competed in the Pan American Games this summer. He was the heaviest male to hit an over-double bodyweight clean and jerk at 190 kg.

His next quest is 200 kg (his best is 197 kg in competition I think, and the current American record is 205 kg, set by Tom Gough in 1999). Jeff made 190 with relative ease and then took 200 kg on his second attempt. While 10 kg might not seem like a lot--it is only 5% at these weights--it can be a significant difference. Notice that you can see the top of Jeff's head on the right; that is the barbell bending more under the stress of the extra 10 kg. So in addition to the extra weight, Jeff now has to deal with probable changing barbell mechanics as he dips, changes directions and drives the weight off his shoulders. At these weights, the lifter looks to time the depth and the speed of dip to perfection, capturing the whip of the barbell, and driving it high enough to wedge himself under the bar.

When the video is slowed to 1/16th of normal speed, we can see the difference in overall speed and change of direction with the 190 vs the 200. A mere 5% is all it takes to challenge this athlete to his physical limits. This is one mega-plyometric endeavor, that pushes a lifter's torso stability and leg power to the limit. Go Jeff go. Get that 200 kg clean and jerk in 2008.


I had the privilege of dining with Ursula Garza and John Thrush last weekend, both accomplished and well respected international-level coaches. On the way back from dinner, we were talking about the need for athletes to train with a deliberate mindset--to be methodical and care about technique with every repetition. Sometimes younger athletes have difficulty appreciating that. This pursuit of excellence pays off at game time, when the stakes are high.

In a weightlifting competition, it is a game of centimeters and milliseconds; technical excellence and consistency is of paramount importance. You only get three chances, so don't waste even one of them. Make each lift count. Here are a few still images showing the slight differences between a made lift and a missed lift. Some are from this weekend, while others are from previous meets.

An aside: The most gratifying aspect of sitting for three days and recording this video--then sitting for many more days and playing with it--is helping athletes learn from their competitive experience. If even a few are able to make corrections and improve their performance, or gain confidence by seeing improvement in their lifting, it is all worth it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I'm back from Birmingham. 1100 miles driven; 100 GB of video taken over roughly 32 hours in the competition venue. I'm beat. There's more work to do, but for now, check out Carissa Gump's new American record clean and jerk, while I head out the door to the clinic.