Showing posts from July, 2008


Mel will be featured on the NBC Today Show, tomorrow morning (Friday, Aug 1). And there should be a clip or two of video from Iron Maven included in the segment.
Mel called from Beijing Monday. She is training well, hitting 162.5 kg PR back squat yesterday and an easy 110 kg CJ the day before. You can read her blog here.
Carissa Gump, 63 kg Olympian, has her blog here!Great post by Vern Gambetta on the difference between coaching and training. Everybody wants to get certified so they can "train" people. It all seems so cool and glamorous to be a trainer, right? ROTFLMAO. But what they are really learning to do is dole out canned workouts and exercise combinations. Is there really any substance there? Do they know what they are doing and why? Is a particular exercise appropriate for a particular person? Remember, people will get better at anything if they repeat it enough; particularly if they are starting from an untrained status and the measuring stick is only as …

My Crazy Week

So I'm back in my hometown for my grandmother's funeral. I'm sad, but I'm relieved for her and for my stepmother and father who have been primarily responsible for her over the last four years. End of life issues are challenging and I don't think our health care system does the best job with them, but my grandmother's providers did an admirable job and we, as a family, were able to make the right decisions this past week.

Tomorrow, I will be one of six grandchildren who will act as pallbearers at her funeral. Few women have the opportunity to take part in this aspect of a funeral. Hopefully I can hold it together and do what I need to do.

On a lighter note, Kevin and I had the pleasure of having Mike and Leslie Burgener at our home last Friday. We had a blast celebrating their wedding anniversary with them and just visiting. Mike's sister lives in my hometown and our families know each other. It is a small world.

That's it for now. More as I have …

Hexlite Gets A Thumbs Up from Vern

I think this calls for an official Iron Maven WOOT!

Love the bar. Used it in my workout on Tuesday. Have to figure out how to get six for next off season VB. It is really cool for farmers walks - part of my PLA (Play Low Ability) Module. You can bet my beach ladies will be using it when they get off this road trip.

All the Best
Vern Gambetta

When USADA comes calling...

you must pee. See Mel's story about her latest drug test here.

Mel Update

Talked to Mel yesterday. She is having the best training cycle of her career as she approaches 21 days out. She's tired and training with an extra layer of clothing on to try an simulate the heat and humidity of the conditions in China. Mel hit a lifetime best snatch of 83 kg and 105 kg, 110 kg and 112 kg clean and jerks yesterday. She holds the American record in the clean and jerk, 113 kg, set in 1998.

Before yesterday, she had never even attempted 83 kg in training. I am not surprised she is still making progress at 33. She's had over 18 months of consistent training for the first time in 10 years, with only minor aches and pains; her back is not a limiting factor. She's meticulous with her diet and is working hard to keep her weight at 55 kg so she can better tolerate the pounding--and avoid the wrath of Obi John. She's not got access to a high-tech athlete recovery center, so she improvises and takes a large Tupperware storage container out in the back yar…

Perfect Summer Morning

Nothing better than a great cup of coffee, the paper and a seat alongside Phil and Paul as they commentate on the first Alpine stage of Le Tour.

My thoughts are with Bec, Sandy, Ted and my other peeps who head to Jefferson City this morning to face the MO State Time Trial. 1:05 Bec! Watch out for 2 Old and his new Cervelo P3C. May you all have a tailwind on the way back in!

The Waiter's Bow

The sit and reach test stinks. Why? Well, it does not allow one to discriminate between hip and lumbar spine flexion. It tells you NOTHING. The initial testing position puts the hip/torso in 90 degrees of flexion to start; that is an end-range hip flexion position for many. For most, this is only a tortuous test of lumbar flexion. Ever had the pleasure of making a wrestling room full of 9th grade boys try to sit up against the wall while keeping their knees extended?

I prefer to use the Waiter's Bow as a assessment tool, and as a warm up or cool down exercise. My goal is to create hip extensor mobility in the context of the neutral spine. The Waiter's Bow is a weight-bearing, AROM test of flexibility that allows you to discriminate hip flexion from lumbar spine flexion. The Waiter's Bow is, in my book, a basic movement comprehension skill everyone should learn. It lays a foundation for advanced training skills and the neutral-spine body awareness that is critic…


We are finally back from Las Vegas and the NSCA National Conference. It was a busy weekend for me, as Iron Maven shared a booth in the exhibit hall with Hitechplates, had a research poster and spoke. Overall, it was a challenging, but invigorating experience. Kevin came with me and was a rock of support throughout the conference. I cannot thank him enough for being there.

It was great to exhibit with Mercedes Dickerson. Her Hitechplates were a highlight of the show and I'm so happy for her success. There is no one more deserving. The Hexlite bar received good reviews from people in the school and adult/occupational health settings in the US, Canada and Ireland. It was gratifying to hear people say they had been looking for a light hex training bar.

The talk? Well, that was a trip! I've never been so nervous. Usually I'm just fine and have a great time. But this room was huge--there were more people than I expected--and had multiple screens, with a big video c…

Hexlite: A Idea Becomes Reality

I've wanted to build a light-weight, dual-handled, hexagonal shaped training bar since 2001 or so. I have found this style of bar--much more so than a traditional barbell--to be very useful for teaching ground-based lifting mechanics to beginners.
It facilitates learning the concept of pushing your COM and the mass of the bar away from the floor versus "pulling" with your back. This is something many people have trouble doing initially with a barbell.
It facilitates lowering your COM with your lower extremities versus bending over to reach for the bar.
It eliminates the problem of getting the bar around the knees.
It provides an alternative to or an additional leg strengthening exercise to barbell squatting. If anyone is initially uncomfortable with a barbell on their back, he/she can use this type of bar to groove the confidence, stability, mobility, body awareness necessary to barbell squat.But there are some barriers to using traditional 45+ lb. bars. First, even wit…

Mel on Mickey D's Cups

Has there ever been a US weightlifter on a Wheaties box? Not yet.