This is the final half of my two part series. Like I mentioned last week, I have recently had the opportunity to attend some of the speciality seminars offered by CrossFit. The first blog was on the Powerlifting certfiication and the weekend spent learning the ropes of the legendary Westside Barbell Club. This blog focuses on the CrossFit Olympic Lifting certification at CrossFit USD in San Diego.
Before the cert., I was talking to Forrest and Mariessa and they both agreed that if Coach B wasn’t there, its almost not worth the experience. Who is Coach B? Coach Mike Burgener is a California native that has over 4 decades of olympic lifting experience. He is the father of three boys and one girl, all whom still lift and have ties to the CrossFit community. At an earlier age, Coach Burgener was a Marine. Coach B is the Senior International Weightlifting Coach for USA, a Highschool Strength Coach, he is the Junior World Women’s Weightlifting Coach and one of the most recognized names in the sport of Olympic Lifting. Did I mention he was a Marine? thats exactly how he runs his seminars. I think it must have been somewhere after lunch on the first day after doing the Junkyard Dog Warmup twice, (I am sure my afternoon classes can tell you how much that “warmup” sucks if you’ve never done it), while doing his YAY BURPEES, I realized what Forrest and Mariessa were talking about.
Moving into the meat of the topic, trying to teach someone the proper mechanics in the olympic lifts is a hard feat to achieve in two months. Now trying doing that in two days, with 50 people that all have their own deficincies that need to be corrected. Thats what Coach B and his staff had to work through for two long days, and they did a damn good job of it. The first half of day one was spent teaching the class the Burgener Warmup, as well as the Skill Transfer exercises. Here is a breakdown of what those two pieces look like and what they are trying to achieve:
Burgener Warmup & Skill Transfer Exercises
- Down and Up-Speed through the middle
- Elbows High and Outside-Keeping bar path close
- Muscle Snatch-3rd pull
- Snatch Lands-Footwork
- Snatch Drops-Footwork
- Snatch Push Press-Strength
- Overhead Squat-Core Strength
- Pressing Snatch Balance (Press Under)-Strength under bar
- Heaving Snatch Balance-Getting under the bar with speed
- Snatch Balance-Footwork with speed under the bar
- Hang Snatch-piecing it all together
This warmup takes less than three minutes to complete and within 6 weeks, will improve your Snatch and Clean & Jerk immensely. Heres the catch, you must be aware of what you are doing and WHY you are doing it! if you mindlessly do these exercises, what are you learning? You must be in tune to what you are doing, and focusing on what you are trying to build upon at all times, NO EXCUSES!
The second half of day one was focused on the snatch. We did countless drills going from the high hang, to mid-thigh and down to the first pull position (mid-shin). I cannot stress enough how many times a lifter must slowly go through each position and pay attention the what their body position is in. What muscles are holding the tension? What about my knees? Do my arms bend? Where should the weight in my feet be? WHEN IS MY HEAD GOING TO EXPLODE?!?! This is what was going through most of our heads. Oh, I forgot to mention, everything up until this point has been with a PVC! I never thought I would find myself so fatigued, from a 5 ounce piece of pipe. By the end, we all were snatching better than 8 hours before. The day finished off with everyone tired, but very happy of the knowledge we all gained.
Day two started off with Junkyard Dog, Burgener Warmup, and Skill Transfer exercises. We spent the morning working on the Clean. The instructors would break us off into groups for “Skills & Drills” perfecting our technique. The best thing about the three olympic lifts, Snatch, Clean and Jerk, is that once you have fully grasped the main concept of one, they apply to all of them. Because of this, the past was a little faster than on day one. When looking at full extension of the three lifts, they are all the same, just the different hand placement seperates them (see photos above). Before Lunch, we loaded up bars and went for PR’s. It was really cool to see people hitting 10 or 20+ pound PR’s by finally using the right techniques.
After lunch we worked the Jerk briefly, focusing on footwork and proper landing positions when landing in the split position. They then had us combine the Clean and Jerk, giving coaching cues, and letting us put together everything we had learned in the last two days. We ended the day talking to Coach B, and how to bring the weekend back into our own gyms at teach you guys techniques to improve your lifts. Thats really what it was all about. Teaching coaches how to teach clients in olympic lifting. All in all it was an extremely fun weekend. I learned so much in two days my head still hurts trying to sift through all the information. If anyone ever has the chance to attend an Olympic Lifting Seminar taught by Mike Burgener, I highly recommend it. The final part of the day, was a video on the 2008 Olympic Games Weight Lifting Highlights and I figured I would end on a similar inspirational video of people moving ridiculous weight.
Workout of the Day 8/3/2011
A. Front Squat 4-4-4
B. 4 Rounds:
7 Burpee Pullups
7 Burpee Box Jumps (24″/20″)
then, 400m run
then, 4 Rounds:
14 Box Jumps (24″/20″)