Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Proper Hip Drive for the Olympic Lifts

Kettlebell swings are sooo much fun, right?! Right! However, they are not the answer to ALL of life’s problems. Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise that we incorporate into many workouts (and are proven to make one’s butt look ghettofabulous), but this doesn’t mean that the mechanics of a kettlebell swing should transfer over to all the other movements we do in the gym . . . especially Olympic lifting.

Lately, I’ve had the sense that many people believe the hip drive on kettlebell swing (which is horizontal) is the same as the hip drive on the snatch and clean and jerk (which is vertical). We know that a horizontal hip thrust with a kettlebell gets momentum moving on the weight, but it doesn’t work that way with the Olympic movements. If you want the bar to travel fast over your head, it needs to move vertically. Why? Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (and that really IS physics) and we want that barbell over our head in the least amount of time possible. Who wants to be lifting a million kilos over their head for 47 hours?! No one!

On the other hand, kicking the hips forward will cause the bar to bang off your body, which then causes it to swing around you and you’ll either miss the bar out in front of you or it will go flying so far back and around your head that you won’t be able to hold onto it anymore.

Our goal is to maintain control of the barbell by keeping it close to our body through the whole entire movement. The only way to accomplish this is by moving the hips straight up and straight down and LIGHTLY brushing the barbell off your hips . . . NOT banging it . . . EVER.

Remember, the bar does what your hips do. Move them vertically so the bar will move vertically. Do it . . . you won’t . . . .

and to see the most perfect video ever that shows exactly what I'm talking about. Watch this...

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Don’t ever let someone tell you that you shouldn’t video your snatch

    Today is the day that I reveal my deepest darkest secret to the world:

    I think I was born with a super power that allows me to view things in slow motion. It is called Slow-Mo Vision. Kind of like x-ray vision, but not really like it at all.

    This extremely rare, seriously cool super power gives me a huge advantage when watching the Olympic lifts. It gives me an advantage because I can watch someone do a lift for the first time and know exactly what he or she needs to do to correct it.

    I wasn’t aware of this super power until just recently when I overheard someone asking for critique on his lifts. His partner’s response was that the movement was too fast and he couldn’t quite catch what he had done incorrectly. I too was watching the lift and could see that the man pulled with his arms too soon.

    Why could I see the technical deficiencies and this man could not? Slow-mo vision was the only logical explanation.

    However, in the extremely unlikely event that I actually do not possess Slow-Mo Vision, I have also decided that I may be able to see things other people can’t because I have watched millions of lifts in my lifetime. Not only have I watched millions of lifts, but I’ve watched millions of videos of people’s lifts and been able to re-watch them over and over again until I figured out what was right and what was wrong about the lift. That very thing is why I have gathered you all here today.


    Not only does it take time to be able to critique other people’s form properly, but it also takes time to feel what you may be doing wrong in your lifts. The one thing that can solve that problem is to bring a camera into the gym and ask your bff (for example, every single one of you asking me) to video your lifts. You don’t have to record every attempt, but just get a few lifts on the camera. After you do that, replay your attempt and set the camera to either play it in slow motion, or play it frame by frame. That way, you can see yourself lift a lot slower and pick out faults a lot easier.


    After you’ve seen yourself lift and assessed your own technique, go on the web and watch other lifters’ technique. Compare what you did the same and what you did differently than that lifter. These visuals will stick in your head for the next time you go to lift, I pinky promise.

    Moral of the story is, if you video your snatch/clean/jerk technique enough and re-watch it enough times, maybe you too can have Slow-Mo Vision like me.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Least updated blog EVA

    "You best be mentally tough nukkas" - Coach B (not really, but it'd be funny)

    Don't worry, I have't forgotten about you all. I purposely have not updated this thing in a while because I was trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for the least updated blog in all of existence. I WON!

    I recently decided that I am taking a break from Crossfit and am strictly going to focus on my Olympic Lifting. For the first time in 2 years, I am back on one of my dad's lifting programs ( It is the 12 week competition program) and I'm LOVIN it (Not a reference to McDonalds). Let me tell you why I decided to do this.

    Here's the thing: I absolutely love crossfit; the way it makes me feel, the mental toughness it instills and the fact that it can knock me on my bumper (aka bottom) for a good 10 minutes, when I really only worked out for a total of about 5. However, I found that the constant intensity of crossfit style workouts was really starting to become mentally taxing for me (It absolutely had nothing to do with the fact that I may or may not be a little sissy girl). When working out became more stressful than fun, I knew that it was time to change things up a bit.

    Olympic lifting and Crossfit both require mental toughness. HOWEVAA, in my personal opinion, the mental toughness required for Crossfit is completely different than the mental toughness required for olympic weightlifting.

    Let me break it down for ya'll:

    Crossfit: When we crossfit, we experience insurmountable amounts of pain throughout our whole body and soul. It's a competition between you and said "pain". Mental toughness in Crossfit means fearing the pain, feeling the pain, accepting the pain, and overcoming the pain.

    Olympic lifting: When we olympic weightlift, we experience the fear of having to get under a heavy cuss weight. Stepping up to a barbell that is loaded with a weight you've never lifted can bring up all of your repressed feelings of self doubt and insecurity. Mental toughness in Olympic Weightlifting means believing that you are more of a badass than any one else on this planet. It means stepping onto the platform and allowing your self confidence to suck in all that doubt and insecurity and crush them into oblivion. CRUSH, I say! It's a competition between you and the barbell. Are you going to let that barbell beat you? or are you going to make that barbell your biznatch?

    So, the point I am trying to make (even though I'm just kind of rambling on about biznatches and crushing and cussing and what not) is that I think that it's good to change up your training because you get to experience what it means to be "mentally tough" in many different ways. If you're constantly having to challenge your mind by forcing it to be all sorts of "tough", you become much more well rounded as an athlete.

    Spend a couple months overcoming the pain that Crossfit brings about, and then change it up and force yourself to face (And crush) the self doubt and insecurities that weightlifting brings about. If that doesn't make you a better athlete and person, I don't know what will!! (other than maybe listening to some more Fergie).

    PS. I just went back and re read this whole post and it is ALLLL over the place. Get over it.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    these raps are getting ridiculous

    Sometimes when I rewatch myself on these rap videos, I have to walk out of the room and ask myself why in the heck I just exposed myself like that to all of the world. But then I remember that ya'll asked me to do it. So it's your fault. I can't help that I'm a giver.

    Here's the breakdown of what I meant in my rap.

    #1: Think about your chest
    I may have mentioned it before (I never remember anymore), but keeping your chest up is extremely important in the lifts. If your torso comes forward at all, (which it actually will most of the time due to inflexibility, but still try to think about keeping it as tall and proud as possible) that generally will put your weight on your toes making it extremely hard to stand up with the barbell. A tall chest makes for a much more stable position whether it be in a front squat or an overhead squat.

    #2: Think about your elbows
    Elbows turn around the same time that the feet hit the ground. I don't mean turn them around in a T-Rex/reverse curl kind of way. I mean getting the elbows high and outside (which is happening as you pull yourself down. Read on, and this will make sense), and down and around REALLY fracking fast. The faster the elbows, the more comfortable you will feel receiving that barbell. Elbows can be EVERYTHING on a clean. Every time you have slow elbows on a clean, God kills a kitten.

    #3: Think about Britney Spears
    This is one of those common sense things that definitely doesn't need any explanation.

    #4: Pull yourself under the bar
    Do NOT jump and drop under that barbell. Jump up (getting as tall as possible (ATAP)) and when you cannot possibly get any taller, IMMEDIATELY change your hip direction from going up, to going down by physically pulling yourself down and around that barbell. If you try to jump and drop, that bar is going to beat you down EVERY SINGLE TIME (I dont know why I'm really into using caps lock right now) . However, if you pull yourself under the bar, you can guarantee that there will be no crashing of that bar on your chest and you will receive it in a much more comfortable position.

    Which leads me into my last point...

    #5: Become one with the barbell
    If you pull yourself under the bar, you know where it is in space and you can avoid having that barbell come up really high and smack you right in the throat or nose or forehead (we've all had it happen). Not knowing where the barbell is means that you are not in control of it. That bar WANTS to be controlled. It wants you to meet it wherever it is (since when did a barbell start developing personality traits?). So just do it, ok? Be more zen-like with that barbell.

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    What is mental toughness?

    That is me during my workouts.

    #1 I just got back from Switzerland. If you haven't been. Go. Right now.

    #2 I never remember what I have written about on this thingamajig, so if I repeat things in my posts, get over it.

    #3 I'm not going to say much in this post, I'm going to let my brother's letter do all the talking (he doesn't know I'm posting this. He'll probably be upset. I'm ok with that).

    I was struggling a couple months ago with feeling like I was mentally weak. I saw all these amazing athletes around me that, during the hardest of workouts, never had one look of pain or struggle across their face. They appeared to be immune to the torture. I never felt that way when I was working out. I feared workouts. I feared getting under heavy weights. I feared the pain that was to be inflicted upon me via thrusters. Because I feared so often, I was certain that I had some rare, possibly fatal, medical condition.

    My brother Casey got his degree in physics which basically means he knows everything. Therefore, I burden him with all of my questions about life, liberty and the pursuit of chocolate. I wrote him an email asking him, as an olympic athlete, what he thought it meant to be "mentally tough". The letter he wrote to me seriously changed my life. I am not saying that I am mentally tough by any means, but I at least have a better understanding of how to go about becoming a better person each day. I read this letter almost everyday and it has gotten me through many times of self doubt. It is long, but I promise you won't be disappointed if you read the whole thing..especially if you feel like you may have the same medical condition that I had a couple months ago.

    "First, you need to decide what you are going to do. This may sound like a simple step, or like you've already done it, but let me tell you, it's the hardest, and most important step in being tough. Once you make the commitment to do something, then almost nothing can stop you. This is why it took me so long to decide to come back to lifting. I knew once I committed, nothing was going to stop me from achieving my goals, no matter what the costs, or how much workouts sucked, or how badly my body felt.

    So with you, you have to really really really decide that the Crossfit Games are what you want to do. Once you decide this, the process will be easy. When you commit, it's easier to block weaknesses out of your head, and workouts will seem like steps forward to your goal, rather than burdens. When you commit, I really believe you can do anything. Really take this decision seriously though, because if you only "half" decide you want to do it, or do it for "fun", then you shouldn't even worry about Regionals, and just train whenever you want to and not care about how a workout goes. If you decide to do it for "fun", then you can't be bothered by any performance at Regionals or any meet, because you decided not to take it seriously.

    Now, either decision in your case wouldn't be a bad one (in my opinion), just make sure you stick to your choice wholeheartedly. I read a great book recently, and it talked about how when someone commits to something, they should do it all the way, and be satisfied with whatever the outcome. So if you commit to the Games and start training as hard as you can, you have to be comfortable with the possibility that you may succeed tremendously, or fail miserably (in terms of winning and losing). The important thing is that you committed, and you did everything you could to make it happen. Trust me, if you do that, the thoughts about winning and losing seem to almost disappear. It's about overcoming yourself, and pushing yourself to become greater than you were the day before, that's what really matters.

    I'm reading a great book right now, and while I don't agree with a lot of points (it's an atheist book that talks a lot about being selfish), it has a lot of great points about pushing yourself to your highest potential. He talks mostly about pushing yourself in terms of knowledge and creativity, but I think a lot of it applies to life as well. Basically, every decision you make should be a conscious one in becoming a better person. Every decision you make has meaning to it, and you pursue a better self constantly. The friends you choose, the people you surround yourself with, the food you eat, the books you read, the television you watch, how much sleep you get, everything should be a stern decision that makes you go in a better direction than the one you're headed towards. Surround yourself with people who want to make themselves better, and who in turn push you to make you better.

    One of the big points in the book is the "will to power", which basically means that when you conquer yourself and get rid of everything that has once held you back, you can "will" yourself to do anything. This is really difficult to achieve, but think about how much it could help if you just strive for it. If every time you have a bad day, or feel a negative emotion, or have a bad workout, you "will" yourself out of the poor mindset, refusing to let it beat you down, and just continue your journey in becoming the best you can be. I'm not saying you can be like this every day, but the important issue is that you are truly DOING it. You'll slip up, you'll still have bad days, but as long as your moving forward, and not letting yourself continue to slip, then there's nothing you can't do.

    Mental toughness for me has always been hard to explain. I've never really thought that I was mentally tough, but the reason why I was successful in meets is because I KNEW what I was capable of. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to quit lifting, or give up, but I didn't because I committed to what I was doing. That was one thing Mom and Dad taught us that is invaluable; to never quit. When you commit to whatever it is in life, make sure it's a positive direction, and just don't quit. Fight with all of your being to achieve what you set out to, and know that you're becoming a better person because of it. So even if you have a bad day, or hate Crossfit, or lifting, or school, or whatever it is, you can still have the confidence that what you're doing is making you better in some way, and that is a beautiful feeling.

    A lot of this may not seem like it pertains to mental toughness, but when you think about it, what does that mean anyway? Toughness means you fight through pain, or discomfort, and continue striving forward. But why would you do this in the first place? It seems against our nature to put ourselves through pain and discomfort, so why bother? The answer is this; because we are committed to making ourselves better, committed to be something greater than what we currently are. Think about the people who are tough, the one thing they have in common is that they've committed to something. Whether it's becoming healthy, smarter, a better parent, or a Crossfit Games champion, they decided it was what they wanted, and they didn't care how hard it became, or what obstacles showed up, nothing was going to stop them from following through with the decision they made.

    The last thing I'm going to say is that while all of this seems draining, and challenging, it also has to be fun. Commitments can be joyous, they don't have to be discouraging and hard all the time. I committed to being a husband, that doesn't mean it's a burden. It's challenging, and tough at times, but I love every minute of it because I DECIDED that it was what I wanted to be. So take comfort in knowing that no matter what decision you make, or what direction you want to pursue, it's going to be amazing because it's your path, your decision, your direction. There's beauty in the successes and the failures of your journey. Soak up every ounce of it and know that you're becoming a better human being. "

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Paralysis by analysis

    This is what someone's face looks like when I tell them to snatch.

    It is universally known that the Olympic lifts are 87% more complex than physics and 73% more complex than women. I have grown up around the lifts (obvs) so at first it was hard for me to understand why people were having such a hard time performing a snatch or clean and jerk. In the beginning, alls I wanted to say was “Just snatch it. All you have to do is jump the bar over your head. It’s so simple!“ That’s when I began to notice that the look on someone’s face when I asked them to jump with a barbell in their hands was very similar to the look on a teenager’s face when trying to teach them how to drive a manual…blank (insert your age discriminatory joke here about how I’m so young I probably got my license last year). So, what is it about the oly lifts that makes them so darn complicated and hard to execute, especially in a crossfit style workout? Answer: there is way too much to think about and that creates, as my dad says, “paralysis by analysis”.

    Chest up, back tight, weight on the heels, pull back, stay over the bar, jump hard, hips vertical, keep it close, pull under, aggressive turn over, meet the bar, stay tight and stand. Technically, those are all the things you should be thinking about as you are performing a snatch or a clean. However, unless you are a robot or are in the matrix and can see/perform movements in slow motion (if you can, please contact me immediately), thinking about all those things at once is impossible.

    Now, let’s stop talking about how difficult life is, and start talking about the solution. The best thing for ya’ll to do is get to know yourself as a lifter. Think about all the cues that have been thrown at you while performing a lift and find the one that makes the most sense to you. Find the one cue that helps to bring everything else together. For example, when I am lifting, all I think about is keeping my chest up. This makes me set my back tight in the starting position, I don’t raise my butt up too soon off the ground, I keep it closer to my body and I am in a much more stable position when I receive the bar. All of those things allow me to have a successful lift and all I thought about was keeping my chest up! Isn’t that great?!

    Now that you know another secret about lifting, go and experiment with it. Think about one cue at a time until you find the one that helps you to perform a beautiful snatch.

    The end.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    To all my fellow grasshoppers

    Hokay so, (I don’t know why I always have the urge to start my posts out like that)

    First, I have to say that we started an Olympic lifting club at Invictus and its pretty much the coolest thing ever existing. I tell all my clients, especially my girls, that I get super emotional every time I watch them lift because of how much they’ve improved. Nevermind that I am extremely emotionally unstable, I am just so impressed with their new abilities to move like Olympic weightlifters. What I mean by that is, there are those who are new to the sport of weightlifting and are not comfortable with throwing a weight around, so the movement tends to be a little slower, a little more hesitant and a little more muscled. When someone starts moving like an Olympic weightlifter, they really start to understand what “speed” means. They’re unafraid to move fast under a bar because they’ve started to trust in their technique. THAT, my children, is a beautiful beautiful thing.

    However, we all know that getting to that place of trust and comfort takes a while. I see so many people getting frustrated with their olympic lifts. Listen (no,seriously, listen up), I know that this is the greatest sport ever and I know that we all have this undying passion for the sport and the desire to be amazing at it, but by NOT mastering the sport right away, it only makes us respect the sport that much more. Think about it this way: say you're craving chocolate ice cream with peanut butter SOOO bad that you could kill a baby kitten just to get it. You live right next to Cold Stone so you could just walk over and get it. In other words, immediate gratification. BUUTTT what if you lived 7 miles away from Cold Stone and your only means of transportation was a trash can on three wheels cause the 4th wheel was flat. That would make your journey much longer and much harder, but by the time you got to your destination, that ice cream, my friends, would taste DAMN good... sinfully good.

    So, next time you're down about your oly lifts, just remember that nothing is quite as amazing if you don't have to wait for it and if you don't have to put tons of sweat and tears into it. Respect the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Respect that its H-A-R-D. Respect that you have to be up in the gym just workin on your fitness..much like how Fergie explains it (she was talking about oly lifting). Respect that it makes you "junk yard dog tough" (as my dad says). Respect it..and it will respect you, young grasshoppers.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Saving the world one snatch at a time

    My sister in law is most likely stronger than your brother in law. And she has a perfect overhead position. Take notes on this, yo.

    Ok ok... I have literally been threatened WITH-MY-LIFE by multiple people about not updating my blog. So, I pinky promised someone at my cert in Flagstaff this weekend that I would update it ASAP out of fear that he was going to take my blog off his bookmarks (and because I really think I may not live to see my 21st birthday if I don't).

    No excuses here about the lackage (yes thats a word) of updates other than I've just been out trying to save the world one snatch at a time. .. no big deal.

    I'll make this one short and sweet.

    Today at the cert, Lisa Ray (the owner of Crossfit Flagstaff) had a GREAT cue about the overhead position in the snatch/ohs (they are the same). While she was trying to stop rolling her shoulders forward while the bar is overhead because of the strain it puts on the shoulders and because it is not an efficient position, she figured out that if she thought about how a waiter would support a tray overhead with one arm, it helped her to get in the proper position.

    Proper position for the bar overhead:
    1. Arms slightly back behind the ears where the body is supporting the weight
    2. armpits facing straight ahead
    3. traps and lats pushing up on the bar
    4. arms locked out
    5. wrist slightly turned up
    6. crease of the elbow facing the ceiling
    In other words, think about how you would support something overhead with just one arm. Would you roll that shoulder forward in a weird position? Or would you be applying all of those proper positions stated above? ( The answer is B) Now do the same thing with both arms overhead and your hands a little bit wider apart. WHALA! There's your overhead position!

    This new position might feel a little funky, but if you practice it, you'll find that you can support much more weight, much more comfortably because your body is doing all the work and not your arms! And unless you do 47 thousand curls for the girls a day, your arms are so much weaker than your body. OBVSSS!!! (shorter/sassier term for "obviously". Must be said with an attitude)

    Keep it sassy

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Do the hook

    Reminder: the hook grip is with your thumbs wrapped around the bar and your fingers wrapped around your thumb.  You don't have to get all white knuckles on me by death gripping the bar, just using two fingers is enough to lock that bar into place.  

    So I competed in the sectionals this past weekend and despite the fact that I asked God to "just take me right then and there" at least 47 times, it was still an amazing experience for me.  However, I dont want to talk about MY experience competing. Instead, I want to share with you all what I learned this past weekend.  

    From everything that I took away from the competition, the main thing that is stuck in my head is:  Crossfitter's are a whole new kind of species, and a funny one at that.  

    " Sage, when I was working out, I realized something.  I'm in a parking lot, lifting weights, and putting myself through terrible terrible pain.  Why would anyone ever CHOOSE to do this?" - Nichole Dehart

    After laughing for about 7 minutes, I stopped, and then tried to really think about that question. Why do we work out in odd places, why do we do odd movements that make for WAY too many "thats what she said" jokes, and why do we push our bodies til we feel like death? 

    My main answers to that question are:

    #1 We do it because we're all obviously a little messed up in the head and in Crossfit, being crazy = being badass .

    #2 We do it so that we can give back to this "thing" (crossfit) that has changed  all of our lives. 

    I don't know about you guys, but I can honestly say that, without Crossfit, I would be in a completely different place in my life.  I would probably be making millions as a rapper.  (kidding, but not really) 

    But its true! I would not be in San Diego, working for the best gym EVER, and I would not be traveling around the world getting to coach and meet so many amazing individuals.  I wouldn't have any friends other than my mom (maybe not even her. kidding mom. but not really) because all my friends are Crossfitters, and I wouldn't have the pleasure of looking at people's facial expression every time I tell them I'm going to be teaching them about the snatch!

    My life would be completely different.  My life would be way less fergaliciously awesome.  

    Crossfit has provided all of us with so many great opportunities.  It has changed the way we look, the way we act, and the way that we view ourselves.  It has given all of us confidence that we never knew we possessed.  And THAT, my friends, is a beautiful thing.  There is something about beating a previous time in a WOD, or hitting a new clean and jerk record, or doing a workout as prescribed for the first time that makes us feel like we did something amazing.  Like we did something worth while.  Like we did something that we can be proud of.  All of those things are soothing for our souls. And, I dont know about you, but I LOVE a good, soothed soul.    

    This post has gotten way out of hand with all the randomness and cheesiness.  So I'm gonna stop.  But, think about what crossfit has done for you.  Maybe that will explain why you workout in strange parking lots and why you choose to push yourself to the point were death seems more appealing than doing one more thruster, and why you risk sounding like a complete hoochie mama when you try explaining to someone that you had 7 different coaches working on your snatch at the last olympic lifting certification. 

    keep it sassy.  

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    What is death?

    Dont let your starting position look like this:

    There are three questions that every single human being will ask at least once in their lifetime:

    #1  Why, when taking a nap, is it more comfortable to sleep on top of a well made bed as opposed to being under the covers?

    #2 Why did the oompaloompas change colors from the very first Willy Wonka movie to the more modern one?

    #3 What is death? 

    Well I'm here to answer question #3.  

    Death comes in three forms:

    1) Rounding the back when pulling weight off the ground.
     If you do not tighten everything that can possibly be tightened when pulling a barbell off the ground, you. are. going. to. die. What happens is that the bar starts to pull you WAY far forward and when that happens, you've lost control of the weight.  Not being in control of the weight means that you cannot use your great technique to get that barbell over your head.  Instead,the bar will be flying all over the place.  Trust me, that is NOT a pretty sight...  And we're all about being pretty.  So squeeze your back shoulder blades together, get your chest up, shift your weight back onto your heels, AND THEN proceed to lift the bar off the ground.        

    2) Not fully extending AKA not finishing
    Some people LOVE the feeling of the bar hitting them right in the face, but I personally do not love it.  I don't know why, but I just never wake up in the morning and say,  " You know what I would really love today?  A good smack in the face by a heavy barbell!" Call me crazy, but that's just me.  SO, if you're on the same page as me, take my advice and FINISH your pull.  A good finish ( and by finish i mean the movement, not a Finish person) is with the body fully extended, a big proud chest at the top, and the shoulders slightly behind the barbell. That will allow for a great path for that barbell to travel straight up.  If your finish is with your hips vertical, but your shoulders hunched over the bar, you're inhibiting that bar from taking the path that it wants to take in life, so in turn, it will smack you in the face or be out in front of you in a position where you cannot stand up with it cause its too far forward. (talk about a run on sentence) Anyways,  it's a mutual relationship here people.  Love the bar, let it take it's desired path in life (which is going over your head) by getting your chest and face out of the way, and it will do good things for you.   

    3) Not flipping the hook grip out on the turnover on the clean
    I've seen broken wrists TOO many times from slow elbows on a clean.  Fred Lowe, a million time Olympian, was helping me at my cert this past weekend in Chicago.  He said the greatest quote EVER... "The turnover is an attitude".  He is totally right.  Turning those elbows around FAST and with a "junk yard dog" (as my dad likes to say) attitude, is the only way you will not die on a clean.  And the only way to get that incredibly ghettofabulous fast turnover, is by flipping your hook grip out and letting that bar land back on your finger tips with your elbows WAY high up.  Keeping the hook grip means low elbows, which means all the weight is on your arms, which means arms hitting the knees at the bottom of the squat, which means broken wrist, which means death.  Got it? Think about turning the elbows ALL the way around (flipping the hook grip out) the same time that the feet hit the ground.  MAKE THE LIFT SNAPPY!

    Dont make me post a video of some guy doing a clean with slow elbows and his wrists are flying all over the place hitting people in the audience in the face.  They show those videos enough on the news.  Which pisses me off, btw.  But thats a whole different blog post for a whole different time. 

    keep it sassy. 

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    pretty much the fastest burgener warm up in all of existence

    So, I was in Florida visiting my bestest friend for a week and was without a computer, so dont sue me for not updating my blog.  I was told that I apologize all the time for not updating my blog, yet still continue to not update it, so Im just going to stop apologizing so that I'm not looked upon as a liar.  I got a rep to keep up, yo.  

    First off, I would like all of you to know that I got shoes that say fergilicious on them.  They're pretty much the coolest things ever. 

    Second, a lot of people have been asking me "Sage, I am just SO perplexed! What iiiisss the REAL Burgener Warm-up? I've seen so many different versions and it has been giving me extreme anxiety not knowing which one I should follow!" (thats exactly how they said it too, im sure of it!)  Well! I'm here to clear things up for ya'll.  The burgener warm up HAS been modified slightly over the  years, so I want to give you guys the most updated version cause I'm a nice person AND I don't want you to feel out of the loop. 

    1-2-3- Down and up: you have a Snatch grip, the hook grip OF COURSE. You dip straight down drive straight up and shrug at the top. Dont lean forward when you dip, that is a different position. (this is pretty much the jump)

    4-5-6- Elbows high and outside: this is followed by the down and up and you continue with your elbows going high and outside (hence the name).  This helps to keep the bar close to your body. Always make sure the elbows are above the wrist.

    7-8-9- muscle snatch.  NO REBENDING OF THE KNEES OR ILL HIT YOU WITH A PVC PIPE.  This helps with the snappy turn over.  Its a muscled movement (hence the name..again.. We like to keep things simple. K.I.S.S. keep it simple stupid-michael scott) so you don't want to be thinking about getting underneath it, that will make you rebend your knees and that's bad!

    10-11-12- snatch land- this helps with footwork. The bar stays overhead after the muscle snatch and we have people land in a two inch depth squat, a 4 inch depth squat, and then a 6 inch depth squat.  All above parallel, but working on getting lower (this helps with practicing meeting the bar at different heights) without throwing the feet out.  You want your feet to be in the EXACT same position every time no matter what depth of squat you are in.  Kapeesh?

    13-14-15- Snatch drops- this again helps with footwork.  The bar is still overhead and you pretend there is a trap door under your feet and DROP all the way down into a overhead squat AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!!! DROP IT LIKE ITS HOT, YO.  again, make sure that your feet are hitting the same landing position every time.  Dont throw those kicks (ghetto term for shoes) out wide trying to get depth. Squat to get depth. 

    This is probably THE worst burgener warm up technique wise, but get over it. It was hella (nor cal version of saying EXTREMELY) fast.  

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Love me some OHS

    So as I was cleaning my house today, I remembered the thousands of times I have been asked how to improve flexibility on the OHS.  I am STOKED (for the old folks out there, stoked means "so excited") that people ask me this because alls it means is that they want to get better at the best movement in the whole entire world! 

    The solution is simple: DO MORE OVERHEAD SQUATS.
    Whether you are cleaning the house, rearranging furniture or threatening your kids by tossing them over your head to prove your insurmountable feats of strength, you can always be practicing your overhead squat position.  Its one of those things where stretching your shoulders, loosening up your hip flexors, improving your ankle mobility, etc will ALL benefit you, but you really just have to DO the movement as much as possible to really get better at it.  Your body has to get used to finding the right muscles to fire and finding its balance. The only way to do that is to allow the body to feel the movement as much as possible. (AMAP)

     I know its a foreign movement being down in a squat with your hands out wide and heavy weight in your hands. Its anything but comfortable. But like everyone says.. "get comfortable with being uncomfortable". 

    You should be able to OHS anything from a pvc pipe to a toyota camry, but when someone is struggling getting in the overhead squat position with a pvc pipe, I usually put a LITTLE weight in their hands (like a 15-33 lb bar) and that generally allows them to sit a little more comfortably in the squat position (if they stay tight and keep the bar back behind the ears allowing their body to support the weight) because something is weighing them down. However, like I said, your goal should be to squat a pvc pipe and a heavy weight exactly the same. Kapeesh?  

    So, if your heels come off the ground in a squat, if your shoulders are so tight that the bar wont go back behind your ears, if your torso leans way far forward when trying to get into the OHS, know that these are all common flexibility issues.  Work on flexibility on the side, but for the most part, grab your swiffer and get your booty overhead squatting! 

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    One of my bestest friends in the whole entire world, Kaia, recently lifted in her first weightlifting competition ever.  She was extremely nervous (if you're not nervous before a competition, there is something seriously wrong with you) and was beginning to question her amazing lifting abilities.  Anyways, despite all the nerves and doubts, she ended up having the most amazing meet ever, going 5 for 6 and pr'ing about 27 times.  It's one thing to be nervous before a competition, but its another thing to be able to control the nerves and use them to your advantage.  And that is exactly what she did.  

    Her competition experience inspired me to write this rap.  

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    size fetus

    Oh herro! So, ya, thats me snatching like .7 kgs back in the day lookin like a criminal and stuff in my prisoner singlet. When I found this picture, it reminded me of the many atimes when people have asked me about little kids weightlifting and what I thought about it. I am obsessed with little kids and I am obsessed with weightlifting and it's common knowledge that the two things you are obsessed with HAVE to go good together. But let me further explain the benefits of lifting weights as a wee one (all my friends in Ireland will be proud of me for using "wee")

     First off, let me start off by saying that I have been lifting since I was four (competing since I was six), and even though I am a little (ok so maybe more than a little..) crazy in the region between my ears, I turned out to be ghettofabulous

    What weightlifting has done for me:
    1) Taught me body awareness. Body awareness is SO important and can make learning new things a heck of a lot easier. Weightlifting is great for body awareness because you are lifting a heavy a$$ weight over your head, and if you have no idea where your body is in conjunction with the bar, then you're basically screwed.  Lifting teaches you to be in tune to each little movement of each little body part.  

    2) Taught me how to focus under stress. The great thing about lifting is the competition aspect.  You work hard for months and months, and then you get to take all that hard work and perform in front of a crowd and in front of judges.  As great as it is, it is also makes you want to pee your pants from nerves! Its just you and the bar up on a platform in the middle of a huge room with thousands of eyes looking at you.  Scary or not, it is a great thing for a young kid to experience because you have to learn how to block out distraction and perform under great a deal of stress. That focus transfers over to almost every other aspect of life that requires focus. 

    3) Learned what it meant to be dedicated to something. Weightlifting taught me how to be committed to something and how to STAY committed even if I hit a rocky road (mmm makes me think of ice cream).  that commitment did interfere with my social life with friends, but not enough to make me resent the sport. The rewards I received from the years of hard work i put in, far exceeded the sacrifices I had to make. I learned to set goals for myself and learned that I could reach each goal with my persistence and dedication. Reaching goals, is an important feeling for kids to experience and weightlifting gives you so many opportunities to do just that. 

    4) Most importantly, weightlifting gave me confidence in myself. There is something about walking up on a platform, approaching a heavy weight, feeling afraid, and lifting that bar over your head that makes you feel such self satisfaction and makes you feel extremely proud of yourself.  The feeling of conquering your fears is a hard feeling to match. We all fear, yet we all have a choice: Do we let that fear control us? or do we control the fear? Olympic lifting allows you to feel that fear, accept that fear, and then punch that fear in the face, one lift at a time. With each fear you face, new confidence is brought about and you grow as a person. You grow as a person who believes in his or herself more and more each day. And to believe in ourselves (as children or adults) is the hardest feat that most of us will ever have to face.  

    Weightlifting did great things for me. I can honestly say that I would be a completely different person if I didn't have olympic lifting in my life. It shaped me into the woman that I am and I am SO grateful for that.  It is why I blog all these corny blog posts to ya'll.  I want to give back and help you all to feel the benefits that olympic lifting has had on my life. I want ya'll to love it as much as me. 

    I think I completely got off topic...

    keep it sassy

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Get up off my grill, son!

    Why all you mutha suckas be up in my grill bout my updating of my blog? 

    You know that whole thing where people want what they can't have? My blog updates are kind of like that.  I'm trying to play hard to get via blogging.  If I updated every 5 seconds, then ya'll wouldnt even read this shananigans anymore! Youd be off cheating on me with some blog about low bar backsquatting and power lifting. ;) 

    Now that we all understand each other, lets move onto the important stuff: ice cream.  Thats what I'm blogging about, right? I can't remember if I'm supposed to be blogging about ice cream or oly lifting. I guess I'll just write about both today because I had a magical experience with ice cream on Friday night.... 

    I had just finished a killer workout.. literally... Cj is trying to kill us... and I decided that there was nothing more I could ever want in the world than some nice, cold, delicious ice cream. So, I left the gym and proceeded to purchase a pint of ben and jerry's coffee and heath bar ice cream thinking that I was just going to take a couple bites and then continue on with my paleolithic lifestyle. but NOOOO I got home, turned on the tube which automatically killed about 80 brain cells, and ate that whole frackin pint in about 7 minutes.  Let me just tell YOU.. that was THE best 7 minutes of my life... minus the loss of brain cells.. but its ok because I have plenty ;)


    tip of the day:
    Some people have been telling me that they jump back when they snatch and clean.  Is that good or bad?  
    WELLLL.. Ideally, you want to be jumping straight up and down.  That tells me that your hips are moving vertically and that makes the bar move vertically and that's what we want to see.  Jumping back is OK, but you have to remember to be Compton Hard.. aka really aggressive when turning that bar over. Think about it this way... if you jump back, bring the bar back with you.  That is the only way you wont miss that bar out in front of you.  

    So, jumping straight up and down is ideal, jumping back happens, but never  jump forward..EVER...  even if there's a fire. If you jump forward, it either means that you swung the bar out, or that you banged it off your hips, or that you were extending with your shoulders forward, rather than having those shoulder back behind the bar when you extend.  capeesh? 

    keep it sassy

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    im sorry, ok?!

    I know.. I know.. 

    I haven't updated my blog in what seems like an eternity (according to my friend Mike Gray).  He practically chewed my head off and then proceeded to force Round Table Pizza and Ben and Jerry's (cinnabun AND mint and chip) down my throat.  MESSED UP.  

    Anywayssssss.. I've basically been running around like B Spears with her hair shaved off trying to persuade a million and four people that they should listen to me when I coach them in the oly lifts.  It's working out pretty well for me...until I make people drop and give me burpees.  That's when things really start to get interesting..

    I just got back from a roadtrip to BFE (aka Fresno..aka a town built specifically off of U-turns..aka if my driving instincts weren't equivalent to that of a GPS, we would probably be in Tijuana ) where I taught the olympic lifting certification. We went to Crossfit FTF which was a frackin awesome box.  Check that shiza out if you're wanting to take a trip to Cali (I mean.. who wouldn't!?!?! minus the fact that there is SUV size rain drops falling from the sky right now) The group we taught was really talented and showed a lot of progress throughout the weekend.. but the whole point of this post is to talk about some of the common errors I am seeing at certifications.  

    #1 Banging the bar off the thighs.  
    If you were ever involved with a high school sport, you were most likely taught to make contact with that bar at the hip region by thrusting those hips horizontally.  NEGATIVE GHOSTRIDER!! The bar DOES want to stay in contact with your thighs as you pull the bar off the ground, but there should never be a banging/horizontal hip thrust as you go to jump that bar over your head.  The only contact there should be is a slight brush STRAIGHT up off the hips.  The hips moving vertically=the bar moving vertically. The hips moving horizontal/banging the bar=the bar shooting forward=ugly snatch.  See? simple physics..

    #2 The bar pausing at the mid thigh region
    Because these lifts are so technical, we teach them broken down into segments.  So, naturally, as you go to do an actual snatch or clean and jerk, you're going to be thinking about hitting each position that we teach. (below knee, mid-thigh, pockets, jump and shrug, elbows high and outside, aggressive turn over, stay tight.. aka CRAP LOAD of information) HOWEVAAHHH.. I need these movements to be fluid off the ground.  You want to make sure that you PASS through each position and never STOP.  If you stop, you're just taking away all the momentum that you've generated during previous positions.  So, if you pause at mid thigh, you're going to have to try to regenerate all the momentum that you've built up on that bar from floor-below the knee.  Only now, you are higher up on your thighs, so you don't have as much time and therefore wont be able to put as much speed on the bar.  Make sense? If it doesn't, keep re-reading it. 

    So that's all the information I'm going to put out today.  Don't wanna turn this entry into a flippin Harry Potter novel.  Stay tuned...

    keep it sassy

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    can you do me a favor, and like.. not talk for a second

    First attempt... stupid Nate..

    Finally got Nate to pipe down with the unnecessary gruntage while benching.. so here is a video of me demonstrating and BRIEFLY explaining the skill transfer exercises. In the future, I will go more in depth with each one individually, but here's just to get you started.  Warm up your necks because ya'll are gonna have to watch it sideways.  Im not so techno saavy and cant figure out how to rotate it... dont judge..

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    get ready...

    Its about to get sentimental all up in this joint...

    Gather round and let me tell you all a story..

    It was a dark and stormy night at the Invictus gym (not really, it was actually yesterday afternoon in sunny California) and inside the gym, there was me and M (my roomie and one of my favorite people on this earth) getting our pump on..cause thats just what we do when she isnt trying to clean and jerk me

    CJ, who is pretty much the meanest/non merciful/greatest coach ever, was putting us through workouts (yes.. there was more than one) that a)made me throw up (literally..) b) made me truly believe with my whole heart that death was the most appealing thing EVER and c) despite how much i love him, made me want to punch CJ in the face until my knuckle bones were exposing themselves. 

    So anyways, we were doing these workouts from hell and I found myself slowly start to slip into my normal "I'm really doing bad. I'm getting a horrible time. I'm feeling sorry for myself" mode. I could feel myself falling farther and farther into that negative mindset and before I knew it, the workout was over and I didn't have time to snap out of it and "man-up" and switch back into thinking positive.  So, the workout was over and I was stretching (which i never do.. BUT ya'll betta! ) and I was feeling disappointed not so much in my performance, but in myself for letting all that doubt and negativity consume me.  I ended up leaving the gym, a place where you go to workout and release endorphins, shake off stress, and have fun with the people you love (all while feeling better about yourself), more upset than when I arrived. 

    I knew I needed to do some major self evaluation, so I went home and tried to think about what separates me from all of those amazing crossfit athletes that KILL workouts day after day.  The first person that came to mind was my roomate and best friend, Michele, who competed in the Games and is officially the 23rd most fit person on the planet.  I thought about how she came into the gym after weeks of not training and was still smoking the workouts left and right. And throughout her smokage (yes thats a word) a glimmer of self doubt never crossed her face. Thats when I realized that Michele looks at a gym and working out for what it truly is: a place where you go to workout and release endorphins, shake off stress, and have fun with the people you love, all while feeling better about yourself. She doesn't make working out her life and she DEFINITELY does not let her performance in a workout dictate how she looks at herself as a person (something I, myself, am extremely guilty of).  

    I guess my whole point of going on this rant is to encourage you all to not be so hard on yourselves. It's ok if you don't finish first in a workout.  Don't beat yourself up if you dont get a PR on a day when you're maxing out. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to be the best ALL the time. Look around you and realize that you are with amazing people and you're just sharing one moment in time with them via working out.  You can't enjoy the product, if you don't truly enjoy the process.  

    WELL! now that I have THAT out of my system.. I will answer one of the questions I got when I asked what to post about on this sucka..

    "Why do I jump forward on the snatch balance? Oh, and how do I quit that crap?"

    - When you find yourself jumping forward on ANY movement, it typically means that you are kicking your hips horizontally rather than getting them vertical.  Us human beings generally think that, for whatever reasons, speed is generated through a stupid hip thrust forward.  This is NOT the case!! You generate speed by jumping and shrugging and letting your hips pop straight up aggressively.  
    So, lets just say that you are jumping forward on a snatch.  What that means is that your hips are going horizontal which makes the bar kick out in front of you and then you have to jump forward so that you are able to get under the weight. Bad Bad stuff.  
    SOLUTION!!!!!!! (too many exclamation points?)  Get some chalk and draw a line on the ground (nothing more than a line because then you'll just piss your gym owner off and then you'll end up saying "Sage told me to" and then I'LL be the one getting in trouble. And if that happens, I'll be pissed) Line your toes up with that perfectly straight line and then do your snatch (or whatever movement you're doing) and focus on not jumping over the line.  Usually that will get you moving in a vertical fashion rather than a horizontal one.  

    WHEW !! That was long!! THE END!

    keep it sassy

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Happy new year everyone! I hope all of your new year resolutions consist of something to do with bettering your technique in the olympic lifts.  

    For New Year's Eve, my family did a talent show.  Above, you will see a video of my brother Cody during HIS talent show. He is expressing himself as an individual by singing Bspear's "Hit Me Baby One More Time".  We are all just so proud of him and hope that all of you will vote for him on a future season of American Idol.  

    Tip of the day:
    If you are having trouble feeling strong in your starting position, or you are letting your hips shoot up too soon off the ground, try practicing regular AND snatch-grip deadlifts (or pulls) while standing on a plate or blocks.  This puts the bar a little lower than normal and  makes the movement feel WAY harder because your muscles arent used to being in that low of a position.  I used to do these a lot because my starting position just always felt weak.  No matter how many deadlifts I did, I just couldnt seem to feel confident pulling the weight off the ground.  After I started deadlifting off of a plate, when I switched back to regular deadlifts, I felt way more solid.  It just works all the muscles in a different way.  While doing this movement, it is really easy to let those hips shoot up right away, really focus on keeping those hips down and keeping the back angle the same. Remember to feel a lot of tension in your legs as you are pulling that bar off the ground.   

    Here is a video of what Im trying to explain to ya'll!