Archive for the ‘Crossfit Masters Training’ Category

The first thing Zach, our Olympic lifting coach, taught us in his Sunday morning Oly lifting class was how to address the barbell. He clearly was not as amused as I was when I chimed in, “Good Morning, Mr. Bar!”

Addressing the bar is very important and there is one thing that Zach never, ever wants you to do. Bend over, grab the bar and then roll it back and forth a few times. Zach hates this. I mean he really, really hates this. He tells us this every class: “Don’t do this,” Zach says, rolling the bar back and forth in front of him. “You’ll look like a fuckin’ idiot. I hate this.”


Zach, my coach, played professional R-U-G-B-Y. He also wears socks with kitties on them.

Next question: “Where do your feet go – and don’t say under the bar!” Zach hates it when people say under the bar. He tells us this every class, too. The bar should be directly over the spot on your foot where your toes meet your foot. Gotcha.

We work on snatch progressions, from the floor, from below the knee, from above the knee, from position two, from the power position. We work on making contact with the bar.

I tend to “hump” the bar instead of jump with it, which prompts Zach to tell me, for the millionth time, “More jumpy, jumpy. Less humpy, humpy.” Gotcha. (This guy is going to make a great dad someday.)

I also tend to pull on the bar with my arms instead of driving with my legs. Your arms, Zach explains, should be “like spaghetti strings” and shakes his huge arms at me. Gotcha.

Now comes my favorite Zachism, which comes in three variations:

“Get under the bar.”



I haven’t really gotten that one yet. My instincts tells me NOT to throw heavy objects above my head and then jump under them and try to catch them. I saw Wile E. Coyote do that once and it didn’t end well for Mr. Coyote. Zach says I will lose that fear when the bar actually drops on my head. Gotcha. (Remember, Zach played R-U-G-B-Y.)

Zach demonstrates how to “GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR” and he makes it look so simple, so effortless. I ask him to do it again, and he does it again, just as effortlessly as the first time. I would ask him to do it a third time – just for yucks – but Zach played R-U-G-B-Y and now wears socks with kitties on them. Swear to God. You don’t want to yuck around with a retired professional R-U-G-B-Y player in kitty socks.








There really is no elegant way for a woman my age to say this, but my snatch was on fire this morning!

Okay. Enough with the double entendres – I won’t share with you details of my explosive hips or random utterances of how good it feels. Seriously, my snatch was something to behold – at least I thought so.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Granted, I did not have much weight on the bar – a measly 45# – but I have not even attempted a snatch in weeks so I was anxious to see whether all the resistance work with chains and bands had paid off. Man, did it ever. I threw that sucker over my head like it was nothing and then I dropped down into a deep overhead squat over and over.

It not only felt good, it felt comfortable and fast. I had a feeling – a hope – that the Westside Barbell training I had been doing would give me the power and strength I desperately need. It did.

I am completely smitten with Westside. It makes sense to me and I need more things in my life that make sense. The training is hard – not just because it takes a lot of time but because I’m working little teeny, weeny muscles that I didn’t even know I had and they hurt like hell. (more…)

I have been to the mountaintop and there are a couple of bald guys up there who know how to lift some serious weight – like the kind of numbers that need commas.

Yes, I am talking about the legendary Louie Simmons and Shane Sweatt of Westside Barbell. A month ago I had never heard of Westside Barbell but I drank the Kool-Aid the at CrossFit Powerlifting Cert at our box a couple of weeks ago and now I am a groupie.

Louie Simmons: Need I say more?

Louie Simmons: Need I say more?

In fact, I just spent a glorious Sunday afternoon here in South Florida watching Louie Simmons videos on YouTube and reading articles about the Westside method instead of going to the beach.

Let’s just say that Westside Barbell is to powerlifting what Graceland is to Elvis fans. More world records have come from athletes that trained at Westside than any other gym in the world.

Which puts Louie Simmons right up there with Elvis, except Louie’s fan base is a little smaller and he doesn’t wear a white bell-bottomed jumpsuit.

Louie didn’t actually teach the Powerlifting Cert. That was done by Shane Sweatt, who has trained at Westside along with his wife Laura Phillips Sweatt, who has broken more than 40 powerlifting world records. (more…)

Badass CrossFitters of a Certain Age with combined 99 years between them

Badass CrossFitters of a Certain Age with combined 99 years between them

Lynn and I started working out together a couple of weeks ago and already I can feel a big difference. Training takes on new meaning and fun when you’re doing it with someone as crazy as you. Lynn is 45 and she runs like a bunny on crack – FAST.

Today we paired up for Barbells for Boobs. Helen meet Grace (of was it Grace meets Helen?) Anyway, we were the only girls at CrossFit Cityplace to RX (95#) and we have a combined age of 99!  Our time: 16:36 – not too shabby.

Somewhere – probably over some frickin’ rainbow – lies my graceful, silent 75# snatch. The one with the perfect pull and bump. Fast and confident.  It’s a beautiful thing, unlike my current #75 snatch

I’m taking it as a sign from above that so many of my workouts lately have included snatches. I work my way up to 75# and not only do I look like an old lady trying to throw a 75# bar over her head, I sound like I’m in Quentin Tarrantino murder scene.

English: Frederick Winters during 1904 Summer ...

English: Frederick Winters during 1904 Summer Olympics Русский: Фредерик Уинтерс во время летних Олимпийских игр 1904 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not a pretty sight or sound.

Once I was accused of being patient. Once. Patience is not one of a my virtues. I want my 75# snatch and I want it now. I did two during a WOD last week. Just two. And I maxed out at 65# during a snatch workshop a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was PR-ing all over the place and there was me, stuck at 65#.

There’s just something unnatural about throwing a 75# bar over my head. I’ve been trying to figure out how a snatch can be considered a “functional movement.”

I clearly see how squats are functional. Everyone else in the nursing home is going to wish they had done squats like me when they’re stuck on the toilet and can’t get up.  Deadlifts already come in handy for picking up those 50-pound bags of dog food – which are a much better deal than the little 5-pound bag a lot of seniors have to buy.

But how is a snatch a functional movement? It’s not like I’m going to snatch a couple of my future grand-kids off the floor, throw them over my head and then drop them to the floor. Seriously, what am I going to snatch when I’m 75-years-old?

Maybe I’ll just be snatching barbells when I’m 75. That would actually be very cool. Screw functionality.

After last Sunday’s embarrassing performance at the RAID 4 Games – especially those 75# snatches – I needed something to lift my spirits. I got it yesterday.

A two-mile run for time in the blazing South Florida midday sun: 16:03. Thank GOD I’m still good at something – running. Too bad Crossfit competitions don’t have more running and less snatching.

I took a couple of days off after RAID and eased back into it on Wednesday. While doing a ladder of back squats at progressively heavier weights, I felt a sharp pain on the left side of my back while coming out of a 125# squat – heavy, but not exactly a PR.

I was so ticked off that I walked it off, put my belt back on and tried again with 95#. Again, sharp pain that made me yelp. Never should have tried it again. Don’t know what I was thinking. I was just frustrated and still stinging from RAID. I figured I was going to be out for awhile with a back injury.

Weird thing was, the next morning my back actually felt better. For the last couple of months the lower left side of my back had been extremely tight. I stretched and stretched and stretched but I could not seem to get out this strange, deep knot.

It felt like it just needed a good crack and everything would again flow. Crazy as it sounds, I think that back squat did the trick and opened it up.

Something similar happened about 10 years ago. I was walking my dog, a big, manic Weimaraner, and was not paying attention when she suddenly bolted after a squirrel. My neck snapped, I heard a crack and the next morning it hurt like hell. Weimaraner whiplash.

I went to the chiropractor and did all the exercises and stretches I was told to do but still, it hurt. About a year later I went skiing. I raced on the high school ski team and sometimes I forget that I graduated in 1977 – in the last millennium!

I was skiing way to fast and fell. CRACK. My neck snapped. Visions of me in a neck brace filled my head. Oddly, though, my neck felt much looser. I got up the next morning expecting to be in pain and unable to ski. Instead, my head was as loose as a bobble head. It felt sore, but great!

I don’t advise being your own chiropractor. Yes, it’s cheaper and you can do it at the convenience of your own box or ski slope, but I could have been hurt very badly.

I tried a few front squats on Thursday after 30 minutes of hip and back stretching. Viola! No pain and a very deep squat. I am staying away from the heavy weights for awhile. My coach wants to work on strengthening my obliques and core. Still, the unhinging of my back coupled with a 16:03 two-mile run in the hot sun and I’m feeling much better – at least in my head.


Sometimes, when get an email from my coach, Matt, and I read the hellacious workout he has planned for me, I imagine him sitting in front of his computer, conniving like Dr. Evil: “Ha! Let’s see if she will actually attempt this!”

I always do. Still, I  wonder if he’s trying to kill me.brewstermainDr It’s hard work and after awhile I ask myself, “Am I getting any better or just looking like an idiot?” Well, last night I got my answer.

I dropped nearly two minutes off my Helen PR. I’m down to 11:38. And I know if I wasn’t in South Florida in the middle of July, in a box without AC and it wasn’t 90+ degrees and 110% humidity, I might be able to go even faster. (There isn’t enough chalk in the universe to keep me from flying off the pull-up bar when my hands get that sweaty.)

Finally, progress. REAL progress. For a 54-year-old woman, I’ll take an 11:38 Helen. I think I’ll hang on to my coach, too.