Friday, March 22, 2013

Olympic Weightlifting with Coach Mike Burgener: Recap

If you attend CrossFit Classes or follow the methods for any length of time, you will eventually learn the Olympic lifts and incorporate them into your strength sets and Wods. Coach Mike Burgener is the ground floor of Olympic lifting for CrossFit and has trained several Olympians and many many elite athletes with his methods for over 40 years. When I had the opportunity to take a course with Coach and his team I jumped on it by signing up six months in advance to ensure my spot. I am still very new to the Olympic lifts and have hesitated working on them heavy before Coach B could give me his solid training. 
I wanted so badly to soak up what I could from the intense 14 hours given in the training course. You could tell withing the first 5 minutes, everyone was looking to impress, and Coach was going to have fun torturing all the over achievers...the over thinkers...the ones afraid to mess up. Me.
I know its all in fun to issue "motivational consequences" and nutty instruction to try and trip us up, but fortunately my class was on game. We killed the tasks! Mostly...
anyway, no burpees on the first round of challenges. 

My backpack was pulling on my sweatshirt making me look like a dork. Yay for dork pictures.

 After a long morning learning the basics of snatch practice and forms, we broke for lunch. I didn't have a ride into town from the facility we were working in so I brought my lunch. I'm SO GLAD I did. Coach B loves to tell stories and talk with athletes. As almost everyone else left for lunch, I was a captive audience for Coach! He and I talked family, CrossFit, teaching in public school PE programs (my former life and his) and I thoroughly enjoyed his company for the hour..

After lunch it was back to the gym for more snatch work and lots of individual athlete analysis! I wish I had taken the time to use my Coach's Eye App for the Snatch work but here is one of my better lifts for clean and jerk. I still have a long way to go on form and speed but I am getting it! Today I got a 10 pound PR from this past weekend.

After 7 hours of constant movement and brain overload I collapsed into a heap at Red Robin and enjoyed a giant burger and caffeine filled beverage.
I was in bed by 9pm and slept badly in a hotel bedroom on a queen bed with Mr Dad. We don't sleep in hotel rooms well, both of us struggled to settle down. So, when day two began at 8am, I was still fatigued from the day before.

Day two went much better that the first. Maybe because I enjoy the clean and jerk more, maybe because I was more comfortable with the set-up. Either way, my body and mind fell into the groove faster and with more ease.

Someone must have discovered my lunch date with Coach B on Saturday because many folks stuck around to chat and learn during lunch on Sunday. It was so funny to watch all these guys scan their brains to find topics to throw at our teacher. Coach ate it up and loved the attention no matter the ridiculous question he may have been asked. I guess you have to be that kind of person to be a "celebrity". Coach Bergener is a CrossFit Celeb for sure. He resonates the foundation of the sport and the raw information available to all those who seek it. Did you know he opens his garage on weekends he is home to anyone who wants coaching on lifts? Free world class coaching. How amazing is that?

As we moved to the gym for the final few hours of our training, we were able to once again turn to each other for athlete analysis and individual coaching from the staff. My awkward body is getting more fluid with the moves and were were given the green light for some weight on the bars. Finally some feedback beyond a 1/2 pound PVC pipe! I didnt want to go heavy, I just wanted enough to get the moves under some weight. I stopped at #115 more from fatigue and restraint that inability to preform. Many folks went with the notion of 1 rep max time! Now, I'm not poo-pooing the idea of loading the bar heavy for the class, I just found working the moves to be my main focus. I couldn't help but smirk again as that certain demographic went searching for every weight in the building to put on and impress each other. Why is it important for some to compromise all the form work just to max more than one another at a certification class? It's not a strong man competition!
But it is important to keep those forms we drilled in all weekend...
I was finishing one of my last lifts of the day when one of the guys in my group pointed out I had not put my grip correctly on the bar. 
AAAAAHHHHHHH! NO HOOK GRIP!!! The big NO-NO. Ugh, I wasn't done setting up there...guy. Thanks.
Jokes on him though! Coach B had overheard his anxious attempt to find fault with me and Coach wins again! No burpees had been issued all weekend. Yes, thanks to my NO HOOK GRIP I was forced to watch the whole class do 5 burpees in my honor. 
Well, OK. Fine by me! It was all in fun and Coach was all smiles at the triumph of finding the mistake. I was laughing at the guy who pointed out the mistake in the first place. HA! Have fun with your burpees guy.
Later Coach came up and thanked me for providing his win for the weekend and ability to give burpees.  I told him I was happy to be the key to his success. I haven't "forgotten" my hook grip since.

I loved the weekend with Olympic Lifting. It was amazing! I can't wait to continue improving my form so I can help others in my gym too. Also, I was so inspired, I signed up to learn from more Olympic lifters in June! I will attend the Colorado Springs, CO Oly Lifting trainer Level 1 course. Woohoo! I cant wait to be on campus with the Olympians! More on that when it comes...

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