Archive for April, 2010

It’s simple… Get your ass under the bar

Posted in Interviews on April 10, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

So I was planning on writing a long post about not being afraid to try lots of attempts at heavy Olympic lifts, even if you’ve missed say 10 times in a row. I was gonna talk in the same post about the Bulgarian system which emphasizes lifting constantly close to 1RMs. Where  multiple failures before a successful lift are is a norm.

In our program , it’s not uncommon for a time cap to be placed on sets. A simple example would be giving a athlete 12 minutes to establish a max with a twist like a power clean and split jerk 1rm. This in place of the traditional snatch 1-1-1-1-1 gives the athlete as many attempts as they want while keeping a bit of urgency to the lifts. But there also is a time to take as long as you want – even hours – hitting lift after lift until you achieve your goal.

Now I could ramble on all day about this, but there will be a future post about the Bulgarian system which will be making an appearance in one of our gyms future Caliber Cycles. But for today, I have my own training to attend to and the fact that I’m still a bit distracted by the good news I received last night. My brother Jaime took 5th in the Blue Belt Absolute (open weight) Division at his first Pan Ams! This is really exciting because Jaime had really leaned out to be in a lower weight class for the tournament. Hey! Strong is strong even if you aren’t even over 200 pounds. So I’ll let this video give you all some more info on repetitive lifting.

Posted by: Z

“King Kong aint got SHIT ON ME!!!”

Posted in Competition on April 9, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Today starts the Pan American championships for Jui Jitsu. My oldest brother Jaime is competing in the Blue belt division. He will be representing Team Foster while down in LA. Good Luck Jaime! I’ll keep you all posted, Old Country Strong is about getting out and getting it done, nothing is more old school then combat sports.

Posted by: Z

A good post from 70’s

Posted in Articles on April 7, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

“Figure it out”

Look, I know a lot of you are training out of CrossFit facilities. There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. But, most people wanting to get better at doing CrossFit stuff will do so by getting stronger. This isn’t new, we’ve been saying it for a while. It may not be in everyone’s best interest to weigh 260+ and be a lifter. That is okay, although the lot of you guys reading the site are horrendously underweight, regardless if you compete in anything or not.

My friend Gant moved up a weight class in Judo (from 90kg to 100kg) and has won his last two tournaments. The point is that he maintains a bodyweight below 220, but still has the 70’s Big mindset. He strength trains properly and conditions very well for his sport. Oh, and he also eats like a man should: heartily. Actually being big enough to be considered 70’s Big will not be in everyone’s best interest, but the quest of 70’s Big is one that aims to get stronger and improve.

“The Scott” is a good example of this. He’s a guy who got involved with CrossFit after a period of dicking around in gyms, and then got pretty damn strong by lifting and drinking his milk. Recently he competed in two CrossFit competitions; he weighed 215 for the first, and then 205 for the second. During one of these he was interviewed by a camera crew, and they asked him a series of questions. When they finally asked about his beard, Scott replied, “It’s all about 70s Big, bulking, chocolate milk and lifting heavy.” Scott is a patriot.

Oh, for those of you who were upset to see him lose ten pounds, he told me in the e-mail, “I am glad that I’m going back to strength training and minimal [conditioning]. This winter my goal is to [weigh] 225 lbs, a 500 deadlift, 450 squat, 400 bench press, 250 press, and 270 clean and jerk.”

In any case, Scott is a guy who really found his niche by going through CF first. CF can be a gateway to lots of competitive endeavors, yet I still stand by the statement that hardly any people that “do CrossFit” put their necks out on the line to actually compete, and this is an integral part to the whole “70’s Big thing”. If you aren’t interested in powerlifting competitions, or you are unable to get into weightlifting, that is fine. But it is in your best interest to pick something, train for it, and compete in it. You’ll learn more about yourself than you would by just dicking around and hoping you’ll get good at something. Figure it out.

I liked this post and feel it touches on some things I’ve mentioned about setting goals outside the gym. Competition is where we see all of our hard work pay off. It’s why we regularly have competitions, totals, and such at CFWS. It gives our athletes a time to come and really throw down, competition is fun and bar time after always seems that much funnier. So I’ll announce CFWS’s first upcoming “Pipehitters Classic”, details will be coming later. We have the CF Northwest Regionals coming up so expected information before then with the actually comp taking place after.

Posted by: Z

Oh the beauty of online competion…

Posted in Competition on April 6, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Here  is something interesting I found on Australian KettleBells Blog. I’m still very focused on the Crossfit Northwest Regionals that are coming up so no worries. But with my aspirations of becoming a Beast Tamer now, this seems to be another thing to get into my training when the Crossfit season is over. Well this and training for that Crossfit’s Strongest Man rumor I’ve heard buzzing.

The kettlebell strongman/woman competition is a brand new, and very exciting, addition to competitive kettlebell lifting.   We would like to invite everyone from around the world who has a passion for kettlebells to participate in this virtual competition that we’re organising.

Most of you have probably seen Valery Fedorenko’s impressive work with heavy bells, now it’s your turn to give it a shot!

– Here’s a video I like of Fedorenko in case you guys were wondering who he was. – Z

Ok, so what is the strongman comp?

Here’s what I can tell you about the new sport so far:

-NO Weight-Classes!
-ONE Kettlebell contest!
-TWO lifts, Jerk followed by Clean!
-FOUR minute “fast” sets, only one switch of hands!
-HEAVY Pro-Grade Kettlebells used!
-STRICT Judging for maximum safety and fairness!
-RANK SYSTEM Worldwide with online video submission!

Some words from the Champ…

“Kettlebell StrongMan (and StrongWoman) Sport has the potential to outgrow traditional Kettlebell Sport and I’ll tell you why. First, it’s more tolerant of a wide variety of body-types because the lifter uses only one bell. No more excuses from guys about not being able to reach the hip! Second, it’s using a heavier bell range, which leans things towards the STRENGTH side of Strength-Endurance. Third, it’s a shorter set of 4 minutes, not 10. This moves things along faster, allowing more competitors and more excitement for the spectators. Of course I will always have love for my Sport [Kettlebell Sport] but I created StrongMan (and Woman) Sport to open the floodgates on the Worlds greatest Fitness tool. I hope you have found your new Sport!” -Valery Fedorenko

Posted by: Z

It’s not about money… it’s about sending a message.

Posted in Athletes on April 3, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Thought I’d throw a quick post up today for you guys. This one has to do with the athlete in the videos below. Meet Travis Harrison – he is definitely Old Country Strong.  As you can see in the second video, the boy trains in a barn – it doesn’t get much more old school than that. I kept waiting for “Hearts on Fire” from Rocky 4 to be playing in the background. I first heard about Travis on the Crossfit Football board, I was doing the program at the time when that monster number of his got laid out. It was hard to believe until he got called out about it and did it again… FASTER on video.  Sure his pullups don’t exactly count – but I’m more impressed with his thrusters. Those are REALLY FAST!

The other reason I’m posting this is because of the statement he made at his sectionals. In the first video with the “max ground to overhead,” Travis sent a message. He was 40 pounds ahead of the field, so what he do? He goes up another 15 pounds. Travis is a Crossfit Football guy and the program CFWS affiliate team has been following is very similar to CFF.  There was a lot of talk leading up to the sectionals if CFF athletes would do well or not.

Travis had a rough time on the first workout, but come on – it was “row a 1k, then run up a mountain.” There aren’t a lot of big guys that’d like that. But then he rallied back to take second in two of the workouts and win the “ground to overhead.” Travis showed what a barbell heavy program will do – it will get you strong… And also have a neck like a bowling ball, which is pretty sweet.

Travis is video #5

The infamous Gorda Fran response, love the gym

Gotta have Goals

Posted in Lifestyle on April 1, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

In our gym, like many others, we have a goal board. The lists that individuals have posted are quite varied. Some want to hit a certain max lift, others a certain time on a workout. Some have listed a combination of  several of these goals.

It doesn’t stop there –  other objectives include: goal bodyweights, how many times someone will make it into the gym, or simply “still being here next year”.

The funny thing is, no one has listed goals that go on outside the gym walls. We have a number of athletes who are training for events and those individuals training with a end goal in mind. It’s like Johnny always yells at us before a big lift “see it in your mind!”

I always use to write down something before I was gonna go for it, but I for some reason, have stopped doing that.  I didn’t even write down qualify for Regionals before this last sectionals. I have plenty of my goals listed on the walls of CFWS, but none for my personal targets outside the gym.  How about you? I don’t see anything like “pass my physical”, or “win my next fight”, or even “make the Barbell Club” up on our wall.

So, that being said, I have a goal in mind that I’d like to share. In the old strong man days a potential trainee was not even allowed to begin under his coach until he completed a simple task. He had to be able to perform a turkish getup with a hundred pounds with each arm. Well, I’ve done that. I’ve even got up and landed 135 and stood up with 155 (both of these were willing female volunteers, I sure love my job sometimes). But there is something that has crushed me before in the kettlebell world. The Beast Tamer challenge…

I attempted this blindly without even really knowing what it was at my RKC certification, and its a challenge I now feel I must conquer. So if you currently reside at CFWS or ever step inside it’s walls you will notice a new addition. A 106 pound kettlebell now sits by the rack. It’s my goal to bring home the title of Beast Tamer some day.

Goals are key and make training that much more enjoyable when you achieve them. So, it’s good to have established goals that take place both in the gym and outside of your gym as well. The BEAST Tamer Challenge is listed below and it’s my new unicorn. I hope this gets some of you motivated to take on some challenges of your own.

THE BEAST, only a chosen handful of the strong can either press THE BEAST, or do a pistol with THE BEAST or perform a strict weighted tactical pullup with THE BEAST…

It takes tremendous overall strength to achieve all three lifts…  And so far, only 13 RKCs have officially accomplished that impressive feat and been inducted into the BEAST Tamer Hall of Fame:

Posted by Z