Archive for September, 2010

“That Boy is Strong as an Ox…”

Posted in Articles on September 30, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

You’ve heard all the one liners before I’m sure…

“He’s one of those farm boys”

“Best way to put it: he’s country strong”

“Big ol’ cornfed offensive lineman”

“That’s what happens when you buck hay your whole life”

“Definitely farmboy strong”

 I know I’ve heard all of these, and many others. My family is from the midwest, Iowa to be exact. My Pap grew up as cross town rivals with Dan Gabel’s highschool. And I’ve heard stories of the Donnie Brooks the different athletic teams would get in. That gritty Iowa farmboy attitude follwed my old man into college where he was more exposed to weightlifting. He was an All Conference linebacker, team Captain, and a bad mother from the stories I’ve heard from friends and an actual chance interaction with Dan Gabel.

I saw pics of my Dad from back in the day. He wasn’t some monster roaming the middle of the field buffed out all over. He was tall, athletic and, like I said, a hard nosed bad ass. He actually helped retire a star running back in college who was having his going away ceremony at half time. The star runner tried to go up the gut on Mike Filer and got his ass lit up. Stretcher, no cermony, nice way to end it all.


My Dad still tells me that weight training wasn’t the same then. Then what made him so strong and such a bad ass? My Pap tells me about all the manual labor stuff he use to do. My favorite stories are about all his time spent in the meat packing plant. No he wasn’t punching sides of beef like Rocky. He was doing things like hucking sides of pig with pitch forks. Does this all really work? Is old school how we should do it in the new school?

Atlas stones, farmers walks, all kinds of stuff we see in our program could be considered old school. But I wanted to know more. So I started researching and found some interesting articles. This one comes from the Baseball Factory. Now I know many of us who read this arent baseball fans, but just humor me.

  Steve Bernhardt: Building the Better Ballplayer
When Mickey Mantle was growing up he worked in the lead mines in the summers. One of his jobs involved smashing large rocks into smaller ones with a sledgehammer. Some credit his immense wrist and forearm strength to this. Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks both worked in the cotton fields as young men building naturally strong hands from their hours of picking cotton. These “farm boy strong” players combined for 1,803 home runs in their storied careers. As the rules continue to eliminate players with chemically enhanced strength, I think the player with some skill and natural strength will become an extremely hot commodity.
         – Steve Bernhardt is the Executive VP of Baseball Operations with Baseball Factory. Bernhardt played for five years in the Colorado Rockies organization. As Executive VP of Baseball Operations at Baseball Factory, he oversees all events and instruction. Bernhardt formerly served as an Associate Scout with the Colorado Rockies. He received his B.S. from the University of Richmond where he was an All-Conference player.

“In the last week, I have spent a lot of time shoveling snow. Here in Baltimore, we received 50” of snow in a five day stretch. As I piled snow higher than my head on the sides of walkways, driveways and cars, I taxed muscles that had not been awakened in some time. Hours of doing this also gave me plenty of time alone with my thoughts. One thought involved the type of shape I would be in if this kind of shoveling was a daily routine for me.

It made me remember a scouting term that I have heard before: “farm boy strong.” This term is used to describe a young player who is naturally thick and strong referencing young men who grew up on a farm and developed their strength by doing difficult manual labor on a daily basis. These guys are hard to find these days. We see many more “soft-bodied” prospects than “farm boy strong” prospects. Society has changed with more jobs done by automated machines than in generations past, but it is also widely chronicled that today’s young players spend more time playing video games and staring at the computer than ever before.

Maybe some of today’s young high school players should pick their summer jobs not based on which is the easiest, but by which will build up some usable strength for them in the future. It paid off for guys like Mantle, Banks and Aaron.”

Alright interesting, but I still wanted more. You’d be surprised what you get when you start typing things like “farm strong” into Google. But it was our little Cowgirl Roo who found this awesome site for me. “” is pretty sick. I found it to be along the lines of what I was looking for.

I’ll let this article by one of the founders who go by “Doc” finish out this post. I’d suggest you guys make a trip to the site and check out the “York plate hub pick up video”. Bet he would have killed the “Moneky Claws” WOD we did yesterday.

Getting Strong on the Cheap: By Doc

            We all want to improve our physical abilities.  Unfortunately, our budget can limit our ability to purchase all the nifty stuff we see advertised.  Here’s a real simple and super cheap way to get strong.

 1)      While driving around, keep your eye open for stones unearthed by construction.  When you spot a likely pile, stop and ask one of the workers if you can have some of the stones.  He’ll prolly look at you weird.  You really only need 2 stones.  One that you can barely get into your lap, and one that you can almost press overhead.  The bug may bite you tho’ and then you’ll end up with a pile of 10 or more stones.  This is just fine too.  I never regret having lots of stones until I need to move them to mow…..

 2)      Pick a fine sunny day.  Pull on some weather appropriate work clothes, and work gloves if you want. 

 3)      Run around the yard.  Do some stretching/calisthenics.  Get nice and warmed up.

 4)      Lift the stone you can barely lap as high as you can.  Repeat 5-10 times.  Eventually you want to work up to the point where you are shouldering this stone 10 times each shoulder….then you’ll need a bigger stone.

 5)      Now lift the stone you’ve selected to press and take it from the ground to as high overhead as you can.  Repeat 5-10 times.  Progress to 25-30 total reps, then get a larger stone.

 6)      Now pick a nice tree branch or swing set crossbar and do a couple sets of chinups.

 7)      Finally pick up the stone you were pressing and carry it as far as you can.  Repeat 3 times.

8)      There, time to go inside, lay on the couch and drink milk.  Your significant other may demand you shower before you lay down on the couch…in this case I flop on the bathroom floor for 10 minutes then shower.

 9)      Repeat this workout 2-3 times a week. 

 I figure it’s pretty cheap and it oughta get you strong.”

Boy’s strong as an ox…

Posted by: Z

“It came from the North….”

Posted in Athletes on September 28, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

We’ve grown again, it happens from time to time. It will seem like the Club has no interest in taking on any more weight then before you know it our numbers swell. Lately we’ve seen Scotty come on board, Emily Kent finally got in (breaking the no spouse rule) for her breeding of miniature vikings. Then you have Carrie Winecoff who was such a long time coming it seems you start to wonder how does this thing work?

Well the Club by nature is Chaotic that’s what we love about Old Country Barbell. And chaos is fair, over the last weekend the Club grew yet again. Sarah Horner finally had Silverback approval to join the ranks. In honesty Sarah is bad ass. She can run like the wind (she ran at Texas A&M), and can’t get enough squats. She’s alway grilling me when the next strength cycle will start. Her induction into the Club shouldn’t catch many by surprise.

So in honor of our little speedster I’ll post this series on Canadian strongman Hugo Girad , they might be America junior but they give us some good athletes. Yeah Sarah that includes you.

Posted by: Z

“Can he swim? With a name like Rock.”

Posted in Lifestyle on September 23, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

On the fab site 70s Big (I recommend looking at for chuckles and great insight on heavy training be it powerlifting or Olympic lifting) today for a random video they had what they posted what they stated is the mother of all training montages, the training montage from Rocky 3.

After watching this montage for like the 1,597th time in life I wondered, is this the true mother of all training montages. I have my own personal choice (complete with spanish subtitles for our audience south of the border).

But this is just my opinion man. So as we live in a democracy I say we put it to a vote. Place in comment your choice for best training montage of all time with video if not already done so. Lets get ‘er done!

Posted by Nickay

“Cowboy Up”

Posted in Lifestyle, Syllabus on September 21, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

When Z first mentioned to me that something was Old Country Strong, I thought “What in the world does he mean?” I’m not gonna lie my thoughts did not go back to “the motherland” as he likes to put it, not back to vikings and barbaric ways of life, etc… No I reverted back to my routes, my country way of life, cow herding, goat tying (goat roping as Z likes to call it), barrel racing way life.

At the gym everyone uses HTFU. Growing up at the rodeos we used something similar, but a saying that was a little more acceptable to tell your children and more appropriate for us kids to say to each other… COWBOY UP

If you fell off your ride, if you got kicked by a steer, if you were sore from herding cattle all day, no one cared, no one wanted to hear you bitch and complain, most likely because they’re feeling the same pain… But whining was not acceptable, you are simply told to COWBOY UP… Suck your shit up and get back on your horse, get back on that bull, lace up your boots, pull your cowboy hat on tight and COWBOY UP.

This all leads me to a movie I think exemplifies HTFU in my own cowgirl way, 8 Seconds. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the movie its based on the life of a professional bullrider, one of, if not the best of his time, Lane Frost. Bullriders HTFU all the time, they’re constantly bucked off and get right back on the next go-round, sprains, bruises, broken bones and all, they climb down the chute onto the back of the beast and with a nod of the head start their hope of an 8 second ride all over again. This clip from the moving is a prime example of HTFU, or as I like to put it Cowboy Up.

Posted By: Roo “8 Seconds”


Posted in Athletes on September 16, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

“You break my record, now I break you, like I break your friend…”

This is the story of the brewing storm on the horizon. Much like in Twister when those tornadoes decided to get all up inside each other and become a super tornado of destruction, this chain of events is leading to the the destructive wave I just like to call Rampage. This is the Story of Johnny “The Vanilla Gorilla” Winters and Tim “BeastMode” Preston.

As anyone familiar with this site knows, we are now in the 2nd week of our CC strength program. Athletes ranging from competitive Crossfitters, Pan Am champion hopefuls, fighters, and those that just like to push Iron are participating in this edition of the CC. This time I even started a Training Log for my athletes to help me track how they are holding up and answer any questions they may have for me if I’m not available. One of my rules for this log was to keep it friendly, meaning as “non-competitive as possible.” My reasoning behind this was to keep the intensity in class as high as possible and the team feeling outside the gym just as high. It has been working great. But what if the Yin to your Yang that was suppose to be your drive under the bar or in a workout was out of state?

This is when the storm starts brewing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tim, “BeastMode” as we call him, is following the program from a far. Johnny, a Senior Silverback (and known for throwing hay over his head), lives down the street and doesn’t miss lift days. During this last cycle, Tim underwent a brief stint of insanity and went into a “leaning phase.” This affected his lift during that time and delayed the storm. Well Tim is back to protein shakes and malt liquor (shit, he’s from West Seattle) and his weights are back through the roof. And he’s looking to dethrone Johnny from his Iron Throne atop the mountain of badassery. Lets look at some of these titans’ stats.


Deadlift: 565

Squat:  465


Squat: 505

Front Squat: 375

Split Jerk: 325

These are just a couple of stats for these athletes. But as you may know, we are not just a straight lifting gym. We run a heavy Crossfit style program with an emphasis on Kettlebell conditioning. Johnny and Tim have produced these numbers on only two dedicated lift days a week, which to me speaks volumes to the raw strength they have. But in this Cycle, raw strength alone wasn’t going to push these athletes far enough. They needed each other… but how from hundreds of miles apart?

“This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object…”

This is documented banter between two entangled plow steers:

BeastMode: “John Winters I am coming for your ass!!!!”

Johnny:   “Big Tim! Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a Silverback chest beating. I’m coming for you baby!”

BeastMode: “Just a kiss on the lips for Johnny.”

Johnny: “Just some sweet nothings whispered in Tim’s ear.”

Now again, usually I don’t encourage this kind of tom foolery. But Johnny’s the big guy, and I’m a total push over for his antics. I can’t wait to see who comes out on top when the max squat comes at the end of this Cycle.

Posted by: Z

“Staring defense! Place at the table!”

Posted in Syllabus on September 13, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new addition to the OCS syllabus. Our crack staff of OCBC members are constantly poring though movies and books to find the true essense of what it Old Country Strong means. Today one of the newest members of the OCBC has given us a gem. Iceman’s selection is “The Program”,  the classic college football movie.

How awesome is this movie. My older brother took me when I was a little kid to see this movie in the theatres before they took out the controversial lying in the middle of the road scene. He also watched this movie before every game. Both true stories. Whethere it be the tragic story of Mack or Lattimer or Joe Kain is Able, this movie tugs at the heart strings (it also one of the most realistic college football movies ever made).

And don’t forget this tidbit.

That’s what I’m talking about. If you agree quote the movie.

Posted by Nickay

“Keeping it real…”

Posted in Athletes, Lifestyle on September 9, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

So this week we started our 3rd edition of our Caliber Strength Cycle at the gym. As usual I have some folks following it who find themselves out of state. Tim “BeastMode” Preston is currently the sole representative of our North Carolina chapter. Tim is one of the old school BarBell Club revival members. Whats that mean exactly? Just that BeastMode was one of the original members of what ended up being Old Country Barbell.

Anyways, Tim has been coming and going between Carolina and Seattle for most of the year now. He was able to be part of our last CC and he’s making a run at keeping up with this one from a far. I have done this with athletes before so it’s nothing new to me really. The texts about stuff like…

What can I sub for this?”

“How far does ”around the block” stand for?”

Then I got one that really caught my idea today.

“How heavy are the sandbags you have, and how can I make one?”

This instantly took me back to all kinds of stuff, most of it was really about “Keeping it real”. What’s that mean exactly? It takes me back to the times before I ran a gym, back when you did workouts in the park, or in your carport, or smelly garage, pretty much anywhere. Most of the (at least in my case) you were also broke.

What sucks about being broke? Well when your trying to be a well balanced athlete and follow an online based program that calls for a lot fancy equipment it means two things; you’re fucked or adapt and overcome. Well I don’t like getting fucked unless it’s my choice so I decided to adapt and overcome.

Club member Skylar Pond just had a blog post actually dealing with his favorite old medball that is definitely worth a look Personally my medball had less tape and was a gift from a friend, it was just a basketball full of sand that was packed tight like cement. Try doing fucken Karen with that shit. My neighbors old planters became my boxes for jumping. I had a really weird mix of kilo and AMERICAN weight bumper plates all from an old high school’s power lifting team, more medal than I knew what to do with, and a sweet ass pullup bar setup.

This is the story of tons of Crossfitters. You don’t need a fancy gym to get fit. Towels and name brand water don’t make a gym. Hard work, good friends, and more than occasionally some beers do. Even at the elite level you can find athletes who train outside of what many consider the norm. Blair Morrison, of Anywhere Fit, burst onto the scene at last years Crossfit Games and rocked it. I started following Blairs workouts online after that. Blair had left to go study abroad in Europe and had no reliable gym. Blair definitely kept it real trying to find ways to keep his Crossfiting up to snuff.

Our very own little Cowgirl Roo took it upon herself to get down with some old school training on her last vacation. Second week of a intense training cycle, outta town, no expensive slamball to use. She figured fuck it, rock slams will do. I would have paid to see that. I’m sure there are plenty of you that got great Old Country Strong substitutions you can post about. I’m sure Johnny’s dad made him build an acre long stone wall from the time he was a wee child. Then Gogo told me the other day she wanted to buy a calf to start picking up every day like Milo (extra points for whoever can tell me who that is).

Bottom line is fancy is almost always the enemy of functional. And last I checked Crossfit is supposed to be functional fitness. Anyways, now to Tims question. An easy way, as I texted you, is to triple up some garbage bags, duct tape that up, then take that and stick in an old gym bag or pillow/couch cushion and duct tape that bitch as well. The bags we use here at the gym aren’t as ghetto as that, they’re just cheap ones from a militar surplus store. Do as you like, once you got your bag ditch the gym hit the bitch and try something like this.

to bad summers over…

Posted by: Z

“I want you to be nice”

Posted in Lifestyle on September 7, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Recently, a movie has become a fixture in my life. It has followed me everywhere I go, the gym, home, at work, everywhere. Stalking me, whispering to me, watch me. What is this movie…Roadhouse.

If you don’t know, Roadhouse is a documentary about Dalton, the best cooler in the business. What is a cooler you say? A cooler is a badass bouncer that is what a cooler is.  You have any further questions just ask OCBC member Neil.

See, both my bosses were at a national conference and a nationally recognized attorney (he literally wrote one of the books in our office) is speaking. Halfway through he says to the mass of attorneys “Any of you ever seen the movie Roadhouse. Well there is a quote in the movie you should take to heart.” Now I got texted to figure out what this quote was. I guessed “It’s my way or the highway”, “I thought you be bigger”, and the infamous ” I used to fuck guys like you in prison”.  Three strikes and I was out. The quote actually was “I want you to be nice.” Yes, Dalton’s musings relate to the legal field, both most warrior poet’s musings do.

Roadhouse awesomeness is without question. I mean look at this trailer submitted to the Academy for Roadhouse’s consideration of Best Movie Ever (an award it lost to Highlander).

Am I right or am I right?

Posted by Nickay

Old Country Training Log now Available

Posted in Articles on September 4, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

We start our 6 week Caliber Strength Cycle on Monday. Anyone interested in following the Cycle or wanting to post results and/or questions pertaining to it can click on the OLD COUNTRY TRAINING LOG link in the Blogroll section to the right.

Silverback Strong…

“Did he Just ask that…”

Posted in Articles on September 2, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

“If you watch the really good guys online…”

Oh the absolute highlight of my weekend. I always say if you can take one thing away from a certification then it was success. See, I’m a man of simple tastes. “I like dynamite, and gunpowder…And gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common?”

Confused? We’ll get to the quote from the top of the page here in a minute, let’s recap. This past weekend myself and two of my cohorts made the trip down to San Fransisco for the Crossfit Football Certification. Now I had signed up for the this cert last summer as well in Spokane Washington. But as you can guess who wanted to go to Spokane? The cert was canceled and I was left wanting for a year.

Crossfit Football is the brain child of ex-NFL lineman John welbourn. And I have a huge amount of respect for him and his program. I follow the program CFFB has posted from time to time and post advice on their page whenever I have any. My infectious nature of the program caught on with my intern Roo and friend Neil (well Neil actually first got a taste while he was in Iraq). So when Neil brought up the San Fran cert I was in.

The air fair and hotel all turned out to be VERY much worth it. There are very few coaches I feel like I can sit and listen to all day, but two of them were there. Ralp and John kept the lectures funny, engaging, and full of very useful information. Going into this weekend nursing a back injury kept me from lifting as heavy as I wanted or getting really into the workouts. But this was a coaching certification and they ment that.

Having base knowledge of the movements was key this weekend. this was something I enjoyed very much. It wasn’t over coached at all. “This is how we do it, not saying how you do it is wrong but this is how we are gonna do it today.” Awesome.

The lift portion was excellent, the sprint mechanics were great, and the information on how to deal with your athletes was top-notch. I could go on and on about the cert, but really if your that interested it should be something you experience yourself. I could also talk about the over eating of the weekend, or the saturday night fights, or riding in the dirtiest elevator in San Fran. But I’ll let Roo or Neil comment to those.

I said if you came back from a cert with one thing it was a success. Well I got a large number of those to apply to my coaching. The biggest success has to do with the quote from the top of the page. This led to a one liner I’m sure we wont forget. The stage is set….

We were working on the power clean. We hadn’t gotten to in-depth with the information at all. But there’s always that guy. You know the guy that I’m talking about. The guy that none of us wanna be. The one that asks why the teacher didn’t assign homework or hits on your brothers girlfriend when he not “that drunk”. Well maybe these don’t apply with you guys but the guy that throws out his opinion in the form of a question to a coach is that guy to me.

Well that guy had a “question”…

The coach was talking don’t remember what he was saying because the “question” came up in the middle of it.

That Guy: “So your saying you want our feet here? But when you watch the really good guys on line there feet are more like here.”

Coach: ….

That Guy: “So where do we put them.”

That guy then looks at John.

A hand raises to shoulder level as if to silence the crowd which wasn’t talking at the time. The instructing coach then raises his other hand and points with a 4 figured karate chop style disapproving jab.


This pretty much was backed up when John added that “Steiner and those guys can do what ever they want cause they’re that damn strong.”

It was epic. You might have had to be there to get the full effect. If you ask my friend Neil or myself about it the story grow every time.

You fucking kidding me WE’RE TALKEN CHAMPIONS HERE!”



I’m pretty sure when Neil told his wife about it in the car he said John pulled out a boom box played the Mortal Combat music and yelled “FINISH HIM!” Then smiled when Ben pulled That Guys heart out of his chest.

In my mind it went something similar to this…

Awesome weekend, great stories, totally worth the trip.

Posted by: Z