Archive for December, 2010

“You never know What you’re Gonna get…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 30, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

I’m an Olympic girl, I may not have the best Clean and Jerk or the best Snatch, but I love the lifts, I love the technicality that is involved and for some reason, I’m not exactly sure why, but these have become my favorite in the realm of athletics. Being a history major I had in mind a post for the blog relating to the history of women in weight lifting, upon my quest to write such an article I came across my new idol, my inspiration, and my submission for the week’s edition dedicated to Beasts.

Tara Nott

Height: 5’1”

Weight: 105

Country: USA


Ok so if this name isn’t familiar to you, you are probably thinking, “How is this little tiny thing a beast?” It’s ok I’ll forgive you, but for those of you that love the sport and those of you that claim you bleed red, white, and blue, you should probably know a little more about this miniature monster.

Nott started out as a gymnast, as you probably can imagine judging merely on her size. After missing the Olympic gymnastics team, Nott turned to volleyball, basketball, and soccer. She went on to play college soccer, competed in two National Championships, was an All-American, and she played on several national teams, trained for the Olympic team, but she failed to make the team for the 1996 Games.

Tara despite missing the games in the two sports she had put her life into, landed a job on the Atlanta Olympic Committee just so she could be as close to the games as she possibly could. While in Atlanta she asked a coach what she should do to stay in shape. His suggestion? Weightlifting.

Merely 8 months after diving in to the sport of Olympic lifting, Nott won her first National title in 1996; she would win the national title again in 1997, 1999 and 2000. Nott made the Olympic team for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Well I’ll let you watch the video so you can see for yourself the outcome.

Winning the Gold for the USA was the first Gold in the Olympics for the United States weightlifting team since the 1960 Games when Chuck Vinci won the Gold.

Did you do the math when the video showed her numbers? Probably not so here they are for you

Snatch: Olympics 82.5kg= 181.9lbs

Clean and Jerk: 102.5kg=225lbs (That’s 13 lbs over double body weight)

Nott however, initially won the silver medal but after Izabela Dragneva (Bulgaria) tested positive for furosemide. Nott was then awarded the Gold medal.

Tara Nott Cunningham, left, gets boost from friend Cheryl Haworth. Cunningham won gold in 2000, Haworth earned bronze. Photo Credit: Hiroko Masuike For The Washington Post.

Ok so cool she won Gold in the Olympics, why is she a beast? Once again I’ll forgive you. You must have missed the part where she trained at the Olympic training center for 3, yes 3, different sports, the ONLY person in history to do so. Tara ended a 40 year Gold drought for the United States weightlifters.

Oh wait one more thing; Nott won Gold with a torn abdominal muscle. After the games she underwent surgery which involved repairing the tear with a piece of Gortex mesh and 21 titanium screws. With a lot of rehab Nott did come back to compete at the International level, placing 10th in the 2004 Olympics, but retired from the competitive aspect of the sport shortly after .


Olympic Champion 2000

Twice Pan Am Games Champion 1999&2003

Olympic Games Team Member 2004

Seven Time World Championship Team Member  1997-1999, 2001-2004

Seven Time Senior National Champion 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002-2004

Multiple All-Time Sr American Record holder in Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Total

Spotlight: tara nott, weightlifting. (1999, July 2). Retrieved from

Weightlifting exchange. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Posted by: Roo (8 Seconds)

“A True Force of Nature…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 29, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

This is a repost article from back when we first started. To not repost this of all articles during Beast Week would be a spit in the eye of a living legend. Once again Johnny talks about a man who in his day was as unstoppable as the Siberian winters that forged him, John spins the tale of Karelin. – Z

Ask anybody who was an amateur wrestler “who is the greatest wrestler ever?” and they will probably give you a short list of names.  Dan Gable, John Smith, Bruce Baumgardner, Cael Sanderson, but the name most universally recognized around the world is Alexander Karelin.

Karelin was born in Novobirsk, Siberia, weighing 15lbs at birth Karelin was a beast from the beginning.  As a boy he hunted on skis and developed his strength carrying logs through the forest.  His coach convinced him to wrestle at the age of 13 and Karelin trained by running through thigh deep snow for 2 hours at a clip and rowing a boat on Siberian lakes until his hands bled.

A reporter once asked Karelin about his greatest challenge and he told the story of wrestling a refrigerator.  It was a huge fridge, and Alexander bear hugged the appliance and carried it to his apartment, 8 floors up.  Another reporter talks about Karelin standing in a hotel lobby, lifting his leg straight over his head, and touching a hanging chandelier with his size 15 big toe.  Standing 6′ 3″ and 286 pounds Karelin blended speed, strength, and stamina to compete for an unprecedented 13 years in international competition without losing a match.  He went a full 6 years without surrendering a point.  This is international competition, where some men train their whole life for one Olympics.  Karelin won gold medals in 1988, 1992, 1996 at the Olympics.  He was world champion from 1989 – 1999.

Karelin’s signature move, the reverse body lift, was thought impossible for heavyweights to execute until he started doing it.  In live competition against the best wrestlers in the world Karelin would lock his hands around the waist of his downed opponent, lift them to hip height, and then throw them over his head in a back arch.  All the while the 286lb men were twisting, turning, bucking, pulling on his fingers, anything possible to prevent themselves from being thrown.  His throw was so devastating that some wrestlers would turn their back to the mat and surrender points rather than get thrown.

Karelin owned several nicknames, Alexander The Great, The Russian Bear, Sasha, and The Experiment.  The latter nickname was in regards to wide held belief that Alexander was using steroids, hgh, and any other number of illegal drugs.  When asked about this nickname bestowed on him Karelin answered “I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs.”

Entering the 2000 Olympics Karelin was the hands down favorite to win the gold medal for a 4th time in a row.  The Russian hero came up 1 point short in his bid for a 4th medal.  In the Olympic final Alexander Karelin and Rulon Garnder wrestled for 6 scoreless minutes, neither man able to gain an edge.  In the first period of overtime the wrestlers started in the clinch, a position where both men have a bear hug on the other.  Points are scored from this position via takedown, throw, or if your opponent can not maintain his grip.  After 13 years of undefeated international competition, 6 years of never allowing a point to be scored, and 3 consecutive Olympic gold medals in a row, the Russian Bear’s grip failed him.  Karelin lost his grip for a split second, but that was all it took, the most dominate wrestler ever had finally lost.

Karelin retired from wrestling after the 2000 Olympics to fully dedicate himself to family and politics.  He was elected to the State Duma in 1999, 2003, and 2007, and is serving on the committee for international affairs.  Most know Karelin for his athletic dominance and menacing appearance, but Sasha is much deeper than that.  Alexander loves the ballet, opera, and theater.  He is a voracious reader of Russian history and has written poetry.

On a personal note almost as soon as I started wrestling I was aware of who Karelin was, I was at the same time fascinated, inspired, and motivated.  I wanted to be Karelin and I wanted to beat Karelin.  Maybe it’s fitting that in his final match of competition he was defeated by a pudgy farm boy from Wyoming.  Maybe the rule change that cost Karelin his undefeated streak should never have been made.  What ever the case for those 6 minutes Karelin was equalled and for one second he was bested, but make no mistake about it, athletes like Karelin come around once in a lifetime.  I’m glad he was in my  lifetime.

Posted by: John

“You Broke that Jaw…”

Posted in Guerrilla Lifting on December 28, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Keeping with Beast Week this Guerrilla Lifting picture submission comes from our very own Tim “BeastMode” Preston. Tim is a veteran of our strength program and he didn’t let the fact that he went back to college in Carolina stop him from training.

This was the picture message I received from Tim:

“No rings. So strung up these chains in the gym for dips.”

Guerrilla Lifting…

Speaking of  Beast week, week 4 recap of  our current Caliber Cycle is up and I’m proud of the Stable of Mutants we’re inbreeding here (does that sound bad?). CC Fourth Edition can be found on the OCS Training Log. Wendler Bulgarian splits squats anyones???

Posted By: Z

Check on Guerrilla Lifting submissions in the About section and let us see where you workout.


“Time to rack it.”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 27, 2010 by Swole Patrol

The four words spoken by Pat Mendes after he finished a 1 rep back squat of 800lbs with no knee wraps, no belt, so suit, only lifts and neoprene knee sleeves. Mendes is 20 years old and weighs 286lbs, he trains out of Average Broz Gym in Las Vegas under the tutelage of John Broz. At this gym they only perform 6 lifts: Clean and Jerk, Snatch, Power Clean, Power Snatch, Front and Back Squat. The lifters lift 2X per day everyday and once on Sunday, to say they practice a volume training method is an understatement. John Broz is a firm believer in the Bulgarian lifting method and has produced lifters like Pat using this method.

Strongest teenager in the world…

Below is a 20 point summation of Broz’s training philosophy:
1.He doesn’t believe in overtraining, only undertraining. Overtraining is part of the adaptation towards being awesomely strong. He refers to what others call overtraining as the “Dark Time” when your strength goes down and you feel like shit. To him, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and when you start making PRs in a completely fatigued state, you know you’re getting somewhere.
2. He expects his gym to be a highly competitive gym on the world/Olympic level within the next 2-3 years.
3. Back squats are stupid easy, and if you need to do more work without taxing yourself to much, do back squats.
4. Back Squats are generally better than Front Squats. Front squats limiting factor is always the upper back, never the legs.
5. However, front squats carry over to the clean, yay. BS carry over to the snatch more.
6. Squatting heavy should be as easy and natural as walking.
7. Something will hurt. Always. And you’ll never know what it will be until you wake up in the morning.
8. If you’re tired, train. If you hurt, train. If you have free time, train. If you’re injured, go to the ER. If you’re not injured, train.
9. Work up to a max, back of 10-20kg and do 2’s or 3’s to get to 30-50 reps total for the workout. Percents are BS.
10. More volume = more adaptation. Train more.
11. He’s made over 50 attempts in a single workout before hitting a new PR.
12. There will never be a day when you walk in the gym and can’t lift the bar. If it’s one of those days, lift the bar… a lot.
13. Every time you train that’s a +. Every day you don’t train, that’s a -.
14. push press is better than press.
15. His lifters only do light presses, and only if their elbows hurt. Elbows don’t hurt, no more pressing.
16. Start out by training 3 times a week, maxing every workout. Add another day, until you’re up to 7, as soon as possible. Then work up to maxing every workout. Then add 2x/day.
17. Assistance work is overrated, unless you’re training the upper body, particularly with bench presses. In this case, do rows, pull ups, etc to stretch the front of your body and provide balance.
18. Don’t bench more than 3x/week. Limit deadlifting, the lower back recovers poorly.
19. If you get pinned by a snatch, you get laughed out of the gym. Or chained to the squat rack for a month.
20. Once you start training this way, you’re almost never sore.

“I’m so good.” The three words Pat Whispered after snatching 456lbs, the most weight snatched by a American Lifter in training or competition ever.

Time to rack it…

Big deadlift = big cleans…

You gotta clean it before you jerk it…

I’m so good…


Posted by: Johnny

“There’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man…”

Posted in Articles, Athletes on December 26, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Well another Christmas is in the books… presents, eating, drinking, and morning lifting with friends. How did you wrap up your weekend? If you’re like me then you woke up in the morning, caffeinated, went to the local Russian bathhouse (Banya 5), then wrapped up the whole weekend long event with watching the 2010 MET-rx World’s Strongest Man recap. This is like the World Cup minus the live coverage and more ear high traps than red cards.

I spent a lot of my time growing up watching the greats like Bill Kazmaier and Svend Karlsen in these events. So what better way to relax before kicking the week off than watching the recap with a friend and my parents (Yeah laugh it up). The event this year was held in Sun City, South Africa. And while an awesome showing from the Americans (including a second place finish) swells my chest with patriotic pride, I was most excited to watch my man Mikhail Koklyaev compete in his first World’s Strongest man.

This is usually when I say “if you don’t know the name then you should” (Well you should). But I realize there are still so many monsters in the iron game that get little press. So it hit me, much like the Discovery Channel has Shark Week, we need to celebrate the titans lurking in weight rooms around the globe.  So in OCS fashion we dedicate a special edition.

Old Country Strong Special Edition: BEAST Week…

And why not kick it off with a write up on the man that spawned it,

Mikhail Koklyaev

Height: 6’4

Weight: 350lbs

Country: Russia

Some of his accomplishments included being a 6x Russian weightlifting champion and taking 3rd place at this year World’s Strongest Man. But don’t let his first World’s Strongest Man appearance or that he has podiumed twice at the Arnold Classic in the Strongman event be his tale. Mikhail (or “Misha” as is his Russian nickname) is currently training in hopes of representing his country in Olympic lifting in the Summer Olympics. Instead of rattling off stats for this big behemoth, I’ve taken some highlights from his YouTube Channel for your enjoyment. 

Thumbs over? Thumbs under? Who cares?

Metal or Bumps? Who Cares?

No talent? I think not…

BEAST Week continues tomorrow with a look at up and coming weight lifting sensation Pat Mendes.

Posted by: Z

Check out Guerrilla Lifting in the About section and show us where you lift.

“Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian”

Posted in Articles, Lifestyle on December 23, 2010 by oldcountrystrong

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. I love the music, I love the gifts, I love poinsettias, I love Jesus, I love Santa Claus (hell we share the same name), hell I even love the inherent stress associated with Christmas in the Northwest. So in honor of my namesake I thought I should give back to OCS and the OCBC…but this first requires figuring out who has been naughty and who has been nice.

OCS: Interesting articles with good discussion, nice, working on a post in the wee hours of the morn with an angry Filipina next to me, naughty, advice on how to survive the rise of the zombies, nice.
GIFT: Another year of  helping out with the site.

Z: Loving brother, nice, great coach, nice, good friend, nice, terrible counter, naughty, awful speller, naughty.
GIFT: A pair of pants (if you have ever seen Z wear pants raise your hand).

Roo: Makes great videos, nice, good coach, nice, huge BSG fan, nice.
GIFT: A new shoulder to lift with.

Wes: Squats the house, nice, never argues with anyone, nice.
GIFT: A new pair of shorts to replace the ones he ripped front squatting.

Slab: Enthusiasm, nice, encyclopedia on all things meathead, nice.
GIFT: Xplode!.

Carrie: Southern accent, nice, missed week 4 of the current caliber cycle, naughty. VERDICT: Naughty.
GIFT: Wallballs.

Greybeard: In a current state of Awesomeness, nice, old timey, nice, telling off a d-bag in a random NY gym, nice.
GIFT: A new claw hammer.

The Chan Sisters: Helpful, nice, easy targets for jokes, nice.
GIFT: This clip.

Finally pursuant to popular demand it is my honor as the reigning food eating champ of the gym to present the first ever OCS EATING CHALLENGE. I ho-ho-ho hope you’re hungry. This is a milk and cookies challenge. Rules are simple, eat as many cookies and drink as much milk as you can in one hour. List what type of cookies you ate, if they are not a generic brand or home made you may want to take a picture so that accuracy on the amount you consume can be gauged.  I prefer Ms. Safeway cookies personally, she bought the recipe from Mama Filer. Super secret prize awaits the winner.

Posted by: Nickay

“Our only Souvenirs are Bloody Knuckles and Broken Bones…”

Posted in Guerrilla Lifting on December 21, 2010 by oldcountrystrong


This picture submission actually came to me last Christmas.

The story went as such:


Christmas day…


Hey Mom, we still have the rack set up in the garage?”
“The rack?”
“Yeah the squat rack.”
“Yes, we still have those weights in the garage.”
“Cool, I gotta go SQUAT…”
“You have to what? It’s Christm…”
“Yeah Ma, but I gotta go squat…”
This was the story of Roo’s first Christmas while on a Linear Progession, Guerrilla Lifting…

Roo is actually the one behind all of our Old Country Barbell videos. Check out what we’re up to on the OCS Training Log, or just watch this video recap (by Roo) on week 3 of our fourth Caliber Cycle.

Posted by: Z

Don’t forget to check out Guerrilla Lifting in the about section and show us how and where you workout.