Archive for January, 2012

“Deep Waters…”

Posted in Articles on January 29, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

I’ve told myself I was gonna get better about posting some training highlights on here outside of our Loading Phase Recaps.

So for those of you that aren’t fans of Old Country Iron or the still existing Old Country Barbell Facebook pages you missed some updates of a hell of a week from the I/C Program athletes in Washington. You can click the following link to remedy this problem, Old Country Iron Fan Page

Let’s play some catch up, last week the Program was offered a number of chances to test the effectiveness of last cycle. Some of the results were video and are listed below.

Monday Jan 23rd, 2011

I personally was Green Lighted on a MAX Effort Snatch and ended up with a 10# PR.

Tuesday Jan 24th

The days posted workload included a Max Effort Pistol Squat. Program veteran Skylar Pond logged the heaviest of the day after hitting 106# on both his Right and Left legs back to back. This was Skylar’s first time ever attempting a MAX on the Pistol Squat.

Wednesday Jan 25th

Athletes were given ONLY 5 sets INCLUDING any sort of warmup to reach a heavy set of 5 Deadlifts. The I/C Oly Team would have to sit this one out while preparing for an upcoming competition, but of our participating athletes that day Seven would pull pr’s of 405×5. One would pull 445 and two would attempt over 5 plates.

Tim accomplished this lift at a bodyweight of 220 pounds. No athlete involved with the Program has pulled a Heavy Dead in over two month and our last training Phase Deadlift Cycle was further back then that. WA.RedNose

Stay posted for this Wednesday post when we release the Full Information and Registration page for the Upcoming I/C Kettlebell Total which will be held in Victoria, Canada.

Posted by: Z

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“KettleBell RX…”

Posted in Articles on January 26, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Well, today’s post is going to be a first for Old Country. Today I have the very distinct honor of writing a book review. I’ve spoken about the power of words here before.

“Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” – V for Vendetta

Words are a huge part of my life. My passion for both the written and spoken word lines up surprising well with my career choice in the functional fitness industry. So, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to write a review for a book pertaining to my field.

But what was more important was the person who asked me to write it. I believe it was almost four and a half years ago when I first met Jeff Martone. Jeff is a legend in the kettlebell industry and is the creator and coach of the Crossfit Kettlebell Instructor Course. This course was a very significant developmental moment in my growth as both a trainer and a coach. I left the two-day course with a whole new outlook on kettlebells and an instructor’s manual that I still have to this day.

In the years since I left that course, I have spent time with a handful of other internationally recognized kettlebell organizations, but the understanding of those fundamentals that Jeff originally instilled in me has not changed. What I took from that first course, and what I’ve taken from the ones of his that I’ve attended since, is what I re-instill in others. When athletes and trainers have, in turn, sought me out to be trained with kettlebells, this is where I start. The first thing I’d do when anyone seriously asked me what kettlebell certification they should attend was hand them my copy of Jeff’s instructor’s manual.

I have traveled overseas to study kettlebells at their source in Russia, taught at national-level kettlebell certifications, trained champion athletes with kettlebells and turned out Candidates for and Masters of Sport in the actual Sport of Kettlebell lifting. But with all of that, I still consider myself a student of Jeff Martone.

So you can imagine how surprised and flattered I was when I received an email from Jeff asking me to read a copy of his book and give my thoughts.

Mostly surprised really: “Jeff when have you had time to write a book?” This is the guy who is so busy that he taught a kettlebell certification one morning, then got in his car and drove directly over to the IKFF Kettlebell Sport National Championships — in time to set a new North American record in the Long Cycle.

So that bit of history aside, here is my honest review of Kettlebell RX, by Jeff Martone.

Anyone can watch movement patterns performed with a kettlebell. Anyone can swing one, and most can do something that resembles a clean or even a snatch. But the simple act of mimicking a movement will not always deliver the desired response or benefit to the body. For the athlete looking to take their training to the next level, or for the Coach or trainer who is truly looking to deliver the full advantage of kettlebells to their clientele, this book is a must. Jeff Martone takes an in-depth look at kettlebelling training, technique, and instruction, but at the same time simplifies his complex knowledge so that the reader can absorb it. You won’t find fluff or useless information filling these pages. Jeff’s attention to detail and true understanding of efficiency of movement comes out in every page.

This book should find its way onto the shelf of anyone in the functional fitness industry, and its pages should be well-worn from hours spent reviewing its contents.

A copy of Coach Jeff Martone’s Book can be purchased by clicking on the following link: Tactical Athlete

Posted by: Z

“The Road to the Finals…”

Posted in Competition on January 24, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Time for the Over do wrap up to the Teams trip down to Bend Oregon for the Oregon Crossfit Winter Games.

When we last left our surly mob they had just completed the 3 minute Max Ground to overhead workout. Adrenaline was still high and our crew was eager to hear the announcements of both WODs 4 and 5. All competitors were eager for that fact… Until the workouts were actually announced.

“WOD 4 is simple, you will complete as many Hand release Burpees terminating with a jump onto a plate as you can in two minutes…”
Sounds Simple Enough
“On the completion of your 2 minutes you will have one minute to rest before you begin WOD 5…”
Fuck
“WOD 5 will begin with 25 Thrusters at 135/95, you will then Row 500 Meters, followed by another 25 Back Squats at 135/95, finishing out with a 1000 meter Run…”
Double Fuck

Well as far as fun workouts this was definitely at the bottom of the list. But fuck it our crew came to Bang, Game.

The girls would go first and Roo would be competing in the Final Heat. The Burpee WOD was interesting to watch most took the route of caution and stayed slow, steady and consistent through the 2 minute work period.

Then Shit would get real…

Roo represented and did things the way we do, fast short and explosive sets. She was second off the bar onto the rower behind 2011 7th Place Crossfit Games competitor Cheryl Brost. She’d get off the row and go to work on her unbroken sets of squats. She would chase two other girls out the door and come in forth in her heat locking in 3rd place heading into the finals.

The Boys were ready to light off some fireworks of their own. In my mind Young James was a dark horse to watch in this workout but early in his thrusters you could see fatigues from his clean and presses set in and would slow down the tempo of his workout over all. As he crossed the finish line his spot in the finals was in question.

Looking to use this workout to move up the leader board Hollywood Ryan Andrews would take a more conservative pace to the work. Ryan would break up all his sets and actually change out of his lifts at one point during the workout setting up a neck and neck sprint to the finish line in the 1000 meter run to finish ahead of the mid back standings in the final Heat of the workout.

Where were the fireworks you ask? Well were Ryan took a planned consitant pace to the workout Skylar Pond decided to light off the fireworks with his fuckin Boom Stick.

If your not familiar with our Mild Manner Doc… Well actually he’s not mild Mannered. He’s kinda the exact opposite of Bruce Banner. But just like Bruce Banner you dont want to get him riled up. No he does not turn into the Hulk. Sky is far, far sinister and unpredictable then the simpleton Hulk.

When Sky hits his Redline he Unleashes his inner Green Goblin, and the faces that he makes are so horrify that you cant help but laugh. This is the guy after all that has to wear a mouth guard because of all the random bleeding that occurs from his mouth during workout.

Skylar was in the same heat as behemoth Oregon power House Nick Branting. I had seen Nick destroy the strength portions of the Taranis Winter challenge back in November. So Skylar had his hands full.

Sky took the same approach Roo did quick slashing set. Like a pitbull injected with nitrous oxide, Sky started to do what we refer to as “Ponding It.” Reckless abandon, and to our surprise he stayed neck and neck with his top competition in the heat. Sky would get off the rower behind the I believe to be the 10 foot tall(more like 6’5 I think) Branting. With a near psychotic look on his face Sky would drop his bar almost at the same time and chase him out the door. But in the real world 6’5 legs can cover a lot more distances then Skylar’s legs that weigh in at… Well I’m not sure cause Skylar walks around like George Washington killen for fun keeping his height and age to himself. Either way his stride would not match that of Brantings, Skylar might have called out “Fuck Yo legs Charlie Murphy!” to the wind(he didnt really, but it would have been awesome if he did) as Nick pulled away. What Sky would do though is take a second palce finish in his heat and a top time finish for that workout.

But more Importantly to the Man the Myth himself, for the first time during the day… He Beat Roo.

People didn’t look as anxious for the announcement of the top ten competing in WOD 6 as they did before the announcement of WODs 4 and 5.

That was until it was actually announced.

The first surprise was that our boy James was still sitting in 9th place going into it and was newly invigorated for the finals upon hearing his name called.
The second surprise was the workout itself, it actually was one to get up for.

“You will start with 10 Deadlift 275/185, you will then carry a half full keg 115/75 from your platform to the other end of the competiton floor and complete 30 Kettlebell swing, then carry the Keg back, 10 more Deadlift, another keg carry and 30 more swing to sprint to the finish. There is a 15 burpee penalty for setting down the Keg”

Game

Roo was right on the Heals of second place and ready to go. She would pound out her first 10 deadlifts and sprint her keg across the floor. Thirty swing in the bank then back down towards the other side. Roo was ahead of her second place competition. And then for the first time that day started to truly show the fatigue of the six workouts. She broke up her set of deadlifts, this was not typical Roo. But like a true Valkyrie Roo would thunder back. And have a swing for swing photo finish with second place and top ten NorthWest Regional athlete Andrea Roozen. Andrea would get the call off time a half second before Roo but I couldnt be any prouder of her. This was Roo’s first true multi event single day competition and against top competitors she would take a place on the podium in 3rd. Im very excited for her this season.

Next up would be the boys. And Ryan was looking for a top finish in the final workout and as always Sky had his BoomStick.

But from the call of go it seemed like it was gonna be Ryan’s show. He smashed out his Deadlifts and was right behind current mens leader and multiple time games athlete Jerome Perryman. They would go neck and neck with Ryan grabbing his keg at the same time and racing back across the floor. Sky would get to the bar after them. And then it happened out of nowhere the Green Goblin was back, Jerome was first off his bar heading back across the floor and  who was there behind him? Skylar Pond, if you think Honey Badger doesn’t give a fuck you havent met Skylar Pond. I’ve seen him passout on the bar mid Fran and do Fight Gone Bad the day after surgery. He was ready to try and steal the show. With the same daemonic look on his face he had during WOD 5 Sky started attacking his swings. And while he wouldnt catch Jerome(he finished 6 swings behind) he would take second in the final workout ahead of the rest of the field. In the end the point shake up Sky would cause didnt help his case and he’d take 7th place with Ryan finishing just off the podium in the final points total in 4th.

But where was James in all off this? He did the workout right? Well as a matter a fact he did.

IN FACT James gets a special story…

Before the workout we were all talking strategy for the WOD. How to carry the Keg was the main topic. We pretty much had it figured out. But true to James form he had a bright idea, “I was in a frat guys, I know how to carry a keg, I got this…”

Before I finish this story I want to say James is all you can ask for in a athlete. He works as hard if not harder then anyone and always does what he’s told for his training. Eat a pound of yogurt every morning, check, restrict yourself before competition, no problem. James is all heart.

But this is a story worth telling.

3,2, 1… Go

As everyone comes off their bar and begins their keg carry there is a missing face. Wheres James? Everyone is already on the swings. Wheres James? He is waddling down the floor exactly the way you’d imagine a drunk frat boy carrying a keg. By the top handles straddled between his legs. If I thought james clean and Press was inefficient I was wrong this was comically painful to watch. I’m pretty sure you can hear me on the camera turning to Roo and saying…

“What… The Fuck… Is James doing?”

And you think he’d learn his lesson after the first carry. Well he didn’t, the  kids a glutton for punishment. Not only did he return the keg the same way he brought it down, but after his deadlifts he PICKED IT UP THE SAME WAY FOR A THIRD TIME!

His grip finally went on that carry and james got to do some burpees. The hilarity of it all aside James showed some real grit not giving in and continuing to move the whole time. I was pretty proud of him being in the top ten of his first major competition. But seriously, “I was in a frat guys, I know how to carry a keg, I got this…”

The finals was a perfect end to the competition and I couldn’t have been and prouder of our boys and their sister valkyrie. You guys make the Old Country Team and all of the I/C supporters Proud.

And Speaking of all of our supporters I received a very interesting questions the other day.
“Is it ok for anyone to Rock I/C colors?”
This is absolutely 100% ok, and infact encouraged. I guess I never made it know that the proceeds for our shirts, hoodys and shorts go to support the Club and more importantly the Competition team. Entrys fees aren’t cheap and traveling and lodging adds up. So sporting Club gear doesn’t only show you support Old Country it actually helps support our Competition Team. We finally got around to getting a link to the I/C Store on the side bar on the right and we’re always taking orders.

Next up the Comp Team has a two event weekend coming up before we dig in for this years Reebok Crossfit Open. GAME

Posted by: Z

“Burning the Candle at Both Ends…”

Posted in Articles on January 22, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

I’ve had a pretty hectic work schedule the last couple weeks and its drawing out my Oregon Winter Games recap. I rolled back into the barn late this evening after hitting the road around 9 this morning, No rest for the wicked. I’m hoping to have the recap done along with some video of our boys and stand alone Valkyrie going to war Wednesday.

And since I was planning on having that as today’s post I’ll leave you all with this little clip I saw pop up online the other day. The wrestler in this video actually learned this move from his former Coach and Crossfit Games standout Brandon Phillips.

I’m sure all of readers who are grapplers will agree, GAME…

Posted by: Z

“You are the Brute Squad”

Posted in Articles on January 19, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Last Saturday, Club members did different things. A contingent of Marauders went down to Oregon and competed, some watched the UFC, some the NFL playoffs, others went out for a few drinks. Not me though, I am a dad and I wouldn’t be a good dad if it didn’t make sure my kids received a proper education. Flash cards? Puzzle books? Dora? Nope, ESPN’s marathon coverage of the 2011 World’s Strongest Man Contest.

You see Fox and Lulu could work on counting and the alphabet in the morning, but right than they needed to see the rematch. Last year, Zydrunas Savickas of Lithuania and Brian Shaw of the the USA put on an amazing show. They tied as to total points but Zydrunas captured his second title by beating Brian on tiebreakers. Tiebreakers! Could Zydrunas win his 3rd straight title? Could Shaw bring the title back to America in America? This was going to be epic. Enough talk!

Event 1 Steel Frame Carry

It’s farmer’s walk 30 meters …with 825 lbs.  You think you ripped your hands, these guys were leaving chunks of skin all over the course. Brian and Zydrunas dropped on their return trips and took 4th and 5th respectively. The surprise was first time competitor Mike Jenkins of USA taking 1st place. Jenkins had been putting together a solid year with a 2nd place at the Arnold Classic, could he keep it up.

Event 2 Giant Tire Walk

Another simple event, yoke walk two giant tires weighing 450kg 25 meters. Brian placed higher Zydrunas in another event, finishing 2nd and 5th. But neither of the favorites was in 1st place. No it was the WSM rookie Mike Jenkins, the former college and professional football player from Maryland, who won another event. Would the rematch be spoiled by a 370 lb Cinderella?

Event 3 Truck Pull

Pull a truck weighing 10,000kg 30 meters slightly uphill, don’t worry, you get a rope to pull on to help you. Darkhorse Mike Jenkins fell back to earth, taking 7th. The big winner was Brian Shaw, the giant from Colorado, who in taking 2nd opend a 5 point lead on the Zydrunas. Brian Shaw is 6’8″, 440 lbs. The man if he was born in ancient times would be on battlefield swinging a warhammer making the other army cower. One more event like this and this thing is over and Disney time for the kids.

Event 4 Deadlift

Hold Mulan for a second. With the rain starting to rain down on the competitors, the event had come to one of defending champion Savickas best events, the deadlift. The champion has set records in deadlifts of all shapes and sizes and does so again, deadlifting 440kg for a WSM record to take 1st place in the event while jumping up to 2nd overall behind Brian Shaw. The feel good story of Mike Jenkins hurt his back on his pull and had to pull out hurting America’s chance of having 2 on the podium.

Event 5 Log Press

75 seconds to get a log weighing 155kg overhead. This is Zydrunas’ best event and going into the final heat with Brian Shaw need to get 8 reps to win the event. Savickas destroys the event, he is barely push pressing the reps. Zydrunas threw up his 8 rep and the win…wait he’s still going. What is he doing? He puts up a ninth rep. Brian struggles and gets his 5th and final rep. Zydrunas is going again! Someone tell him he doesn’t have to do anymore! Ten reps! Amazing. With another 1st place Zydrunas pulls into a tie with Brian Shaw with one event left. But what of those last two reps he did? Was it mental terrorism against the American, was the adrenaline pumping, will that affect the champ?

Event 6 Atlas Stones

Here is it. The final Strongman event, the Kingmaker, the Atlas Stones. Will Brian Shaw erase his loss on tiebreakers to Zydrunas from last year or loss another heart breaker? Will Zydrunas win his 3rd straight championship or will it be his 4th runners up finish. They are neck and neck, the taller Brian is pulling ahead slowly and WAIT a slip by Zydrunas on the 4th stone. Brian Shaw puts the 5th stone on the platform and brings the Championship back to America. Another nailbiting finish, what will happen next year? Until than here is the entire British broadcast of the Finals to watch these great moments.

Posted by Nickay

“Yo, Tommy! I Didn’t hear no Bell…”

Posted in Competition on January 17, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

“One More Round”

If I had to sum up last weekends Oregon Crossfit Winter Games that’s pretty much it. Saturday Two hundred athletes ran through 5 workouts in what is the first of the Garage Games Series events in the NorthWest. After those 5 workouts 10 men and 10 women moved on to a 6th and final workout.

With a event of this proportion your gotta expect some drama, and the Iron Club definitely delivered.

I wont go to far indepth cause that would take at least a whole week of posts to cover.What I will do in the next couple posts is give you some highlights from our crew that went down to represent the Red, Black and Grey.

WOD 1 & 2

The first workout was brutality simple, Row a 2k. But thats where the simple stopped. You would have ONE Minutes to rest between finishing your 2k Row and the beginning of WOD 2. Which was a 5 Minute Unlimited Hand switch kettlebell snatch Set.

If you went to hard on the Row were you gonna have anything left for the snatch? The workouts were only a minute apart but scored separately, if you bonked the snatch cause you were tired you might take yourself out of the hunt right out the gate.

All the I/C athletes decided the rout of a conservative row followed by a free for all in the snatch as the way to go.

The Gamble would pay of with the standings for WOD 2 looking as such.

Women

Roo 1st Place

Men

Skylar 1st Place
Ryan 2nd Place
James 3rd Place

Thats Right the I/C took first in both men and womens with two of our boys also locking up 2nd and third.

Rowers were still out on the floor as WOD 3 was being announced.

“Each athlete will have three minutes to take 135 pounds for the men and 95 for the ladies from the ground to overhead as many times as possible.”

SICK

WOD 3

The girls were going to take the floor first. I told Roo she needed to focus on breathing and efficiency of movement. Touch and go quick sets short rest intervals. She needed to jerk each rep and not press out so she wouldnt waste her shoulders and that she needed over 40 reps.

Roo stuck to plan. She moved composure when she needed to and urgency when she needed at the end. She actually pr’d on her grace during those 3 minutes. The crowd roared as she continue to raise the bar over her head. But when she came off the floor she seemed less then thrilled, she wanted over 40 and had gotten 39 reps. She shook her head and said she was upset with herself.

Then it was announced, Roo had taken 1st place for a second time in WOD 3, five reps ahead of second place. Game.

I wont give you a full play by play of our boys, I’ll just keep it simple. Sky knocked out 35 reps 20 of which were power snatches(while rocking his mouth guard). And Ryan would clock in a solid 36 reps. But the big shocker in this workout was young James. James isn’t know for his technical displays, and he wasn’t going to change that last saturday. James would rattle out 36 reps of clean and pretty much press. There was about zero drive up against the bar in his pseudo pushpress, he’d just clean it and shake violently as he pressed it up. It was probably the least efficient thing I’d every seen. But James never left the bar on the ground. He attacked that bar every time he dropped it and what he lacked in proficiency he made up for in grit. It was quite the site to watch.

After the final Heat the athletes were given a slight chance to catch their breaths before WOD 4 and 5 were to be announced at the same time. And not only would they be announced at the same time but they were also going to be run at the same time like WODs 1 and 2. But that will have to wait until next post.

To be Concluded Friday in: “The Road to the Finals…”

Posted by: Z

“But that is a Story for Another Time…”

Posted in Competition on January 15, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

The Battle Wagon is home and full of tales of glory, but the drive and the weekend has left me a bit ragged. So if you missed all of our live updating on the Old Country Iron Club Facebook page your just going to have to wait for the full event recap coming up this Wednesday.

Patience is a virtue

Posted by: Z