Category Archives: Powerlifting

Battle of the Champions 2014

Battle-of-Champions

Really cool vids from the practice of the Battle of the Champions powerlifting comp hosted in Russia. I posted the results below.

Final results of the “Battle of Champions-2014″ Arkhangelsk, Russia
cash prize – $100.000
Benchpres RAW
1 – Kirill Sarychev (Russia) 326kg (719 lb) b/w 179kg (393.8 lb)
2 – Roman Eremashvili (Belarus) 218kg (479,6 lb) b/w 67,4kg (148.3 lb)
3 – Laslo Mezharosh (Hungary) 295kg (649 lb) b/w 132,5kg (291.5 lb)

Deadlift RAW
1 – Andrey Belyaev (Russia), 395kg (869 lb) b/w 89,9kg (197.7 lb)
2 – Konstantin Pozdeev (Russia) 405kg (891 lb) b/w 103kg (226.6 lb)
3 – Sergey Daragan (Russia) 403,5kg (887.7 lb) b/w 119,2kg (262.24 lb)

 

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Grabbing Bars – Hitting PR’s

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It has been a while since I have hit a solid PR on the conventional deadlift. I believe the last “real” PR I had was back in 2012 when I hit 350lbs x 1. Last week I hit 315 x 2 which I am unsure if I had done before. In years past, I never doubled any weight over 300lbs as I was usually working towards a heavy single vs. heavy double. This week I decided that I wanted to hit 315lbs x 2 again, which felt easy. So,  I decided to bump it up another 10lbs to hit a solid 325lbs x 2 PR. It actually felt really good and I want to continue to push through these heavy weights with a goal of hitting over 350lbs again for a single. I edited the full video (you can kind of catch the beginning part) but my face was priceless when I finished the lift; It was like huh, I actually did it.

Beast of the Week: Andrey Malanichev

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I have been a big fan of Andrey Malanichev for years. He recently competed at the GPA world championships and went 435/260/405 for 1100kg @ 146kg, raw (with wraps). That’s 959/573/892 – 2425lb @ 321lbs, which is a world record number.

“Andrey skipped his opener because he wasn’t done warming up yet. He took 435kgs-959lbs as his first squat on the 2nd attempts and it was a very fast, easy lift. He jumped to 455kgs-1,003lbs on his last attempt to try and break the all time highest raw squat ever in history. He finished the lift just as easy as his first, but it was a no lift. I’m still not sure why though? He destroyed that lift. -Eric Lilliebridge”

It is with great confidence that we vote Andrey Malanichev as this weeks Beast of the Week. I am sure we will continue to see this powerful Russian destroy  lifts on his way to more records.

Here are the clips from the meet:

Squat:

Deadlift:

Compilation: Including Bench Press Lift

Brandon Lilly – Broken Knee Cap: LA Fit Expo

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Brandon Lilly suffered an injury this weekend at the LA Fit Expo during his final squat attempt @ 744lbs. It has been stated through the grapevine that he has suffered a broken knee cap and some ligament/tendon damage in the same area (knee). I will update this post with any new info I receive on Brandon’s condition. Strength Militia wishes Brandon a speedy recovery!
From Brandon Lilly – 1/27/14
First I want to than Steve Denison for the invitation to compete in such a great event. Second congrats to Daniel Green for yet another World Record.
On my squat as I descended my left knee popped wildly, and gave out,… causing similar strain to the right leg. Thank everyone of the crew onstage, and EMT’s on the scene.
As of right now without surgery I’d never walk again as I sheared my ACL, meniscus, patella, tore both quad tendons, and MCL in both knees and the knee cap in my left knee will be replaced. I go in for surgery in 10-15 minutes, I just wanted to thank every single person for the comments, status updates, texts, and emails. This is just a bump in the road.
I have one of the best knee surgeons in the US. Say a prayer or keep me in your thoughts… I appreciate you all very much, and I’ll see you on the flip side.

— with Brandon Lilly.

Update: 1/27/14: Brandon Lilly was injured in his third squat attempt at the LA Fit Expo on Sunday January 26th. According to Chad Wesley Smith, Brandon has broken his left knee cap in half, and there is likely ligament damage in both knees. Brandon Lilly will undergo surgery this morning to repair meniscus, patella tendon and quad tendon tears in both legs, as well as an ACL tear and totally fractured (like in 2 very distinct pieces) patella in the left leg. We will give you more updates as information becomes available.

Juggernaut Training Systems

“We are at the hospital and he is back from x-rays and has broken his left knee cap completely in half. Likely ligament damage in both knees.”

The Video:

Mobility for the Big 3 (Squat, Bench, Deadlift)

Mobility isn’t considered “cool” by exercise standards. In fact, it’s often considered rather dull, repetitive and boring. Some would even say it’s a complete waste of time distracting you from the key business of lifting heavier weights. However, this attitude is short sighted, better mobility in key areas can allow you to achieve better anatomical positions during the squat, bench and deadlift. Better body position gives greater mechanical advantage, meaning more weight on the bar. And strong is most definitely cool, and gains are serious business.

Squat

The squat involves almost every single muscle in the body, and movement over a substantial range of motion too. That’s why it’s such an excellent muscle and strength builder. However, in order to execute a sound squat you need good mobility in numerous joints that are often lacking such mobility; most notably the ankles, hips, t-spine, and shoulders.

Wall ankle mobs are a great way to increase ankle mobility.

Foam rolling the quads and IT band: Lie face down on the ground with the foam roller positioned under one of your quads. Complete 5 to 6 passes along the quad, from the very top of the thigh to just above the kneecap, before switching legs. Now turn so the side of your quad is on the foam roller and do 5 to 6 from just above the kneecap to just below the pelvis to hit the IT band.

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T-spine extension on a foam roller: Begin at just above the belly button, with the foam roller in position do five crunch movements. You should feel the balls pushing the vertebrae slightly forward, in effect creating range of motion at that segment. A series of these crunches can be done all the way up to the shoulder blades.

Band shoulder dislocates target both t-spine mobility and shoulder flexibility required for the rack position. I prefer the band for this as the band can slacken in areas you are more mobile and stretch at points where you need a little extra help.

Bench

Band pull-aparts and scapular push-ups teach you proper scapular activation and positioning for pressing motions.

Static hip flexor stretches and hip adductor mobs (shown below) will help develop hip mobility. Why on earth is hip mobility needed for bench press? Hip mobility allows you to get a better arch when in set-up position on the bench and improve leg drive.

T-spine mobility, and specifically extension will allow you to create a greater arch, thus reducing range of motion required and allowing you to bench more weight. T-spine extension on a foam roller (as above) or wall slides are great ways to get this done.

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Stand about a foot to a foot and a half away from wall. Make sure there is no space between the back and the wall, and the pelvis is neutral. Push arms into the wall with elbows bent below shoulders. Slowly slide hands up above head. Keep shoulders against the wall, abs engaged, and ribs pressed in towards the belly button. Try to reach hands all the way above head without allowing your back or any part of your arms to lift from the wall.

Deadlift

The Deadlift is all about the hips and the hip musculature. As such, your going to want to improve your hip flexibility. Good hip mobility will allow you to maintain a neutral spine, this is vital for anyone wishing to deadlift heavy weight or stay injury free. Given the way most of us spend our days (sitting hunched over in front of a desk, driving, sitting down watching television), our hips are constantly in flexion. This isn’t any good for anyone, and should be put straight in order to perform heavy deadlifts (or squats) safely.

Fire hydrants (popularized by Joe DeFranco) and 3-way hamstring mobilization are probably my favorite ways to open up the hips and mobilize the hamstrings and hip adductors

Note: If you still can’t maintain neutral spine during your deadlift t-spine mobility may also be a limiting factor.

The glutes obviously play a huge role in the deadlift. However, this musculature is often glossed over during soft tissue and mobility work, as such the glutes can often exhibit poor muscle fascia quality. Rolling a lacrosse ball across the glutes will significantly improve tissue quality in this vital area.

For best results integrate these movements into a well designed warm-up prior to strength training.

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About the Author:

Nick Buchan is an AGMS Graduate, PGA level 2 golf coach and UKSCA associate member.

He is also the Owner of Stronger Golf, a company dedicated to strength, conditioning and mobility for golfers.

http://strongergolf.org/

Planet Fitness Removes Squat Racks From Gym

 

Update 1/22/14: Some more recent dribble regarding Planet Fitness

Back to the Planet Fitness article. The premise began with what author Lou Schuler described as “a Category 2 s—storm” on Reddit, when a poster complained that a squat rack was taken away from his Planet Fitness club. The rant from the disgruntled member made its way to several Facebook pages.

Schuler reached out to Planet Fitness Director of Public Relations McCall Gosselin, as did I, inquiring about the squat rack issue. Without knowing all the details of the Planet Fitness in question, Gosselin couldn’t comment directly on the Reddit poster’s problem. She did, however, tell me that Planet Fitness clubs do not have heavy free weights (more than 80 pounds) or machines such as squat racks and Olympic benches because “we focus on general fitness, and our members are typically first-time or occasional gym users. This is certainly not a new concept.”

Nor should it be. Planet Fitness is now well-established in the industry, particularly for its $10-a-month memberships, “lunkhead” alarms and “Judgement Free Zone” (which is misspelled). Heck, even the CEO, Chris Rondeau, recently called Planet Fitness the “Southwest Airlines of the gym business.”

Read the rest below:

http://clubindustry.com/blog/who-says-planet-fitness-not-gym-planet-fitness

We almost never do two posts in one day on Strength Militia but we had to jump on this new news viraling around the internet. Apparently Planet Fitness (pauses for laughter) has started taking out squat racks from their gyms because they are TOO INTIMIDATING to their elite of clientele. Between the lunk alarm, pizza parties, bagel days, no deadlifting,  and now no squat racks, I am not sure how a place like this gets taken seriously in the fitness community…oh wait, they don’t. I can only hope that a gym like this will eventually crash and burn…but not with fat, lazy America supporting their membership base.

Pizza Day at Planet Fitness!!

BTW: NO DEADLIFTING EITHER!!

Full Article Below:

Planet Fitness Removes Squat Racks

Strength: An Endangered Species – Joe Amberlock (Orlandi)

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Another gem of an article from the boys at Elite FTS. There is a serious takeaway from these words below, read closely, take notes, and get strong.

“DEFINITION: A species whose numbers are so small that the species is at risk of extinction.

There was once a time when strength ran supreme. It was the quality by which a person could be measured and judged. It was idolized and worshiped by those who coined sayings of its prominence, “Only the strong shall survive.” Without this trait there was no progress, no honor, no life. The physically strong were admired and looked to for guidance, protection, and inspiration. Civilizations were built by the strong and then torn down and burned to ashes by the stronger.

However, this time has long passed us by and physical strength is endangered. This regression did not happen overnight, rather it was a slow and gradual disease taking hold over centuries. For a long time, this trait and its followers were oblivious of the gradual decay that was taking place. They were unaware that they were slowly being hunted.

Centuries ago, we could not survive without strength. Our great ancestors knew this and placed the highest value on its development. Today, strength is treated as an outcast—unvalued and left to die. The pursuit of it is now looked upon as trite or moronic, a waste of time and energy. How easily people have forgotten what this trait has done for us. It was what kept us alive during the hunt, what protected us against enemies, what gave us confidence during turmoil. It was the primary catalyst in our progress, and we have forgotten and neglected it as if it were a stranger.

The days of hunting for our next meal and protecting our families against deadly wildlife are in the past; however, the value of physical strength remains the same. A quality so important to humanity that it cannot just vanish and be forgotten…although, there are some who wish it were that way. With every infomercial that sells the next fitness gadget, and with every workout video that claims to have reinvented the wheel, we stray further from it. The quest for strength was once pure, but now it is littered with “experts” who care nothing for its development or preservation, who only desire to piggyback off of it to make a profit. Poachers claim that the pursuit of this quality can harm us. They claim that what once kept us safe and healthy is now un-safe and detrimental.

The path to strength is more than physical, it as an all-encompassing quality. Strength is the skeleton key, opening doors that were previously locked. It teaches the values of courage, patience, and perseverance. There are still many who genuinely respect the quality of strength and all that it has done for us; however, I fear that number is dwindling.

So for those of you reading this, I ask that every time you train, you respect this trait and its qualities. When you speak of it, let your words be true and in favor of its prosper. When you see injustice towards it, speak up and defend it.

However, most of all, enjoy the journey towards this trait. Although the road forward can be treacherous, it has been built this way for a reason. Without the hardships, failures, and frustrations this path bears, the unworthy would walk along it freely. Do not stray from this road when forward progress stalls, for strength has always been an elusive trait—broad as day one moment then vanished the next. It is as if strength has developed a defense mechanism, always moving and hiding, cautious and suspicious of the intents of those who walk its road. Do not let this ever defer you from it, for many have walked it genuinely—to arrive with open arms.”

http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/strength-an-endangered-species/

Rack Chat: Sumo vs. Conventional Deadlift

In this installment of Rack Chat, I will decipher the difference between the sumo and conventional deadlift, and why this actually matters. The two deadlifts are fairly similar, pick the bar up off floor and place it back down, that is the deadlift in a nutshell. The major difference in the two is the set-up, biomechanics in the execution, and the dominant muscles involved. In my opinion, one is not better than the other, rather, either lift could be beneficial to different types of lifters (i.e. short, tall, long legs, long arms, stronger hips, stronger hams, etc.). I perform both lifts because I think each serves an important purpose in my programming. I am as “strong” on both, but I enjoy working the sumo more because of the fact that my low back feels better when performing. I went ahead and bullet pointed the the more interesting differences below for each lift, enjoy!!

Conventional Deadlift:

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  • Hips farther from bar
  • Torso is more horizontal (more load on low back)
  • Hips might start in a higher position (depends on flexibility)
  • More hamstring dominant (requires more hip mobility)
  • More load on lower back (lumbar and sacrum)
  • Grip outside of legs
  • More shearing forces on lumbar spine

Sumo Deadlift:

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  • Hips are closer to bar
  • Torso position is more vertical (less load on low back)
  • Hips start in lower position (may get lower depending on width of stance)
  • More load on hips and adductors (requires more groin flexibility)
  • Less load on low back (might be better for those with low back issues)
  • Grip inside of legs
  • Less shearing forces on lumbar spine

“Training” vs. “Coaching”

Training and coaching by definition are fairly similar. But, when applied to teaching goal orientated fitness modalities these two become very different animals. Vern Gambetta had a blog post years ago that I really enjoyed reading so I wanted to revisit and share with you all. Vern did a quick breakdown of “Training” vs. “Coaching”, defining what it means to do one versus the other. If you have ever worked in the fitness industry you will completely understand the angle from which this was written. It really defines the difference between a good/not so good trainer and a great trainer. The good trainers can get the results for their clients, but it is the mode in which they do it that separates them from the great trainers. Does the trainer accept bad form, or do they work with the client till it is 100% correct. It is not just the end result, rather, it is also the means by which you get the people there.  Enjoy.

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1) Training – Focused on the result. Just get it done.

Coaching – Focused on the process, how it is done, making sure it is repeatable.

2) Training – Self centered, all about the trainer, the athlete can’t do it without the trainer.

Coaching – All about empowering and teaching the athlete. Creating self-sufficiency rather than dependence.

3) Training – Has all the answers.

Coaching – Always gathering data from the training, fine-tuning and learning.

4) Training – Lots of screaming and yelling, ”motivating.”

Coaching – Purposeful, meaningful feedback and cue’s, communicating and teaching.

5) Training – Focused on equipment, needs machines and apparatus to train.

Coaching- Focused on the athlete and the sport they are preparing for and coach accordingly. Use what is needed and         necessary, not bells and whistles.

6) Training – Scattered, all over the place.

Coaching – Focused on the task at hand. No cell phone!

7) Training – Follows the latest fads, listens to gurus.

Coaching – Knows best practice and follows it. Stands on the shoulders of giants. Has a mentor.

How CrossFit Changed My Life

CrossFit North County Marathon Rowing Competition

CrossFit, most of you in the fitness industry have probably heard of it by now and if you haven’t you are probably living under a rock. CrossFit gets mixed reviews by professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts; either they love it or hate it, with very little grey area. Now, some of you may be thinking, but you don’t really do CrossFit anymore?!? This is true, now, but when I caught the fever back in 2006 it was a whole different story.

Before I found CrossFit I was dabbling in quite a few different types of strength/hypertrophy building exercise routines. In the early 2000’s I was all hypertrophy; meaning I would do one or two body parts a day and exercise for way over an hour. During my later college years I was introduced to a strength and conditioning class, this is where I picked up the deadlift, squat, and clean and jerk exercises to add to that already boring and lengthy workout. I very much hated legs and honestly, rarely did squats or deadlifts. I was big, I was strong, but my strength was not distributed equally and I was very much a top-heavy lifter.

In 2006 I graduated from school and returned home and rejoined the gym I had been a member of before I left for school, the one where all my bodybuilding went down. By this time the gym had started renting out space in one of the racquet ball courts to a business called CrossFit Encinitas. Being the inquisitive person I am I checked out their gym, equipment, took a business card and reached out to the owner of the gym. He told me the cost of the gym membership and I was unable to afford so I took it upon myself to find the source of this “CrossFit” exercise routine. I went online and searched CrossFit in my Yahoo search engine (yes I used to use Yahoo for searching) and found the CrossFit main page. I checked out the workouts and like most other people, was floored by what they were asking of me to do in one single workout…for time. It actually took me about six months to start working out with workouts from the CrossFit mainpage, I was mostly scared and had no idea what to expect from such intense workouts. In mid-2007 I did my first CrossFit workout, Barbara, loved it and was hooked.

By 2008 I was well into my love for CrossFit and really started to preach the gospel to people I met. I finally had a program that MADE me do legs and did all the programming for me so I no longer had to roam around the gym aimless looking for other exercises to waste time on. By late 2008, early 2009 I met up with a man who would later become my business partner with our affiliate CrossFit North County. I met Marc while he was rowing at the local YMCA gym I was working at. I started chatting with him about how awesome the rower was and how I used it a lot in CrossFit. He of course wanted to know what CrossFit was so I told him, a few months later he joined a local affiliate, started paleo, and lost close to 50lbs.

By late 2009 Marc was deep into the CrossFit mayhem and ended up going to a local certification and got the CrossFit level 1 cert. Once he got this cert we started talking about how cool it would be to start our own affiliate, but we were both working so much, had no equipment, so on and so forth. Well, Marc started purchasing equipment slowly but surely and by early 2010 we had just enough to start our own gym. I found a space, we affiliated and set up shop in a local sports performance facility. All was good, the gym started to grow however I had started to lose my passion for CrossFit. Not sure how and why it came about but for whatever reason I was no longer doing WOD’s and started moving my training to primarily doing powerlifting type exercises. From there I ended up taking a job up north in Los Angeles and had to abandon my business all together which at this point, I was fine with.

I moved away to Los Angeles and started to train in a very powerbuilding training method. I also found a training partner, Paleo Devan, who had similar goals as me with regards to strength and size gains. Devan inspired me to be passionate with my training and programming and we both really benefitted from this training awakening. So, here I am today, strong, happy with my program, gaining size, and when I look back I really have CrossFit to thank.

So how did CrossFit actually change my life?

  • CrossFit inspired me to be passionate about training myself again.
  • CrossFit made me do legs, which is why I am actually proportionate now.
  • CrossFit made me push my body to a level I had never worked at before.
  • CrossFit taught me how to program workouts to be more efficient.
  • CrossFit introduced me to powerlifting, which is a major part of my routine now.
  • Preaching CrossFit to others helped me to help others with their health.
  • CrossFit made me enjoy fitness again, plain and simple.
  • CrossFit inspires a passion for fitness like nothing else I have ever seen.
  • CrossFit introduced me to Paleo. The paleo diet has been a life changing “diet” for me and many others I have helped along the way and I 100% owe CrossFit and Robb Wolf for introducing me to this way of eating.

Thank you all so much for reading through this really long and drawn out blog post. I had not written much about my background with CrossFit, or fitness in general so it was nice to get that off my chest. Do I agree with everything CrossFit does, no. But I do think CrossFit has one of the best platforms for people looking to learn and adapt new training and nutritional philosophies into their own way of exercising and living. I have seen plenty of people start CrossFit and then segue into olympic weightlifitng, powerlifitng, rowing, running, or just add these elements into their old way of working out (like me). CrossFit’s ability to do just that is why I really do think it changed my life for the better as well as the others who I have helped over the years, so thank you CrossFit.