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May 2011

Happy Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day is traditionally the start of Summer for most people.  Their first trip to the beach, their first sunburn of the season, and the anticipation fo school being over.

To me Memorial Day has always been a bitter-sweet holiday.  all of my adult life I have either worked directly with or have had close contact with the military and I look at this day a little differently than most.  I look at it as a day when we recognize the sacrifices that brave and selfless men and women have made to make our country what it is - the home of the free and the land of the brave.

The following video, featuring Lt. Col. Oliver North, tells of his encounters with our warriors and their bravery and valor under fire.


Justice For Osama

I'm not really concerned on which side of the political line you fall on - never have and I never will.  Everyone has their right to an opinion - that doesn't mean I have to like yours or you like mine.  One thing I'm hoping we all can agree on is that putting a couple ounces of lead into Osama Bin Laden was an easy out for him but expedient for us (the United States).  Tossing his carcass in the ocean also solved a lot of problems as well.  Should I feel sorry for a mass murderer or his unfortunate family?  Don't count on it in this lifetime...

Enjoy the following video.  I've watched a number of videos from this gentleman and I really like his take on current events - like the demise of OBL.


RIP Jillian Michaels

Jillian-michaels No, she's not dead... she's leaving "The Biggest Loser" and being replaced by Anna Kournikova (huh?). But, you ask, what will she be doing with her spare time?  She'll be working on the The Doctors and Dr. Phil.  I'm sure this a big step up for her and a huge step backwards for daytime TV viewers.

Well at least Anna is a relatively good athlete (but not a trainer) and will bring something other than a bad attitude to the show!

Maybe Jillian will use some of her spare time to get some Kettlebell training from an RKC in California (there are a butt-load full of them there) or even (heaven forbid) go to an RKC where they can do a reality TV show on her suffering! :)

Kettlebell For Warriors - York Barbell (05/21/11)

The second annual Kettlebells For Warriors event at York Barbell was a huge success.  We had well over 250 people on-site for the inductions of Slim "The Hammer Man" Farman and Joseph "The Mighty Atom" Greenstein which also included a talk by Scott Adams, US Army Retired, speaking on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project.  Featured guests and presenters were Dennis Rogers, Dan Cenidoza, David Whitley, Kim Woods, and Jedd Johnson.

More information about the event will follow... for now, thanks to everyone who attended and helped make the event a day to remember.

Pictured (from left to right): Tom Berlinsky, Tony Rosa, Kevin Rail, Michael Krivka, Francine Krivka, and Nicky Scafone.

The following video was shot by Jedd Johnson and posted on the Diesel Crew web site, where he also gave a great rundown of the days events from his perspective.  Thanks Jedd!


Deadlift Safety

With a large number of people attempting to PR on the Deadlift of late I just wanted to pass on some guidelines on how to safely work towards a PR.

  • Work up slowly to your new PR.  This might mean making small, incremental increases of weight over a couple weeks - but in the long run it will be worth it.
  • Check your foot position. This may not be obvious to you at light weights but it will become more important when you start adding more and more to the bar.  Make sure that on each attempt that you are starting with your feet in the same place, i.e. with the bar over the insteps, not in front of the toes or against your shins.
  • Check your grip. As you progress towards your PR you're going to want to eventually switch over to a palms-opposing grip.  This will reinforce your hold on the bar and keep the bar from "rolling" out of your grip.  Many people find that they are able to move up quickly after switching grips from palms-inwards to palms-opposing.
  • Check your hand position. Pulling from a wide or miss-matched grip is going to slow you down and potentially open you up to injury. Make sure that you are pulling from a hand position that allows you to grab the bar with your arms just outside your knees and no farther.  NOTE: if you are Deadlifting to help with the initial pull from the Snatch then you will need to increase the width of your grip.
  • Check your head angle. After you verify your foot and hand position you should bring your head back up to a neutral angle before you attempt the lift.  Having your head angled down will lead to you arching your upper-back and making it hard to pull straight up. Focus on a spot in the distance and keep your eyes on it throughout your attempt.
  • Press down - don't pull up. Instead of concentrating on pulling the bar from the ground think about driving your heels through the ground.  With the upper-body and back locked into position prior to the lift you will be able to "unwind" the deadlift from the ground up i.e. feet, ankles, knees and hips with the hands and arms being used as hooks.  This will also initiate the lift through the posteral chain and the lower body as opposed to to the anterior chain and your arms.
  • Lock everything.  Finish the attempt by locking the whole skeletal system to support the load. Make sure that the glutes are fully engaged and that your chest is forward and the lats and armpits are "tight".
  • Drop it like that crazy girlfriend/boyfriend.  Once you've locked it out and held the position for a few moments drop the bar. Don't worry about it hitting you on the way down - if you've got everything locked into place the bar will slide right past your legs and knees.
  • PR then stand still for a moment. After pulling and holding the Deadlift you're going to need a second for your body to stabilize. Take a moment to catchh your breath, check your vision, and sit down (fast) if you feel dizzy or if you are going to pass out.  You don't want to end up like the guy in the following video.


A Quick Update

Just wanted to update you all on the latest PR's on the Deadlift front.

  • Tom - 360# PR; previous PR of 374 was 20 years ago
  • William - 355#; almost got 360#'s - next time
  • Damien - 235# PR - great work Damien!
  • Mak - 375# - one step close to 400#

Keep up all of the great work!

300 lbs PR's!

No, it's not another torturous workout!  Paul and Adam pulled 300 lbs yesterday for the first time!  Paul has been working up to 300 lbs for a couple weeks now and it has eluded him until now.  Adam has been getting some time in as well and made it look easy.  Congratulations to them both and look for more PR's from them both in the future!



Outstanding Effort Ladies!

Just wanted to pass on to those who are following the groups progress with their Deadlift numbers that Dorothy, Kim, and Chris all PR'd last night with 175 lbs! All three broke past 155 lbs and then went straight to 175 lbs.  With some grunting and groaning, not to mention a few well placed curses, they all made the jump.  Congratulations! :)

BTW - please excuse the poor photographt skills!  All three PR's were in perfect form... my timing of the shots was off!




Attacking The Deadlift

PHonigfort_DLPR The Deadlift is one of the foundational lifts in Weight Lifting.  Once considered the true test of someone's overall strength it had been in recent years been supplanted in the gym by the Bench Press.  While the Bench Press is a good indicator of overall upper-body strength it will never match the "bang for your buck" you will get from developing a solid Deadlift.  Once referred to as the "Health Lift", because it was considered to be the most important lift you could do for overall health and well-being, developing your Deadlift will improve everything from your Pull-ups to your Box Jumps.

We've been doing several sets of Deadlifts as part of our warm-ups for the last month or so and have seen everyone rack up some impressive numbers.  Everyone has been able to Deadlift at least their own bodyweight and several people are "knocking on the door" or double-bodyweight.  Not to shabby for a bunch of Kettlebell-slingers! :)

WmBrown_DLPR Interestingly, many of the people who were the most reticent to Deadlift are now the ones who enjoy it the most!  This is understandable because many people have a really hard time "wrapping their head" around picking up something really heavy, but once they do (and they don't get crushed in the process they are excited to continue.  I think the Deadlift is a great intro lift for most CrossFitters and all Kettlebellers in that it translates so well into all of the other techniques that we do as well one that you can see some immediate return from.

Keep up the amazing work and look for pictures here of some more PR's being broken and of our 400 LBS club members!