Conditioning and Lifting


Improving lifts and techniques in Olympic lifting will be the turning point for many of your clients when it comes to their conditioning and metabolic times. Now, this might sound counter intuitive.

How does lifting help metabolic conditioning. Well, there’s one answer in today’s video that is very helpful. But let us add to that answer by adding that repeated Olympic lifts for strength training is a great way to raise and lower the heart rate repeatedly over a set period of time.

What does this result in? If you guessed a higher and stronger metabolic threshold, then you guessed correctly.

Now for that other, very practical answer to this question, take a look at today’s video discussion.

And more than anything…get your clients lifting.


Watch: Will my conditioning & gymnastics if I just focus on Olympic Lifting

Technique: Developing That Clean & Jerk


The clean and jerk is one of the funnest movements in all of Olympic lifting, and it certainly will benefit your clients. The movement is a combination of core strength, balance, precision, and overall body strength.

With its quick step movements and raw power, it certainly is a feast and spectacle for the eyes.

To teach a movement takes time and practice. One helpful thing to do is to break it down into its core components for your clients so they can build that chain movement.

Of course learning the deadlift is crucial, as well as the bottom out position of the front squat. One aspect of the movement that is sorely forgotten yet crucially needed, is the spring bound before the jerk.

Take a look at what we mean in this short clip and watch how athletes are being prepared for the jerk by getting used to the movement of the weight.

Watch: Jerk Spring

Technique and Safety In Squatting

Squatting is a key component of any program, whether it’s functional fitness, boot camp or personal training. We squat because we are building that raw power in our clients to do more and to lift more. This routine is key to each and every single movement your clients will learn in that gym.

For something so important, we must give a lot of time to technique and safety. Teaching your clients how to plant their feet, keep their backs and chests upright and in proper position, and to sink into the squat as if they are sitting becomes a key concept in this entire movement.

In addition, that bar placement over the back and balanced over and through the heels becomes essential. It’s one thing to talk about it, but an entirely different thing to show it. Take some time to not only review for yourself, but to go over these movements with your clients today.


Watch: Back Squat Insights

That Full Body Warm Up


The warm up is by far the most important part of your client’s workout. Now, getting them to believe and understand that is a completely different issue. They are probably hard pressed to think that it’s about hitting those Personal Records and getting a great time on that metabolic workout.

What they don’t understand, though, is that those great times and big lifts are all as a result of a well warmed up body. What does the warm up do? It prepares the muscles to receive weight and to expend energy.

Without a proper warmup, the body would rather shrink away from work rather than deliver.

So think about giving your clients a full body warm up that will prepare them overall. It’s not enough to warm up the parts, but rather think about the whole.

For a great example of how easily this can be accomplished, take a look at this full body warmup routine.


Handstand Push-up Progressions


We’ve been talking about auxiliary work for the push up early today, and it’s natural to think in that push-pull classic tandem of lifting.

So if we have the pull with the pull up, where is the push for the shoulder movement in functional fitness? It comes in the dreaded handstand pushup.

The handstand pushup is one of those dreaded movements in functional fitness. It’s not only the fact that you are inverted and thus in a very uncomfortable position, but you must also think about your balance, your hand placement, your push, etc.

So many things are going on with this movement.

So how does one go about getting that handstand push-up? Well, for one thing, remember that the progression should start first with the strict handstand pushup work before teaching the kip.

So in order to do this, one must build up shoulder strength. Here’s a helpful way of building to that inverted shoulder strength position. Take a look.

Watch: Handstand Push-up Progression

Auxiliary Exercises for Pull-Up Volume


Chances are, if you have gotten your clients to that first, seemingly mythical pull-up, the next thing they are going to be concentrating on is 2 pull-ups, and then 3 pull ups, etc. They will want to raise the volume of repetitions almost immediately, and this will pose a problem.

How do you increase the amount of pull-ups you see your clients doing? The simple answer would be volume work. However, anyone who has been training for a while understands that this is simply not the answer.

More volume on the movement itself will not necessarily be the thing to get your clients a higher rep count.

Instead, what you can do is auxiliary work to build up the stabilizer muscles used in the movement itself. This will help with the pull and the volume count.

Specifically for the pull up, one thing you can check into is this double kettlebell swing movement. Enjoy!


Watch: Double Kettlebell Swing

Narrated Lifting Videos


We have a treat for you today with a video from Catalyst Athletics head coach Gregg Everett narrating videos of his lifters going through their routines.

What’s great about this is that he’s able to point out exactly what they are doing and where they are going wrong.

This is not only good for you to watch, but it’s also a great idea to introduce this into your own training of athletes. Take the time to record them in their lifts and give them real and specific feedback as you watch together.

This way you will see a tremendous amount of improvement as they watch themselves and make specific corrections.

Watch: Commentary 6

Progressive Overload In Lifting


Working with your clients and getting them to consistently and continually make gains in their lifts is all about working the percentages.

If you program in such a way to add progressive loads by percentage to their lifts on a weekly basis, chances are you will get them to hit personal records.

Now, of course there is going to be the issue of hitting a plateau, and you want to be aware of how to break them through and over that plateau. One thing you can do is not only work the percentages in their training system, but you can also include a de-load week for them.

The point of the de-load is to let muscles repair and rest for the next big sequence in training. If you don’t give the muscles this sort of active rest, you will certainly have a difficult time getting your clients to the next step of training.

So always remember to not only hit those percentages, but also hit and schedule in those de-load weeks. And chances are your clients will have a hard time with the de-load week; they probably won’t like it. But explain it to them and keep them on that road of making gains.

Read the full article: 8 ways to keep making progressive gains

Mistakes Lifters Make


Lifting is a journey on which we can be helped by many different people. Today we get a nice look and perspective from Kendrick Farris, Olympic Lifter and all around great guy. He shares some of his achievements, but more importantly, he shares with us his mistakes.

This is helpful to listen to as we think through our own programming and mistakes we make along the way. To learn from another’s mistakes is one of the greatest things we can do. It saves us time, effort and injury. It also helps us to achieve our goals in a much faster and straight forward manner.

Take a look and learn what you can from this man.


Watch: Learn from my mistakes

Receiving the Bar in the Clean & Jerk


One of the most exciting movements in all of lifting is the clean and jerk. It’s with this movement that we see a combination of pure, raw strength and precise movement. The clean and jerk takes a tremendous amount of technique to master, and it can be one of the most rewarding movements for anyone.

What is key to the clean and jerk? Well, the first thing is learning how to properly “receive” the bar in the bottom position. If this one aspect of the movement is off, everything else in the chain of movement will break apart.

So if there is one movement, more than any other, where clients will benefit from watching and re-watching video, it is with this.

Take a look at CrossFit Games competitor Lauren Fisher as she demonstrates this movement in slow motion. This will certainly help you and your clients understand better these movements. And by the way, that’s 213 lbs she has on that bar!

Watch: Clean and Jerk with Lauren Fisher