Marlaena and I went down to Sumner, Washington this past weekend to attend the CrossFit Olympic Lifting seminar. It was a 2 day course hosted by Rainier CrossFit. The facility was amazing and they had the coolest pull-up rigging system that I have ever seen! It was made out of these huge raw log beams and had different diameter tubing, it was pretty awesome! The seminar was instructed by Coach Mike Burgener, an international level Olympic weightlifting coach, and several of his assistant instructors including a national level coach, a former international level competitor and a couple of current junior national level competitors.
The weekend started off outside with a basic warm-up that consisted of sprints, shuffles, high knees, lateral movement, etc. Then we moved inside and did a partner warm-up drill that Coach Burgener referred to as the "Junk Yard Dog Warm-Up"! After the junk yard dog warm-up we each got a piece of pvc tubing and went through the Burgener warm-up. This is a pretty simple sequence consisting of 5-6 movements that are to be done at the start of every Olympic Lifting session. The warm-up only takes a few minutes to do and I'm going to start including it into my daily warm-up routine.
After we finished warming up we went over the pulling and landing stance of the snatch, the hook grip and the various positions of the lift. Then we focused on different progressions including the overhead squat, the snatch deadlift, the snatch push press and the snatch balance.
Once we finished with the progressions we moved into the full snatch but stuck with the the pvc tubing. It wasn't until the next morning that we actually got to load up a barbell and snatch using real weight. We didn't go very heavy though (maybe 40-50% of our 1 rep max) and really kept the focus on technique and speed.
We worked on the clean next. The clean is very similar to the snatch other than grip width and the finishing position so we spent less time on it, focusing mostly on the speed of the elbows when receiving the bar. Slow elbows have been one of my problems so I had one of the assistant instructors show me a drill to help increase my elbow speed and efficiency.
The last thing we worked on was the jerk. We spent a lot of time on finding the correct landing position and proper posture in the landing position. Once everyone felt pretty comfortable with their landing position we were able to load up some barbells and work on the full clean and jerk. Like the snatch, we kept the weights pretty light and kept the focus on speed and technique.
I didn't know what to expect from this seminar or from Coach Burgener but I can honestly say that this was the best certification course that I have been to yet! It was incredibly informative but really fun at the same time! Coach B was an amazing instructor and had a great sense of humour which kept the mood in the gym very light and relaxed! I would definitely recommend this course for anyone involved with CrossFit, anyone interested in the Olympic Lifts or anyone looking to take on a new challenge!