In our first post of the new year I wanted to take a look back at the year we had at PFP Barbell. We went through a lot of growth and changes last year. From coaching changes, joining East Coast Gold, and holding our first weightlifting meet the gym and team transformed and was filled with a bunch of firsts in the past year.
East Coast Gold
This year started with Head Coach , Tom Duer, joining ECG as an athlete under the coaching of Phil Sabatini and Brenden McDaniel . Soon after our entire team was invited to be a satellite location for the East Coast Gold team . This has given our team and coaches access to the best coaching in the USA and we have reaped the benefits ....big time. From Programming to meet management we have taken massive strides as coaches and athletes this year .
We have also been given the opportunity to attend a few ECG Camps this year to get to work with the ECG Coaches in person. I always leave beaming with pride from all of the positive feedback we receive about how our athletes lift and more importantly carry themselves as people .
Joining ECG has also given our athletes a higher level to strive to as when they qualify for nationals they join the ECG National team and qualify for performance incentives and bonuses . We have not qualified any athletes yet, but I am certain we will have a handful of athletes on the team in 2019.
PFP Barbell participated in multiple meets throughout the year and again helped multiple athletes compete in their first weightlifting meets. Our first time competitors ranged from 11 years old to over 50. We also took our team to two USAW American Open Series meets last year. We went from coaching 1 athlete at the AO series in 2017 to coaching over 50 sessions as a staff at the Series this year. We also helped coach many East Coast Gold athletes to Medals and Records at the AO2 as we served on the ECG coaching staff for that event.
Laura Woodward, Andre Ainsworth , Tonja Ayala and Brandi Darby became the first PFP Barbell Athletes to Head Coach Tom Duer Competed at USAW Nationals and finished 7th in the 105+ category and at the American Open Final and Finished 5th in the newly formed 109kg weight class. Assistant Head Coach and resident lady boss Maggie Duer also made her competition comeback this year competing twice .
One of the coolest aspects of PFP Barbell is how much we have grown as a team in the back room of meets. Coaches Tom Duer, Maggie Duer , and Dom Gomez have helped develop a culture of success as new Barbell Coach Marisa Galli has taken on more responsibility taking the lead coaching athletes of her own . Gerald Hayes, Andre Ainsworth , Laura Woodward , and Bre Prinkey have been invaluable members of our team loading and helping with whatever our team needs during meets. I am looking forward to more growth and development from our awesome group.
PFP Liftmas Open
We hosted our first meet ever in December. 35 athletes competed including a handful of our own athletes. Running a sanctioned meet for the first time, I was not sure what to expect . It ended up running really smoothly thanks to the PFP Barbell crew and with help from our friends over at Relentless Barbell. This was our first , but definitely not the last. I am excited to host 2 or 3 more meets in 2019 !
As I am the head coach of PFP Barbell and an athlete for the East Coast Gold Weightlifting National team, I have two big roles. One as a coach and the other as an athlete.
As a coach , I am thrilled with our development as a team in 2018. We completely revamped how we program and approach training. Our meet management has improved and we have improved each meet with how we take care of our athletes. I say we , because if it doesn't matter if I personally improve if It doesn't spread to our entire coaching staff. Overall our development as coaches has exceeded my expectations and I am looking forward to our growth in 2019.
As an athlete I had my best year so far. I added 19kg to my competition total 318-337kg . This year I competed in the AO1 ( 325kg total 5th ), USAW Nationals (333kg 7th) , ECG Fall Brawl ( 337kg 1st) , USAW AO Final (328kg 5th) . In the AO final I was one lift away from my first National Medals . There is lots to build on from here and I expect to carry the momentum into 2019 and bring some hardware back for PFP and ECG in both national meets this year.
In 2019 I expect PFP to continue to grow and develop. At year end we had 32 barbell members , this year I expect that number to grow to 50+. We should have 4-6 national qualifiers by AO finals time. As I write this we found out yesterday that Laura Woodward became our first athlete to qualify for Senior Nationals . She should be joined by a handful of her peers by years end . Overall I expect our team to continue to work hard, grow , and support each other. I am not sure exactly what 2019 will bring , but with our team , the sky is the limit.
If you want to find out what we are all about contact :
Come drop-in, do a complementary Barbell Assessment , or dive right in and join the squad!
This Blog was originally posted here: joesbarbell.com/2017/04/26/make-time/
Having a garage gym is great. The time you don’t waste in the car alone traveling to and from the gym makes it worth having.
Also, as a dad who wants his kiddos to take up training I like having my kiddos around the gym. I want them to access the gym and equipment to tinker on their own. I also like for them to see mom and dad getting after it regularly. This aspect of a garage gym is also worth its weight in kilos. A 2010 article in the Journal of International Pediatrics demonstrated that children who perceived their parents as physically active were themselves physically active
That said, to successful train in your own garage set up you need to have few rules in place.
1 – Carve out a designated space.
Your gym space needs to be your gym space. This needs to be the place you get work done. I am a big fan of a compartmentalized place that is just for training. We don’t even park the cars in the garage. Now, we do store some things in the garage along with the training gear but the matts are for training and that is that.
If you don’t have the space to carve out your very own training place, but do get after it at home, I would suggest setting up the same way, in the same place, all the time. My wife for instance likes to do yoga in the living room with the kids. When she does this she does it in the same spot and has a routine for setting that up, but more on that later.
The point is your at home training space needs to be as consistent a training place as a stand along gym as possible. This will ensure for more consistent training.
2 – Have a pre training routine.
If you are going to be training at home you need to set your switch and hit the go button! Regardless of the amount of time I have to train or the type of training I am going to get into I do a few things beforehand to set the mood. My routine consists of writing down my work, informing my little ones that daddy is hitting the gym, and setting my computer up for tunes.
Yes, these are really simple things. But, they also ready my mind and my kids for the training session to come.
3 – Have rules in place
I mentioned above that I like to have my kids around when I hit the weights. Check out this video from a recent session and you will see my son is a few feet away as I perform a Jerk variation. Inevitably misses happen and unpredictable events take place. Never, not once, or ever is one of those events allowed to be one of my kids getting hurt.
In order to keep my kids safe while I’m moving heavy loads the kiddos know, and I check to make sure they are out of danger. One rule is that when Daddy is training kiddos have to be on the other half of the garage or off the training mats. As you can see Mason understands this and stays clear.
Be sure to have, and most importantly, enforce ground rules for the safety of participants and nonparticipants.
4 – It’s not your job to throw them a party
Now this rule is for those of us with kiddos at home while training is going down. It may also apply to a spouse or frisky friend so be sure to still pay attention if you don’t have kiddos. I don’t go out of my way to schedule events for my kids when I train. As I mentioned before I want them around training, plus I want them to take care of their own business and be independent – which mine are.
I see parents over schedule, over stimulate, and underestimate their child’s ability to fill time – all the time. If you do any of these things your kiddos will be dependent on you to get through every minute of the day and that will inevitably eat up your training time.
On the other hand, don’t schedule anything. Don’t lay out extra stuff. In fact, don’t go out of your way to set up anything to keep your kids busy at all. I think you’d be surprised at how well they will fill in the gaps. I am fortunate enough to have three kids close in age. Mason is 6, Charlie is 4, and Luci is 2. These 3 play very well together because they spend a lot of time playing well together!
And yes, they play with each other. When Daddy trains that is not code word for movie time. When Daddy trains that does not mean the iPads come out.
Take the drawing of the New York skyline that Mason created yesterday.
The only hand I had in the creation of this picture was taking the picture and providing the freedom for him to be creative. While he did this he also pulled out a few extra crayons and pieces of paper for his little sisters to create as well.
The major takeaway is when Daddy trains that is his time, but it’s also the kids time! They can play, train, create, and figure out how to manage themselves quite well.
That said, these are still little kids. They can’t manage themselves for hours. Give yourself a time frame so you can truly be productive. Our house is not Lord of the Flies. 60 minutes tops is what my kids get to be independent! Not to mention when they are in that state I am a door away and constantly checking in!
If you don’t have a garage or home set up I would highly recommend it! I would also highly recommend coming up with a system so you can train productively. Mine is simple. I Carve out a space, I set the stage, I have some rules, and I make that time productive by making it mine.
If you train at home I’d love to know what your system is. If you don’t train at home try mine and let me know what you think. Comment below, give this a share!
As part of East Coast Gold Weightlifting we have access to some of the best athletes and coaches in the USA. This article was written by my coach and President of ECG , Phil Sabaitini
The link for the original article is here :
So often, I hear athletes say things like “I’m going to come in to fix my Jerk”, or “Can you fix my snatch?”
This is implying that one cue, one exercise, or even within one day that you can miraculously obtain perfect technique in a certain area.
Two things that are very important in the sport of Weightlifting: Patience and Expectation Management.
The thought that you can spend minimal amount of time and obtain a quick fix is absurd. It offends the long-time athletes and coaches that have spent decades trying to correct improper movement patterns. Great athletes of any sport have spent countless hours in perfect conditions perfecting a very specific technique that allows for them to excel at their sport.
For example, the baseball pitcher who seeks a perfect, fluid wind-up, or the gymnast who seeks the perfect dismount and the quarterback who seeks the perfect throwing motion. These movement patterns weren’t built or rebuilt in one single session. In some cases, it has taken a lifetime to finally have the proficiency that the training for it deserves. One thing that those athletes who have succeeded in doing so have in common are the 2 attributes listed above; Patience and Expectation Management.
Consistency and exposure to the movement is what allows for us to create the neurological education that we call “muscle memory”. Unfortunately, this is also what has allowed us to create an improper movement pattern to begin with. The challenging part is that not only do we have to learn how to do the movement correctly, but it also may involve an unlearning of the previous movement in order to obtain that. This process takes months and years. The more times you can do it correctly, the closer you get. This is why having patience is essential to the process.
In order to create this new neurological pattern, we must work at it. This process is full of frustration, fatigue, frustration, regression, and more frustration. But, perspective is a very powerful tool that can make this process much more enjoyable. The ability to manage your expectations on both a small and large scale and from a short-term “fix” to a long-term adaptation will dictate your level of frustration. Managing expectations takes more than just patience alone. It means that you must understand that you may not make progress every day. You may have to understand that sometimes it may feel like you have gotten worse at the movement and that you have no clue what you are even doing at times. Also, you must understand that some days fatigue will get the best of you and even if you are trying to correctly perform movements with certain weights, it is proving to be extremely difficult.
Lastly, manage the time frame in which you are expecting perfection. Learn to accept small victories when they come and learn from the days that they don’t. Switch your focus to a process rather than a performance, and learn to embrace that process and attack it with enthusiasm and positivity. Understand that progress is not always shown in the amount of weight that is on the barbell. And be in it for the long-haul, because it is a long haul.
Come join team PFP and ECG by emailing me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
This weekend our team competed at the Relentless Open in Meadville, Pennsylvania . This was a pretty cool weekend as it was hosted by one of our remote athlete's Fernando Hernandez. This also was our largest turnout as a team for any meet as 11 of our athletes competed and we coached a total of 13 athletes over 4 sessions . We had two athletes trying to qualify for the AO Final, one competing in their first meet , and the rest chasing PR's and working to improve their performances on the platform. The meet ran smoothly and the venue was awesome (www.crossfitxba.com/relentless-barbell-club.html) . I can't wait to go back .
We had 2 PFP Barbell athletes competing during this session and coached 2 other athletes as well. Tracy Weaver and Brandi Darby would set the tone for our day during this session . They went 11 for 12 and combined for a meet PR total of 16 kg ! Brandi matured a lot this meet and lifted really well she was extremely close to a 6 for 6 day with and even more impressive 14 kg total PR by herself. Tracy Weaver was the surprise of the session however , she had one of the best meets of any athlete I have coached. We really challenged her this meet to attempt weights she was uncomfortable with and she answered big time with a 6 for 6 performance with PR's Across the board. We also had Meaghan and Mary working with our coaches and they had very good sessions as well.
This sessions we had 4 PFP Barbell Athletes compete along with an athlete from Shadyside Barbell working with our team for session. This session was the one I was most nervous about . 5 athletes is a lot and I wasn't sure how we would manage. Our coaching staff came up big this session putting all of our lifters in position to perform at their best . Maggie Duer , Dom Gomez, and Marisa Galli kicked butt in the back . Maggie and Dom are both our rocks in the back and make sure every session their involved with runs smoothly and on time . This was Marisa's first time counting by herself in the back and she managed two athletes . I am so grateful for our team and how they continue to learn and develop .
Now for the athletes. Jack Weaver our youth lifter answered his mom's amazing performance with a 6 for 6 day of his own. He and Maggie were such a good team and I am excited to see how they work together in the future in bigger meets in the future . To my knowledge this is the first time we have had two athletes go 6 for 6 in the same day. Luke Darby was next! This was Luke's first meet and Coach Dom was there to make sure he was in position to crush it. Luke ended up going 4 for 6 hitting a couple PR's and winning his weight class in his very first meet! Andre and Andrew were both opening at similar weights and warmed up together all the way out to the platform. Andre won the award for best singlet ever as he was dressed as Pee Wee Herman and has his best meet to date. Andre is generally a quieter low profile athlete for us so it was great to see him get out of his comfort zone and have a really good meet. Adam Closed out the meet for us and was our first lifter working towards the AO Final . He had the ability to hit the numbers he needed but would have to have a good snatch session . He had a pretty good training cycle leading up to the meet but it was his first time competing in about a year so I wasn't sure how he would do . Unfortunately we didn't make any snatches and his chanced were over before he took his first clean and jerk . I am really proud of him as he came back and made all of his clean and jerks after a disappointing snatch portion of his meet.
This was a fun session for our team. The rest of the meet we only had 2 athletes per session so we got a little break from the madness of the first half of the day . Marisa and Bre were up in the last women's session. They are two of our more experienced lifters so I was excited to see how they would do . Bre was working towards an AO final qualification and Marisa to qualify for Under 25 Nationals. While both ultimately came up a little short they both enjoyed good meets and had some major breakthroughs. Bre is always extremely constant and totaled and impressive 168kg . We have some adjustments to make but I wouldn't be surprised if she qualifies for her first national championship this spring. Marisa had the more stressful meet of the two . After a great warm up session she ended up missing her opening snatch , making the second and missing the third. It was the same story on her Clean and Jerks, however with a twist. Marisa is a much better athlete and weightlifter than she thinks. After her snatch session we wanted to light a fire under her ass and told her she would be opening with a 1 kg PR on her clean and jerk . She zoned in and answered the bell. She finished 2 for 6 with a PR Clean and Jerk and Total and left a ton on the platform . I believe this was a more important meet than she realized and this is give her confidence in the future and raise her expectations for herself.
Coach Dom and Mike Phillips closed us out for the day. Both had really good meets. Dom has been on a tough busy rotation and has not been able to get into the gym on a regular basis. He came out and lifted great working up to about 90% of his best total . Dom leads from the front and his meet performance on Saturday was just another example of that. Mike had a fun session going 5 for 6 and with Competition PRs across the board. He came out and surprised everyone after a very rough warm up in the snatches. He was not close to his opener in the back at all and we had to drop him down considerably . However he regrouped lifted well enough to come close to his best after some great lifts on the platform. He also crushed his clean and jerks almost making a 100kg attempt with a great clean and a close miss on the jerk. Rumor on the street is that his coaches made the jump by accident and he still had an great attempt and was excited to attach this big lift.
We ended up with 8 of our 11 athletes medaling in their weight class. From the top down I thought our team had one of their best meets to date. Every single athlete and coach stood out in their own way. The culture and support that PFP Barbell has never ceases to impress me . I am blessed to be able to lead such a wonderful group of athletes and am excited to watch and help these athletes grow and progress in the future!
To join the team email : email@example.com
As a satellite of East Coast Gold Weightlifting we have access to some of the best coaches in the country . This is an blurb written by Brendan Mcdaniel from HQ it was originally posted here :
This one is personal to me. I try to explain to all of my lifters that the the warm-ups, or light weights in training are programmed to make you a better weightlifter not just to get you loose for the working sets. The light ones are designed to dial in those positions, focus on the movement patterns that help you avoid your common faults, and build confidence for the heavy weights. they are also a great way to determine how you are recovering from previous training. don’t take them for granted.
To join the winningest team in America , Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
to get started!
Recently Brandi was featured on the website The Shadow League :
This is a story about tears and the many emotions contained within them.
It’s a tale about emotions, the memories coloring them and the sometimes daunting change of identity that comes with accomplishment.
Our heroine? An albino woman named Brandi Darby who became the first legally blind woman to medal at a USA Weightlifting event last July. And if she’s being honest with you, she’ll say it was an honor she wasn’t sure she was ready to accept.
In fact, the day she walked into the American Open Series 2 in Valley Forge, Pa., Brandi didn’t even think that making history was a possibility.
She was too busy taking in her surroundings.
Because of her albinism, Brandi has trouble deciphering objects beyond 20 feet in front of her — and everything in between is hazy at that. Still, backstage at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, she could see each athlete in all their brawn and vigor warming up their lifts backstage. She even made out the silhouettes of some of her favorite athletes from Instagram. Like Cara Heads Slaughter, an American Olympian. The sight of her made Brandi’s stomach flutter.
"The pomp and circumstance of it all is what was getting me,” Brandi told the Shadow League.
As excited as Brandi was to be in that convention hall, a part of her was still trying to find her place. The 36-year-old from Pittsburgh had only started competing in Olympic weightlifting in February. This was the biggest event she had ever been a part of. She was slated to compete in the 90-kilogram masters weight class against six other women.
Thankfully, she knew that the organizers of the event were ready to accommodate her impaired vision. They let her coach, Tom Duer to walk her up and down the steps so she wouldn’t trip over any of the cables. The judges also said they would give her audible cues instead of visual ones. That way she’d know when she had completed her attempt or cleared a weight.
With all that in mind, Brandi knew she could relax a bit and just focus on what she set out to do:
Go six for six on her lifts.
She thought that was enough to make her coach proud. But even more so, Brandi wanted to honor her father who passed away two and a half years ago. The late Charles “Chuckie” Young had albinism, too, and overcame his disability to become a competitive powerlifter.
He was her greatest inspiration.
“I only do this because he used to punish me with it when I was a kid,” Brandi laughed. “I had to do air squats and deadlifts with a broomstick when I was being mouthy.”
Unfortunately, Brandi didn’t quite make her goal. She hit four out of six for a total of 135-kilograms between the snatch and the clean and jerk categories.
She went backstage and packed her bag while the other girls made their lifts. As each of her competitors walked by, she congratulated them with a smile and a tinge of disappointment. The competitor in her was focused on failure in that moment.
But when Brandi heard that she had placed third at her first-ever national meet, all she could do was cry. She started thinking about her father and how he would have loved to see her on that podium.
Daddy’s Little Leo
Brandi often credits her dad for teaching her how to move through a blurry world. Growing up in the projects of Pittsburgh with two working parents, she was far from a sheltered child.
“We had too much going on for my disabilities to rule the conversation at the dinner table, you know what I mean?” she said.
What she means is that she and her sister split the chores equally. Her sister mopped and vacuum the floors because she could see all of the crumbs and dust on the floor. Brandi did the dishes and made the beds because she could feel the grime on the silverware and the wrinkles in the sheets.
Beyond that, Chuckie made sure that his daughter Brandi learned everything that her sister and cousins did. She learned to take the bus on her own just like everyone else. She jumped into all sorts of sports like basketball, dodgeball, softball — a lot of sports many would assume a blind person would have trouble participating in.
But Brandi was the type of kid that if you told her she couldn’t do something, she’d do it anyway just to stick it in your face. She’ll attest she’s a fiery Leo.
When 10-year-old Brandi told her mother that she was going to try out for the softball team, her mom said she was better off playing something else. Chuckie jumped to Brandi’s defense.
“Let her,” he said then looked at his daughter.
“He told me I have to set my own boundaries in order to know which boundaries are mine or which boundaries were given to me,’’ added Brandi.
Even though she didn’t end up playing softball, she remembers the sheer glee of just being able to participate with other kids in activities she enjoyed — like cheerleading. Above all, she’ll never forget the day her father taught her and her cousins how to ride a bike.
“I remember having to practice riding the bike longer than everyone else because I couldn't see,” she said. “I was so distracted by everything that was going on around me that I was afraid of running into the chain link fences beside me. I wanted to quit. But my dad would just run right in front of me and say, ‘Just chase me. Just come and get me.’ Suddenly, I wasn’t as scared anymore.”
Then one day she asked her dad to take her to the gym with him, and her love for powerlifting began. Later in her 30s, she’d find CrossFit and find her passion for Olympic lifting.
Which brings us back to those tears streaming down her face at the American Open Series.
Those tears weren’t just streams of joy. They traced back to a deep-seeded fear that she couldn’t quite shake.
She was afraid of being different.
The Layers of Black Albinism
As daring as Brandi has been most of her life, she has never intentionally set out to be the first blind woman to do anything.
Because that would make her a somebody.
And being a somebody meant like she couldn’t just be like everyone else.
"I don't want to be any more different than I already am,” said Brandi. “I'm already albino. I just don’t like newly added layers of being different because it’s never easy being the odd one out.”
The idea of being “the odd one out” brings up painful memories of being left out of games of hide-and-seek with her cousins. It reminded her of the moments she thought her fair skin alienated her from her family.
“Growing up there was always this dichotomous thing where I wasn't black enough for a lot of people because I had what they perceived as white privilege,” said Brandi. “And then some white people didn't even know I was black or enjoyed the fact that I looked like them. So they would give me things like scholarships and stuff to feel good about helping out a girl from the projects. It took me a while to find myself in that balance.”
Layered on top of that is the complex guilt that sometimes accompanies black youth who achieve “success” defined by a white-dominated society. Brandi felt that her scholastic achievements strained her friendship with her cousins.
“In fifth grade, I went to private school while my cousins went to public school,” she said. “When they caught on that I was probably going to do well academically, they started accusing me of trying to ‘pass’. They used to say I thought I was better than them because I knew all of these SAT words. I'm like, ‘Y'all, when I see you, I see me. But when you see me, you see them.’ It wasn't fair.”
Brandi admits, that sometimes she felt the need to make herself small to stay close to the family she loved so dearly.
This is why standing tall on that American Open podium with that bronze medal around her neck brought a smile to her face and dropped pit in her stomach. She knew her whole family was watching her on the livestream.
“I honestly thought that they were going to think I was better than them and that somehow I’d have to prove that I'm not,” said Brandi. “I had this temptation to shrink so that I’d stay common.
I want people to know normal.”
Finding the Courage to be “The First”
When Brandi returned to the hotel from the medal ceremony, USA Weightlifting asked her coach if she was willing to do an interview. Word had got around that she had broken a barrier for blind women everywhere and USAW wanted to feature her on their website. Her Coach Tom urged her to go and Brandi once again started to cry.
“I felt insane because of all of these highs and lows,” she said. “In a way, it was so humbling to be asked for an interview because I felt like one of the gang. I already love the Oly community and I’m so happy I found a coach that lets me be independent. But at the same time, I didn’t want to do it because I didn't want to have a whole new group of people to shrink for.”
In the end, Brandi mustered up the confidence to speak to the reporter and she did so without flinching. If you ask her where the sudden courage came from, she’ll tell you it was because she was thinking of the new friends she at a conference a few years ago.
In 2014, Brandi attended an event held by the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) in San Diego, and it was there for the first time in her life that she made friends that looked like her.
“It was amazing,” she said. “But I was also surprised by the questions people were asking me. They were like, ‘Wait you can legally drive during the day? You travel internationally? How do you work out? Aren’t you afraid that you are going to walk into something at the gym?’”
I didn't know that I was doing things that we didn't do. I went to that conference thinking that I would find other people who had have a certain joie de vie. But I didn't find a lot of that. I found fear and doubt.”
Brandi understands that fear and doubt, especially when you don’t have a community supporting you. For her, starting CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting was scary and a bit intimidating at times. At the first gym she signed up for, she said that the coaches were a overly cautious around her and didn’t seem like the friendliest people. But it wasn’t long before she found a home.
That home is called the PFP Barbell Club, where Tom is the head coach. He said that when he first saw Brandi, all he saw was a powerful athlete with immense potential. He didn’t even know she was blind.
“Yeah, I figured it out after a few days when she spilled her coffee four or five times on the floor,” he laughed.
Still, Tom had no doubt that she could succeed in the sport.
“I didn't think [her vision] was going to affect the way that she would perform at all,” said Tom. “It wasn't hard to work with someone who has a visual disability because that's how we all have to learn the sport anyways. The thing about weightlifting is that you don't see yourself lift. If you put a mirror in front of a weightlifter it would actually make things worse. So in some regards, Brandi has an advantage.”
This means that Brandi and her new bronze medal are showing other people with visual impairments that they, too, can be extremely competitive in weightlifting. And because of that Brandi is beginning to step into her new brand of “Somebody” — even if it scares the crap out of her.
“At the end of the day, I want people to know that as terrifying as this is to me, it's more important that people can see that you can do this,” said Brandi. “I want to go as far as I can in Oly so I can help shine a light on the possibilities because this is not just albinism. It's about changing how we view disabilities, period.”
Now Brandi hopes to compete in the Paralympics one day and represent blind athletes on the grand stage.
All to change the way we see.
Come join Brandi and the rest of the PFP Barbell Team:
Originally Posted 10/4/18
Friday Phil-Osophy is a post from Facebook from Dan Bell of Rubber City Weightlifting.
The following is meant for lifters who express the desire to be among the best in the country at the sport of weightlifting. It is perfectly okay to NOT aspire to that, but if you do and want to make your actions fit your words, the following list may be of some help.
A basic list of what it takes to make the A Session at USAW Nationals:
Spot on insight from the guys over at Rubber City Weightlifting! Thanks for finding and sharing Coach Phil!
Like many weightlifters who started the sport in recent years, I started while experimenting with CrossFit. Overall, I liked the challenge of CrossFit, but I quickly learned that the strength part of the training was my weakest link, so I decided to focus this aspect and train strictly on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. In my first few months of training, while speaking with other lifters, coaches, and doing some reading, I kept hearing that a new lifter should compete early and as often as possible. I didn’t fully understand the idea, but I decided to give it a try, since it appeared to be common advice.
I wish I could state I enjoy practicing being uncomfortable but that wouldn’t be the truth. Sometimes reluctantly, I do practice it because I know being in an uncomfortable situation is often a place in which quality growth can happen. My first meet was exactly this, uncomfortable. It was my first time in a singlet, I felt like I barely knew what a qualifying Snatch or Clean & Jerk even looked like, and I’m lifting the smallest amount of weight of anyone in the session. It was quite humbling to say the least.
After that first meet, as awkward as it was, I knew I wanted to get out there again. The idea of competing soon after starting in the sport worked! I wanted to train better and improve for the next one.
The second meet went better but there was still the uncomfortable feeling I have come to appreciate. This time around, I felt more prepared. I communicated goals to coaches and had a better idea of the processes involved in a competition. The singlet was about as awkward as the first time, though..
I have now competed eight times in a bit over a year and a half. I now find it fun, it’s a great way to deepen bonds with coaches and teammates. So far, every time I come away with something else I want to work on, whether it be strength, technique, or most recently, the mental aspect of the sport.
After some recent frustration with my progress in weightlifting, I took a step back reminded myself I’m still relatively new to the sport and generally new to any strength training, period. This thought process prompted me to look up my previous competition numbers. I noticed I’m at almost a 50% increase since my first competition in July 2017, so I can’t complain too much 😊
Time to time we will re-post articles from other sources, this one coming from East Coast Gold's founder :
Leo Totten, MS
Totten Training Systems, LLC
USAW Level 5
Posted here first :
We all have been inundated with information on how beneficial the Olympic lifts can be as part of the strength coach’s repertoire – an effective tool in the toolbox. Many of the physical attributes that athletes need are enhanced by doing the Olympic lifts properly:
What is the Snatch and what does it accomplish? The pull pattern is basically the same as the Clean, but the difference is where the “catch” or “receiving position” occurs – overhead instead of on the chest.
Because of the pull similarity to the Clean, teaching the Snatch is relatively simple. In spite of this, some coaches think the Snatch is too difficult to teach and/or not worth the effort. A good coach is a good teacher.
Like the Clean, the Snatch has two major components to the lift, the “pull” and the “catch”. The pull works all of the major muscle groups and utilizes the triple extension producing the desired explosive power so crucial to athletic performance.
Thinking back to old exercise science classes and the force/velocity curve, different components of strength training affect moving that curve in a positive direction. Because Snatches will need to use lighter weight and move that weight more total distance, they would be training more in the “speed-strength” category as opposed to “power” or “strength-speed”. Documented studies have shown Hang Power Snatches to exude higher velocities than Hang Power Cleans. By the same token, Snatch Pulls have higher velocities generally than Clean Pulls. In a nutshell, if you train fast, you’ll be fast!
An additional benefit is that a wider grip is used for the Snatch as opposed to the Clean, thus opening up the chest more and allowing for more leg work and less back.
Some coaches are afraid of the overhead component of the Snatch. But, are overhead movements, in general, OK to be used by the coach? Obviously, screening for risk factors of all athletes ahead of time is smart to head off any problems or if a particular athlete is predisposed to shoulder issues, then caution must be taken. But, if safe and progressive training protocol is utilized, then the Snatch or another overhead movement can be effective and useful. With proper technique, proper progressions and proper loading, the athlete has an additional resource for core strength, scapular and shoulder strength and stability, as well as scapulothoracic mobility. The “catch” or “receiving position” can provide that additional benefit of core and shoulder stability.
Let’s be clear, though, that we are talking about Snatches to enhance athletic performance. Most coaches are not using Snatches to create a one rep max to prepare for a weightlifting competition (although we can help with that too! ) Athletes can use variations or derivatives of the Snatch to accomplish their goals.
A weightlifter in competition has to perform a one rep max on the platform from the floor. A majority of the time, they use a “Squat” Snatch as opposed to a “Power” Snatch. That simply means they only have to pull it as high as they need to get under and stabilize in the full squat position. A Power Snatch needs a higher pull to “catch” it above parallel.
However, any other athlete besides the weightlifter performing the Snatch can do any number of variations of the lift. Different goals, right? They can reap benefits of proper Snatches by either doing a power or squat. Both need that explosive power in the pull, but more flexibility is needed for the athlete to hit the bottom, squat position. Perhaps more weight can be used in the Squat Snatch, but only if the technique and flexibility allow it.
Flexibility might be another inhibiting factor for a proper pull position from the floor. If this is the case, the athlete can still attain the explosive component of the lift by doing a Hang Snatch from varying positions. Many athletes will do Snatches off blocks instead of from the hang, still accomplishing the goal.
If the pull is the weak component of the lift for the athlete, a heavier load can be used for just the pull itself rather than finishing in the overhead position. Any variety of start positions (floor, hang or blocks) can be used. Keep in mind when adding load, though, the proper technique AND speed of movement must be emphasized. Other slower, strength movements like snatch grip Deadlifts or snatch grip RDLs can be used where speed is not a factor, just proper technique.
The overhead position has to be strengthened as well. The Overhead Squat is one of the best exercises to improve the Snatch and is also a great exercise in and of itself. This is a great exercise to work shoulder and core stability, balance, flexibility and, of course, it increases confidence in the receiving position in the Snatch. Other overhead strength builders for the Snatch can be included in the program as well – Snatch Balance, snatch grip Push Press and Push Jerk.
Bo Sandoval, outstanding strength coach at University of Michigan, had this to say about including Snatches in his toolbox of exercises for his athletes:
“I implement the Snatch as a means to develop ground based explosive power systemically through coordinated bouts of concentric and eccentric actions. This lift, when executed properly, takes fractions of a second, taxes the ATP/CP energy system and requires varying degrees of athletic positioning while demanding and promoting mobility, stability, and speed throughout. Currently, I use the Snatch and/or variations with Track&Field, Cross Country and Lacrosse. I have used this movement with, but not limited to, Football players, Basketball players, Swimmers, Gymnasts, Weightlifters (of course!), Shooters, Tri-Athletes, Wrestlers, Cyclists and Bobsledders.”
So, ask yourself:
Can the Snatch be one of those exercises that fit those criteria? With proper coaching and if done for all the right reasons, the Snatch can be a very effective tool in the coach’s toolbox!
To learn more about how to incorporate the snatch into your routine ,
Email Coach Tom :
I have been working with my coach Phil Sabatini for almost a year now and I am learning more and more about weightlifting every day. This year is the first time I have had a fully planned out year and trained constantly throughout, without any breaks, forced or otherwise. One lessen I have learned as of late, is how important expectation management is during a tough training cycle .
In the context of training I am defining Expectation Management as your ability to perform lifts in relation to their time and place in your training. This training cycle in particular has been difficult for me during the last workout of the week . We currently are squatting 3 days a week at relatively high intensity. On day 5 , we do snatches and clean and jerks at above 80+ . My expectation going into this training cycle was that during these attempts I would be able to work up to 95+% on my final lifts each week with little to no issue. After my first two weeks in the program I have left both sessions disappointed and frustrated after only being successful in the 85-90% range at best. Technically those lifts have improved , but I have hit a big wall above that and things fall apart.
At this point in my weightlifting career, my legs are stronger than ever, my technique is better, but when I have the opportunity to push things my numbers aren't better. So what the heck is going on??? Am I getting worse? Should I just retire ? What could be to blame? I was fired up! Once I calmed down I had a hunch about what was going on but I had to text my coach to find out.
When I did, I found out my program for the next 6 weeks is designed to help increase my raw strength and improve my positions, NOT increase my total...yet. Once I asked I realized that the 80+ attempts were meant to stay closer to the 80% range and not so close to the 100% range. No wonder I was leaving my training sessions frustrated and down . My performance expectations for the workout were way too high when I took the rest of my training week into account. So what does this mean for my training going forward?
Now that my expectations are lined up with my abilities during my training, I can enter into my workouts with a better mindset and be present in my situation. This will help me improve my training in a variety of ways. This will allow me to focus on the things in my training that will make me better. Good positioning in my lifts and pushing the strength when I have the opportunity during my squats and pulls. This will help increase my overall attitude towards my training and identify the victories in each day. Weightlifting is hard, if I am going to be successful long term I need to be able to gain momentum by racking up these daily victories.
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