Sunday, June 29, 2014


On Saturday, I made the drive up to Woodland Hills to check out Bob Takano's new weightlifting gym. It was a two-day grand opening event, the first day consisting of some Open Gym time.

TEN training platforms each with its own squat rack, plus one competition platform.

Bob told us to pick a platform, and depending on the platform we picked, we would get a different coach to watch our lifts... either Bob himself (a USAW Hall of Fame coach who has gotten 35 lifters in his career to qualify for Nationals), Coach Harvey Newton (the VERY FIRST USA weightlifting national coach), or Coach Roger Nielsen (who coached five world teams, two Olympic teams, a Pan-Am team, and was the Junior World Men's team coach from 2002-2006).

I decided to pick one of Roger's platforms, honestly just because he was covering the side of the gym I felt was gonna have good juju. Lindsey Valenzuela (a pretty good CrossFitter who was also previously a PHAT Elvis weightlifter under Bob Takano) was there too and she took the platform right next to me, so that was fun to watch as she snatched (I believe) 80kg and clean & jerked 107kg.

Coach Roger Nielsen and me.

The way the open gym thing worked was that we would lift for one hour. We would spend the first half working on the snatch and the second half on the clean & jerk. I arrived by 1:40 so I had time to check in, roll out, and stretch a little bit before my 2PM appointment. It didn't take too long to get warm because it was almost 90 degrees in The Valley that day.

As I started warming up on the snatch, I took a few at 40 then 50 then 60, and while Roger was working a little more intensively on some other lifters, he sort of left me to do my own thing and suggested I just keep going up. I replied, "Yeah I think I'll take it to around 85 and see from there." The only thing was, things were still feeling alright after 85 so I bumped up to 90. Made that, then took 94, which was 1kg under my PR. Smoked it.

Minh, whom I know from San Diego (and the internet), was there too because he's training at Takano Athletics for the summer, and he was watching my lifts and said things were looking pretty good. I decided to go for 97, which would be a +2kg improvement on my snatch. Made it. Put 100 on. MADE IT.

ONE HUNDRED. Thanks Minh for taking video.

Got a fist bump from Roger and a "congrats on your PR" from Linds - yeahIcallherLindswecoolwegowayback.jpg

When I moved on to clean & jerks, I went 90 100 110 and 114. I decided not to go any heavier than 114 but I took two more sets there to make them look prettier. Zero misses. A 105% snatch and a 93% clean & jerk. I think that was a good day.

I was telling Bob that his gym is good luck but he had a different view on it. He said, "all you needed was a little change in scenery," or something like that.

Anyways, if you're into Olympic weightlifting, you know that a 100kg snatch is sort of a milestone. So with a milestone you start to think about how far you've gotten in the sport. I know that compared to other people who've picked up weightlifting, I'm not as far as others, nor am I progressing faster than others, but that doesn't even matter. I'm still improving in this sport and that's something. Maybe my next PR will be next week, or maybe it will be next year, but it's getting that consistency and that ability to complete my workouts with better accuracy and precision that motivates me to keep trying and putting in the work.

I must also say that this 100kg snatch was particularly dedicated to Team Fortius. The gym has been open since mid-2012, and there's been a changing cast of athletes. But for everyone I've trained with... for those who have moved on to different training places, for the regulars who consistently come in day after day since the beginning, and for the new members whom I feel have recently rejuvenated the energy in the gym with their youth and mental focus... also for Coaches Dave and Jesse, and also for Veronica at SoCal whom I trained with in my early stages... and for my better half, Sarah, who cheers me on and supports my hobby all the way from Wisconsin. Thank you all.

105/130 already, damnit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Power Snatch - 50/lots 60/2 70/2 72 76 80 72 76 80
Snatch - 85x 85 90 95x 93x 92x 96x
Clean - 60/lots 90 105 112 116x
Squat - 80/4 110/3 130/2 145 155 165/4 *PR

Put it away after a shady rep 4. Too much oscillation at the top.

I need to clean heavier weight. 116 was a close miss, and at least I didn't clark it. Cleans are my priority.

If I have time on Thursday I'll give 165 another shot for a set of 5. If I don't make it, whatever. I will move on next week on 3's and maybe take 167-168 for a set of 3.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Snatch - 50/3 60/2 70/2 75 80 85 90 94xxx
Clean & Jerk - 60/3 80/2 90 95 100 105 109xx
Clean - 90 95 100 105 109x
Squat - 100/5 120/3 140/2 155/1 160/5 *PR 145/5,5

160kg / 353 lbs.

160 for a set of 5 is relatively significant. In 2012 by the end of the year the most I was ever able to squat for a single was 161kg (and that's on the second try). The fact that I can squeeze out a 5-rep set at pretty much that weight is a big deal for me. Now I just need my quick lifts to catch up.

Snatches aren't exactly where I want them to be, but they're nowhere near as far behind as my cleans are. I honestly should be cleaning every single day on out until I'm hitting 130's...

In other news, I Sots pressed 71kg in socks and with a women's bar the other day.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Snatch - 70 75 80 82.5 85x 85 87.5 85 87.5 90 87.5 90 92.5xxx 80/3
Squat - 60/4 100/3 120/2 135/1 145/1 155/5 *PR 145/5 150/5
Snatch Pull - 60/4 90/3 110/3

155kg / 342 lbs. Also, that power gut.

You can see in this video some of my fellow teammates cheering me on. That's one of the many things I love about training with a team - you get that support system, that everyone in the room really wants you to make your lifts. Another thing that is great is that when you're not having quite the hottest day, you can live vicariously through your teammates who might be having a good day. As much as your success is their success, their success is also shared by you.

Today, a lot of us were pretty hot. Karla was having revelations with her snatch pulls. Ron was finally entering some heavier clean & jerks, and they were looking pretty sharp. Steph and Z are back in the gym and they're putting in the good work. Garrett snatched 95. Chase squatted 89. Great day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

155 Front

5/17/2014: Front Squat - 50/4 90/3 110/2 125/2 135 142.5 150 155 *PR 158x

Almost got that 158.

My plans for next week are...

  • Snatch in forward-forward-backward increments (i.e. +2.5kg, +2.5kg, -2.5kg) starting around 80-85kg and working up to something good, moving on after around 12-15 reps.
  • Back squat a heavy 5-rep, maybe 155kg depending on how warmups feel. Something between 150-155. After that, take two backoff sets maybe 10kg under what I just hit for the heavy set.
  • Start working on pulls again. Snatch pulls up to 105% for triples.

  • Tuesday
  • Cleans in same fashion as snatches from Monday. Start around 100kg and move in 3kg increments. Gonna try and keep rests short, under 90 seconds between sets.
  • Push press 95kg for as many reps as possible, hopefully hitting 10.
  • Clean pulls up to 100% for triples.
  • Accessory work with more pressing, pushups, barbell rows.

  • Wednesday
  • Press a heavy single.
  • Roll out, mobilize, do a light rowing workout if I'm feeling up for it.

  • Thursday
  • Same workout as Monday, but trying to hit a heavier 5-rep back squat.

  • Friday
  • Rest day.

  • Saturday
  • Snatch up to a heavy single.
  • Cleans in wave progression, 3kg increments, starting at 105kg. Hope to hit 120 or more.
  • Front squat a heavy single, hopefully 158kg or higher.
  • Friday, May 16, 2014


    Snatch - 80 82.5 85 82.5 85 87.5 85 87.5 90x 90
    Squat - 70/4 110/3 120/2 130/1 140/1 150/10

    150kg / 331 lbs.

    Didn't go super heavy on snatches but I was happy with how they felt. I've been having an issue with being consistent during weight jumps so I'm trying to sneak upwards and just get some quality reps. I hope next week I can use the same strategy but hit around 93-95... I'll be trying it out on cleans as well maybe starting around 105 so I can get more comfortable in the 115-120 range.

    As for squats, this was my last day trying out 10's. Three weeks ago I started with 125. I have added 5kg each subsequent attempt and have made them all. I'm happy to be stopping here at 150, where I thought I'd only make it up to 135 or 140. 150 is my actual 87%. Any guesses on what I'll hit for a single? I'm thinking to test around the end of June...

    Next week I'll start doing 5's... either 3 sets of 5 across, or taking a heavy 5-rep and taking a few backoff sets, trying primarily to best the heavy 5 from the previous workout. I'll start at 150. If I can squeeze out 160x5 that would be a huge success, considering my 1RM by the end of 2012 was 161.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014


    90kg / 198 lbs.

    With all this squatting I've undoubtedly neglected my push pressing (here's my 145kg x 10 squat set in case you missed it). Here I am trying to make up for it, trying to hit 90kg for a set of 10. 90kg is my 85% (my best push press is 106) so I knew hitting it for 10 would be a long shot. But hey, damnit I got close!

    I think with fresh legs and back and if I got a good drive, 110 or more is somewhere in there...