Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Highlights 45

Shrug + Snatch (HB) - 40/4 50/3 60/3 70/3 75/3 80/3 85/2+x
Snatch Pull - 85/6 100/4 110/3,3,3

So we've brought back the Fortius Highlights videos. Here's the one I just made:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

State Games 2014

Last week we hosted the 2014 California State Games for weightlifting. We had a big turnout of about 150 competitors over the course of two full days. We ran 12 sessions. Most sessions ran on time.

Also, the sudden hour-long downpour of rain that occurred on Saturday morning made the inside of CrossFit Fortius double as a steamroom for the entirety of the competition. It was quite the intimate/cozy/sweaty/vinegary/dank weightlifting weekend for sure.


Fortius had a bunch of lifters, including a few first-time competitors. On the women's side, we had Lindsey, Nichole, Steph, Jasmine, and Elie. On the men's side we had Ryan, Brian S., James, Garrett, Pat, Spenser, Julius, Andy, Paul, and Josh.

I covered warmups and called attempts for Nichole, Ryan, James, Julius, and another lifter from Santa Barbara Strength (Jen), and I assisted Coach Jesse and Coach Dave in running warmups for Brian, Garrett, and Andy. Overall, I was backstage for a total of five sessions. In addition, I was a judge for one session, a loader for another session, and the weigh-in guy for yet another session.

The warmup area. This place got super cozy/sweaty super fast.

I lifted in zero sessions.

Oh yeah... we didn't advertise it ahead of time because we couldn't make any promises that it would work out or not, but I did set up a live stream of the meet. We covered every single session, save for a little bit of the snatch part of 94A's that I missed due to running weigh-ins. The live stream was a relative success in that people who were not able to attend were able to at least see the lifts in magnificent blurry 480/720p 12fps resolution. It was also successful because it was absolutely zero expense to us, since I just used my personal YouTube account and a webcam that I already had.

YouTube also archived all the streams, so you can watch every recorded lift here:

Session 1 (48-58 W) - Lindsey
Session 2 (62-69 M)
Session 3 (77B M) - Ryan, Brian
Session 4 (63 W) - Nichole
Session 5 (77A M)
Session 6 (69 W) - Jen (Santa Barbara Strength), Steph, Jasmine
Session 7 (85B/94B M) - Andy, Paul, Spenser, Julius
Session 8 (75 W)
Session 9 (85A M) - Garrett, James, Pat
Session 10 (75+ W) - Elie
Session 11 (94A M)
Session 12 (105/105+ M) - Josh

It was actually super simple to set up the videos. I hope more local meets in the future set up a live stream, especially since you can now do it through YouTube and it is free of charge.

If we get a better camera for the next hosted meet, we'll probably use that, since we got some complaints that the quality was blurry. But still, hey, you gotta admit it's a step forward for local meets, right?

Anyways, I am super proud of Team Fortius for doing their best this past weekend. We actually had a very high success rate (completed lifts divided by all attempts), some people even going 6 for 6 and hitting lifetime PR's. None of our lifters bombed out either.

While I didn't compete as a lifter at State Games this year, I still came out of it feeling accomplished. These teammates of mine who competed with heart and effort graced me with the privilege of helping them reach their goals. Even for those whom I did not help backstage during their session, I have worked with almost all of them in training, and being able to be even a small part of their athletic progression is truly gratifying for myself as an aspiring coach.

Let's all get stronger, guys.

James' last lift. He went 104/126 for a 230 total.

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.