At this CrossFit Invictus Training Camp, longtime Olympic-weightlifting coach Mike Burgener works with one athlete who is not reaching full hip extension and is therefore being pulled forward by the bar. Coach Burgener explains the height of the bar is often less important than the speed with which an athlete can pull under it.
If athletes “lose connection” between the time of hip explosion and getting under bar, Burgener says he tells them to “keep pulling as they’re going down because pulling on that bar as I’m going underneath the bar is critical.”
At that point, the athlete begins cleaning from just above the knee. Burgener advises him to shrug and let the shoulders lead him down under the bar.
“You gotta shrug down and around that bar,” he tells him. “As I’m doing the shrug under, I’m not trying to pull the bar up, I’m trying to shrug myself down under the bar.”
Coach Burgener illustrates the point with pictures and video, and the overall message is clear: finish the second pull by extending the hips, then pull under the bar like a junk-yard dog.
Find out how 2010 Games champion Graham Holmberg and second-place finisher Rich Froning Jr. are training for the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games. At the Rogue Fitness training center in Columbus, Ohio, and CrossFit Cookeville at Tennessee Tech University, Sevan Matossian captures these two elite athletes preparing themselves for the mental and physical battles they are soon to encounter.
Reminiscing on his experiences last year, Froning says, “You can look at it like I lost or you can look at it like he won, and either way the outcome is he won. There’s not much you can do about it, and I can’t change anything about it.”
To prepare for this year’s Games, Froning says his game plan is simple: “Train as hard as I can. That’s what I’m going to do, and that’s what I have been doing.”
Reigning champion Holmberg confronts criticism about his performance and obscurity over the past year. He says the Open was a “lose-lose situation” for him—if he did well, people expected it, but if he did poorly, people would question his capability. Holmberg finished 37th overall in the Open, and he didn’t compete in a regional event.
Both athletes say they are ready for the Home Depot Center and July 29. They analyze their own past performances and that of their peers, sizing up the competition.
“We’ll see what happens when we get to the Games,” Holmberg says. “That’s all that really matters.”
Olympic lifting coach Mike Burgener goes over the behind-the-neck split jerk with Dave Lipson. Video by Again Faster.