18 July 2014 — PR Friday

I'm gonna keep posting this until someone acknowledges it.

I’m gonna keep posting this until someone acknowledges it.

PR Friday means you post your training updates and PR’s to the comments. Don’t forget to Prepare for the Heat and Stop Flopping After A WOD.

Weekly Q&A gives you a chance to ask anyone from the 70’s Big Crew a question, and we’ll actively ignore you. Just kidding, we’ll answer. Next year. Here’s an example:

Jack on Facebook asks: Any reason most of the guys in the 70s big crew wear VS weightlifting shoes (higher heel than the average WL shoe)? I know Rip recommends 0.75″ but I have femurs on the longer side, bad ankles, and >0.75″ feels much better for me.

I reply:  I haven’t seen Rip’s recent recommendations, but he used to recommend the .5″ heel (that was what his shoe was). In any case, some of us wear VS Athletics because that was one of the few types of weightlifting shoes around in 2008/2009, they give 70’s Big folk a discount, and we are cheap. I think AC just changed brands, so the only people I know of still wearing them are my wife and I.

Weekly Topic

This is video of a 5′ 100 pound girl completing the regional final Ninja Warrior course is one of the most impressive athletic feats I’ve seen in a while. Kudos to Spencer Hall of EDSBS for linking to the SB Nation article.

What are some other impressive athletic feats you’ve seen lately? Post to comments, Fan Page, or Twitter.

PR Friday, 12 April 2013

Annnnnnnnd we’re back! Our servers made some mistakes yesterday (burpees instead of squats…tsk, tsk) and had to be put in timeout for half a day. Some unplanned maintenance later by our men in Berlin, and the ISIS mainframes have been upgraded with new neural net processors – learning computers – and our R2 is back on our 6, by the light of Kate Upton’s eyes. Bueno? Bueno.

So, let’s get back to business. This week, we had a post about Iris’s strength journey. AC taught us how to press more gooder (this was real, real popular on reddit). Markotta had us reflect on our motivation. Mike used the time off from reading the site to ignore Paul’s question and answer everyone else’s.

Additionally, USAPL Collegiate Nationals is this weekend in Killeen, TX. There’s going to be some pretty impressive single-ply lifting going on, and there are some fierce rivalries between teams. Naturally, I think Preston Turner, Ian Bell, and the rest of the Longhorn Team is going to take the cake, but watch and see for yourself.


Last week, I asked you guys and gals to submit pictures of your “70sBig face.” Wait, back up. First, I asked you to go back and re-read the original post on HOW to make a 70sBig face, and then to submit some examples. I got some great ones, and I got some that, well, I’m pretty sure were taken on the shitter in a time of duress  We’ll get there, folks, but this might take some work. I appreciate the flood of pics I got, and will post some each week.


“Billy” (we’ll use a code name to keep his identity a secret) sent in a picture that proves his commitment to the cause. He gets bonus points for the glasses, but the striped v-neck is hit or miss depending on yokeability. Guys, you can wear v-necks, but only if there’s chest hair poking out, mmmmk?



MeneGene spent the better part of the morning posing for this pic, showing off a pretty glorious mustache. There are literally ninja chicks beating up Abercrombie wannabee’s in the background, and he is sitting there stoicly not giving a fuck. I approve. I think there’s real blood on his shirt, too.



Jason lacks facial hair, but I’ll cut him some slack. If he was sporting a ferocious Viking beard, half the grease from this amazing burger would go to waste. Is that HAM on that hamburger, too? Shit, now I’m hungry – with a few fried eggs on top, that’d be a pretty dece breakfast. Good job, Jason. Next time, cut the sleeves off your plaid shirt for date night. Trust me, she’ll be impressed.



CriedTheFox shows us a classic selfie here, driving in some sort of van with “Free Ice Cream” scrawled on the side of it. Facial hair? Check. Cheap sunglasses? Check. Thrift-store t-shirt you’re unafraid to rip in half in case of emergency? Check. Bravo, sir. Bravo.





Blake’s got a pretty dece face here. The bushy brows, the insane look in his eyes, and a ‘Murican flag in the background are all excellent. A little more jaw-jutting would be nice, but HOLY SHIT there’s a Mustang snorting FIRE on his shirt.





We didn’t get nearly enough female face submissions, but Amanda played the game…sorta. She sent this in with the comment “No, this is not a 12 y/o boy but a 34 y/o woman.” I…I….look, I really appreciate the pic, but I….well, shit. I’m scared. You took some creative licensing and the end result is equal parts terrifying and awesome. I award you all the points, and hope to never cross your (bar)path when you’re angry.



That’s all for today. Keep the submissions coming, make sure they are LESS THAN A MEGABYTE (you’ve seen what happens when our systems get angry), and I’ll keep posting these on Fridays until I run out or get bored. Post your PR’s below. Have a great freaking weekend. Stay safe.


Tsypkin Thursdays #4

David C asks, “If you were going to hire/follow one of the bigger CrossFit coaches out there to help you prepare for the Open, Regionals, and Games, who would you choose?”

Rudy Nielsen of Outlaw.  In part because he has a deep and sound understanding of how to program effectively – but there are a lot of people with that. What Rudy has that a lot of others lack, is a deep and sound understanding of how CrossFit – the SPORT, not the fitness program – functions. He doesn’t debate silly shit like “is CrossFit too strength biased” or “has too much cardio” or whether the “definition of fitness” is legit.  He observes the parameters of the sport, and trains people to compete in them.


Dave F asks, “I am training the Olympic lifts three times a week, one day being committed to the snatch, one day to the clean & jerk, and one to both. What is a good rep scheme for a novice?”

First: if you are a novice, I do NOT think that 2x/week per lift is enough. You need to be doing them 3x/week so that you can learn the patterns and learn them well.

About rep schemes…don’t worry about them. Focus on sets of 1-3, get a lot of good reps in, and when you feel great, go for a new PR, whether it be a single, double, or triple. If you’re training alone, don’t do so much that you are exhausted for the last third of your session and do nothing but shitty reps.


Vee G asks “I was trained using the ‘scoop method’ ala Coach Burgener.  A lot of my fellow weightlifters have been taught in a style more similar to Coach Pendlay’s, which does not teach the scoop. What are some advantages/disadvantages of either technique?”

I’m assuming that by the “scoop method,” you mean teaching an intentional rebending of the knees – sometimes referred to as the double knee bend – under the bar before the second pull.

Did someone say scoop method?

I personally do not teach the scoop/double knee bend as such. I teach the lifter to move into the correct position, and the knees move into the right spot – slightly in front of the bar – just before the lifter extends into the finish. It is my opinion that teaching the intentional double knee bend only serves to confuse new lifters, slow down the transition, and lead to the lifter pushing the bar forward and shifting the weight onto the front of the feet too early.

Although there are certainly good coaches who have made this method work, I cannot see any advantages this way of teaching has over those which do not coach the lifter to intentionally perform the double knee bend.

Editors’s Note: Please remember to ask Tsypkin anything your crazy little heart desires on our facebook page. Otherwise, he’s going to have to come up with his own questions to answer, and that would just be crazy. 


Jacob Tsypkin is a CrossFit and weightlifting coach, the co-owner of CrossFit Monterey and the Monterey Bay Barbell Club in Monterey, CA. He is available for weightlifting seminars and has excellent taste in shirts and gainz.  


Tsypkin Thursdays #1

Jacob Tsypkin has been fielding questions on our facebook page about weightlifting/crossfit/training/coffee/beardliness, and will compile 3-4 of them weekly for your reading pleasure. You’re welcome. 

Gregor S asks, “Squatting every day: a good idea?”

Yes.  No.  Maybe.  Sometimes.

View the option of daily squatting as a tool.  I have used it to great effect in certain situations.  It can work to break plateaus, it can work for lifters who are significantly better at volume than they are at intensity, and it can work, surprisingly, for lifters who have knee pain when squatting.

The key is doing it intelligently.  You’re working up to a heavyish single each day (occasionally I’ll work in a double or triple instead.)  If you feel great, go for a PR.  If you don’t feel great, just hit what you can hit without getting ugly and call it a day.  If you want daily squatting to be effective, you absolutely MUST check your ego at the door.

Andrew K asks, “What cues do you like to use for the jerk? How about supplemental exercises?”

Predictably, the answer is, “it depends.”  It depends on what the lifter is doing right or wrong, what they’re good or bad at, and of course, what they respond to.  With that said, some of the most common cues I use are:

Drive it high and back” to get the lifter to be aggressive in driving the bar off the shoulders
Move straight” to cue the lifter to keep the hips and torso moving straight down/up/down
Step in front of the bar” to get the lifter to reach their front foot out to an adequate degree
Keep driving, keep reaching” to cue the lifter to stay with the bar, driving it as high as possible and to be active, rather than passive, about receiving and holding it.

For supplemental exercises, again it depends on what the athlete needs. Obviously the jerk from blocks is fantastic, and I prefer it from behind the neck for most people, as it teaches the lifter where the bar needs to be and, for most people, allows them to handle more weight. Of course, the jerk from the front rack is also very useful, so we employ both.

A fantastic exercise for improving footwork is Glenn Pendlay’s jerk ladder. This drill will help the lifter get used to the back foot landing first and “catching” himself with the front foot, as well as learning to remain rigid when going under the weight.

Lastly, the press from split is something all of my lifters do both when learning the jerk and in their warm-ups. It’s exactly what it sounds like: with the bar in the front rack, walk the feet out into your split position, and press. The most crucial part is that the press is EXTREMELY strict. There must be no movement of the legs, hips, or torso whatsoever. By doing this, the lifter learns where his body needs to be when receiving the jerk.

Stroup asks, “What is the minimal amount of weightlifting training a CrossFitter needs?”

In a word, plenty.  Assuming we are talking about competitive CrossFitters here, my athletes do the snatch and clean & jerk heavy three times a week each, on average.  That’s not including what they do in conditioning circuits. I think this would roughly hold true with most competitive CrossFitters.

Rudy Nielsen of The Outlaw Way wrote the following in an article about the importance of weightlifting for CrossFitters:

Larson also has added up the total point values for every movement tested during both the 2011 and 2012 Games seasons. The snatch and clean & jerk are worth 20 percent of the total point value. If you add accessories, you have 36 percent of the total point value—read that again, except in all caps: THIRTY-SIX PERCENT. I can and will talk about exactly how the lifts develop the athlete from an overall perspective, but strictly from a sporting perspective, that’s a lot of points.”

Between that, and the ability of the lifts to improve an athlete in so many ways, I think it’s undeniable that if you want to be a good CrossFitter, you’ve got to spend some serious time developing the snatch and clean & jerk.


Jacob Tsypkin is a CrossFit and weightlifting coach, the co-owner of CrossFit Monterey and the Monterey Bay Barbell Club in Monterey, CA. He is available for weightlifting seminars and gives excellent hugs imo. 


PR Friday, 15 Feb 2013

How was your Valentine’s Day? Did you eat several pounds of medium-rare steak? If not, get off the computer and fire up the grill. If so, please continue. I had a T-Bone and a Strip, and they were both bloody and delicious, thanks for asking.

Monday was the conclusion of Bert and Marijke’s story about her introduction to lifting and her first powerlifting meet. Here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2. I hope you gals send me more articles about your experiences. The whole community is behind you.

Speaking of behinds, everyone’s second-favorite Jacob wrote up a great little article about posterior training, with the follow-up coming next week. Hopefully you read it thoroughly, or at least scrolled past the picture of Ariel’s back and saw some of the other stuff. I dunno, I didn’t look. I do know that our own Glenn Pendlay made a couple appearances, and hey, he’s a pretty cool guy, right?

yo yo yo

Yeah, boyeeeeeee.

Had a couple people submit questions:

Karen asks:  I am a female crossfitter (2/yrs) who is not getting enough lifting in the classes and finding them quite unsatisfying for a few different reasons. I am not dumb enough to think I can oly lift on my own but am considering taking the bench press to the globo gym (gym options are limited in my small town). So question for all:  Are you all annoyed when/if a stranger asks for a spot?  Any tips?

Karen, three things:

1. Talk to your coach first. Tell them you want to get stronger. Always give your coach a heads-up when you’re not happy, and allow them the chance to fix the situation. If he/she doesn’t pay you attention, or refuses to allow you to bench for some asinine reason, send them to me and then go ahead and send your ass to another gym.

2. At a globo, good spots are rare. Know that ahead of time. But you can try. Find someone that looks remotely like they know what they’re doing, and just ask if they mind spotting you. Hint: No bro minds giving a lady a spot. But it’s up to you to define your expectations. A sample conversation would go something like this: “Hi, random fella. I’m going to ask you for a spot not because your neon green shirt and shoes match, but because you’re one of the few people in here that squats, presses, and deadlifts and/or has a sweet beard. Can I get a spot on bench? I’m going for 5 reps. I’d like a little help on the liftoff (on the count of 3) and will ask you to take it IF AND ONLY IF I FAIL THE REP (emphasize this part, make eye contact, and realize that they’ll STILL screw it up half the time). Please don’t touch it unless I mention it. If I ask, grab the bar and rack it. I do not want a bro-spot.” Wink if you’re down with that, or if the beard is that legit.

3. Always put three things in a list. And never say “Oly lifting” near Pendlay in person. Trust me.

JayGreenShirt asks:  I have been wondering how to program in order to maintain strength on certain lifts. I’ll give you my own example as a basis for this question. I will likely (hopefully) pull 500 within the next month. I do not care to take my deadlift higher than that at this time and would like to shift my focus to bringing up other lifts. That said, I want to be able to maintain the 500 lbs. deadlifting strength. I would like to know your thoughts on what I would do with my deadlift given this situation.


Congrats on getting close to the ol’ 500 mark. I’m not sure why you’re not re-gearing and getting ready for 600, but to each their own. I think that in order to maintain strength in a movement, you need to maintain your relevant musculature, and maintain your efficiency at the movement (i.e., practice). The deadlift, of all the lifts, is the easiest in these regards. Once you have your form down, you really only need to pull about every 7-10 days to improve strength, and every 10-14 days should be OK for maintaining it (I am speaking in terms of novice to intermediate pullers, obviously). So pull at least 2-3 times a month, do a max effort set, and push those pulls hard. Something in the range of 405×10, 425×7, 455×4-5, etc. outta do it. You could use the 5/3/1 percentages, or just wait for my ebook to come out on the KISS deadlift program. Whatever you decide, don’t completely neglect your pulls just for the sake of pushing your other lifts, and you’ll be fine.


Last week, I promised some really cool vintage stuff. I didn’t get to it this week, but here’s a preview, because it’s totally in the pipeline. You might have heard of Doug Young, right? Well, I’m going to share some information from this book:
And do you recognize this picture? YUP!
I got my dirty paws on a copy of this rare and expensive book (published in 1978, when, oh, dudes were 70sBig), and chances are, you can’t. So I’ll share with you some really great stories from it and some of the history, including awesome stuff from the Texas Athletic Club (predecessor to where I train and coach, Hyde Park Gym in Austin). By the time we are done, I fully expect all of you to be pressuring Terry Todd to re-publish it.


Luckily, if you’re on the hunt for ol’ Dr. Terry, he’s going to be at the Arnold, along with a large portion of the 70sbig crew. I don’t personally know the man, but I do know he’s in charge of the Arnold Strongman event, which is just one of the hundreds of things you can see at the Arnold. In the next couple weeks, we’re really going to dive into a preview, some coverage, and then some recaps of one of the coolest sports festivals in the world.


Finally, I’ll be interviewing Ryan Carillo this weekend. He’s a 21 year-old powerlifter and already practically the definition of 70sBig at 6’5″ and 300lbs. Ryan is raising money to go to IPF Bench Press Worlds in Lithuania, and I think we’re going to be able to help him out a bit. If we’re lucky, he’ll give us some tips on increasing our bench, too. Or at least, not eat us.
Post your PRs for the week. Have a great weekend. Get big.