Equipment Matters

Chris deadlifted heavy at the 70’s Big Seminar this past weekend at CrossFit Annandale. He’s about six weeks out from Nationals and is still coming back from an injury to his back. He was disappointed that he didn’t get the double, yet there are some factors that influenced it.

CrossFit Annandale has a pretty cool barbell club, some nice strongman equipment, and lots of accessory tools (fat grips, sleds, etc.). However, they don’t yet have a power bar (at least one will be purchased soon, so get off it). The bar Chris was using in the video and during his warm-ups is just a standard “econo bar” that most CrossFit facilities purchase. They are optimal for the lightly loaded conditioning workouts aside from being economical.

Different kinds of barbells have different levels of tensile and yield strengths. Power bars are going to be more stiff (with a 29mm circumference) and can handle a lot more weight while Oly bars are going to be more whippy (with a 28mm circumference). A good Oly bar will make the difference between a snappy or sloppy jerk. In slower powerlifting movements, having whip on the bar is terrible because it produces a constant vibration on the bar throughout the movement. While a power bar will stay solid and not have much, if any, oscillation, a cheaper bar will vibrate subtly. This makes the movement more difficult; the bar is essentially moving around in the lifter’s hands on a deadlift. To add more weirdness, Chris had to use 100 pound plates to get enough weight on the bar. Most CrossFit facilities don’t have any iron plates at all, but CF Annandale has a good stash, just not enough to have 7 on each side (to make 675 on the bar). 100 pound iron plates theoretically shouldn’t have an effect on a good bar, but they will make a cheap bar even more wobbly because of the uneven distribution of load. That and Chris put them on as the third plate instead of putting them on first (I think this would have an effect, but I don’t have personal experience with it).

The bar oscillation was easy to see when Chris warmed up with anything over 405. It’s analogous to lifting with chains hanging off the end of the bar; Chris has to use more force and energy to stabilize against the extraneous forces. I think that if he had better equipment that he would have had a shot at the second rep at 675. Yet he still got a 96% of 1RM rep in and accumulated the same tonnage as when he did 655×2 in January (his last warm-up of 635 added with 675 makes the same tonnage of 1310) — the tonnage doesn’t paint the whole picture, but my point is that it wasn’t a worthless session.

If you train at or own a CrossFit facility, or any strength training gym, take note of the how much a good bar can help your training. It will allow you to hit heavier loads with greater efficiency in training to result in better meet/competition performances.

Nolan to Worlds

Quick post today due to travelling.

70’s Big reader Nolan Power has gone to Sweden for the first ever IPF Raw World Championships. He decided to cut down to the 93kg class (the weight classes are different nowadays in the IPF). You can read his post about his planned attempts HERE; it’s part of his training log. The stream for the meet is in the post, and he lifts some time on Friday. Good luck, Matt.

I just learned this morning that Chris is now considered the first place winner in the 120+ weight class from the 2012 NAPF Raw Challenge that occurred at The Arnold Sports Festival in March. This means that he won his first international IPF meet, and it also means he is the North American Champion! The guy who won the weight class tested positive for some kind of PED, so he was disqualified.

To celebrate, here is a video of how Chris trains bench press:

In case you missed them in the Facebook/Twitter feeds, here are some videos of Mike and Chris training recently. Mike squats 530×3 pretty easily and then reverse band deadlifts 615×6; Chris rack pulls up to 675×3 about a month and a half after injuring his lower back. Oh, and this video was part of Chris’ “rehab” of working back into things; I’m linking it cause Mike says something funny at the end.

If you’re still hankering for more vids, then review the “hip torque” concept: