PR Friday

“Maggie, no!”

Well 70’s Big journeymen (journeywomen?), it is PR Friday. You should post your weight lifted, gained, and/or consumed, and you should also tell us about lifting your lady friends, dumping your skinny boyfriends, or splitting your trousers (I ripped another pair of jeans recently).

And for gods’ sakes, if you are a guy who is 5’7″ or taller and you aren’t 200 pounds, then you better have a compelling excuse as to why you aren’t. The only reasons I can think of are if you are 13 years old or you are a weight class competitor. For gods’ sakes.

Here is the WFAC post about the Bill Starr Memorial weightlifting meet from last Saturday. It has some pictures, and it has the overall results. Feel free to send in the meet results from any meets you are involved in.

I have a very good friend named Matt that I met in college. Until recently he was getting paid to tramp through the wilderness (we went hiking near Salt Lake City last year when I was in town for a barbell seminar), and at the end of last year he stopped by Wichita Falls on his journey back to Georgia. Matt called me the other night with a story, as he is apt to do. When he finished, I told him that he needs to type it up for the site.

Well, I’ve read the hell out of Starting Strength and watched the video quite frequently to try and get my technique down, and it sparked quite a dream.

I have been to the Wichita Falls Athletic Club before when I visited Justin in order to start my Jedi training. In the dream, I walked into the gym, and it was just like I remember. It was extremely busy with people everywhere, and Justin greeted me and asked me to work behind a new counter they had built for the purpose of renting out lifting shoes. He was busy training the masses as I settled behind the counter. I hadn’t been standing there ten seconds when I was approached by a visitor, some 90’s small chump who was asking when the next Pilates class was. It is important to note that this guy was: A) not wearing a shirt, B) had the kind of pencil thin manicured beard that says I spend 30 minutes daily “man-scaping”, and C) was wearing sunglasses inside. Throughout the rest of my story I will refer to this man as Din Viesel, because he probably got his style from the “Fast and Furious” movies that he can probably recite.

Note by Justin: I find this humorous, because in order for Matt to dream about a Din Viesel-like character, he would have had to had the image in his brain prior to dreaming it, therefore he actually sat through some portion of that shitty movie.

I had no idea what to say and almost laughed in his face. Rip heard the question and took it upon himself to intervene. I can’t remember all of the conversation, but Mr. Viesel was a complete dick and he decided to buck (I recently learned this word from a 7th grader) at Rip after being informed that they most certainly don’t “do Pilates”. Rip asked Viesel to “Get out of my fucking gym,” in an enraged tone. The conflict now had the attention of everyone in the gym. Suddenly, Viesel tried to throw a haymaker, but Rip didn’t hesitate. He rushed Viesel, picked him up high above his head, then with his supreme power he slammed him into the ground. (Important: I went to High School in Macon Georgia… so I should know the name of this wrestling move, but I don’t). Right after the powerful slam, I immediately woke up, laughing my ass off.

I’ve attached a diagram to better understand the “slam.” This is not my best work, but it took only 5 minutes.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Tour of WFAC

“I’ll have you, Longhshanks!”

It’s PR Friday. Post weight lifted, gained, or eaten to comments.

The WFAC is better than your gym. I’m sorry I’m not sorry. When AC was here we filmed a tour of the gym. I believe this is the first and only video tour. Enjoy our improvising.
Note: I just realized AC edited out when I talk about my dog Leda. He is an asshole for that.

WFAC Virtual Tour from A.C. on Vimeo.

Oh, and the Texas State Weightlifting Meet is happening on Saturday. We were supposed to have 11 lifters going, but that number has fallen to 6 (including me). Here is the schedule. Ignore the roided up Incredible Hulk who appears to be blowing out the back of his shorts with a monstrous fart.

A Legend Visits

Rippetoe has a new project he is working on. Years ago, he had his own radio show here in Wichita Falls. I haven’t gotten him to pull out the tapes yet, but I’m sure they are interesting, or at least amusing as hell. Rip has done quite a few audio interviews over the past few years, and you probably have noticed that he drives the topic of discussion. This gave him a pretty good idea: why doesn’t Rip become the interviewer and produce some legitimately interesting interviews for all of you to see?

The project has already started, and these interviews are professionally done in a studio in downtown Wichita Falls. Shane Hamman has already been interviewed. Other big names include John Welbourn, Jim Wendler, and Charles Staley. All of these should be awesome interviews. Welbourn is a hilarious guy but I haven’t actually met Shane, Wendler, or Charles although I constantly hear good things about them from Rip. I know these interviews will be better than anything you have seen before, because A) I have spent hours and hours talking to Rip — his mind is always working and there is never a dull moment, and B) the only interviews you have seen are crappy sportscaster interviews on TV. The good news is that Rip despises these interviews, and is going way the hell outta the way to ensure his interview has nothing to do with that slop.

I left one interviewee off of the list: legendary weightlifter and coach Tommy Suggs who happens to be visiting right now. Suggs was one of the most dominant Olympic weightlifters in the sixties, a member of the original York Barbell Club, editor for Strength and Health, the head strength coach for the NFL’s Houston Oilers, an outstanding Olympic weightlifting coach, and an all around nice guy. Bill Starr paraphrased someone in an old article about Suggs saying, “I never met a man who didn’t like Tommy Suggs.”

He and his wife got to the gym today while I was training the Olympic lifts (the Texas State Meet is Saturday), and within a few minutes Suggs was at my platform ready to talk shop about lifting. At 72 years old he is energetic with broad, muscular shoulders. His thinning gray hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and he excitedly leans forward as he talks about weightlifting. I swear it seems like this is his first time getting to talk about technique, and after 50+ years you’d think he was used to it.

I’ll never forget the first snatch I did when Suggs was watching me, because I didn’t finish my pull and missed the damned thing. A few minutes later, I hit it cleanly. Later I tied my PR with a very nice technical lift, and he eagerly rushed forward, shaking his hands, smiling as he told me what went right. The guy is a joy to be around.

I moved onto clean and jerk, the whole time talking with him about different technique cues. He gave me one in particular that seemed to magically make me rock the hell out of the jerk. Learning from Suggs in this short amount of time is an experience I won’t forget, and his weightlifting knowledge is unmatched. He placed an emphasis on being strong as possible to be a good weightlifter and preached a vertical bar path, especially off of the floor. Being coached by him is one of the most enjoyable experiences in my very short weightlifting career. American coaches in our country can learn a lot from him.

Tommy Suggs coaches me on this 155 kg clean and jerk

Tommy Suggs coaches me on this 155 kg clean and jerk

I feel like I can’t really type anything that will do the man any justice. Just trust me when I say he is one cool dude.

Video Montage

“Hey, is that where they filmed Terminator 2?”

AC made a pretty sweet video montage of footage from his trip out here in December. That trip also coincided with Mike Hom visiting Wichita Falls, so we were one big happy family. In this video you will see different types of lifters with different training goals.

Texas Pt. 2 from A.C. on Vimeo.

Edit: I guess I’m okay with me sitting on the toilet as the video’s preview image…
Stay warm and train hard — tomorrow is PR Friday.


I’ve never met Sage Burgener, but we have some mutual friends. Apparently she’s a cool gal, a weightlifter, a coach, and has a funky little blog where she reveals tips that she has picked up from her pops, Mike Burgener. More importantly, she likes the 70’s Big t-shirt.


Seminar Hangover

“Mmmm…can you smell it?”

It is the night after our barbell seminar in Wichita Falls, and we are all a bit burned out. 20 hours of material will do that to you. There were a lot of great people at the seminar, and I hope to see most of them again (I demanded that a few of them make a return soon). If any of you who attended are reading this, feel free to give your thoughts on the seminar.

On Friday, someone from JP’s gym posted a link from his website. It is written by one of his female trainees, and can not only give us dudes an insight on female training, but can also be an interesting read for the ladies. The article can be found here, and here is an excerpt:

Armed with the confidence that only strength can bring, I ate with reckless abandon. I immediately blew past my previous sticking points and hit PR, after PR, after PR… a 50-pound deadlift PR instills confidence in the milk like nothing else! About six weeks into this “gaining” cycle, I competed in my first powerlifting meet. With my first official lifts under my belt, I paused to take in the moment. I was in awe of the progress I””d made in such a relatively small period of time, and I recognized that without the simple dietary additions of milk and meat, this rate of strength gain would not have been possible. I had arrived at a much-awaited turning point. The realization that my new found strength was the result of a carefully executed strategy allowed me, for the first time in a long time, to believe I was capable of changing my body. I had successfully escaped my obsession with body image and in the process, managed to reverse the longstanding misconception that I””m stuck with my body as it is. Confident and inspired, I was ready to take my training to the next level. Or so I thought…



Here is a video of my pal Brian who I have been training for a few months. Brian is on the weightlifting team, and will either lift in the 94 or 105 kg class (he was about 205 when he started, now he is accidentally 216, so we have to figure it out before the meet in January). I have Brian on a linear progression type program that includes the Olympic lifts, so he squats twice a week. Recently he started practicing football twice a week for a “semi-pro” football team (or whatever you call it, Brian). In other words, he is doing two strength workouts, two weightlifting workouts, and two practices a week, and still making progress. Friday he squatted 495x5x3, and here is a video of the third set: