So this weekend I attended the CrossFit Weightlifting Seminar led by renown Olympic Lifting coach Mike Burgener. Coach B (as the entire CrossFit Community calls him) was at the seminar leading this one here in Cookeville Tennessee.
As of now I have attended the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar, CrossFit Football Seminar led by John Welbourn and the CrossFit Endurance Seminar led by Brian Mackenzie.
All of them were a great experience and I was blessed to get to know many people through out these great weekends. They all had their positives and negatives.
I will go into the other ones and the positives and negatives of them later. But for now I want to share my experience with Coach B and the CrossFit Weightlifting Staff.
First things first, Coach B takes a totally different approach than all of the other seminars. He does an amazing job at creating interaction with the attendees. As good as I have been around. He demands respect the moment he walks in the room. He is a former Marine and runs his group much like you see a drill Sargent in the movies. He is not intimidating , but he has an air of respect that is magnetic. When he asks a question he requires the response “YES COACH” by everyone in the room. If everyone in the room does not respond with the intensity or volume that he thinks is adequate he will give the entire group “Motivational Consequences”. These “Motivational Consequences” can vary from burpees, to holding in the top of a push up, to any other evil tactic his 65 year old military mind can come up with.
He covers everything from foot work (90% of all missed OLY lifts are attributed to poor foot work), to grip on the bar, to weight distribution, to how to safely MISS a lift. He is a stickler for the fundamentals of weightlifting and believes in drill after drill to perfect the parts so that the whole is a thing of beauty. He barks the Mantra of “Practice Makes PERMANENT” which is why he breaks down the details of the lifts so that you can do them correctly. Coach B is of the belief that just because you practice something does not mean you are going to be good at it.
The majority of the weekend is spent on learning the Snatch. Coach B does an amazing job at marrying the 2 lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) so that there is so much carry over from one lift to the other. The coaches he has working with him are educated and all have different personalities, which keeps you on your toes as an attendee.
Burgener makes it very clear that his way of teaching Olympic Lifting is not the “Right” way. But he also makes it clear that there is not a “right” way. There are a thousand ways to skin a cat and he just has a way that works for him and the numerous athletes that train at his garage in Southern California. The number one thing that he wants you to get out of the 2 day weekend is that as a coach you (the seminar attendee) are helping your clients perform the Olympic lifts SAFE, efficiently and effectively. His goal in this seminar is not to find the next Olympic Champion. His goal is to make the CrossFit Coach in the middle of no where USA keep the 40 year old soccer mom fit and healthy.
Of all he seminars this was the most taxing physically I have every attended. 90% of the time it was with a PVC pipe not a loaded barbell. That PVC pipe will make a coward out of just about anyone. The hardest part of the weekend was UN-LEARNING all the bad habits I had picked up through out the years of OLY lifting. This was for sure a lesson in humility from many aspects but I had a blast doing it.
Is it worth the $595 you have to pay for the 2 days of Instruction from a renown Olympic Weightlifting coach who is an open book to anything you want to ask…….? YES….worth every dime. If you get a chance to do this seminar, do it. You will not regret it.
I think the last 2 days has made me a better coach for the people of CrossFit Mayhem. But also for the kids that are down the hall sleeping as I write this article. Coach B did a heck of a job teaching weightlifting but he did an equally amazing job at teaching about why we do the things we do as CrossFit coaches. We do what we do because we want to see people live a happy, healthy, and fit lifestyle. When people come to our gym and pay hard earned money for us to help them get fit it is an honor and privilege and I want to do the best job I can to help them as much as I can, and Mike Burgener and his staff of Stacy, Bonnie, Kimmer, Brad, Joe and G did that this weekend.