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Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

How to Prepare for Your First Weightlifting Meet

Probably the most intimidating thing about a weightlifting meet is not knowing what to expect or how they work. So let’s go behind the curtain and clear all of that up!  We will go through the pre-meet details here, and part 2 will cover the day of.

Step 1: Pick a Meet & Register

You will want to find a meet that is at least 6 weeks out so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare & train. I personally prefer to go 12 weeks out so I can complete a full training cycle prior.

In order to register you will need to know a few things.

Determine your weight class

They are in Kilos, so take your weight in pounds & divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in Kilos. I would select the one that you fall into at your mid day weight eating as you usually would. You can cut or mass to hit another weight class but I would not recommend doing that for your first meet.  Use the first meet to get a feel for the flow of these events vs worrying about weigh in.

If the competition day rolls around and you gained or lost weight, you can still declare a new weight class.  You just need to tell the judge at the weigh in prior to stepping on the scale.

Weight Classes

USA Weightlifting Membership Number

You will also need to register as a USAW Member in order to compete, so make sure to do that when you sign up for the meet itself! Here is the link to join: USAW Registration.

Search for a local meet that is at least 6 weeks out and get registered HERE.

Step 2: Train & Prepare!

Pick a Training Program/Cycle: Now that you’ve determined when you will be competing, it is time to get a plan together.  There are some great free programs out there, or we can help you put a plan together based on your goals for the meet.  (More to come on this option in June!)

Learn the Rules: If you’ve never seen a weightlifting meet before, I would highly recommend reading through the rules so you are prepared.  There are a long list of rules, and if you’d like to nerd out you can read them all HERE.

A few basic rules are:

  • You get 3 attempts at the Snatch, then 3 at the Clean & Jerk.
  • The order of lifters goes from lowest attempt and builds up from there.You will need to declare your next lift to the scores table so you can be worked into the lifting order.
    • Once a barbell is loaded weight cannot go down. So you will want to make sure your next attempt is submitted so you don’t miss the weight on the bar you want to attempt. (Have a coach or friend help with this, it makes life much easier).
  • You have 1 minute from the time the bar is loaded and you are called lift.
  • If you are following yourself (for example you missed and want to repeat a weight and no other lifters will be attempting that weight), then you get 2 minutes for that lift.
  • You must catch the barbell with locked out arms for it to count. If you press out it will be a no lift.

Determine your Openers

Your opener should be something you can hit for 2-3 doubles during training. You should be able to hit it 1-2 times in the back (for the snatch, not the clean & jerk) with 100% confidence. Then walk out and crush it for your first attempt.

Second attempt should still be something you’re confident in, and not more than a ~4kg increase from the first on the snatch. For Clean & Jerk not more than ~6kg for the second attempt. The third attempt can be a bit more risky, but something you typically make at least two out of three times in training.

Set Goals: This is your first meet, so set your goals accordingly. My first meet’s goals were

  • Have fun
  • Learn as much about meets as possible
  • Get a Total (AKA hit at least 1 snatch & 1 Clean & Jerk)

While it is possible to hit a personal best lift at your first meet, I would plan to pick an opener you know you can hit. Be a bit more conservative as nerves are a funny thing during that first lift with all eyes on you.

Practice!

Find some time to get together during an open gym with friends for a mock meet (we are happy to help). Two weeks before a meet is a great time to try out your openers in this format.  Even if it is just lifting with a few friends with the timer running. Ask someone pretending to be the judge that will be in front of the “platform.” Have them simply give you the “down” call, which is what the judge will do at the meet once you have the bar controlled.

Up next: A Guide to the Day of the meet

 

The Power of Breath

The Power of Breath

Our physiology (body) drives a lot of our behavior and the way that we approach a situation.  

Breathing is one of the few, generally, automatic processes that we, as humans, can exercise some control over.  And it has a great deal of control over which mental state we experience, that is, which part of our central nervous system we are experiencing the world through.

  • Sympathetic Nervous System – Fight, Flight, Freeze
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System – Rest and Digest

Check out the video below for a quick tutorial on the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems:

So what does that have to do with what we do at Icehouse?

In a word…”Everything”.  Understanding which state you’re in and how to bounce seamlessly between the two can be the difference between a BIG personal record lift, or a meltdown mid-workout.  And it can help you determine which of our 3 tracks is best for you for that training session.

Don’t I just want to go hard every training session?  

The short answer is…”No”.  As humans we have a limited supply of fuel for “fight or flight”.  If we stay in that state constantly, it becomes less and less potent, it loses its punch, and we just become highly alert (burned out) and exhausted.

So if going hard isn’t always the “go to”, what are my options?

To make it simple, we’ll keep it at aerobic (oxygen for fuel) and anaerobic (everything else as fuel)

Aerobic – you’re able to breathe through your nose; if you’re unable to do that you have to slow down until you can.  These workouts are designed to move your body and build that base of cardiovascular endurance (allow you to go low and slow for a long time) and are the cornerstone of training for the long haul.

Anaerobic – you’ve got to use your mouth to some extent to bring air in or get air out.  These workouts are designed to create a hormonal response that make you better at everything (quick punch of relatively hard and fast).  We don’t do these often, and to make changes, we don’t need to.

How do I know which state I am in?

One quick check is to pay attention to how your mouth is organized.  This is a quick check for efficient nasal breathing, aerobic and parasympathetic (rest and digest).  

  • Tip of your tongue is at the roof of your mouth
  • Teeth are slightly apart
  • Breathing into your belly through your nose

For more information on the fundamentals of breathwork checkout the Power Speed Endurance blog here

CrossFit Level 1 is Coming to CrossFit Icehouse!!  What Is It?

CrossFit Level 1 is Coming to CrossFit Icehouse!! What Is It?

CrossFit Training is coming to Fargo!!  In fact, CrossFit Training is coming to CrossFit Icehouse!!  

This is a BIG DEAL; it’s the first time a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course has been hosted in the Great State of North Dakota.

It’s an honor and a privilege to be the premier seminar location for CrossFit Training in the state of North Dakota as well as western Minnesota.  

So what is the CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Certificate Course?

As designed, the CF-L1 is a 2-day course, incorporating lectures and practical exercises, that serves two purposes.  It’s an official introduction into CrossFit fundamentals, and it’s the gateway into CrossFit coaching.

It’s designed for the athlete who wants to learn more about the basics of CrossFit training and human movement.  It’s also designed to provide a certificate to allow holders the eligibility to coach CrossFit at a CrossFit affiliate.  

My CF-L1 Story

I have a very unique story road to earning my CF-L1.  In fact, my very first CrossFit WOD was at my CF-L1 in Excelsior, MN at CrossFit SISU on July 1, 2017.  

I’d only been inside one other CrossFit gym before then and while I knew CrossFit Icehouse existed, I had no idea how impactful earning my CF-L1 and meeting Courtney and Sara a little over a week later would be.

My CF-L1 weekend was quite possibly the most professionally run seminar I’ve ever attended. Aside from hitting all of their time hacks, being knowledgeable and personable, the staff was authentic and genuine and the other students were unbelievably welcoming. The first thing that our Flow Master, Nadia, asked is how long everyone had been training with CrossFit. I’d admitted that this seminar was my first run at CrossFit, and I felt like they looked out for me from a movement perspective throughout the weekend.

I learned that CrossFit methodology was real, and that CrossFit HQ invests in the staff that is charged with qualifying trainers. I also learned that not all CrossFit affiliates are designed to create competitors, there are an overwhelming majority who are solely focused on building longevity and quality of life.

I was on fire leaving my CF-L1 weekend.  I went from not being a CrossFitter to being one of CrossFit’s biggest fans!!  During that weekend, I developed a new sense of purpose and opportunity, that is, to develop into the best coach possible, if, for no other reason, but to provide athletes the same experience I had during my CF-L1 weekend.

Is Attending a CF-L1 for You?

If you’re an athlete looking to dive deep into the nerd-ery; interested in learning more about the basics of what we do here at CrossFit Icehouse, why what we do works, and what CrossFit is really all about.  It’s definitely worth considering (by the way, CrossFit Icehouse is hosting a second CF-L1 course June 89).

If you’re interested in becoming a coach, and you’re local, get registered!!  CrossFit Training is LITERALLY coming to you.

Want to learn more about CrossFit Coaches Development?

Cheers!

 

One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

We have one week left of Friday Night Lights and if you have been participating along with us this year you should be feeling very proud of yourself.  The CrossFit Open (A.K.A Friday Night Lights) is a very taxing experience, both physically and emotionally!  There’s so much excitement leading up to one workout, there’s also the game of do I go scaled or Rx and dabbling in movements you may not have tried up until then.

So with one week left what happens next?  Well don’t worry Icehouse has some plans on Friday nights coming up this spring to keep you hanging out with your strong peeps and I’ve also put together a list of things to help you use all you’ve learned during Friday Night Lights…

1. Practice These Skills

Friday Night Lights has shown us some lesser programed skills like, bar muscle ups and overhead lunges. These are skills that take a lot of practice to nail down.  Taking time before and after class to practice these movements can make a huge difference for next year.  If there’s a workout that didn’t go your way, ask a coach some drills that will make that better for next time.

2. Local Competitions

Did you get bit by the competition bug?  Check out some of the local competitions and sign up!  There’s Granite Games Qualifiers, Festivus Games and Dakota Games all in our back yard.  Check out the standards, find some teammates and go participate in a CrossFit competition.

3. Dial In Your Nutrition

If you’re anything like me with the craziness of Friday Night Lights my nutrition sometimes takes a back seat, like in the trunk.  Thankfully we have already planned out a nutrition challenge for this reason.  If you’re looking to really dial in your skills and make big leaps in next years FNL then nutrition is the place to start.  Plus we might see spring soon which always makes eating well a bit easier.

4. Use Your Fitness

The weather is getting warmer and it makes it so much easier to use your fitness.  Start looking for things you can do to show off all of your hard work.  The Fargo Marathon is coming up and I know they have a 5K, 10K and a relay option for those of you looking for a new test.  There are also different bike clubs, hiking clubs and dog walking groups you could join in on as you are a fit strong human!

5. Take a Moment to Celebrate

Like for real, celebrate all that you have just accomplished.  There aren’t many people out there who sign up to give everything they have for five Friday’s in a row.  Celebrate all the little wins from signing up to crushing a workout.  What you just did was really awesome!

I hope these tips are helpful.  I know I have had a blast this year watching all of you crush these workouts.  Let’s make this last one the loudest and most fun of them all!

 

10 Components of Fitness

10 Components of Fitness

Continuing on with our exploration into the heart of what CrossFit is, today we’ll chat about the concepts that remain in the forefront of developing our athletes, the 10 Components of Fitness.

“Having a balanced ability across the all 10 components of fitness will ensure that you’ll be both athletic and durable.”

What does that really mean to you and me?  You’ll be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without specifically training for it and you’ll remain pain-free.

What are the 10 Components of Fitness?

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

    • Think cardio, cardio, cardio….We’re talking about getting your blood to deliver oxygen throughout your body more efficiently.

Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

    • Similar to endurance, but not the same.  This is having “gas in the tank” rather than being able to breathe and deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

    • Straight up ability to pick up heavy weights.

Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

    • Moving your body the way it was designed to move

Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

    • Emphasizes strength applied in a very short amount of time.

Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

    • Emphasizes raw turnover, fast as possible running, biking, rowing

Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

    • Moving your body in a specific pattern.  Think of this as learning the pattern of movement to achieve an olympic lift

Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

    • Kids do this all the time, think of a 3 year-old bouncing around a playroom.

Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.

    • This is keeping your center of gravity over whatever base of support you have at any given moment (this is why it’s harder to balance on one foot rather than two)

Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity

    • This is both knowing what to do and having the coordination to do it.

Holy smokes, that’s a lot…How do I get better at ALL of them?

Great question!  Improvement breaks down to a couple different adaptations.  Once is physiological (your body), the other is neurological (the pathways between your brain and your muscles).  We’ll talk about them in the sections below.

Forged through Training

The components below get better because your body adapts without you having to think about any of it.  By adding this new stress to your body, your body adapts, it’s as easy as that. You’ll often recognize these improvements first as you start training.

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance

  • Stamina

  • Strength

  • Flexibility

Forged through Practice

The components below get better because you build the connection between your brain and your muscles.  These improve through thoughtful practice. Think about closing your eyes and standing on one leg. You will get better with practice, but it will take a lot of thought in the early stages.  Building a superhighway between your brain and your muscles takes thoughtful practice, and it is often overlooked. I would contend that these components are the most vital for life outside the gym, and living independently as long as possible.

  • Agility

  • Balance

  • Accuracy

Forged through Both Training and Practice

The components below are improved with a mixture of both training and practice.  We’re taking newly gained strength, stamina, endurance or flexibility and coupling it with newly gained accuracy, balance and agility and display speed and power.  For example, you gain leg strength, balance and coordination, you turn into a faster sprinter.

  • Power

  • Speed

What does that all mean to me?

It means there are multiple ways to reflect improvement and celebrate achievement.  It means our training includes a super heavy back squat and also being able to stand on one foot and bounce a ball against a wall.  It means there are multiple times within every hour you train with us to achieve a win for the day, week, month and year.