Lumberjack CrossFit

May 12, 2009

lumberjack1Looks like I’ll be working out with chain saw and axe and shovel and pick for the next few weeks. We had some energetic winds blow through town and take advantage of the soft waterlogged soil to push down a few trees in the area (17 just in my yard). Big, beautiful, take a hundred years to grow a replacement type trees. Sad, really, really sad. Oh well, hell of a workout anyway.

The same wind that blew my trees down also demolished the school my kids go to. The roof was blown off and the exterior walls fell in and a few kids had to go to the hospital. I’m not ashamed to say that tears streamed down my face as I listened to my son tell me about the ceiling falling on him and about his friend, who was trapped outside with another student when the winds hit. He couldn’t open the doors to get inside because the pressure was too great, so he pushed the other student into a corner and by bracing against either wall, anchored her and protected her with his own body (Logan, you’re a hero).

Do me a favor – give your wife or kids or husband or parents a big hug and tell them you love them. Hold on for a long time – too long, until they notice, and then tell them you love them again.

Do that for me OK?


Snatching really scares me. There is something not quite right about throwing a heavy weight up over your head as hard as you can and then squatting down underneath it. Kind of like that game my buddies and I played as kids where we would stand in a circle and one of us would chuck a rock straight up in the air and whoever ran away first was the loser, except this rock is a whole lot heavier and I’m the only one under it.

In March I attended a CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification in St. Louis with Coach Mike Burgener, and you should too. Coach and his team put together a fantastic presentation, and I came away with a solid understanding of the mechanics of lifts, as well as devout respect for anyone who can put hundreds of pounds of barbell over their heads the way those men and women can. The balance, coordination, power, speed and determination required is epic.

The author's non-epic snatch. Note the "Olympic" cable crossover machine in the background.

The author's non-epic snatch. Note the "Olympic" cable crossover machine in the background.

I am a complete newb to this kind of lifting, but am completely captivated and humbled by it. I have diligently been practicing what I learned, and I am slowly making progress. I have gone from my previous PR of a clumsy 45# to solid sets of 5 with 95#. I don’t know which is harder, practicing the lifts, or listening to my bodybuilding gym mates, “Look, I’m curling more with one arm than Rob can snatch.” Course, when I invite them to try it, “Come on you pharmacological hormonal freaks of nature,” they mumble something about their butt still being sore from their last steroid shot and shuffle back to the pec deck.

I may not make the Olympic team next year (or ever), but I did get enough from this weekend to keep myself busy for a long time. We went over the snatch, the clean & jerk, warm up drills and skill transfer exercises in an extremely hands on environment – I was quite sore the next day. Wherever you are in the health/fitness spectrum, this will make you better. Get on, find an Olympic lifting cert near you, and sign up – you won’t be sorry.