Catalyst Athletics to Close California Gym, Relocate to Oregon

In an announcement on both their website and social media outlets, Catalyst Athletics has announced they’ll be closing their Sunnyvale, California gym effective April 30th.

PART 1: Catalyst Athletics is undergoing a dramatic change. We’re returning to our weightlifting roots—the garage gym. After 8 years of running our current 5,000 square foot facility in California, and almost 15 years in the gym business, we’re relocating to a small town in central Oregon and exiting the commercial gym business. April 30th will be the last day of the gym’s operation. If you weren’t here with us locally in the gym, you won’t notice any change. Our publishing, seminar and online operations will all continue in the same way, and our competitive weightlifting team will not only continue, but be able to thrive in ways our current location has prevented. While it wasn’t an easy decision for us, this move will allow us to better do what we truly love, which is coaching competitive weightlifters while providing education to lifters and coaches around the world to support the sport’s growth. We love being able to provide a place for lifters of all skill levels to come and learn and train, and we realize that this gym’s closing will leave a very real vacuum of weightlifting opportunity in the area, but the gym as a business distracts us from our primary purpose and limits us in a number of ways. Going forward, we’ll be focusing on our competitive lifters and their development, as well as recruiting and developing new young lifters. Lifters need financial support, but that’s only one part of a complex equation. More important is the need for heart, grit, toughness, atmosphere, coaching, competition and a true love of the sport. These things thrive in the garage environment with the right people and the right motives. Catalyst Athletics is returning to the roots of American weightlifting and focusing on exploiting and nurturing the unique qualities of American lifters and coaches rather than scrambling to mimic the systems of other countries. We want to help preserve what we believe is a special and disappearing mindset and way of life.

A photo posted by Catalyst Athletics (@catalystathletics) on Mar 31, 2016 at 10:40am PDT



Catalyst’s announcement comes less than two months after MuscleDriver USA went public with their own facility closing and the beginning of bankruptcy proceedings.

From Catalyst’s announcement, it doesn’t sound like their team and brand is in close to the same position as MuscleDriver’s, which is currently liquidating their manufacturing and competition assets. In their post, Catalyst’s team mentions they’ll be moving operations to Oregon and suggests they’ll be concentrating resources on a smaller group of elite and developing weightlifters in a “garage gym” environment.

Catalyst Athletics is a big brand in American weightlifting, and for the vast majority of their fans, their physical location was secondary to the content, seminars, programming, and training advice they put out. Still, the facility factored heavily into all the above through pictures and social media posts, and it will be jarring to see the background and setting for their countless videos and posts change with the move.

Let’s just hope their new, smaller headquarters has a good camera setup and plenty of lighting, because we’ll still be following along.

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TBT: Check Out Zydrunas Savickas at His First Powerlifting Competition from 1998

Zydrunas “Big Z” Savickas has had a long career in strength sport, and most are familiar with his accomplishments in strongman. The 40 year old strongman has won the World’s Strongest Man 4 times, the Arnold Classic 8 (!) times, and more national, continental, and lift-specific competitions than we can count.

But Big Z actually got his start my mixing powerlifting and strongman, even taking second in the +125 kilo category at the 2000 IPF World Championships. By the early 2000s, he was competing almost exclusively in strongman and won his first Arnold title in 2003; it would be six more years before he won his first of four World’s Strongest Man championships, though he finished second in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

To get a glimpse of a much younger (and considerable lighter) Savickas, check out the video below, taken at the European Junior Powerlifting Championships in 1998 in Vladimir, Russia.

As a Junior, Zydrunas  Savickas squats 342.5kg, benches 205kg, and deadlifts 320kg for a 867.5kg (1,910.2 pound) total at 136kg bodyweight (just shade under 300 pounds).

(Want to know how tall the world’s best strongmen competitors are? Check out our infographic!)

At 40 years old, Savickas is still competing multiple times a year and going for personal bests at nearly every competition, including trying to break his own log press world record. Here’s his attempt at a 230 kilogram log clean and press at the Arnold Classic Australia in March 2016.

Savickas actually gets the weight overhead, only to lose stability and miss it behind. Keep in mind, this is an unwieldy log weighted to over 500 pounds.

Attempt for WR . Not this time . Later this year.

A video posted by Zydrunas Savickas BIG Z (@savickas_bigz) on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:34am PDT


After his recent victory at the 2016 Arnold Classic Strongman competition, the Lithuanian giant shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

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Ilya Ilyin Does Bodyweight Training, So Should You

Bodyweight exercises are cool, effective, and even fun. And hey, they may even make you stronger. Just ask two-time Olympic weightlifting champion Ilya Ilyin, who’s having no problem knocking out some bar dips at 105 kilograms.

Отжимание на шатающихся брусьях 💪😀

A video posted by Илья Ильин (@ilyailyin_official) on Mar 31, 2016 at 5:36am PDT


Ilya’s comment in Russian mentions the wobblyness of the bars he’s using. Note the old school medicine ball in the bottom right and unmistakably Soviet/1980’s TV den wood paneling in the training center. If you can’t get strong in an environment like that, you’re probably hopeless.

We’ve seen Ilya incorporate bodyweight movements into his training before; after each Olympic cycle, he’s also been known to take some time away from the platform to swim, run, and occasionally play some other sports. One of those is breakdancing, and while he’s probably not making the cast of Step Up 7 anytime soon, Ilya’s actually got some moves. Watch to the end of the below clip. Risky for a weightlifter looking to win his third Olympic gold? Sure. But cool to see in the middle of a weightlifting gym? Totally.


Yes, it’s a lot more fun to watch the world’s best weightlifters lift things heavier than themselves, but in many schools of training, bodyweight and core-isolation movements are crucial components of daily training. Check out the video below, where Olympic silver medalist Apti Aukhadov demonstrates some of his favorite ab exercises.

It might not be beach body branding, but don’t knock Aukhadov’s six pack; clearly he’s doing something right. He’s also putting your Tabata Hollow Rocks to shame.

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European Weightlifting Championships Start List Features Big, Surprising Names

The 2016 European Weightlifting Championships are right around the corner, with lifting running from April 10th through April 16th in Førde, Norway (though meetings and prep begin April 8th).

It’s one of the last Olympic qualifying events where countries can earn spots in Rio, so there are enough team and points implications for most countries to send stacked rosters, even a few months before Rio’s big dance.

Info and schedules for the European Weightlifting Championships available on the European Weightlifting Federation’s site. But the most interesting info is found on the event’s tentative entry list. Highlights and lifters to watch out for below:

In the Women’s 63 kilo category, British lifter Zoe Smith has the highest listed start total at 226 kilos. The 21 year old has moved up from the 58 kilo category, in which she won a bronze medal at the European Championships in 2014. Video of her lifting from Hookgrip:

In the Women’s +75 category, Russian lifter Tatiana Kashirina is listed to start with an entry total of 290, well under her best competition total of 348 kilos (video of that total below) — these are often purposefully conservative, so expect her to do far, far more. Kashirina will be competing for an incredible SEVENTH European Championship title (she has competed and won every year since 2009 with the exception of 2013).

The men’s 85 kilo category should be a highlight, and the highest start total belongs to 34 year old Andrei Rybakou of Belarus. Rybakou is a veteran by anyone’s standard and won silver medals in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

He still holds the snatch world record in the weight class at an astounding 187 kilos — just one kilogram below the world record in the 94 kilos class. Check it out:

The +105 men’s weight class could be an epic battle between two Georgian lifters — 22 year old Lasha Talakhadze and 31 year old Irakli Turmanidze — and Mart Seim of Estonia. As of Aleksey Lovchev’s retroactive disqualification from the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship for a banned substance, Talakhadze is the reigning World Champion in his weight class.

Seim is perhaps best known as one of the world’s premiere squatters, but his snatch and clean & jerk numbers have been climbing to levels among the world’s best in the superheavyweight category.

Check out this video of his recent 400 kg high bar back squat, straight from the Estonian superheavy’s YouTube page:

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The Full Circle of Strength Sports: An Interview with Jared Enderton

When weightlifters make the transition to CrossFit, do they lose their top-end strength? For Jared Enderton, the answer — at least so far — is no.

Enderton has competed in strength sport more times than he can count, but more impressive than his longevity is the scope of his experience. A former Iowa state champion wrestler in high school, Enderton took up strongman and powerlifting in college, then transitioned into weightlifting full time before recently focusing on CrossFit and Grid.

Jared Enderton Snatch

Jared Enderton Snatch; photos courtesy Nick Rhodes

Enderton made a splash during last year’s CrossFit Liftoff, where he finished fifth overall. Now, after the CrossFit Open and just six months after incorporating conditioning into his training, Enderton finds himself sitting in 18th in the Southwest, good enough to secure a spot at Regionals in May.

We sat down with Jared to talk about his transitions through multiple strength sports, his goals for this year and beyond, and how he’s keeping his strength while adding in a high volume of conditioning work.

Tell us about your athletic background. How’d you transition from wrestling to strength sports?

In high school I won state wrestling in Iowa, got third a couple times as well, but for whatever reason I decided not to wrestle in college. I think I wanted to stop cutting weight, so I got into powerlifting and strongman. I competed in strongman for the next three years, I ended up gaining over a hundred pounds! A year later I ended up weighting over 300 pounds, which is crazy.

And how tall are you?

I’m 5’ 6”.

So you were a pretty big guy!

Yep, I was pretty hefty! I just decided, being 21 in my senior year of college, college isn’t that fun at 300 pounds. So I started losing the weight without an idea of doing anything specific, and as I started losing weight I started feeling more athletic again, and then I started taking up Olympic weightlifting.

Jared Enderton Weight Loss

Jared Enderton Weight Loss

From 2010 to early 2015 I only did weightlifting, and I moved all over the place; California Strength, Average Broz, Mash Elite, and in 2013 I moved out to the Olympic Training Center. And I’ve been out here in Colorado Springs living and training ever since.

In early 2015, March, I put in my Grid score for the NPGL kind of on a whim, just for fun. They invited me to a pro day, and from how I did at the pro day they invited me to the combine. I ended up getting drafted by the Baltimore Anthem, so I was in the Grid league last year. I enjoyed it so much, I put weightlifting to the side in September and started training full time for CrossFit.

So I feel like I’ve come full circle: From wrestling to strongman to weightlifting, then back to conditioning and a combination of strength training and conditioning. Came back full circle, only took me ten years.

Prior to Grid, were you doing any conditioning regularly?

I was just weightlifting, no conditioning whatsoever. I hadn’t done conditioning since I wrestled, so probably about eight years. For strongman, you do some stuff, mostly short burst like carrying a stone for a minute or max reps in a minute. But no real conditioning in a long time.

Jared Enderton Flex

Jared Enderton Flex; photos courtesy Nick Rhodes

When I first submitted my Grid score, it took me about a minute to do four rope climbs. And now I can do four legless in under 30 seconds, it’s kind of fun to look back on.

When you were weightlifting full time, what bodyweight did you compete at, and what were your best lifts?

I competed as a 94 kilo lifter for pretty much my entire weightlifting career. I had a 150 kilo snatch and a 185 kilo clean & jerk.

When you started thinking you had a shot in the NPGL, what changed about your training?

It was a lot of cycling the barbell. When I went to the pro day or the combine, they had me do what I was good at, so I didn’t focus on gymnastics or anything crazy. A lot of really fast deadlifts, a lot of hang cleans, a lot of thrusters, a lot of fast squats, and a lot of interval work. That was the big thing that I started to do, and I’d watched the matches from 2014, and I looked at what the stronger guys were called to do. So I’d do 30 seconds of all out stationary bike, then lift, then rest five minutes, really trying to mimic the stress you might feel in a match.

You’ve been posting a lot of gymnastics skills on social over the past few months. When did you start incorporating those?

Last year in the NPGL, I would always mess around with freestanding handstand push-ups and handstand walks, just for fun; we had guys on our team like Alec Smith who could just do a million of them. I didn’t really start taking them seriously until after the GRID season because I knew I wasn’t going to be called on to do backwards rolls to support or butterfly muscle-ups or anything like that.

Now I have a lot of those movements, and I’m working on smoothing it out and making it faster. I love learning new things and picking up new skills. There are a lot of days I’ll be on the rings for an hour or an hour and a half just working on refining a kip or working on tweaking a movement. It’s exciting to work on gymnastics when you’ve been weightlifting forever.

Jared Enderton Wrestling

Jared Enderton Wrestling

You competed in the inaugural CrossFit Liftoff in 2015 and did pretty well. What was that like?

Going into that event, I told my girlfriend that my goal is top 5. Fifth was the last place where you get prize money and a barbell, and that’s where the recognition is. That was my goal and I ended up getting exactly 5th. I was only two or three months into CrossFit, and I knew I could out lift the top CrossFitters, but it all depended on the workout if they were going to catch me. So I tried to to create as much of a cushion as possible on the lifts and see if that could help me. I knew right away, the top guys like Rich Froning and Ben Smith will catch me, they’re very, very good weightlifters. And it ended up working just right, I got 5th place by one point.

I think snatched 315, I ended clean & jerking only 387, I had cleaned 405 six times in a row and missed the jerk each time. That would have been a pretty nice bump in the rankings, but you know how it goes with weightlifting: some days it’s there, some days it’s not.

That was a fun first event, I held on just enough in the workout to stay top 5.

And what’s your goal right now?

For the Open, I didn’t do any seminars, didn’t do any traveling, focused on staying healthy and getting a lot of sleep.

My goal this year is to make Regionals. If I could make Regionals this year, I’d be more proud of that than anything I’ve done athletically, just because it’s been so short of a time frame since starting CrossFit. I started in September and have really been training like crazy, but that’s not a whole lot of time to work on that upper endurance limit.


So my goal this year is to make Regionals, and of course there I’ll give it all that I’ve got. I really see it as a learning experience, see what weaknesses I have to work on and all that.

Next year, 2017, definitely the CrossFit Games, that will be my goal, my singular goal.

As you transitioned away from full time weightlifting, has your strength suffered?

That’s a great question. Up until probably mid-January, my strength had only dropped a little bit, and it wasn’t much. My snatch, my clean & jerk, maybe 10 pounds each, and my squats and pulls were still strong.

I had a little bit of a back injury in January. I just back squatted for the first time in three months, and then my back killed me for like five days. So it’s a little bit skewed, but I have been able to snatch and clean & jerk just fine, and there’s been a little bit of a loss from the true top end, but I still snatch 315 and clean and jerk 390 fairly consistently. I can power snatch 280 and power clean and jerk 355 pretty consistently.

If my squats and deadlifts have gone down, it’s more because I haven’t done them as much.

I hit my strength work after my conditioning. For most people, it’s the opposite, they’ll do strength work and then condition. But conditioning is definitely my weakness right now, and I have to prioritize that. I’ll still hit something strength-wise every day, but it’s a little random exactly what it is.

Where can people find out more about you and follow along with your training?

Everything gathered in one place is on Instagram. That’s where I always tell people what I’m up to, and that’s just @jaredenderton. I do a podcast with Jon North called Weightlifting Talk, which you can download on iTunes. We talk about strength training, CrossFit, then a lot of stuff that doesn’t really relate to either. is our online programming portal, we have over 500 athletes we work with, which is pretty awesome. We do video analysis and programming for $25 a month. And we focus so much on the technique; you can have the perfect programming, but if your technique isn’t great, you’re not going to make that progress.

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One Of These Kids May Win The 2032 CrossFit Games

While you and I are still rolling around on the floor after 16.5, the next generation of fitness athletes are training hard in between naps and diaper changes. With a little help from their wildly-accomplished moms and dads, these kiddos are getting ready for the big leagues (as long as the big leagues happen before bedtime).

Name: Maddie

Age: 2

Fitness Mom: NY Rhinos and CrossFit athlete Tina Angelotti

Secret Weapon: Post-wod bottle of gainz.

Name: Nathan

Age: 6

Fitness Dad: CrossFit Games athlete and Fran world-record holder Irving Hernandez

Fun Fact: Nathan once tried to sell his bowtie to Mat Fraser.


A video posted by Irving Hernandez (@theirvingh) on Aug 4, 2015 at 12:04pm PDT

Name: Mason

Age: 2

Fitness Dad: 2015 CrossFit Games athlete and fan favorite Elijah “EZ” Muhammad

Signature Move: Snatch Grip Strict Press 

Name: Carson

Age: 2

Fitness Mom: 5x Games athlete and 75kg weightlifter Jessica Phillips

Toddler Tip: Vests and skinny jeans are perfectly acceptable workout gear. 


Name: David

Age: 2

Fitness Dad: Reebok athlete and 2014 CrossFit Games athlete Craig Kenney

Leg Up On The Competition: Already knows the value of a good mid-lift grunt. 

A video posted by Craig Kenney (@ckenney34) on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:07pm PDT


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Is D’Angelo Osorio’s 211kg Clean & Jerk Attempt a Sign of Things to Come?

D’Angelo Osorio has been around American Weightlifting for awhile, having taken up the sport back in 2008. Now, the 105 kilogram lifter (who rose to Internet fame as a 94 kilo junior) has started breaking through plateaus and putting up new personal bests in the heavyweight class. After nailing a 210 clean & jerk at the Arnold Classic in early March, Osorio barely missed this 211 clean & jerk at last week’s PWA Championships.

Check it out below:


Not a make, certainly, but the clean was solid, and the positions are there — you wonder if he would have stuck the jerk had he gotten out of the squat just a little bit easier.

The lift would have been 1 kilogram over Donny Shankle’s PWA record 210 clean & jerk set in 2011. (Check that out below; video from California Strength.)

Osorio has been on a tear recently, setting new competition PRs in the Snatch, Clean & Jerk, and total this month. Earlier in 2016, he hit a 206 kilogram clean & jerk for a 9 kilo lifetime PR. Video below.


The 2014 Pan American medalist and 2014 World Team member has long shown a ton of promise, though his performances for much of 2015 seemed inconsistent, as if he’d hit a bit of a ceiling with his numbers.

Recent performances suggests Osorio has pushed through his old numbers for good, and hopefully it’s just the start of new progress for one of the USA’s more exciting lifters. There’s a great crop of USA 105s currently pushing hard, including Osorio, Ian Wilson, Ethan Harak, David Garcia, Spencer Moorman, and President’s Cup medalist Wes Kitts.

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