IOC Officially Disqualifies 5 Beijing Weightlifters, Requests Return of Three Medals

Though we’ve known about their provisional suspensions since earlier this summer, earlier today the International Olympic Committee officially announced the disqualification of five weightlifters from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Three of the weightlifters originally won medals in Beijing, and the statement from the IOC specifies that all medals and pins received from the competition must be returned. As per the IOC’s request, the athlete’s national Olympic committee will be responsible for collecting and returning the items.

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Tigran G. Martirosyan, photo by Kari Kinnunen

The lifters are:

Nadezhda Evstyukhina, Russia, 75kg. Three time World Champion and originally bronze medalist in Beijing.

Alexandru Dudoglo, Moldova, 69kg. Originally ninth place in Beijing.

Tigran G. Martirosyan, Armenia, 69kg. 2010 World Champion (77kg) and originally third place in Beijing.

Marina Shainova, Russia, 58kg. Four time European Champion (thrice at 58kg, once at 63kg), originally second place in Beijing.

Intigam Zairov, Azerbaijan, 85kg. Originally ninth place in Beijing.

The IOC’s announcement also includes stipulations regarding how prizes must be returned to the IOC and puts responsibility on each athlete’s National Olympic Committee. For example, the following was listed in regard to the return of Evstyukhina’s disqualification.

I. The Athlete, Nadezda EVSTYUKHINA:

i. is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing in 2008 (presence and/or use, of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an athlete’s bodily specimen),

ii. is disqualified from the Women’s 75kg weightlifting event in which she participated upon the occasion of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, and

iii. has the medal, the medallist pin and the diploma obtained in the 75kg weightlifting event withdrawn, and is ordered to return these.

II. The IWF is requested to modify the results of the above-mentioned event accordingly and to consider any further action within its own competence.

III. The Russian Olympic Committee shall ensure full implementation of this decision.

IV. The Russian Olympic Committee shall notably secure the return to the IOC, as soon as possible, of the medal, the medallist pin and the diploma awarded in connection with the Women’s 75kg weightlifting event to the Athlete.

V. This decision enters into force immediately.

No statement has yet been made regarding the 15 weightlifters implicated in a second round of doping retests announced earlier this month. If their positive doping results are upheld, though, it’s likely they’ll face the same penalties as the five lifters disqualified today.

Featured image: Tigran G. Martirosyan, photo by Kari Kinnunen, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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How to Mentally & Physically Prep for Your Next Personal Record: The 24-Hour Approach

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

Like most feats, setting a personal record takes proper preparation over months of sport-specific training, nutrition, focus, and practice. Often, beginners and intermediate lifters walk into a gym on any given day and miraculously set new personal records.

As one becomes more advanced in their levels of fitness and training, setting and achieving personal records occur less often, sometimes only once every few months. Preparation for that PR started months before, when training regimens, goals, and timelines were set.

In addition to tapering an athlete’s training program properly leading up to their next competition, coaches and athletes can structure the final 24 hours leading up to a PR attempt  to maximize their mental and physical preparedness. By understanding the roles of physiological and psychological factors that affect us all, we can better adapt, set a PR, and evolve.

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T-Minus 12-24 Hours

Body: Active rest and recovery will increase systemic blood flow to your muscles and joints. Sound sleep and nutrition will result in big gains. Additionally, be smart about consuming enough water. Although dehydration has the largest effects on endurance exercise and strength training (multiple sets and reps), some research has suggests 3-4% dehydration (of body mass) can decrease muscular strength and power by 2-3%. That could be the difference between hitting a total of 257kg instead of 250kg (over 15lbs!).

Mind: Patience. Start envisioning the day of and mentally prepare for battle. Mark you calendar and understand that what you do now WILL impact your performance to come.

Find time to destress and declutter your thoughts. The extra time you have since you are taking a rest day (or two) should still be you time. Take a bath, read a book in bed, or take a nap. Don’t allow other stresses to steal your focus.

T-Minus 4-12 Hours

Body: After a solid 8 hours of sleep, start your morning off with some light activity. Stay loose and become aware of your body. Listen to what it is saying and archive that information for your warm-up routine.

Mind: Mentally, you cannot have a bad start. You have trained hard and have put yourself in a position for success. Recognizing the ball is in your court will allow your to stay focus at the task at hand.

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T-Minus 2-4 Hours

Body: Supply yourself with a steady source of carbohydrates and protein (hyperlink to nutrition article). The carbohydrates will be you main currency for energy during your workout, and the protein will keep the amino pools full.  

Mind: Mentally prepare for your warm up process, how you will mode about prior to the lifts. Have a plan for your final 2-4 hours leading up to the lifts. Visualize yourself in the near future, carrying out your plan.

T-Minus 1-2 Hours

Body: This is your final check-up on how things are feeling physically. Take a moment and get in touch with your body, muscles, and joints. Any lingering aspects will require some dedicated foam rolling (hyperlink foam rolling article) and focus during your warm up.

Mind: The brain functions off of glucose (sugar). At this point, you want to start consuming some faster carbohydrates sources, ones with less fiber and fat to help your body digest and process them much quicker. Throw in some quality H2O, a few cups of black coffee or green tea, and your mind will be alert and ready to go.

T-Minus 30 Minutes Out

Body: Start warming up. Elevate the heart rate, and stick to your normal routine. Sometimes, athletes change certain variables as self-doubt creeps into their minds. This is not the time to change things. The best athletes have practiced how to prepare for a maximal lift, making sure that every warm up set, set up, and rep is executed perfectly.

Mind: Visualize your lift. Visualize your set up, the execution, and what it felt like to have an amazing performance. These techniques have been established in previous studies and have shown to have a positive and significant effect on performance.

T-Minus 1-5 Minutes Out

Body: Breathe. Sit down. Settle the body and connect with your mind. Often, I see people in this window start to get super jacked up, screaming and pacing. While those are effective strategies to get the CNS firing and adrenal glands going, they effect can wear off, leaving your CNS and energy zapped if you have not prepared and/or got hyped at the right moment. Understand your body, and stay calm until it’s go time.

Mind: If you have not prepared for a lift before, the key is to remove all other distractions. Start to visualize your setup, execution, and successful lift. Simplify the movement into your 1-3 movement cues, and start to recite your mantra (see below). The best thing you can do here is simplify everything. Technique is very important, but maximal effort and focus is 100% vital.

T-Minus 1-10 Seconds Out

Body: Take a deep breathe. Bring your tension into the diaphragm, and start to feel the tension throughout your body grow into your legs, feet, arms, and hands. Drop your shoulders and pack the lats. Breathe, squeeze, and attack

Mind: Focus on 1-2 action words or ques. Call them your mantra is you will. Maybe it is “Fast Elbows” or “Stay over Bar” in preparation for a clean, or maybe it is a little more aggressive, such as, my personal favorite from a training partner of mine, Mike Barbot, as he approached a 350lb bottoms up front squat, “Come on Fu&$er, you’re coming with me!”

Go Time

Body: Don’t think, or if you do, it’s only on your mantra and one cue. You have practiced and simulated this moment already in training. The competition should be where you shine.

Mind: There is nothing left to do but to just do it.  

What Now?

Often, after a performance, good or bad, we replay the final moments in our mind over and over again, for what seems to be an eternity. Those key moments should be taken in, both looking back upon the good, bad, and the ugly. Just remember, every experience can provide an opportunity for betterment.

Mike holds a Masters in Exercise Physiology from Columbia University in NYC, USA. He’s Mike is an Assistant Coach of Strength and Conditioning at NYU and the Co-Founder at J2FIT Human Performance in NYC, USA. Mike is the Founder of The Barbell CEO, a lifestyle brand devoted to the strongest coaches, entrepreneurs, and minds.

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Double Edge Fitness: Coaching Is a Career, So Treat Your Trainers Like Professionals

Derek Wellock, co-founder of Double Edge Fitness in Reno, NV has one piece of advice for gym owners struggling to keep their coaches and members happy:

“Don’t 1099 your coaches.”

In an industry built on paying coaches per class or per personal training client, it’s a bold statement from 31 year old Wellock, who in 2014 transformed the 14,000 square foot facility from a sex shop into a state of the art CrossFit gym.

DoubleEdge (1 of 4)

Yes, a sex shop. This is Reno after all. Only in recent years has it shed some of its seedy exterior and gained a sort of Boulder-esque hipster vibe. Before Double Edge moved in, the space was home to an aptly named small business entitled Romantic Sensations that specialized in pre-used lingerie and shoes. (Just let that sentence sink in.)

The gigantic space sat empty for years before one day, Wellock — who was about to quit the fitness industry all together — wandered by, peeped through the window, noticed the brick walls and tall ceilings, and saw potential in what was once run down Reno landmark. After speaking to a few of his personal training clients who were involved with giving downtown Reno a facelift, Wellock and his brother, Jacob, bought the building.

Two years later, the original Double Edge Fitness is still going strong. So strong, in fact, that they recently opened up a second location on the South side of town. According to Wellock, Double Edge’s success is primarily due to treating Double Edge like a big boy business from the very start, not as a side project or a hobby.

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At the time of Double Edge’s opening, the landscape of functional fitness in Reno was reminiscent of the CrossFit days of yore — lots of garages, a scrappy class structure, grunge.

“There were a lot of gyms [at the time], but there weren’t any businesses,” Wellock says. “Don’t get me wrong, it was people with the right intentions, but most of them still had other full time jobs.”

For Wellock and his brother, creating and maintaining a successful gym was the only option.  “This pays our bills, and I think that’s the difference, and it’s what a lot of gyms all over the world struggle with. We’re fully vested. We don’t go from here to do something else. It is our job to give you the best experience.”

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To ensure that members get that experience, Wellock first hones in on his trainers and exclusively hires former members to coach, because he believes that if they can’t fit in with the community as a member, they will not work out as a coach. Given the tenderness of potentially firing a coach who was once a member, Wellock and his staff are extremely picky and deliberate about who they hire.

Once a coach is brought on board, though, Wellock does something nearly unheard of in many gyms across the world: he puts them on salary and treats them like actual employees instead of per-class freelancers. All of his full time coaches get benefits, health insurance, paid vacation, and sick days.

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Wellock continues, “I hear about coaches getting paid 1099, full-time coaches getting paid per class…these are professionals. Fitness professionals. They invest their career, their life, and are continually educating themselves. They need to be treated and respected as professionals by their owner, their coaches, and by their environment.”

Unsurprisingly, this mentality makes for happy, engaged employees who aren’t constantly looking for a better offer. Happy coaches make for happy members, and happy members tell their friends and keep coming back.

Of course, no one who works as a coach expects to become a millionaire, but according to Wellock, getting rich isn’t the point when you’re able to live a reasonable life and do what you love. “We don’t make physician income. We know that going in. You do this because you love changing people’s lives, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to support your family. We’ve all made big, grown up moves doing something we love because it’s respected as a career.”

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Russian Athletes and Events Announced for Second Annual Klokov Power Weekend

In early July, Dmitry Klokov announced his second-annual Power Weekend, a Moscow-based event where international lifters (both active and retired) come together to put on some feats of strength we don’t normally see tested in competition settings. These included hang snatches, rack jerks, max weight thrusters, and more, all from some of the world’s strongest athletes.

Now, Klokov’s training and business partner (and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist) Dmitry Berestov has announced the events and Russian athletes for the event, which runs from November 19-20. He also announced the prize payout, with some significant bucks up for grabs.

As it’s not an IWF-sanctioned event, the Power Weekend also gives us a chance to see some athletes perform who may be serving suspensions from international competition. (For example, Russian superheavyweight Aleksey Lovchev and Kazakhstan’s Ilya Ilyin were on the list of initial invites.)

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For those who don’t read Russian, here are the details.

Committed athletes (again, these are only the Russian athletes, other invited lifters from abroad have yet to announce commitments) include:

Dmitry Klokov
Dmitry Berestov
Chingiz Mogushkov
Aleksey Lovchev
Shaham Kireyev
Dmitry Lapikov

Lovchev and Lapikov are currently suspended by the IWF following positive doping tests.

Events tested (for max weight) will include:

Hang Snatch with Straps
Thruster
Jerk from the Rack
Power Clean & Press

Prizes will include, based on Sinclair calculated from total weight lifted across the elements:

1st Place: $5,000
2nd Place: $3,000
3rd Place: $2,000

No word yet on non-Russian athletes who will be in attendance or when that list might be released. But last year’s event featured a pretty impressive international lineup, so we suspect there will be just as many — if not more — non-Russians as Russians competing.

Who are you most excited about seeing at the 2016 Klokov Power Weekend? Which international athletes do you most want to see? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image: @berestov_dmitriy on Instagram

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5 Tips to Break Through Weightlifting Plateaus

Everyone who trains in one sport long enough will eventually reach a plateau — that point where no matter what you do or how hard you work, nothing seems to improve. It can be frustrating and discouraging, but there is a way out. The solution isn’t always easy, but often times, making simple changes can produce the best results.

Athletes today can be so wrapped up in what they see on social media that I find they are always looking for a quick plateau fix. In reality, when you reach the point in your career when plateaus are a real and regular thing, there is no fast remedy. All you can do at that point is make slight modifications to your program.

When you stall, it usually can’t be pinpointed to one exact difficulty. It could be a technical problem, a strength deficiency, an imbalance front side to back side, left to right. It could be a mobility issue, or it could be something related to sleep or nutrition. It’s best to address the issues a few at a time and see how things progress, rather than attempting to change everything all at once.  

Every athlete I’ve worked with responds differently, but there are few things I have found to work well for many athletes.

A video posted by Morghan King (@kingmorghan) on May 27, 2016 at 8:41am PDT

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1. Ignore One Rep Max Benchmarks

First and foremost, take away the idea that athletes have to frequently attempt a one rep maximum in order to know that they are improving. Currently, I have an athlete that competed at the Junior Nationals in February and doesn’t plan to compete again until September. She has fantastic upper body strength but needed work in her squats, so we did a heavy strength focus mixed with high volume (5 rep, 3 rep, 2 rep) sets in her Olympic lifts. In addition, she has a slight strength imbalance between her right and left leg, so we added in single leg exercises (step ups, split squats, and weighted pistol squats) to address the imbalance. Right now, it’s about building strength. We will attempt 1 rep maxes later and see how all the strength work translates to her lifting.

A video posted by YAHcob‏ (@kendrickjfarris) on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:37am PDT

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2. Tweak When Necessary

Another lifter came from a track and field background and had great lower body strength, but was not as technically efficient in the Olympic lifts, so he could not properly use his strength. For him, we used positional work from the hang/blocks and put a higher emphasis on technique under heavier loads.

Unfortunately, the numbers he hit at the National Championships were a poor reflection in comparison to his training numbers, so we went back to the drawing board. While we could completely throw the program away because the results were undesirable, we decided which aspects of the program worked for him, which needed modification, and took those into into the next phase of training.

By changing his ideology, from 1 rep max attempts to lifting with efficiency and consistency, the lifter actually ended up having a major breakthrough in those 1 rep maxes.

Just work. #WednesdaySoloSesh . . . . Last of literally a billion sets of technique doubles at 120kg/265lbs. #Vibin

A video posted by Mattie Rogers 🍰 (@mattiecakesssss) on Aug 24, 2016 at 12:46pm PDT

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3. Focus on the Quality at High Percentages

Many advanced Olympic Weightlifters or even CrossFit athletes are past the point of needing 5 repetition, medium weight sets in the Olympic Lifts. Focusing on improving the 3 repetition and 2 repetition maximums takes the pressure off the need to PR a 1 rep max, but also allows the athlete to push the limits while still continuing to work technical flaws. Furthermore, two or three rep maxes gives athletes an opportunity to compete with themselves week after week, since they’re more likely to hit these numbers than to PR every week.

A video posted by Samantha Poeth (@sam_poeth) on Aug 10, 2016 at 6:53pm PDT

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4. Incorporate Weightlifting Blocks

I also like using block work to try and break through an athlete’s plateaus. Blocks allow athletes to focus on different positions of the pull, and it forces athletes to get comfortable with positions that might be uncomfortable or feel unnatural for them. It serves as a reminder of where an athlete needs to be during certain areas of the lifts, and doesn’t allow for them to throw the weight around from the floor and pray that it finishes in the correct position.

The major difference between attempting lifts from blocks rather the hang position is that the hang allows the athlete to generate a dynamic movement from the hips, back and legs, while lifting from blocks eliminates doesn’t allow for extra power. According to Jim Schmitz, lifting from the blocks “really works your second and third pull to the max by teaching you to accelerate as soon and as fast as possible.”

Blocks are also useful for athletes with minor injuries. It can put them in positions to still train the Olympic lifts while working around the pain point.

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5. Get Complex

Lastly, I’ve found that complexes are also a good way to help athletes who are stalling. Complexes retrain and reinforce proper movement patterns at a lower weight. They can also be used week after week to allow the athlete track progress throughout the training program. Lastly, complexes allow athletes to address positional problems if they don’t have access to lifting blocks, or if there are multiple athletes lifting at the same time.

If you’re looking for complex inspiration, Greg Everett posted a program used by National Champion and American Record Holder, Jessica Lucero, that I have used as reference for complex ideas. Remember, though, that most programs are written with a particular athlete’s goals, strengths, and weaknesses in mind. Therefore, it is not always wise to grab one online and follow it exactly. Rather, use it with a coach and tweak it to your specifications. 

While tweaking your program to account for weaknesses and problem areas can lead to strength improvements and technical improvements, I also believe that the little PRs you can build from performing other exercises or multiple rep maxes can also build the confidence needed in performing competition maxes. In the end, you have to accept that you are pushing boundaries and limitations, but don’t be afraid to let yourself break through them.

A photo posted by Samantha Poeth (@sam_poeth) on May 10, 2016 at 1:40pm PDT

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Featured Image: Sam Poeth on Instagram (@sam_poeth)

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

 

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Report: Romania’s Gabriel Sincraian, Rio 85kg Bronze Medalist, Fails Doping Test

According to Romanian language media outlet Stiripesurse.ro, Rio Bronze Medalist Gabriel Sincraian has tested positive for a banned substance and will subsequently lose his medal and award; the exact nature of the substance hasn’t been released, and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) hasn’t yet announced the positive test via their standard Public Disclosure protocol. The Stiripesurse.ro quotes Romanian public broadcast channel TVR as a primary source.

Sincraian originally placed third in the men’s 85kg class at the 2016 Olympic Games behind Iran’s Kianoush Rostami and China’s Tian Tao. Rostami set a new World Record in the Total on his way to gold, while Tao secured silver after only making two of six attempts during the competition.

The 27 year-old Sincraian placed second earlier this year at the European Weightlifting Championships and also competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Assuming the report is accurate and Sincraian loses his medal, the bronze will go to Kazakhstan’s Denis Ulanov, who originally placed fourth overall in the weight class.

Sincraian is the second Rio Olympic weightlifting medalist to test positive for banned substances. Just days after the conclusion of the 2016 Games, the IWF announced Kyrgyzstan’s Izzat Artykov had tested positive for strychnine, which can be used as a stimulant. Polish brothers Tomasz and Adrian Zielinski were in Rio but disqualified before competition began after they both tested positive from samples collected earlier this summer.

The report on Sincraian — which, again, has yet to be confirmed by the IWF — comes less than a week after samples from 15 weightlifters at the Beijing Olympics came back positive for banned substances. As a result of those retests and others conducted earlier this summer, several countries are facing year-long bans from international weightlifting, including Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and Belarus.

A video of Sincraian’s performance from the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships in Houston is embedded below.

Featured image: barsophi1‘s YouTube Channel

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Can You (and a Friend) Beat the “TailPipe” World Record?

It’s a deceptively brutal partner workout, but one we can’t not keep trying: TailPipe. The workout originated with the Gym Jones crew nearly a decade ago, and it’s named after the feeling one gets toward the end — “sucking on the end of a tailpipe,” fighting to catch your breath.

If you’ve never tried TailPipe, it doesn’t seem all that impressive or difficult at first glance. Check out the workout description from a recent video on the Gym Jones YouTube channel:

A look into the most classic of all Gym Jones partner style workouts: “TailPipe”. This is the workout we do to kick off each Fundamentals seminar. It is an eye-opener. The workout is a partner workout where one partner rows 250m for time while the other holds two 24kg Kettlebells in Rack position. Once the 250m is done the players switch position. That is one round. This is three rounds for time so by the end each partner will have rowed three times and held three times.

Word to the wise: Get ready to experience some of the roughest breathing of your fitness life.

An additional rule, judging from the videos we’ve seen out of Gym Jones: You can have a third party helping to reset the monitor/computer on your rower and help you strap in your feet, which could save a few precious seconds off the entire workout.

As Bobby Maximus of Gym Jones explains, the workout record is 4:24, and a great time is anywhere below 5 minutes. (The average they see in their Utah facility is between 5:30 and 6 minutes.) Maximus runs some visitors to the gym through the workout, and while they do a great job clocking in under 4:50, it’d be tough to imagine them getting below the 4:24 mark.

Video of their performance is embedded below. Now, the only question that remains is: Who are you going to try this with?

Featured image: Gym Jones’ YouTube Channel

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