Houston IWF World Championships Wins Prestigious SportsTravel Award

On Tuesday, SportsTravel Magazine held their annual awards gala at the TEAMS (Travel, Events and Management in Sports) 2016 Conference and Expo in Atlantic City, NJ. TEAMS represents the world’s largest gathering of event organizers and travel planners from the sports industry.

In exciting news for the world of strength sports, the award for Best Amateur Single-Event of the year went to the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships, which were held November 19-28, 2015 in Houston, Texas, USA. The award will be shared between the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), USA Weightlifting (USAW), and the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (HSHSA). On hand to accept the award was USAW CEO Phil Andrews and HCHSA CEO Janis Burke.

“It is such an honor to win this award,” HCHSA CEO Janis Burke said in a press release by the HCHSA. “Houston welcomed the world and I am so proud that our community was recognized for its hospitality.” 


“Organizing and hosting an event of this magnitude is never easy,” USAW CEO Phil Andrews added. “We were lucky to have great partners at the International Weightlifting Federation and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority who were all instrumental in making this event such a success.”  

Weightlifting was victorious over 4 other nominated events that included:

  • 2015 ASA/USA Girls Class A 14U Fast-Pitch National Championship, Salem, VA
  • 2015 GWN Dragon Boat Challenge Presented by CIBC, Toronto, ON
  • 2015 NXT Cup Lacrosse Tournament, Brandywine Valley, PA
  • 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, Milwaukee, WI

The SportsTravel Award honored the World Championships for “its superior organization and spectator attendance.” The award also recognized the city of Houston.

The Opening ceremonies featured a performance of Mystére™ by Cirque Du Soleil®, as well as official oaths by the athletes, a history of weightlifting video accompanied by a live musical performance from a Houston Symphony cellist, and a presentation of flags for each country represented. Also in attendance for the event was Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar and multi-sport strength athlete Mark Henry, himself a two-time Olympian in weightlifting.

Almost 600 athletes from over 90 countries competed at event, hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Along with the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, this event co-served as the primary qualification method for a country to qualify athletes to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Featured image: Harris County – Houston Sports Authority

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Conan O’Brien and Kevin Hart Work Out at CrossFit Horsepower

Sure, there were plenty of wardrobe jabs, and Kevin Hart looks like he’s working out in a “tuxedo from the year 3015.” And yes, Conan O’Brien tried to double-up on sponsorship money with a “Nike up here, Reebok own here, getting paid twice!” outfit. But between all verbal jabs and occasional height jokes, O’Brien (53) and Hart (37) managed to get in a decent workout at CrossFit Horsepower in Studio City, California.

Celebrity fitness trainer Jen Widerstrom was there to keep them honest, and she looked just slightly more at home in the local CrossFit box.

We actually wish the video had been O’Brien and Hart taking a beginner’s class with normal folks and learning some fundamental movements, but when it comes to watching celebrities working out, this is what we’ll settle for today.

Widerstrom led O’Brien (who Hart says looks like a “skinny bean bag”) through a few different circuits consisting of slam balls, partner sit-ups with a wallball, and boxing drills. The comedians also hit some pull-ups, and Hart surprises use with some pretty effortless looking (and strict!) bar muscle-ups (unfortunately, neither took a legit shot at the rings).


It’s worth noting this isn’t O’Brien’s first foray into fitness on one of his shows. He’s gone toe-to-toe with First Lady Michelle Obama and “Wolverine” actor Hugh Jackman in push-up contests before; let’s just say he doesn’t always come out on top in those.

A photo posted by CONAN (@teamcoco) on Sep 29, 2016 at 7:34pm PDT


Featured image: @crossfithorsepower on Instagram

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Weightlifters Getting Gymnasty: Nathan Damron’s One-Legged Back Flip

Nathan Damron has had a busy couple of months. The 20 year old weightlifter out of Mash Elite Performance in North Carolina has officially moved up to the 94kg weight class after bouncing back and forth between 85kg over the past couple of years. With the additional bodyweight, he’s been blasting through old PRs, including a 156kg snatch, 200kg clean & jerk, and 306kg back squat at Mash’s recent “Barbell Picnic.”

He also seems to be enjoying himself between training sessions, and the additional bodyweight hasn’t stopped him from getting ridiculously explosive. Check out his one-legged (one-footed?) back flip at over 210 pounds bodyweight.

Color us impressed, because this takes some serious hops (and, let’s be honest, some serious guts).


Featured image: @nathandamron94 on Instagram

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Understanding The Difference Between Snatch Extensions and Snatch High Pulls

Snatch extensions (sometimes known as snatch pulls) and snatch high pulls are accessory pulling exercises for weightlifters. Both variations, although very similar, have distinct training outcomes and intentions that should be fully understood so coaches and athletes alike can program and reap the benefits of implementing both lifts into a structured weight lifting program.

What is a snatch extension/pull?

This is an accessory lift that develops strength, leg drive, and powerful hip extension directly correlating to snatch performance. This lift is often done at higher percentages of a lifter’s snatch, and can be trained using supramaximal snatch loads to further enhance pulling power as it relates to the snatch.

How does the snatch high pull differ?

Much like the snatch extension, the snatch high pull starts off the floor with leg drive. The key difference is that in the snatch high pull, the lifter, after reaching the end of the snatch extension movement, continues to pull with the upper body. Through the additional shrug and elbow bend, the lifter is able to develop a stronger finishing pull with the upper body. The main focus on this exercise is to transition the first and second pulls directly into the shrug and finishing pull of the upper body.

Why do both?

Depending on your limitations in the snatch, choosing the best lift for your ailments will better customize your training approach. For lifters who lack leg drive, snatch extensions may be a great pulling exercise to add after your main lifts so that you learn bar path, firm feet, and minimize premature arm pulling. Conversely, some lifters find that their pulls are their strong suit, often limited by lack of a strong finish before pulling oneself under the bar in the catch. Snatch high pulls would be a viable option for lifters looking to maximize the entire pull and transition the leg drive into a smooth and strong elevation of the traps, elbows, and barbell.

How much weight should you use?

Because these exercises are to develop strength, power, and technique specific to the snatch, it is important to perform them using the same set up, liftoff, and alignment; as if you were going to snatch it. If a load is too heavy, speed falls, technique get shaky, and a lifter may resort to “deadlifting” the weight upwards (see why clean pulls are NOT deadlifts), altering the mechanics and benefits of the lift. To the same point, if a load is too light, force output will fall, and a lifter will be more able to alter their mechanics on the barbell; such as decreasing leg drive due to less than stimulating loads.

Loading for these exercises are based off of a lifters snatch best, and can be trained anywhere from 80-110% of one’s maximum. Remember, as with anything, coaches and athletes should use their best judgement when prescribing loading. Monitoring technique, bar speeds, and athletes responses is the best approach.

When should you perform them in a session?

Strength work like pulls and squats are often performed following the main lifts (snatches, cleans, and jerks), since the neuromuscular demand is less on the body. Novice and intermediate lifters could benefit from doing snatch (and clean) pulling variations at least once per week per main lift (snatch and clean), either as extensions or high pulls.

Here are some examples of each…

Lu Xiaojun with a 180kg snatch high pull.

Routine snatch pulls at 130kg

A video posted by Justin Forte (@justinforte) on Sep 13, 2016 at 6:22am PDT


77kg weightlifter performing two snatch high pulls at 130kg

Snatch high pulls worked into training sessions following snatches and cleans.

A video posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Sep 25, 2016 at 11:44am PDT


Snatch high pulls worked into a snatch complex.

A video posted by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Jul 11, 2016 at 8:05am PDT


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.

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

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U.S. Disctrict Judge Says NSCA Published False Data on CrossFit Program; CrossFit Issues Response

A U.S. District Court has ruled the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) published false data in a 2013 article titled “Crossfit-Based High-Intensity Power Training Improves Maximal Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition.” In the original article, published in the NSCA’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the NSCA claimed a 16% injury rate for observed CrossFit® program participants based off data collected in what’s known as the Devor Study.

CrossFit and Anthropology

CrossFit, Inc. filed suit over the claims, and in 2015, a correction was issued in the journal. Earlier this year, the NSCA filed a separate lawsuit against CrossFit claiming Trade Libel, Defamation, and Unfair Business Practices. That suit will remain active despite the ruling, according to the NSCA.

It’s important to note the original lawsuit is still ongoing, and though pretrial was supposed to begin in November, both sides have requested a 90 day postponement. 

U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino granted CrossFit, Inc.’s motion for summary adjudication. An excerpt from the corresponding court order is below.

Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable fact finder could conclude that the NSCA fabricated the injury data and published them in the JSCR knowing they were false with the intention of protecting its market share in the fitness industry and diminishing the burgeoning popularity of the CrossFit program.

CrossFit’s legal counsel Mintz Levin has published a press release, and CrossFit has also published a press release on PR Newswire. In the latter release, CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman is quoted:

“Our gyms are the truth tellers. We are going to drive soda and soda proxies like the NSCA out of the health sciences, and we are going to make sure their lies are made known….

It’s safe to say we’re eager to go to trial.”

CrossFit also posted an excerpt from Judge Sammartino’s statement in an Instagram post Thursday evening.

A photo posted by CrossFit (@crossfit) on Sep 29, 2016 at 3:20pm PDT


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Ilya Ilyin, Other Guests and Participants Announced for 2016 Klokov Power Weekend

The second annual Klokov Power Weekend is coming up this November, and while some Russian athletes have already been announced for the competition portion, Dmitry Klokov himself has recently confirmed an impressive list of guests and participants.

Nine new guests and participants are confirmed to attend the event in Moscow; Klokov’s post did not specify exactly which are participating in the two-day competition portion, which will text the following events for cash prizes:

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

The newly announced attendees include both active lifters and retired lifters and coaches. Several are currently serving provisional suspensions after doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

The new names are listed below; most have much lengthier lists of accomplishments than the snippets we’ve included here.

Klokov Power Weekend

Image: @klokovd on Instagram

Ilya Ilyin (Kazakhstan) — Multi time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008 and 2012), World Champion, and World Record holder. Ilyin is currently serving a provisional suspension after positive doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He was not allowed to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

David Rigert (Russia) — Olympic Champion and World Champion, former Head Coach of Russian National Team, and Member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.

Szymon Kolecki (Poland) — 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist.

Vyacheslav Klokov (Russia) — World Champion weightlifter and Dmitry’s father.

Apti Aukhadov (Russia) — 2012 Olympic silver medalist, currently serving a provisional suspension after positive doping retests from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mikhail Koklayev (Russia) — Veteran strongman, weightlifter, and powerlifter; Russian weightlifting champion.

Ruslan Nurudinov (Uzbekistan) — 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2013 World Champion.

Aleksandr Zaychikov (Kazakhstan) — 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist.

Khadzhimurat Akkayev (Russia) — 2 time Olympic medalist (2004 and 2008).

What are you most excited to see at the second annual Klokov Power Weekend? Which lifts are you most excited to see tested? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ben Bergeron: East Coast Championships Canceled for 2017

In an announcement posted by coach, CrossFit New England owner, and ECC organizer Ben Bergeron, it was announced today that the yearly functional fitness competition in Boston has come to an end.

The competition’s homepage has been replaced with a simple message from Ben and his team, which also appeared on his and the ECC’s Facebook fan pages.

After three fun, busy, successful years of hosting the ECC, my team and I have made the tough decision to cancel the show for 2017. We took an honest assessment of the opportunities before us, and after some long conversations and some soul-searching realized our passions were pointing us toward continuing to make CFNE better, to make our athletes better, and to help affiliates run better businesses.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and beyond excited at what’s to come. Thanks to everybody who ever came out or watched one of our events, thanks to the athletes who put on such a good show year after year, and thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and partners who helped make it so special.

Ben and the ECC team

While the announcement doesn’t explicitly say if there’s a chance the event could come back in subsequent years, the tone and “Thanks for the Memories” banner implies 2016 was the last year we’d see it.

In 2014, 2015, and 2016, the East Coast Championships — sponsored by Kill Cliff and branded as the Kill Cliff East Coast Championships — was held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center in January of each year. The competition featured individual competitors on Saturdays and team competition on Sundays.

Past champions included Mat Fraser (2014, 2015, and 2016 individual champion), Sara Sigmundsdottir (2015 and 2016 individual), and Rich Froning (2014 team, along with Chris Spealler, Stacie Tovar, and Elisabeth Akinwale).

Katrin Davidsdottir — who is, along with Mat Fraser and several other to functional fitness athletes, coached by Bergeron — was also a multi-time competitor.


Featured image: @builtbybergeron on Facebook / Jordan Samuel Photography

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