USA Weightlifting President Ursula Garza-Papandrea Elected First Female IWF Vice President

Earlier today, USA Weightlifting President Ursula Garza-Papandrea was elected the first-ever female Vice President for the International Weightlifting Federation. IWF elections are being held in Bangkok, Thailand.

There are six total Vice Presidents in IWF Leadership. Changes to the IWF Constitution last fall mandate at least one of these positions — along with at least one Executive Board Member spot — must be filled by women. Garza won her election with 87 delegation votes against 55 delegation votes for Canada’s Moira Lassen. Lassen was the first-ever female Executive Board Member for the IWF.


In an article posted on USA Weightlifting’s site, Garza-Papandrea expressed her excitement and gratitude when learning the results.

“I am honored beyond words by the support of the international Weightlifting community,” Garza-Papandrea said. “I had much encouragement by so many of the Weightlifting family and I am proud to serve Weightlifting at this level.”

The elections have so far also marked the reelection of Dr. Tamas Ajan (Hungary) to the position of IWF President. This will be Ajan’s fifth consecutive term in the position.

Fans of weightlifting in the US and abroad may be familiar with Garza-Papandrea’s accomplishments. She is a USAW Senior International coach and had a storied career as a weightlifter, representing the United States at the World level five times.

Several more USA Weightlifting members are running for positions in the IWF elections, which began over the weekend and continue into this week. They are USA Weightlifting Technical Director Pyrros Dimas (Greece), coach Dr. Kyle Pierce, USAW Technical Committee Chairman Joe Triolo, and USAW Medical Society Chairman Dr. Mark Levallee.

Editor’s note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. Unless otherwise noted for special projects, the two organizations maintain editorial independence.

Featured image courtesy of USA Weightlifting

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Deadlift vs. Leg Press – Which Is Best for Mass and Strength?

Two common movements seen in training programs and gyms for muscle hypertrophy and strength are the deadlift and the leg press. In this article I will briefly discuss both movements, and then dive into a comparative analysis between each of them to determine which movement is best for gaining muscle, sports performance, and transitions into more advanced training principles.

The Leg Press


In earlier articles I compared the leg press vs. the Zercher squat and the leg press vs. trap bar deadlift vs. squat in detail. The leg press can be a useful training tool to add quality leg mass, lower body strength potential, and even be used to rehabilitate lower body injuries (to increase muscular strength in controlled range of motion).

The Deadlift

I have wrote extensively on deadlifting and the various styles (sumo vs. conventional deadlifts), why clean pulls are not the same as deadlifts, and even a deeper look into the benefits of trap bar deadlifts. For the sake of this article, I will compare the leg press to the conventional style of deadlifting.

[Do you know the difference between a deadlift and a clean pull? If not, that may be why your clean & jerk is lagging! Read more here!]

Muscles Worked

For starters, the deadlift and leg press target two entirely different muscle groups, so in terms of determining a winner in this category, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The leg press is by nature a knee dominant exercise, therefore targets primarily the quadriceps (when done correctly). When leg pressing, many lifters may fail to allow for knee flexion and extension by loading the sled with too much weight (because let’s face it…leg pressing a ton of plates is cool…right?). Jokes aside, understanding how to leg press for quadriceps mass is pretty important, not only to leg development but joint (knee and hip) health as well.

A post shared by Ariel Aguire (@arielaguire) on May 24, 2017 at 12:37pm PDT


The deadlift is a hip dominant movement, which means that the majority of joint flexion and extension happens at the hip rather than the knee. This results in the deadlift placing higher demands upon the hamstrings, glutes, erectors, and lats, quite opposite in fact of the leg press (which is actually closer to a squat). Due to it being front loaded, the entire posterior of the body must resist forward flexion and extend.

To maximize one’s lower body strength and hypertrophy, be sure to squat and deadlift, for sure, and potentially add in leg press to add in quadriceps development.

Sports Performance

The leg press does have some sports performance application in that it can help to produce massive amounts of leg muscles (primarily quadriceps) which can impact the amount of force production in athletic movements (jumping, hitting, etc). If an athlete is able to train the ankle, knees, and hips in an integrated movement (say back squats) while using leg presses as an assistance hypertrophy exercise, one could justify leg presses as a sports performance exercise.

As for deadlifts, no doubt a sports performance lift. They directly impact one’s posterior chain strength and development, and are a compound, multi joint exercise, which are the primary strength and movement lifts athletes need in training. When manipulated, deadlifts can be done to target hamstrings (pulled hamstrings are common in sports), increase glute development (pivotal to jumping, running, power production, and lower back health), and even add quality muscle mass to the frames of all athletes.

Application to Advanced Training

On the surface level, I would argue that if someone was to only do leg presses as their primary “squatting” and/or lower body movement, they would have a pretty poor transition over to more advanced training in the gym, on the platform, or on the field. For starters, leg pressing is NOT squatting, and does not require balance, coordination, core stability, spinal loading, and integration of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. In the hierarchy of complexity (which advanced training and sports are quite complex), the leg press is pretty low. The brightside is, once again, if the leg press is used as a supplement to a compound lift, well balanced program, it can be used as an advanced training piece of equipment to allow lifters and athletes to accumulate more training volume on their lower body while minimizing spinal and lumbar loading.

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Feb 26, 2017 at 5:58pm PST


The deadlift is a foundational lift. It can be done to build strength, power, and hypertrophy. As a lifter advances in their training, they will be able to manipulate variables (such as loads, tempos, bars, bands, chains, stance, etc) to further their progress. The added muscle mass, hip development, and back strength will also carry over to other movements, such as squats, pressing, rowing, running, jumping, etc; all of which unlock a whole new domain of elite fitness and training.

Final Words

I don’t think many people would be surprised when I conclude that the deadlift, in terms of application to sport and advanced training, comes out on top in this one. That said, while these movements clearly are not similar when looking at the joint actions and muscle groups used, some lifters may fail to understand how each can be integrated into either main strength lifts or used as supplements exercises to foster further growth and development. I urge all coaches and athletes to take a deeper look into their programming to ensure all muscle groups and movement patterning are being adequately trained to limit injury and stalled progress.

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

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2017 CrossFit Games California Regional: Upsets & an Invite Declined

For one Games veteran, it was the end of an era. For another, the beginning of a new family.

After nine consecutive years competing at the CrossFit Games, Rebecca Voigt came up short in qualifying, finishing in 8th place in the highly competitive California Super Regional. While Voigt’s streak came to an end, Games veteran and podium finisher Valerie Voboril made what some would consider a surprise return after sitting out the 2016 Regional competition.

On the men’s side, Josh Bridges defended his Regional title in convincing fashion. But what drew more attention at the venue than Bridges’ consistent performance was 4th place finisher Julian Alcaraz’s decision to decline his Reebok CrossFit Games invite.

Alcaraz and Games veteran Miranda Oldroyd are expecting their first child in August, and with the new, later Games dates possibly overlapping with their son’s delivery, Alcaraz didn’t want to leave conflicts to chance. It was an admirable moment of poise and prioritization in a highly competitive athletic climate. Congratulations to Alcaraz, Oldroyd, and their soon-to-arrive new addition!

[We’ve embedded a video of Alcaraz declining his invite at the bottom of this article. It’s a touching moment for everyone involved.]

And for the second consecutive year, siblings Garret and Lauren Fisher each qualified as Individual competitors out of the same region.

The full list of qualifiers for Women, Men, and Teams is below.


1. Chyna Cho
2. Kirsten Pedri
3. Alessandra Pichelli
4. Valerie Voboril
5. Lauren Fisher


1. Josh Bridges
2. Garret Fisher
3. Jason Carroll
4. Julian Alcaraz (declined)
5. Jeff Patzer
6. Wesley Rethwill


1. NorCal
2. Invictus
3. Endgame Athletics
4. Bear Republic CrossFit
5. CrossFit ASAP

Featured image: The CrossFit Games on Facebook

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Organifi Green Juice vs. Patriot Power Greens — Which Superfood Powder is Better?

Here are two pretty popular green superfood drinks with very different approaches to marketing. Organifi has millions of Facebook likes and focuses strongly on the fact that it contains ashwagandha, a plant that’s linked to cognitive benefits.

Patriot Power Greens on the other hand is squarely marketed at an audience of conservative senior citizens, even donating a portion of its profits to the U.S. Armed Forces.

But the two have a lot in common. Let’s see which one is more deserving of your cash.


Organifi Green Juice

Both of these green superfood drinks avoid the soily, earthy flavors that befall a lot of their competitors, but Organifi comes closest. It’s not aggressively bitter, rather it tastes like unsweetened green tea with just a hint of mint. If you like green tea, you won’t hate Organifi.

[check out our full Organifi Green Juice review!]

Patriot Power Greens

This comes in a Mixed Berry flavor and, lo and behold, it tastes like mixed berry — even though it’s free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Organic apple powder is near the top of the ingredients list and there are definitely hints of apple and passionfruit when you consume it. It’s delicious, if a little sweet, and the clear winner of the two.

[check out our full Patriot Power Greens review!]

Winner: Patriot Power Greens

Patriot Power Greens vs Organifi
Patriot Power Greens vs Organifi


Organifi Green Juice

You can buy Organifi Green Juice for about $70 for 30 servings, or $2.33 per serving.

Patriot Power Greens

When you factor in postage and handling, this costs $59 per tub of 30 servings, so just a little under two dollars per serving.

Winner: Patriot Power Greens


Organifi Green Juice

Organifi has a shorter ingredient list than a lot of greens powders, but it manages to include most of the ingredients people want from a greens powder: wheat grass, wheat grass juice powder, spirulina, chlorella, and matcha green tea, all of which are organic.

That’s the “alkaline greens proprietary blend,” after which there’s a “super food proprietary blend” of coconut water powder, ashwagandha, red beet, and monkfruit. The ashwagandha is the star, here. It’s front and center on the product’s marketing and it’s linked to cognitive performance and anxiety relief.

Organifi Green Juice
Organifi Green Juice

Patriot Power Greens

The serving size is about half the size of Organifi but it has dozens more ingredients, which I don’t really consider to a positive — you could argue that the benefits of the ingredients in Patriot Power Greens are diminished because they’re spread across so many different foods. The powdered apple, sweet potato, and grape don’t have the same nutritional potency as the spirulina.

So Organifi has 5.1 grams of greens and 1.45 grams of “super foods,” while Patriot Power Greens is 5 grams of some forty ingredients that includes a lot of fruit, a lot of berries, and 10 kinds of probiotic bacteria. That’s a bonus, since Organifi doesn’t have any probiotics.

It’s hard to pick between the two. Organifi has more of the nutrient-dense grasses and algaes that people look for in green superfood drinks, while Patriot Power Greens has more probiotics.

Patriot Power Greens
Patriot Power Greens

However, Patriot Power Greens doesn’t say how many probiotics it contains, which is important — some greens powders contain 1 billion, some have 25 billion. Since Patriot Power Greens doesn’t tell you what it provides, and since Organifi has a greater density of the most nutritious greens, I’m doing with Organifi.

Winner: Organifi Green Juice

Benefits and Effectiveness

Organifi Green Juice

To start, both products are bad at really quantifying their benefits. By that I mean neither provides the weight of each ingredient (so you can’t tell whether it’s an effective dose) and neither has much information regarding is vitamin and mineral content. Patriot Power Greens just says it has 30% of your vitamin A, which isn’t much. Organfi points out that it has 11 percent of your daily iron, which is middle of the road for a greens supplement. That’s pretty much it. These are meant to be nutritional supplements and they don’t talk about their vitamins and minerals.

So the only thing I’m able to do is look at the claims the products make and assess them based on what I know the product provides.

Organifi Green Juice claims it can boost brain power, support the flushing out of toxins, and support immune function.

The evidence? It almost certainly has more than the minimum effective dose of 400mg of ashwagandha (it’s the second ingredient in a 1.45-gram blend), which is linked to cognitive benefits and reduced anxiety. It has beet root, which may thin bile so it moves more freely through the liver. And it has 5 grams of grasses and algae that are extremely high in antioxidants, which are linked to immune function.

I would have liked more information about how much of each ingredient is in the product, but I’m reasonably confident it contributes toward brain function, liver health, and immunity.

Patriot Power Greens

What about Patriot Power Greens? Well, their site either states or heavily implies it can cure impotence, stop age-related memory decline, neutralize inflammation (as in end it), replace prescription drugs like NSAIDs for arthritis, improve sleep, improve weight loss… it makes a ton of claims that aren’t supported by evidence.

Yes, it has probiotics, and Organifi doesn’t. But Patriot Power Greens doesn’t convince me it provides the benefits it claims to confer.

Winner: Organifi Green Juice

Patriot Power Greens Versus Organifi Green Juice
Patriot Power Greens Versus Organifi Green Juice

Overall Winner: Organifi Green Juice

As far as I’m concerned, the only thing I know about Patriot Power Greens is that it contains at least one probiotic bacterium. If you want a probiotic supplement, there are cheaper and more transparent options than Patriot Power Greens, like Green Vibrance or Macro Greens. Even if Patriot Power Greens was a great probiotic supplement, I wouldn’t support it because its marketing claims are so outrageous.

Organifi, on the other hand, more or less does what it claims to do: provide nutrients that support the mind, liver, and immune system. If you want to know which product has more integrity and more benefits, it’s clearly Organifi Green Juice.

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CrossFit Games California Region Day 1: Veterans Make a Push, and Can Becca Voigt Qualify?

There aren’t many constants in CrossFit, but Valerie Voboril is a rare exception. After sitting out the 2016 CrossFit Games season, the Games veteran and podium finisher is back to business and sits in second place overall in the California Region after Day 1.

Kirsten Pedri holds the top spot, with Games veterans Alessandra Pichelli, Maddy Myers, and Lauren Fisher rounding out the top 5 spots. Chyna Cho sits in 6th, and Jamie Hagiya is currently in 11th.

Rebecca Voigt — hopping to make her record 10th appearance as an Individual at the CrossFit Games — is currently in 9th place.

On the men’s side, Josh Bridges set an Event 1 record but sits in second place overall behind Christian Lucero, who set a blisteringly fast time on Event 2 to take the win. Jeff Patzer, Julian Alcaraz (who qualified for the Games in 2015 but missed out last year), and Ryan Fischer round out the top 5. Games veteran Garret Fisher sits in 6th, just two points behind Ryan Fischer.

A post shared by Lauren Fisher (@laurenfisher) on May 26, 2017 at 8:14pm PDT


Familiar names also top the current Team standings, with Invictus and NorCal sitting in 1st and 2nd, respectively.

We’ve embedded a video of Individual Event 2 at the bottom of this article.


1. Kirsten Pedri
2. Valerie Voboril
3. Alessandra Pichelli
4. Maddy Myers
5. Lauren Fisher


1. Christian Lucero
2. Josh Bridges
3. Jeff Patzer
4. Julian Alcaraz
5. Ryan Fischer


1. Invictus
2. NorCal
3. CrossFit 209 Sport
4. Bear Republic CrossFit
5. Paradiso Venice

Featured image: CrossFit® on YouTube

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CrossFit Games Central Regional Day 1: Griffith & Castillo in First, Sigmundsdottir Sitting in 2nd

Big names sit toward the top of the Central Region leaderboard after Day 1, but some of the sport’s best-known names are still on the outside looking in as athletes fight for a coveted qualification spot to the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games.

On the women’s side, Jessica Griffith sits in first, but two-time CrossFit Games podium finished Sara Sigmundsdottir is just ten points behind her in second place. Multi-time CrossFit Games competitors Stacie Tovar, Sheila Barden, Brooke Wells, and Jennifer Smith are sitting in 6th, 10th (T), 10th (T), and 12th places, respectively.

The men’s side is proving even deeper than many had imagined. R. Paul Castillo sits in first, with Games veterans Dan Bailey, Graham Holmberg, and Sam Dancer still fighting for qualification spots in 6th, 17th, and 25th places, respectively.

A post shared by Nick Urankar (@nickurankar) on May 24, 2017 at 4:03pm PDT


Unfortunately, multi-time Games competitor Nick Urankar appeared to suffer a pec injury — another in the rash of tears and pulls we’ve seen on Event 2 — and has withdrawn from the competition.

The team portion of the competition is no surprise thus far, as Rich Froning’s CrossFit Mayhem squad took commanding victories in both the day’s events. We’ve embedded a video of Team Event 2 at the bottom of this article.

The top 5 standings for Women, Men, and Teams are below:


1. Jessica Griffith
2. Ragneidur Sara Sigmundsdottir
3. Kristi Eramo
4. Katie Trombetta
5. Kelley Jackson


1. R. Paul Castillo
2. Shane McBride
3. Luke Schafer
4. Alex Anderson
5. Scott Panchik


1. CrossFit Mayhem
2. OC3 Black
3. CrossFit 417
4. Detour
5. Timberwolf CrossFit

Featured image: CrossFit® on YouTube

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Meet the Multi-Record Holding Powerlifter Who Can Squat 3.6x Her Bodyweight

Victoria Vargas, aka “Shoooorrrt_Stufff”, as her Instagram handle states, continually proves that her lifts are nothing short of amazing. This 22 year old -52kg powerlifter is currently on course to break the junior IPF equipped squat record later this year.

At the 2017 USAPL Collegiate National Championships, Vargas squatted 187.5kg (3.6x bodyweight), which put her 2.5kg over the current junior IPF equipped world record, and earned her the -52kg collegiate world record. Additionally, she recorded the highest Wilks total out of the whole Championships with a 623.3 score.


Vargas competed at the Arnold Grand Prix taking third in her division and successfully dominated her class at USAPL Collegiate Nationals. With her sights set on knocking off the IPF squat world record later this year, we reached out to learn a little more about this young powerlifter.

Can you give reader a little background on yourself?

My name is Victoria Vargas, I’m 22 years old, and I’m a senior student at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

How did it feel to win the highest Wilks score at USAPL Nationals? Did you have any idea you’d be in that position going into nationals?

To be honest after I was done competing I cried with joy.

I didn’t expect anything out of it just because I had just came from the Arnold competing at the Grand Prix. I only had two weeks of preparing myself in a suit, and was still stressing my body with training overloads to get ready for Collegiate Nationals.


When’s your next meet?

My next meet will be Junior Equipped Worlds in Orlando, Florida. I won’t know until the roster is up and running. (At this meet, Vargas will aim to try and break the -52kg IPF equipped squat world record). 

Your 187.5kg squat beat the current IPF 185kg record, do you plan on taking a run at that record this year?

Yes! My plan is to keep breaking that squat record. My goals for squat are very high. I want to be able to make it official when it comes to Junior Worlds.


Why equipped? What got you into equipped lifting and, do you prefer it over raw?

I have been doing equipped since high school and throughout college. I love equipped but also have love for raw. You need both to make it work.

Do you have any tips for new powerlifters going into their first comp?

If you think you can’t, you CAN. Every lifter starts somewhere. Every lifter fails. Your passion, motivation, and dedication is what keeps you going. Before going into a meet you need to have that right mindset.

Do you have a pre-meet ritual that’s different that you like to do for the your mental/physical performance?

The only thing I do is I pray that everything will be okay and you’re here to have fun.


What got you into powerlifting initially? 

My coach from 8th grade year Mr. Douglas Smith got me into lifting. Ever since then I fell in love with it.

Favorite lift of the big 3?

My favorite lift is BENCH!

As the year progresses, Vargas will continue to work on her squat (among other lifts) to officially seal the -52kg Women’s IPF Junior Squat World Record. It’s going to be exciting to watch this young powerlifter possibly make 2017 her best competitive year yet.

Feature image from @shoooorrrt_stufff Instagram page. 

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