Our First Ever Member
Check out this little video we made with Rhe, telling us what she loves about training at RAW Barbell Club.
In today’s episode of RAW Quick Tips, Rhe show us how to have an ‘active back in the bench’.
How much ya’ bench? Have you ever been asked that? As weightlifters benching is often not at the top of our to-do list in our workout regime. in fact some coaches refuse to program the bench pres for fear that it could drastically affect a lifters already limited flexibility overhead. There is a great amount of credibility to this thought, and there are definitely some lifters who probably bench press way too often. In our case though I find the bench press, especially if included in a balanced program, and excellent way to add pushing strength for our athletes. The trick is, to do it right. The right weights, the right volume, right frequency, and off course the right way..
Would you be excited with a tip that could add a few kilo’s to your pressing strength? In this video Rhe gives us a little cue that may help you bench a bit more weight, safely.
Have a go and let us know if it helps!
Ever wondered why people yell out “knees out in pulls”?
If you watch an elite lifter in slow motion, you’ll soon be impressed by the mastery they display over the barbell. What you will also note, is that true masters pull the bar straight up, moving their body with precision around and with the bar. It’s important to note that lifters come in all shapes and sizes, with different anthropometrics. Everyone is built uniquely with a different set of limb and body lengths.
Because of these differences person to person, the way everyone achieves a straight bar path differs. Knees out in the snatch and clean is a cue that a lot of coaches use. It’s important to know why though. In this video Rhe shows us when and how the cue can be beneficial.
In this episode of RAW Quick Tips, Rhe goes through squatting for weightlifting, with you dropping your body between you legs, rather than sitting back. It is the most superior way to squat with respect to the sport as it has the most carryover, being so similar to the actual Olympic lifts.
This is ever so important with newer athletes in their formative years of training as a lot of their ‘gainz’ are motor learning. Whilst squatting this way takes an extreme amount of flexibility this is the ideal you would like to strive for, whether or not you get there or not every step closer will only help your lifting!
The super cue here is to squat between your legs.. oh and play pincy 😉
If you found this helpful please share it with your friends!
This article is an account of Rhe’s thoughts from doing her Level 1 Weightlifting Coaching course few weeks ago. We recorded a podcast on the topic which you can find HERE. Or you can catch he thoughts below.
Over the last two years I’ve had the pleasure of being coached by several people who have shown me the diversity of teaching and weightlifting styles, the majority of my time spent learning as an athlete under Andy’s watchful eye. Throughout my exposure to numerous programs, understanding more about weightlifting, myself as a student of the sport, and dappling with different approaches to training I drastically increased my coachability. This made me realise how little I really knew which sparked a burning desire to seek as much knowledge as I could from many people and sources. Travelling around to interview people for our podcasts, for example, has introduced me to a variety of perspectives and styles within the sport and further developed my respect for others’ practice and craft.
At RAW Barbell Club we train in a sociable group setting where it is encouraged to help one another. Each person has gone through different ordeals in their athletic development and have their own unique way of sharing tips and tricks with others who may be encountering the same phases- such as the benefits of sacrificing fitness for huge strength gains, technical rehabilitation, injury rehab and developing new movement patterns just to name a few. Through watching Andy coach every day for several years and being a part of this environment, it became clear to me that coaching was not a simple job that a PT course could qualify you for. I began to see it expressed as a powerful and attractive art form which combined an understanding of human nature, love of your sport and eloquent movement patterns.
SO when Andy asked if I’d like to take up some coaching and learn the ropes I was stoked, a ‘yes’ with no hesitation! Over the past weekend I completed my AWF Level 1 weightlifting coaching course which was held at Crossfit Horizons in Newcastle. To my surprise and delight I knew a few faces and got to reconnect with people I’d crossed paths with through competitions. Seeing the same people despite coming from completely different gyms is a really cool aspect of this sport, we all speak the same language on the platform and tend to enjoy testing our bodies in weird and wonderful ways…two big areas of bonding.
Jamie Johnson ran the 2 day course and did a fantastic job of teaching the principles of strength and conditioning in a manner which allowed his passion to shine through. There was a mixture of people from Crossfit coaches, recreational weightlifters, those who hadn’t touched a barbell before, to those who were weightlifting officials. The content presented is a great starting point for anyone who doesn’t have a strong background in strength and conditioning or olympic weightlifting, it covers:
Personally doing the Level 1 course was most beneficial for gaining confidence with the security of foundational cues and principles applicable to all lifters, beginners in particular. It’s also a great networking experience. As a student you get tonnes of time under a barbell learning to apply the principles to yourself as well as coaching a partner throughout the weekend. The environment allowed us to observe the cues others brought to the table and put them to practice on other people, lots of trial and error in a safe learning space.
I’m ridiculously excited to be learning from both Kush and Andy as I start to take on more responsibility with their club and developing its athletes. As a part of our growth I want to put together some posts to keep it real with everyone about the process and continually pass on knowledge to you all as well, from a different perspective. The nitty gritty, the not so pretty, the exciting, the awesome, the controversial…!
Until next time,
All we’re asking for is the cost of a coffee!
This weekend, Rhe took the long drive up to Newcastle to CrossFit Horizons to obtain her Level 1 Weightlifting qualifications. Rhe has been a senior member within RAW Barbell Club for some time now, and we applaud her decision to step up, open her mind and help out more and more around the gym!
In podcast episode 12, I sit down with Rhe to talk about her experiences doing the course, the diverse range of students that attended, and who would benefit from doing it.
If you have ever had any aspirations of becoming a strength and conditioning or weightlifting coach, I really think this is a good place to start. Once you’ve got the beginner qualifications. I would recommend finding a gym with coaches that you would like to learn from and go there. Try find a place with an established internship program and learn all you can.
If you would like to find out more about the Australian Weightlifting Federations Coaching Courses, you can check them out below:
I’ve been wrestling with how to write this particular post for a while. I thought of several ways to introduce the subject using other facets of my life and experiences which all lead back to the central point: my transition into weightlifting. Even before putting pen to paper the seed was planted as dialogue in my head while reflecting on the impact the change had beyond my time under the barbell.
So I believe this is a good starting point. It’s where my revelations, epiphanies and enlightenment were born and more importantly it’s where my personal vulnerabilities and weaknesses rose to be challenged. This is where incessant thinking met met critical thinking, critical thinking met curiosity, and as a result the ability to grow became a more powerful force.
We all know the mind is a powerful thing, over the next few blogs we’ll take a look at what goes on in mine. I’m going to take you through a few challenges I faced in my transition from crossfit to weightlifting, and the subsequent lessons which fueled my growing passion and respect for the sport.
I don’t like to focus on this as a reason to pursue a sport, but I think it’s an important discussion to have. Initially when I joined RAW Barbell I persisted with 4-5 days of crossfit each week. Sometimes I would do crossfit before my weightlifting sessions…and I regretted it…every time! But like the definition of insanity I continued to do this over and over. Why? Fear of the unknown. I knew crossfit kept my weight down, my body tight, and kept me fit. What would happen if I stopped?
I’d grown up through my teenage years battling anorexia nervosa, and though I was a very healthy weight when I began crossfit as an 18yr old I was still mentally invested in the disease. Beginning crossfit opened me up to experiencing life again through food and being able to perform well physically, as a normal person, for the first time in many years. It’s no wonder that letting go of my safety net was a task of epic proportions.
The turning point? Taking my first proper deload (defined as no crossfit) which opened my eyes to what I could achieve without the intense fatigue I’d been operating under. Lifting felt fantastic and it started to make me happier than crossfit did, eventually I phased it out.
During this time I maintained my weight easily and ate more than I had ever done, but I still played around with dieting and too oftenly so.
I tried to cut 5kg to compete in a lower weight class through more dieting, with no break or maintenance phase. Did not work.
I went vegan as a self-interest experiment. Andy disowned me (very, very sad Rhe) and my calories were too low. Though I loved it, it didn’t work.
I started intermittent fasting, but I was still running a caloric deficit which I thought was maintenance. I ended up ridiculously hungry night time which lead me to eat and extra meals and guess what? By accident…it worked!
As a result I went up a weight class and my performance is better than ever. Gaining weight is one of the more beneficial things I’ve done. I believe we have an optimal weight range we individually perform best at, and I’d be interested to know if these necessary weight fluctuations are uncomfortable for female weightlifters and why!
I’d been relieved of the clutches of an eating disorder, but I began to struggle with mental and emotional control (think unforeseen mood swings, anxiety, euphoria, panic, highs, agitation, etc). Weightlifting has been teaching me how to better handle myself and understand the patterns I personally experience.
I fell in love with the beauty of the art of executing eloquent lifts, and the guts it took to engross yourself in the task at hand. Being able to conduct myself in a manner that allowed me to find the balance between these two opposing states of being, a critical aspect of improving performance, was liberating.
To perform a successful set my mind couldn’t wander. I was mindful and connected with the entire process:
…approaching the bar,
…..preparing my body,
…….setting my grip,
………setting my gaze,
………..thinking of nothing but visualising success,
…………and treating my lift with the same technical respect regardless of how heavy the bar is.
I’m still bonding with this process and I feel as though I will be for as long as I lift. The way I’m learning to control my mind beyond muscular conduct is a surreal, vulnerable experience.
You have to be honest with yourself.
You have to be critical.
You can’t hide from flaws if you wish to get better.
You must approach new things with an open mind.
You will learn to dismiss or objectify your fear.
This is probably more significant in learning mental control, I’ll give an example: early on when I was still splitting myself between two sports I had a one-on-one, 2.5hr session with Andy. It was one of the most mentally fatiguing things I’d had endured without letting my ego speak. I’d been stubborn and impatient by nature, and didn’t relate to what it meant to be coached or to take on advice from someone else. If I didn’t like how something felt I wouldn’t do it, and for a long time I simply didn’t understand that I had to visualise and connect with a cue rather than just trying something different with my body.
In this session something clicked and when I’d normally get agitated or ask to move on, instead silencing my own mind and persisting was the only option I gave myself. It took every ounce of concentration and mental stamina that I could muster to not allow myself to be flooded with frustration. But I loved it. It was the same grit I had to muster in CrossFit but it was serving more of a purpose than completing ‘empty reps’ in a workout.
Frustration sets in when ego and lack of self-confidence reduce you to disrespecting your own training process. This was pivotal lesson as I began to learn to harness my mind and trust my coach.
Ask questions. Seems simple, but many of us fear what we don’t know or perhaps being judged on our lack of knowledge. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to learn off as many people as you can. I’d like to pass that onto you all as well. We all have different ways of expressing and transmitting our knowledge, learning from a wide range of unique people will in turn help you to connect and share what you know with a larger portion of society.
You’re learning about me little by little, and I’d love to hear about your experiences as well! How your sport has helped you grow, and what challenges has it presented?
Until next time,
All we’re asking for is the cost of a coffee!
People often ‘fall’ into weightlifting. There is no real youth program in Australia, so you either just happen across it or are very lucky to come into contact with it at some point in your life (usually earlier the better). Rheannon (Rhe) has been a member of RAW Barbell Club from the start. but before us and before Weightlifting, there was this thing called CrossFit. And before that? There was a lot.
Rhe recently wrote a blog post (which comes out tomorrow) how she transitioned into the sport of weightlifting. She dropped the veil and really opened up about some things not many people know about her. Her troubled relationship with food being a big one.
I asked her if she would be willing to talk about her blog post, her background and her history on the podcast. She said yes, and I think you guys will love her even more after hearing it.
I’m not a doctor, or health professional, but if you do suffer with anything please talk to someone. It does help.
Andy here, for the last few weeks Rhe, has been slowly taking on more and more responsibility at both RAW Barbell Club and Kush’ physiotherapy practice Anatomy of Training. So much so that we just had to offer her a job. She has been with us from the start, like even when Kush was still living in Armidale. So for us it seems like just taking the next step in her evolution within the RAW Barbell Club family. I have no idea where this will lead her or us but, I’m thinking her experience is worth documenting.
So welcome to Rhe’s very own personal blog. I’ll let her tell you more about what she wants to talk about. but for future reference, you can find it by searching for Rhes thoughts anywhere on the website. (I’m sure these will be on our Facebook page as well.
Anyway, I just want to say to Rhe, Welcome to the team! I look forward to working with you 😀
P.S. It’s important to add that a major part of what she’s started doing with RAW Barbell Club is helping out with our social media. that means it’s not always me (Andy) when we post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter it could be also be Rhe or Kush. Whats good is that if you haven’t noticed we are now able to post more and more of the stuff you love!
by Rhenanion D’artagnon
In September 2015 I, Rheannon (Rhe), was both surprised and excited to be asked to join Andy in his new project, RAW Barbell Club. Who knew one and a half years later I’d be joining the staff! From the get-go it was a training facility with some foundation members who found happiness, social and physical satisfaction, awesome levels of DOMS from lifting anything we could get our hands on, and resting as long as possible between lifts. Thank goodness Andy managed to help us develop a taste for technique and an appreciation for the delicate balance of finesse and gusto weightlifting entails…and thus the tight-knit Sandbag Gang and my blossoming love of weightlifting was born!
RAW Barbell Club has held a special place in my heart for a while now, even before its was established the people who made it possible were those who had brought a special sort of spice to my social life. Once you end up seeing these people day in, day out and not getting tired of one-another’s antics you know it’s meant to be
Lifting weights and being in the presence of down to earth, like-minded people with ridiculously good banter liberated my mind of thoughts beyond the present moment. Upon reflection I noticed it had become my place of mindless mindfulness (how’s that for a paradox!). It was a place of personal expression where I got to grow personally and as a group with the foundation members every day.
At RAW Barbell Club I’m not only learning from my coaches but also from the other members in witnessing their naked weaknesses and pronounced strengths, individual responses to programs, weight fluctuations, competition preparation, the mental highs and lows that come with PRs and plateaus, and ultimately the enjoyment that comes with collectively working towards performance-oriented goals.
I want to share with you every few weeks a piece of my unique experiences as a weightlifter, and my exciting journey undertaking the transition into working with Andy and Kush on the RAW Barbell team!!! I can’t give you specifics about what I may write because I never know what pearls of introspect I’ll stumble across in my self-reflection…but I can promise you it will at the least include:
…and goodness knows what else. Stay tuned and please participate in the discussion and offer your two cents on my musings, your experiences are just as enlightening and unique to me as my own!
Until next time,