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The Phat Elvis High Voltage Open Was A Fabulous First Meet!


This free newsletter is to inform you of events, and thoughts regarding the training of weightlifters and the incorporation of the Olympics lifts and their derivatives into the training of athletes.


As recounted in the last issue, Tim and I were kind of forced to pick up the ball on short notice and step in when Chikara Strength suddenly decided to change its March 12th competition from an open event to a members only affair. We did all the things I covered in issue No. 5, and expected we’d get about 20 or so athletes and maybe a few friends and relatives stopping by to spectate. We figured we’d start out slow as this was our first effort.

PHAT Elvis lifter Michael Nassif gives the works to a PR snatch!

WE WERE WRONG! We ended up with 49 paid entries, and a crowd that continuously overflowed the fifty seats and all the available standing room. The event ran for six hours, and the noisy, supportive crowd kept spirits high and celebrated the successes on the platform.

New lifting careers were launched, PR’s were set and the whole place rocked! My picks for outstanding lifters were Lindsey Valenzuela of PHAT Elvis who moved up to the 75’s and hit PR’s of 81 and 105, and Anthony Pomponio of the Yard who PR’d with 125 and 160 in the 85’s. Exciting newcomer was Michael Kodman of Waxman’s Gym who lifted 122 and 161 in only his second meet as a 94.

I really feel that we’ve got a good chance at reinvigorating the sport of weightlifting in this country, if we can get more activity going at the Grass Root level. I got so many people walking up to us after the meet asking when we were going to do it again.

Furthermore a lot of them found out about the event on Facebook, and sent plenty of compliments our way along with inquiries about the next meet. We’re thinking about running the next meet as a qualifier for the Nationals with Class II and below in the morning and Class I and above in the afternoon. Stay tuned folks!



This one is for the many enthusiasts and coaches out there who are interested in further developing their athletes to their full potential. If you’re like a lot of folks these days, you’ve taken the Crossfit Oly Cert and/or the USAW Level 1, and are doing a pretty fair job of coaching the technique of the snatch and clean & jerk. Perhaps one or more of your athletes displays some potential for becoming a top lifter, and you’d like to do everything you can to aid in achieving that goal. Furthermore you’d love to develop your coaching skills and become an even more effective coach.

Plenty of coaches have found themselves in that position and it’s never been more vexing than now as USAW is not currently offering the Level 2 and 3 courses.

Well, there is a way to train your athletes properly so that progress continues consistently for five years or longer. It involves the designing of training programs so that improvement continues while minimizing the chance of injury.

Unfortunately that process of program design is not readily available in any accessible form in this country.

To fill that void, we’ve decided to hold a four hour clinic at Crossfit High Voltage where you can learn the process of program design for beginning and intermediate lifters. After attending this clinic you should be able to not only design training, but to evaluate training programs you might encounter.

I will be teaching the methods I’ve used to develop thousands of lifters, including Olympians and national record holders, to their full potentials. I’ve made all the mistakes and alterations during my 40 year coaching career, and I can walk you through this process that has now been refined to its greatest effectiveness.

For $100.00 and four hours of your time you can walk away with the materials and methods to make your coaching so much more effective.

The program planning clinic will take place at Crossfit High Voltage, 219 W. Palm Ave., Burbank, CA 91502. Register on line at Walk-ups will go up to $150.00 if there is any room left. .4 NSCA CEU’s available.


The interviews took place at the American Championships in early December, but it took till March 3 for USA Weightlifting to announce its choice for the new CEO. John Duff, the eventual choice, brings a wealth of management and marketing experience to the position and for that we should all be grateful.

For years those of us in the weightlifting community favored having someone from the weightlifting culture to fill the position. With the exception of the recently departed Rick Adams, the three most recent CEO’s have been Dennis Snethen, Roger De Garmo and Wes Barnett, all from the weightlifting world. We thought that someone who understood the ethos of the group would do the best job of leading and organizing the sport.

Well, the world has changed and we need someone who is agile and adept at dealing with the business and marketing communities that can provide us with the funding and support that we need to raise our status on the international platform. I think Rick Adams did some very good work largely because he was from the world outside so to speak.

Currently USA Weightlifting and U.S. weightlifting are about as low as they’ve ever been in the international rankings. There is a greater interest in grassroots Olympic lifting than ever before with literally thousands learning about the snatch and clean & jerk, and there is so much enthusiasm for learning how to coach these lifts. The job for all of us in the sport is to take these two concepts and try to bring about a long range pathway to putting our lifters on the medal stand. The decisions from the leadership will be crucial.

Let us seize the moment and support John Duff as we grow our sport, make it more pervasive on the athletic landscape, and march toward future international success. You can’t argue with this.


Big Congratulations to Dr. Mike Stone for recently being named the recipient of the Doc Counsilman Coach of the Year award from the United States Olympic Committee for his continuing work with USA Weightlifting.

This award is given annually by the USOC to one coach who has “consistently used sport science to further the training plans of athletes and moved the sport forward.”

I’ve known Mike for around 30 years. He was one of those scientist/athletes who was originally involved in the establishment of the NSCA as a science based, educational body. He later served as NSCA president.

During the years I’ve participated in a number of clinics, conferences, training camps and competitions with Mike, and he has always brought a cachet of scientific credibility to all these activities. He is currently involved in the establishment and supervision of the Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education at East Tennessee State University.

In today’s world of Internet falsehoods, dubious innuendo and quick fix coaching education, weightlifting can be proud that Big Mike continues to carry forward holding high the banner of sports science and making his knowledge available to the true believers. See you in Vegas, Mike!


The Indian Weightlifting Federation is once again on the brink of a permanent ban from international competition. Since 2000 the Indian WF has received three full two-year bans from international competition from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). For the last one, the Indians were able to buy themselves out by paying a $500,000 fine with money borrowed from the organizing committee for the Commonwealth Games which India was hosting. Three offences in a one year period will result in another two year ban which could lead to permanent elimination from international competition. Two Indian lifters failed their tests at the Continental Clubs Grand Prix in Malaysia last December.

In that same arena, the IWF has become the first international governing body to impose a 4 year ban on first time doping offenders.

Iran’s Behdad Salimi enhanced his reputation on March 4 by lifting 214 kg in the snatch to exceed the existing world record of 213 set by his countryman Hossein Rezazadeh, a two time Olympic gold medalist. The lift, performed at the Iran national championship, will not count as an official world record as official records can only be established at multi-national events approved for the IWF calendar. This is done so that the IWF can be assured that the conditions are in compliance with IWF rules as far as referee competency, correct weightof equipment and certification of the scale. Behdad, who was recently selected as the IWF’s outstanding lifter for 2010, will have an opportunity to break the world record officially at the World Championships.


With the CEO position now filled, USA Weightlifting is flying the High Performance Director position that was recently vacated by Mike Gattone. The person filling this position will be in charge of oversight for the nuts and bolts of weightlifting. In addition to a sound background in coaching, coaching education and weightlifting administration, the director needs to be a visionary in terms of long range goals for US weightlifting.

There is no deadline given for the submission of a resume and a cover letter. More details are available at the website on


Congratulations to a deserving trio of inductees at the Hall of Fame Ceremony at the Arnold’s. Arnold always shows up for the induction and provides a big load of prestige to the honors.

Tara Cunningham is an obvious choice. She was the first Olympic gold medalist in women’s weightlifting period. She was a great competitor, very focused, and easy to coach. I coached her at the 2002 World’s and was impressed with her approach and courage. No question in mind that she’d be in the Hall someday.

Shane Hamman was one of the most talented supers we’ve ever had in the sport. Easy going by nature he could have lifted a lot more weight if he’d gotten into weightlifting sooner. Shane was a great guy and I’m glad I got to know him at that same 2002 World’s. Way to go, big guy!

Karyn Marshall was our first women’s world champion. At that inaugural 1st Women’s World’s, every class was won by the Chinese save for the 82.5 which Karyn won with world records. The only time that the Star Spangled Banner brought tears to my eyes was at the medal ceremony for the snatch at the 1990 Women’s World where Karyn took the gold with a 112.5 world record. I was the coach of the women’s team at that event and her lifting provided a super conclusion for our U.S. team! Big congrats to you, Karyn!


We at Takano Athletics extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Jess Quiroz, the longtime coach and owner of the Santa Monica Beach Club volleyball program. He passed away of natural causes on the morning of March 14th. Jess was a supporter of strength and conditioning for his players and I had the pleasure of training some of his athletes over the years.

Program Planning Clinic. Saturday, April 2 at Crossfit High Voltage in Burbank. 1PM to 5 PM. Learn the process of long term training planning to insure the continuous progress of your athletes over an extended period. Sign up at the Crossfit website ( ).

Level 1 Clinics. I’ll be the instructor at USA Weightlifting Level 1 courses at Crossfit Fast in Westlake, CA on the April 23-24 weekend. I’ll also be instructing a Level 1 course at Camp Pendleton on April 4,5. You can sign up for either one at the USA Weightlifting website ( ). A good opportunity here for aspiring coaches to get started on the USAW certification pathway.

NSCA National Conference. I’ve been notified that I’ll be speaking at this summer’s NSCA National conference in Las Vegas at the Paris Hotel. The topic will be The Determination and Planning of Long Term Strength and Conditioning Training Based on the Training of Weightlifters. It’s scheduled for 1:00 PM on July 9th. Hope to see you all there! For more details go to


California State Games and State Games of America will be held at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, CA on Sunday, August 7, 2011. This will be the first time that the State Games of America will be contested in California. It will involve the State Games Champions of each state competing against each. Join the PHAT Elvis Weightlifting Club for this in sunny San Diego! On line registration at See you there!

The location for the 2011 National Championships will be Council Bluffs, Iowa. The event is scheduled for July 15 through 17. It will be the major qualifier for the World Championships that will be held in Paris in November.

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