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Old 09-14-2005, 08:34 PM   #1
John Bercaw
 
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As an aspiring Crossfitter living in Salt Lake I've had the good fortune to use Mark Twight and the Gym Jones gang for information and motivation. My background is as a climber and Mark and I speak the same language so it was with a little trepidation when I decided to broaden my info net and call Dan John.

I've been doing Crossfit for about six months after going to a Santa Cruz seminar in February. Everything has been clicking except my Olympic lifts and they are the lifts that highlight all my weak points. As a climber I've spent years pulling with very little pushing and almost nothing ever went overhead unless it was my hand reaching for a hold.

I gave Dan a call after I heard he had taken a position as strength coach down at Juan Diego, a Catholic school for all ages. Visions of pre-schoolers doing overhead squats entered my head. Why not? My three year old has better squat form than I do.

While I didn't find any three year old Rigerts or Camerons I did find a program I would have died for when I was in high school. Dan, Anthony Barbiero and Anthony Jefferies have started a program for all students that revolves around Oly lifting and Crossfit.

The weight room gives it all away. Oly platforms front and center with all the weight machines pushed down the room. They have 25 Oly bars, some light, some regular, 5 lb plastic plates, bumpers, boxes, pull-up bars, PVC, everything but rings and ropes.

Students range from 90 lb 9th grade girls to starting senior linemen on the football team. It's such a blast to see them side by side doing C&Js, ovhd squats and pull-ups. From what I've seen most of the girls have better lifting form than the guys.

The kicker is that the students like the class. They are motivated to excel and push themselves like I've never seen before in a P.E. class. Yesterday they did C&Js and finished it up with a Crossfit type workout of 2x15 C&J, minute on, minute off. They were dying trying to finish it but no one gave up until they had finished the last rep. Today they did a Twight workout of 5 rounds of 15 ovhd squats and a 250m run. I was laughing inside as girl volleyball players and cross country runners were hosing some of the football players. The amazing thing was even the slowest out of shape guys wanted to finish. They were all shooting for PRs. It was a challenge, and they rose to it.

It will be interesting to see the changes in students after a year. I have a feeling Crossfit will replace aerobics and bench pressing as the way to go in most of their minds. It's weird, new, varied and involves learning. That's why I think they'll like it.

Hopefully more schools will follow Dan's and Mike Burgener's lead and start giving students something of lasting value.
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:58 PM   #2
Dan John
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John has really jumped in...I really appreciate his excellent attitude and willingness to be part of what we do. I can't think of a better way to discover the world of Strength Training (and coaching) than to be in the trenches. John has already probably worked with more athletes on their O lifts than most of the "certified" in America.

We are really in the debt of the good Crossfit people...and others, of course. But, Greg and Lauren have really helped with information and support.

You know, we have up to 60 kids in a session, so when we make a decision, we have to work around volume as well as all the other issues. Something as simple as pull ups took us a summer to address. (You need places for a lot of people!!!)

So, John noted we need to think about rings and ropes and we discussed this at length as a staff. The idea is sound, but we literally will have to wait until we box in the "solarium"...our little outdoor training area. (A good idea someone came up with after I designed the gym eight years ago...but, the "someone" never realized that Utah has about six months where "outdoor" training is an issue...)

Welcome aboard, John. John is going to be fully trained when I get done with him. It's one thing to type in a forum, or sit in a classroom, or read a book from Barnes and Noble, but what John is learning is awesome: a roomful of people learning a system that is going to change their lives...

Good post, John. You get it!
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:57 PM   #3
Jesse Woody
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Man, I am quite envious! This sounds awesome! It would be amazing to see the increase in fitness, motivation and overall skills that would occur if more young people were exposed to this extent of functional training. This is amazing to hear, I love getting the updates that Dan posts, it's very inspiring, because I hope to be able to make this kind of difference in people's lives through fitness someday soon.

Keep up the great work guys!
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Old 09-16-2005, 05:25 PM   #4
Mike Yukish
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I was at the "Y" tonight, and saw one of my son's friends working out. He's 15, and on the football team. I challenged him to do the WOD (75 thrusters) with him using just the 45 LB bar. He has good form on the front squat part.

He got to about 20 and was wheezing, and a trainer walked up and told me he shouldn't be doing them. He's too young, might stunt his growth, or something. Turned his back to me and showed him how to do a push presses. Young trainer too.

Next time I'll challenge him to Fran.

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