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Old 06-14-2004, 10:33 PM   #1
Joe Felix
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The Club Coaching Course is a certification course put on by USA Weightlifting for coaches, teachers and trainers that want to become more knowledgeable in learning to teach the Olympic lifts. It is held throughout the year at various venues all over the country. This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the course taught by Coach Mike Burgener at Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, CA.

First, let me begin by stating that I am not a coach, trainer or teacher. I am just an average guy looking to get into shape the Crossfit way. I knew I was out of my element when Coach Burgener asked us to introduce ourselves and touch upon on our individual backgrounds. I was surrounded by graduate level students, physical therapists, football coaches and other fitness professionals. D’oh!

A former US Marine and defensive back at the University of Notre Dame, Coach Burgener is a tough, hard nosed instructor with compassion for his students. It is easy to see that he truly cares about people and loves to teach. He is an enthusiastic teacher who gives praise when it is merited. Just make sure you do not use the words “I can’t” around him because he’ll jump all over you.

The course itself was very informative. Coach Burgener broke down the Olympic lifts step by step. About ninety percent of the course was held in the school’s gym. It was a lot of ground to cover and I am still sore from the exercises. All of which were performed using only PVC pipe and 15 lb. to 45 lb. Olympic bars. In hindsight, the fact that I even attempted these lifts without the proper instruction seems foolish. Form is everything!

The biggest surprise was meeting several fellow Crossfitters for the first time. I met Lani Lau almost immediately and she introduced me to Lauren Glassman. Greg and Athena were there as well, although I never worked up the courage to make their acquaintance. Imagine, the founders of Crossfit live and in the flesh! How cool is that? I also met and worked out with Scott, Mike and Justin from CFHQ as well as Maya and Stevie from Cerrito Hill Strength and Conditioning. I didn’t know any fellow Crossfitters would be attending and I was honored to meet them all in person. It was truly an awesome experience and the highlight of the weekend.

Coach Burgener firmly believes in Crossfit. Not only did he repeatedly praise Greg and Lauren for the quality of athletes they put out, he often employed Lani for his presentations because he knew she could take it. After seeing her hold squat positions for what seemed like several minutes at a time, she certainly had my respect. Coach Burgener also had the facilities to back it up. The gym housed about nine lifting platforms, assorted medicine balls of up to 120 lbs, lots of kettlebells, step up platforms, leveraged chin up stations, box jump platforms, a set of rings, homemade paralettes, the works. There is even an outdoor obstacle course Coach Burgener affectionately refers to as “the Patch.”

I really had a great time this past weekend. I met some truly inspirational people. I also learned a lot about both performing and teaching the Olympic lifts. Coach Burgener hosts these classes in June and December. To learn more about Coach Burgener and Olympic Weightlifting, check out his website at
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Old 06-15-2004, 09:37 AM   #2
Mike Minium
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Oakland  CA
Posts: 860
Great info, Joe--thanks for posting.

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Old 06-15-2004, 09:51 AM   #3
Lincoln Brigham
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Kirkland  WA
Posts: 3,987
Sorry I didn't get a chance to get introduced to everybody, got there a little late on Saturday. I was the tall and skinny old fart helping out.

Great class; you guys really fired Mike up.
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Old 06-15-2004, 10:06 AM   #4
Brad Hirakawa
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: San Diego  CA
Posts: 761
I will NOT miss the next opportunity to attend this class! :-)

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Old 07-05-2004, 05:13 AM   #5
Michael Halbfish
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: New Brunswick  NJ
Posts: 400
Employing Lani as a demo was a no brainer. A beautiful woman always makes a better demo than a beefy guy. I had the pleasure of meeting Lani at CFHQ she isn't just beautiful on the outside -- she has a great personality and she is quick to help. She is also quick to humble us guys with her WOD performances. Supposedly, when she first came to Crossfit she laughed when Coach told her that he could turn her into a good athlete.
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