Monday, 16 December 2013

AFS CrossFit, Andover: The Attitude Nation Weightlifting Seminar with Jon North

For months we have been anticipating Jon and Jessica North flying over to start their UK tour with us here at AFS(c) CrossFit.  The c is in brackets as Jon made a few videos calling us AFC and we will have to wait to see how good his editing skills are ;).

On the lead upto the course you may or may not be aware but we moved gyms, and had to do a lot of work to get the gym upto par to accommodate 25 hairy asses weightlifters (sorry Verity, snowy and Maria lol).



We worked right up until 2230 Friday to get it sorted and I have to say a big thankyou to Ryan, Dave, Steve and our new Danish friend Lacee for helping me get it done.

The morning started around 0900 after Jon had gotten his first UK 4 shot espresso.  I have to say I was impressed that his head didn't explode and so we sat down and started the the course.


Jon started his intro and having worked closely with Americans for many years it never ceases to amaze me how animated and passionate they are.  We lost track a few times which was understandable due to being in a new country with all these foreigners speaking a funny language ;).  Jon soon relaxed and the story is and was very touching.  From meth addict to American champion thanks to Pumping Iron was a true fairy tale all the while taking the journey with his lovely wife Jessica.

As part of the intro Jon asked if everyone new that we would be learning the Catapult technique.  Most nodded but have to admit I had no clue and instantly had to adapt and say "just give this crazy shit a go and let's see what happens".  Some in previous course apparently have struggled with this.  The triple extension vs the catapult argument.  I don't understand what all the fuss is about but apparently it's a big deal.  I cracked on and opened my mind, I can see many of you rolling your eyes at that. 

The Snatch:

Jon led most of the day with Jessica demoing expertly throughout and pitching in with some gems of advice.  We moved from the the Pendlay hang, to the Angel, to Angel Drops, to hip and catch, to above the knee and finally the floor.  

Having followed Muscle Driver USA  for some years and taken the BWL courses and a couple of workshops with Kazeem Panjavi, Anna Hopcroft and Giles Greenwood I did see some similarities with the drills.  

The most radical or extreme for me was the Hip and Catch.  Having just spent 3 months following the adobe of Giles and building my lifts back to where they were pre injuries about 2 years ago this drill was a head fuck.  Apparently I got it perfectly but I wasn't comfortable.  Smashing the bar so close to my nuts was nerve racking.  All my members are in for a treat next week ;).

I have to say that having snatch for the best part of 5 hours my shoulders were in relatively good shape. No pain and my turnover was looking lightning quick, well it felt that quick.  


Now I'm no travelling gypsy but I'm fairly confident that Jon and Jess will be visiting more culturally blessed places then Andover in the next few weeks but I thought we would take a trip into town.

The whole of Andover had unexpectedly decided to descend on the town centre at 1430 on Saturday.  The market was busy, there were carousels spinning, the hog roast was up and I actually thought Jesus,  Andover looks cool.  Jon had his camera around his neck and snapped away, every now and again getting a video to send back to Donny Shankle (a big deal in US weightlifting).  We couldn't leave before they tried a bratwurst a hog roast and a Gregg's iced ring doughnut and I couldn't leave them to sample it alone so put my paleo diet to one side for a 24 hour period.

Max Effort Snatch:

On returning after lunch we headed straight into a dynamic warm up.  Duck walks weren't Jamie's best friend and he was feeling pretty low after I had got some massive props from Jon with an empty bar.  He got his own back with some awesome lifting.  Hayley, Lizzie, Maria, all took to this new style like ducks to water.  My brother Dave snatched 90kg for the first time since his china trip and many of the other participants hit PB/PR's also.

my lifting wasn't so great.  The new lower  starting position was very awkward as I have developed a splendid power belly.  To add to this I was shifting my weight so far back I was contemplating stealing a pair of high heels just to balance.  Once I started this Angel position was actually the devils bitch with me struggling to connect my elbow pull to my hip drive but on the good side my catch position was nice.  The earth wasn't quite my sofa but it was definately a bar stool for the day.  I worked upto 74kg and if I'm honest it started getting easier and more comfortable by the end but or 20min ME session turned into an hour and we had to stop.

The Clean & Jerk:

Jon started the clean by saying we had already covered it.  We brought our grip in and sure enough all the positions and drills were the same.  After 5 hours of snatching my hips didn't know what they were doing.  The bar was definately telling me what to do now and I was its bitch.  We covered the jerk by sorting our feet position and doing a kind of jerk balance drill which again was very useful to add to my melting pot of tools.

Our Welsh brothers had to leave around now as it was 1715 and they had a Christmas party to to.  We got our course photo:

Clean & Jerk Maz Effort Session:

Once the photo was out the way we got the plates out for our Clean and Jerk ME session.  This was electrifying.  I jumped in with Jared,  an ex member who is now running his own CrossFit Gym up in Leeds called CrossFit Defiance.  We moved up to 100kgs which I made but 111kgs which was a 2year PB was beyond me. My brain was fried, I didn't know what my legs were doing and I was ball bagged.  Jared went on to a PB clean of 120kgs I think which was mega impressive.  

Our other members all did brilliantly.  Angry Rob hit 90kg,  Hayley smashed a 4kg PB of 71kg clean and I'm pretty sure Lizzie added a kilo to her PB with 58kg.

I didn't quite see what the guys hit but some of our welsh brothers who stayed had 130+ on their bar and I think Verity was close to PB territory also.

My brother teamed up with Jamie and Henry from Crossfit Guildford.  Those guys stole the show. Dave hit a PB 125, I think Henry got under the 120/125 4 times but couldn't quite stand it up. (Correct me If I'm wrong).  Jamie clean and jerked 137kg or 300lbs and on the last lift of the day cleaned 140kg after Jon showed him how it's done with no warm up, no stretching and couldn't be bothered to make it even look remotely hard with a power clean lol.


Once again I have come away from a seminar completely head fucked.  What I thought was right may now not be and I have a lot of work ahead of me to find my way.

Jon and Jessica delivered one of the best seminars I have attended.  The course content was both well put together, informative and precise.  Everything was put into context with regards to how they taught it compared to other techniques which was brilliant for any newcomers.  The subject matter experts i.e Jon and Jessica were both extremely knowledgeable,  dealt with every question thoroughly and gave brilliant answers that everyone could understand.  They also shared some fantastic stories and have the attendees a real look at who they are and why they are so passionate about teaching the sport if weightlifting, there inspirations, there journey and there future plans were touching and heart warming and really made me feel like I had known them for ever.

We got our certs,  we took them to dinner and wished them well for the rest of there journey.  I can't recommend this course highly enough and if you get the opportunity to go jump at you won't be disappointed.

Good Luck Jon and Jessica 
AFS(c) Crossfit x

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