This past weekend, I attended The Outlaw Way Para Bellum Vegas Camp. The Camps are espoused as a way for coaches and athletes to understand and implement holistic movement principles, and to adapt them into every aspect of their training. The camps also go over higher-level technical development and are stated to help with the “kinesthetic perfection of the athlete”. The Camp is split into 3 days of Olympic lifting, gymnastics, powerlifting, preparation of athletes for CrossFit competitions, a coaching practical, and an overview of the Outlaw template.
The coaching staff for this camp included some pretty big names in the world of CrossFit and Olympic lifting:
Head Coach: Rudy Nielsen, brainchild of the Outlaw Way
Weightlifting Coach: 2013 American Open Champion, Spencer Arnold
Powerlifting Coach: John Dill, Head Coach of Sua Sponte Barbell
Assistant Head Coach: Michael Winchester, Head Coach of RedBlack Gym
Assistant Head Coach: Mike Poppa, Head Coach and Owner of RFS CrossFit
We also two amazing Games athletes in attendance and Team USA’s impressive Jared Fleming as well.
Most attendees of the Camp were coaches or affiliate owners or higher-level CrossFit athletes, but there were a few “regular” CrossFit athletes in attendance as well.
Overall, I learned some valuable things during the Camp, had fun, and am glad that I attended. It was a bit disorganized, and had a definite “bro” vibe (or brofessional as Rudy called it!), which got to be a bit much at times. I also felt like Rudy, more so than his team, tended to be a bit elitist and pay more attention to those athletes hitting major PR’s at the Camp. He did work the room though and give feedback to everyone…including myself, so I give him credit for that.
One of the overarching themes that the Outlaw staff emphasized during the Camp was the concept that “everything is everything”. What does that mean exactly as it applies to CrossFit? It means that everything (every movement) is related to everything (every movement). For example: your chest position in the bottom of a front squat is the same as your chest position in the bottom of a high bar back squat, is the same as your chest position in the bottom of a snatch, etc. Or your hollow position in a handstand is the same as your hollow position in a butterfly or regular kipping pull-up. Or the push through of your head through your arms in a handstand or handstand push up is the same as the position of your arms and head in a push press or jerk. Everything is everything. Such a simple, but powerful concept that I will definitely apply to my training and coaching. Some of the other great nuggets that I learned during the weekend were:
• You need strength to be good at conditioning. Strength gives you the possibility of going for days. It is the base for conditioning.
• Warm-up like you work and you’ll work like you warm-up
What a simple but awesome concept. Take 2 minutes at the beginning of your warm up to drill the basics. Practice DOES not make perfect! Perfect practice makes perfect. Spencer Arnold went over the snatch warm up:
A. Jump Shrug
B. High Pull
C. Muscle Snatch
D. Landing Position Drill
E. Overhead Squat
F. Sotts Press
G. Duck Walk
H. Tall Snatch
• Importance of Positioning of the Feet in the Olympic Lifts
• Weight is in the balls of the foot in the start of the lift.
• Weight moves to the heel in the hang position.
• Weight moves to the mid foot in the power position (right behind balls of feet).
• Weight is in toes during triple extension.
• Weight goes back to the power position in the mid foot when we land.
• The only missed power clean or snatch should be a FULL squat clean or snatch!
• The goal of the lifter is a balance of mobility, flexibility, and stability.
• Global positioning in all movements is everything. Global position translates to connection translates to power transfer translates to efficiency! Efficiency allows us to produce the least metabolic response as possible.
• A mediocre program executed flawlessly can get you further than a great program executed poorly.
• Fitness is NOT health and wellness.
• Due to the nature of CrossFit, a hierarchy of more difficult/technical movements must be used in training.
o Higher skill gymnastics, classic lifts, and endurance activities take precedence.
o Lower skill “conditioning movement” (i.e. KB swings, wall balls, thrusters, box jumps , sled work) should be used periodically but should never take precedence.
o Development of high level skills will allow for easier performance of lower level “conditioning movements”.
Tier One Movements:
2) Clean and Jerk
3) HSPU and variations (translates to the jerk)
4) Handstand walk and variations
5) Muscle-ups and variations
6) Run, Row, etc.
Tier Two Movements:
3) Squats and Variations
4) BB accessories
5) High-Rep Classic Lifts
6) Toes to Bar (and all midline stressors)
Tier Three Movements:
1) KB swings
3) Wall balls
4) Sled Push/Pull
6) High-Rep Deadlifts
• High volume work should be programmed sparingly- max effort work leads to less soreness and better adaption!
I’m excited to implement the things that I learned at the Camp into my training and coaching. It was great to see how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go in my journey as both a CrossFit athlete and Coach, and to be around such bad ass and inspiring athletes. This week already, I have had 2 PR’s in my power snatch and overhead squat, and I can definitely attribute it to some of the refinement of my technique and movements that I learned at the Camp!