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Kendrick Farris Weightlifting Workshop Recap

By Sean | In Olympic Weightlifting, Workshop | on April 22, 2013

From L to R: Derrick Johnson, Me, and Kendrick Farris

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I had the good fortune to attend Kendrick Farris‘ “Bless the Gym” weightlifting workshop at the Venice Barbell Club at Paradiso CrossFit-Venice. Kendrick is a two time Olympian in weightlifting and is one of the main figures leading an American resurgence in weightlifting. Along with Kendrick, Derrick Johnson another superb lifter and top-notch coach assisted Kendrick with the two day workshop. Derrick recently moved to Santa Monica and is now coaching in Venice and surrounding areas…quite the dynamic duo.

My Big Take Aways from the Session Included:

  • First and foremost, don’t sacrifice position for pounds.  Kendrick and Derrick both drilled this message home saying that their  achievements have only been made possible because they took this philosophy to heart.  If you’re position isn’t perfect, and it’s important to you, you better be proactive in getting it right.  Drill, reduce the weight, mobilize, or whatever you need to do to fine tune your position.  Be patient because it takes time.
  • Be an aggressive lifter.  Not towards others, but towards the bar.  Lift the weight aggressively, even if the bar is light.  Fast hips, fast pull under, and aggressive finish (“Shoot them Guns” as Kendrick put it for the clean, and punch to finish the snatch and jerk).  If one of those elements is missing, you’re lift will suffer.
  • Attitude goes a long way.  Stay positive with yourself and others.  Above all else enjoy what you do.  Lifting weights has its ups and downs just like anything, but keep your goals in mind and get a little better every day.

The workshop wasn’t too instruction heavy like a CrossFit Olympic Lifting cert, but instead structured like a weightlifting workout with Kendrick and Derrick as the main coaches.  As we progressed through the workout they made their rounds providing feedback, cues, and corrections to every athlete in attendance (about 15-20 total athletes).  The Day 1 workout included pressing in snatch position, drop snatches (snatch balance), snatch to heavy single, clean and jerk to heavy single, and clean pulls.  I was fortunate enough to achieve a 1RM PR in my snatch at 220# or 100kg, thanks in large part to my renewed focus on mobility and the cues that Kendrick and Derrick provided.

The Day 2 workout included 3-position snatches, power clean and power jerk to a heavy triple, back squat a heavy triple, deadlift a heavy triple, and press from the jerk position (power, split, or squat position).  Here’s a video I took of myself during my heaviest power clean and power jerk set.  By this point my legs were fatigued and my form was falling apart, especially in the jerk.  For time sake I deleted the first rep which was a good lift but Kendrick noticed some issues with my jerk.  After my second rep (first rep in the video) you’ll notice Kendrick take extra time with me to focus on my jerk because I misunderstood what he wanted me to key-in on.  He noticed I was jumping forward instead of pushing under, and I was letting the bar crash a bit.  Oftentimes elite level lifters understand the techniques as well as anyone, but never pan out as coaches.  In the short 5 hours I spent with Kendrick I felt he was an excellent coach. He was extremely patient, made keen observations, provided concise cues, and demonstrated an ability to connect with athletes that is rare to find.  If you have the opportunity to attend one of his sessions in the future, I highly recommend it.

On a side note – I didn’t realize it at the time but how awesome is it that a 2-time Olympian helped me tighten up the bar for my final lift.  Just goes to show what kind of a down to earth guy Kendrick is.


Sign-up here for the Trigger Point MCT Workshop on Saturday, May 4th.  The deadline is this Friday, April 26th.

WOD 4.22.13

“The Bear Complex”

5 Sets of 7 reps of:

  • 1 Power Clean
  • 1 Front Squat
  • 1 Push Press
  • 1 Back Squat
  • 1 Push Press

Each combination of the five movements is considered one repetition. You will be completing 7 repetitions in one set, increasing the weight, and then completing a total of 5 work sets. Thrusters are permitted, but you must stand completely following the power clean before begining your front squat.  This is not a timed workout, this is for max weight only. Rest as needed between sets, but the bar cannot rest on the ground during a set (touch and go for the power clean only).
Post total weight (sum of all 5 sets) and heaviest set.

3 Comments to "Kendrick Farris Weightlifting Workshop Recap"

  • troy says:

    April 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM -

    BEAR= Favorite work out ever

  • Kyle Orgel says:

    April 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM -

    Kendrick Farris did a short interview for the “Barbell Shrugged” podcast. I thought it was pretty cool. Its on iTunes for anyone who wanted to check it out!

  • Datenite says:

    April 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM -

    I also like how Kendrick Lamar was playing in the background.

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