Technique Archives - Rhode Blocks

It’s Not Your Gym: 5 reasons Gym Equipment Should Outlast You…

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At Rhodeblocks, as I am sure elsewhere in other companies, I’ll occasionally get a photograph of either a piece of destroyed equipment that was built by a competitor or even a piece of equipment I built. Often, when I see other company’s destroyed equipment it gives me a moment to push my equipment on them as a better alternative. Honestly, sometimes this isn’t the case. I’ve had a few clients sent me pictures of dents, dings, scrapes, and full on failures with a few of our products; of which over time we’ve improved our products so that future clients don’t experience them.

Often times, being in the equipment industry, you have to make your products fool proof assuming everyone a fool. With that said, 99.9% of the time (hyperbole), it’s operator error. That is why I’m here today to give you a short list of reasons gym equipment should outlast your membership.

  1. It’s Not Yours

A little known fact amongst the Millennial crowd these days is, that the stuff in a gym simply isn’t theirs. I recently saw a video compilation of elite Olympic lifters practicing snatches, cleans, and other movements with brand new looking ELEIKO bars. With the background music set to William Tell’s 1812 Overture, clip after clip showed the likes of Klokov and other elite Chinese lifters dropping empty bars from overhead as well as waist height. I don’t care who you are, you set the bar down. Same goes for jerk blocks, plyoboxes, bumper, and competition plates.

  1. The Gym You Go to Isn’t Made of Money

Much like Point No. 1, most gyms don’t have money to burn because of your disrespect. Simple as that. Often times, you’ll find the individuals with in-home gym set ups to be the most respectful when it comes to public gym equipment. They know the value, and know that it’s not cheap to buy new bars, plates, or boxes. Please take time to make sure you handle their equipment correctly.

  1. Disrespect for The Equipment is Disrespect for the Gym Owner

As the first point is coupled with the second, so is the third. If you don’t respect the gym, you don’t respect the owner, and eventually this catches up with you. If you’re a repeat offender of bar, box, or plate misuse, the owners eventually take notice and have to say something. Don’t be that guy. You wouldn’t want someone coming to your house and just tearing up the place, do the owner the due respect of not only handling equipment correctly, but also cleaning up when you’re done. You’re not the only one in this world, and your life isn’t a music video.

  1. Have a Decent Grasp of Physics.

We recommend the use of composite/recycled tire bumper plates with the use of all our products. They are durable and beat up on equipment far less than competition plates. Let’s think about this: composite plates have more elasticity and when impacting a surface, spread the force of the impact out over a larger surface area making the impact less destructive to the equipment. Using a competition plate of cast rubber on a plywood and 2×4 surface probably isn’t the most intelligent thing. Cast rubber doesn’t give as much and concentrates all the force of the impact on a smaller area. Repeated impact using competition plates, well let’s be honest, beats the crap out of any equipment a lot faster.

  1. You Don’t Need Competition Plates; You’re Not That Special

Let’s face it, you’ll save  your gym owner a lot of heart ache if you stop acting like you’re gonna make it to The Games. Metal and cast rubber competition plates are meant for the precision out on The Games field. So let’s set aside the ego and focus on perfecting ourselves in body, mind, and spirit, rather than inflating our ego over the pedantic use of cast rubber plates weighted in kilos. Weightlifters and national level athletes shouldn’t be such prissy you-know-whats about equipment and be able to adapt to whatever gear is available; after all you are in the sport of constant adaptation if you are into competitive metabolic conditioning.

In closing:

It’s important to remember that even some of my clients in the past have broken these rules. They’ve know our concerns and some have corrected their use of our equipment as well as other equipment that we don’t manufacture or service. Mostly all for the better. This article isn’t to call out any particular client or future client, but more it is to stimulate a conversation that will get your average-Joe to stop and think about his bar path, plate usage, and honesty with him or herself.

And before I forget:

  1. Tell on Yourself

Be honest, you break it, tell your gym owner.

Mark Cannella

Let’s Go Up 10kg

By | Motivation, Technique | No Comments

When coaches/lifters pick attempts at a local meet, it is imperative that they follow a general pattern to allow for their lifter to perform at their best.

Simply going up 10 kg for example is not what you want from your athlete nor coach when it comes to successfully making attempts and making the most of your competition. I see many athletes only make their first attempt and/or bomb due to selecting weights that only provide for more misses.

From the most prestigious competitions, we see coaches & athletes select weights that position themselves for their best total, which is what we desire from the local level too.

So how do we do this? Coaches and athletes should sit down a few days before the meet and discuss plans on what has worked well in the past, attempts that allow the athlete to be comfortable on the platform and allow for them to compete with others in the competition.

To script something like this directly above, one must write out from the proposed opener and then count backwards on the normal progression to the very beginning of the warm-up.

Moving into the meet, it is important at any level, but at the local level especially to make this opener. We witness so many new coaches/athletes that miss their opener and then move up quite a bit as if that first selection was a make. In our opinion, this creates issues that prove to be the downfall of these lifters as they many times, bomb in the meet. If you miss a lift, you probably should repeat, especially if it is the opener on either discipline.

Select weights that prove good results and are solid lifts to build upon for future meets. What if scenarios are just that if one continues to put the proverbial cart before the horse?

What sounds better to you, 2 for 6 or 6 for 6, yet the totals are the same?

Success breeds success and we at CWL look to make lifts all the time.

Yours in Sport,

Mark Cannella
Head Coach, Columbus Weightlifting

Mark Cannella

Chandler Walker 5 Ways to Create a Magical Snatch

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In the CrossFit community there are a ton of people who move beautifully and can perform the Weightlifting movements like they have tiny little angels strapped to their shoulders, but there are also people whose Weightlifting movements look like a zombified, foot dragging, head cocked to the side horror story. This post is for the latter of the two and includes some common mistakes I’ve seen in the Snatch.

  1. Pulling with the weight on the heels. Why is this bad and how do we fix it?

    • In order to perform an effective Snatch we have to create what we call an S curve or backwards S curve. This allows the bar to begin to travel back into the hips and prevents it from going around the knees.

    • A proper start in the Snatch begins with the weight on the midfoot or ball of the foot. After the bar is lifted off the ground the weight shifts to the rear of the foot.

  1. Not using your lats AKA golden wings of power.

    • Once you pick the bar off of the ground and you shift your weight to the rear of the foot it is important to begin to pull the bar backwards (not up) using your lats. We want to pull the bar backward to continue to take advantage of the backward momentum we have created by shifting our weight back.

  1. Not moving your knees back, because smashing a barbell into your knees is kinda painful and not very fun.

    • Once you’ve figured out how magical the first two recommendations are you’ll start to bang the bar into your knees. Why? Because the bar is moving backwards and if your knees don’t move back they provide a nice cushion for the bar to crash into.

    • To fix this drive your knees back as you pull the bar off the floor, but be sure to keep your chest up as well. If you don’t drive your chest up you’ll start doing a stripper Snatch and that creates a host of new problems plus no one want’s to see your favorite dance moves while Snatching.

  1. Extending early AKA jumping forward AKA doing a Snatch broad jump AKA the bar crashing down on your neck.

    • This problem should be alleviated by the above techniques, but the easiest way to stop doing this if it isn’t is to keep your knees back for as long as possible in the pull. Wait until you feel the bar touching your pelvis then extend your hips forcefully then pull up. If you don’t pull up you will bang the bar out in front of you and have to chase it. So don’t hump the bar bro, wait for it to come to you and then extend your hips.

  1. Lazy catch position or how I learned to press the bar out in every Snatch and became incredibly strong, but technically inefficient.

    • You should be thinking about a couple of things when you pull yourself under the bar in a Snatch. As soon as you are under the bar you need to push the bar up and pull it apart like your life depended on it and at the same time you should be driving your head through hard this activates the upper back and allows for a much more stable overhead position. (if you can actually pull it apart please put it on YouTube as I would enjoy watching it.)

snatch chandler walker

Thats it for this post I hope these fixes to some common Snatch errors help you get out of the zombie Snatch horror story and into the godlike golden Snatch zone.

Chandler Walker is a Coach at StoneAgeFuel for both CrossFit and Weightlifting. He is a USA Weightlifting Club Coach and CrossFit level 2 instructor (he holds many certifications and his full bio can be found HERE). Chandler is a National level Weightlifter and coaches both a competitive youth and adult Weightlifting team at StoneAgeFuel Barbell Club in addition to remotely coaching many others around the world. You can contact Chandler at and follow him on instagram at chandler_saf.

Snatch Techniqe

You’ve got a dirty snatch: 6 reasons you’re doing it wrong…

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Once upon a time in the CrossFit universe, the Olympic lifts were treated like just another movement in the scheme of fitness. Athletes looked at it the same way they did pull ups and kettlebell swings in that a few days of practice (maxing out) a month would net them progress. Over time CrossFit has evolved and Olympic lifting proficiency has become a huge factor for success in the sport. So much so, that the snatch is probably one of the lifts I see the most posted on the interwebz. As a weightlifting coach, I also get to see the mistakes some CrossFitters make in their approach to the lift and here I’ll offer some tips to fix it.

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