Monday Bacon: Openers


on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro – Pavilion 2 on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lydia Valentin Perez.

The Monday before a weightlifting meet is always my favorite day (assuming I lift on Saturday which I’m lucky enough to do this week.)  Openers. I get to don my Singlet (NOT my favorite but at least I get a feel of how my body has changed since the last go around and make any t-shirt adjustments if necessary. Then I strut around like I’m a 75 and ignore that I’m SO not) for my last toughish training session.

For me, the day is special. The work is done. No more tweaking or fixing or worrying that I’m not getting what I’m not getting. Done. Openers are a “do work” day. I get a feel of the warm-ups. I turn the music on loud and practice avoiding distractions. I face the other way on the platform for my lifts to avoid being too comfortable. And I quiet myself. The bar and the movement. That’s openers.


I once watched video of Ingrid Marcum snatch 85kg at the Arnold and said to myself, ” self, let’s snatch 85kg someday.” I’m not even close. But I haven’t given up on the goal yet!

I have come a long way in my lifts this year with the help of Mike Westerling; the content at Catalyst Athletics and hard work. Matt and I have spent hours discussing mechanics that enable me to position myself better. I’ve learned to get under a snatch better but I’m a long way off from proficiency. That’s good. I’ve got time. I can keep practicing and keep getting better.

I’ve learned to stay on my feet longer. See, when I started the lifts they were all Power. This meant that I was only focused on that jump. The problem with that; obviously; is that at some point I’m going to have to get under the bar. And now I’m nearly 50 and a bit concerned about what getting under a PR bar is going to potentially do to my hips and knees. So for the cleans, I’m still power cleaning. But it’s coming and just a little tweak such as telling myself to stay on my feet longer has given me far more power going into the 2nd pull. It’s strong and it’s solid and it’s fun.


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 14: Sarah Elizabeth Robles of the United States reacts during the Weightlifting – Women’s +75kg Group A on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro – Pavilion 2 on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

I guess that’s the point of it all. Having fun. We’ve done everything possible to this day and did what I thought was best leading to this week. It’s time to shut it down and have fun. Matt and I have already talked about the pounds of Schnitzel we’ll eat and gallons of Bier we’ll drink and I promise you all that I’m comin’ home heavy! Don’t care.

The greatest thing about openers is that I can set my range and go from there. For the Snatch, it’ll be 65kg-68kg and for the Clean and Jerk it will be 85kg-88kg. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and proceed accordingly. While nothing is set in stone, I approach openers with far more relaxation than I do with a third attempt WOB. Heh.

Openers Monday’s gives me a feel of what I should declare as my openers at the meets. In general, I usually go a bit conservative and declare done deals at weigh-ins. I’m sure this meet will be no different. I’ve got Matt and his Rainman skills in the warm-up area so if things are feeling better I may bump up my opener a kilo or two and he’ll keep me moving accordingly. But probably not. I dunno. I’m far better off down the road with an EZPZ opener. In general, I don’t play the numbers games that so many weightlifters do. I have the numbers I want to hit (that set me up for a good outcome if I hit them) and I usually stick to them. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.

It’s all good.


Tatiana Kashirina has a 193kg Clean and Jerk. I mean, FUCK, seriously. I’m hoping for a 93kg Clean and Jerk Saturday. “Hoping.”

I’m “healthy” (so subjective;) happy, and get to hang with the hubs and the German throwing crew all weekend. How bad can life be? (Actually, to be honest, I’m a bit anxious about flying through Turkey. It’s probably the old lady in me and the fact that I’ll be alone and that if there is trouble it is all out of my control. But anxious, a little, non-the-less.) SO, if you have a little bit of extra happy energy to send Thursday morning when I’ll be landing in Istanbul, I’ll take it.

But we won’t worry about such things tomorrow. Tomorrow is openers. And it’s a fun day. And then I get to worry about such things as Prizes to bring the Germans and over pack. Ya know, the important shit.

I’m definitely not at my best. Honestly, I’m under 50 percent. But I’ve won stuff under 50 percent before. 

Serena Williams

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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