Written by Team Juggernaut
Name: Ryan Brown
Hometown: Brandenburg, KY
Current City: Louisville, KY
Years Training: Technically, since high school, but I didn’t start training with a coach until 2009
Years competing in Crossfit: 3
Box Squat 465#
Front Squat 370#
Bench Press 335#
Clean & Jerk 305# (clean 330#)
(I am about 185-190lbs right now)
CrossFit numbers are kinda old but
Diane 3 somthing
Helen 8 and change
Cindy 27 rounds
3 mile run 18:50
Where do you train? DerbyCity Crossfit & DarkSide Strength
Day Job: Derby City CrossFit & DarkSide Strength
What would be your personal theme song? Overtime- Tech N9ne
What go you into training/competing:
I had lifted in high school with basketball and football, but as it turns out our high school coaches were really good football coaches, and not so awesome strength coaches. Then, I got started with CrossFit in the Marines. Captain Chontosh had won a Navy Cross and just went around kicking ass all the time. He walked around base with his shirt off and did whatever he wanted. So, I just figured that I would do what he was doing. I trained with him when I could but for the most part I was just making stuff up for about a year and a half with no real clue what I was doing. I was still seeing “results” in improved running, PFT, CFT and being a little stronger. I had always went to the gym while I was in the Marines but I had no clue what I was doing and was mostly taking ridiculous workouts out of Men’s Health, or whatever I had at the time. When I added in some strength work, and quit running so much, I improved in everything. When I got out of the Marines, I joined a gym and started working with a coach. Since then I have done CrossFit competitions, powerlifting, strongman, and olympic lifting.
Who have been influential people in your training:
Jim Laird– Prior to Jim coming and doing a mobility seminar at the gym I had not known anything outside of CrossFit. At that time, mobility was not a prime concern (that is probably an understatement). I was still in the “see how much stuff we can do” phase. I would just come in and do a workout to warmup, then do another workout as my workout. He also introduced me to the idea that perhaps not everyone needs to be going balls out throwing barbells around all the time, and that perhaps recovery determined improvement more than the amount of work you do. It really began to open me up to many other avenues of training, and sparked my interests in trying to learn more things outside of CrossFit.
Max Mormont– Max came into town and was helping us move and restructure the gym. He had been coaching much longer than me and taught me many things in regards to training, but most of all after working with him for a few weeks I knew that I could be a really awesome coach and things have been really going well every since… (well, not always, but for the most part) It is kinda funny that after changing the gym around 4 times I am almost all the way back to what Max was trying to get going in the first place. I would consider him a huge influence in the way that I try and deal with coaching a large number of people and managing the fact that I am writing programs for such a wide array of goals.
Mike Robertson– I was introduced to Mike at the EliteFTS learn to train seminar. I began studying Mike’s stuff, mostly because I was beat up and need to be fixed. After buying some dvd’s and reading article and stuff I went up to have the IFAST assessment done. This process has been very important in the shaping the way that I deal with new clients and many of the main points on correcting movement that I use with clients/athletes come straight from him. Luckily, his gym is only about 1.5 hours away and I have had the chance to ride up a couple times to learn some new stuff.
Kelly Starrett– Kelly has been a big influence on the way that I do things. He and his wife came into town for the Derby and the Oaks, then Kelly did a 1 day Mobility seminar the Sunday after the Derby. The seminar was fantastic, but the thing that I took away from Kelly was how he searches for incorrect movement everywhere, not just in an assessment, not just in the gym. We were at the derby and he was critiquing jockeys and horses.
Chad Wesley Smith– but seriously, before the training log we have already been using Juggernaut Method stuff for a while and I think that the base Juggernaut Method is a fantastic program to adjust off of for training large groups of people. We have seen alot of success in our regular CrossFit classes as well as with some of the athletes that I work with.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced from a training / competing stand point?
Probably the biggest setback that I have had in my training was an injury that I sustained last year on my birthday. A group of people from the gym went up to run the Warrior Dash in Indiana. We started drinking beer at about 630am, continued to drink beer the entire way up there, about 3 and a half hours. By the time we were at the start line, we were pretty wasted. I had already been having some anterior hip pain in my left hip before the race. I had been doing powerlifing prior to this, and had done no running to prepare for it. I just figured that 3 miles wasn’t really that far and that I would be fine. As it turns out, it was a terrible idea. I woke up Sunday morning and it was really tight. By this time it was more of just tightness in my left adductors causing some pain. I went into the gym Monday to squat, kept working up heavier and heavier, then eventually hit a knee on the way up and dumped the bar off my back. Due to the fantastic VA medical system, I never really got it checked out, but I was seeing Kyle (chiro) and Jamie (massage theRapist) regularly trying to get it worked out. It turned out to be a huge setback in my training as I was not able to squat until January or so. I started being able to do some full cleans in Dec, but didn’t squat anything heavy for another month or two after that. I don’t look at it too negatively though. The injury was the thing that lead me on the path that I am on now as a coach. It made me start to seek out new knowledge, and to study some areas of my job that I had previously ignored. Hell, I used to never even stretch at all. Since, then I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best guys around involving mobility and movement, read some books, watch some dvd’s, go to some seminars, and use the experience of assessing and coaching the average of about 200 people I deal with each month to steadily improve in an area that most coaches shy away from. It seems to me that everytime I see a “twitter chat” or a “facebook coaching session” the expert coaches always make the “no injury questions” disclaimer. I think that there is a void that can be filled and that is the direction that that particular injury lead me in. At the point, I have become completely obsessed. I study, stare, and judge everything, everyone all the time. The way people sit, the way that they walk, the way that they stand, the way that they lift, every single movement that anyone makes all the time is an opportunity and a free resource for me to gain a better understanding of how to identify problems and correct movements.
I guess that I got off of the subject. The only other real setback that I have is that training in your own gym can be a little bit of a problem at times.
How do you structure your training going into a competition?
Currently, my training is leading me to compete in the 2013 CrossFit Open as I draw more near the competition I will shift to less days a week of strength work. I will continue to do multiple sessions a day and will start to shift to more intense conditioning work. Until very close to the open my conditioning work will stay pretty simple. I will stick to the basics, and practice anything else as skill work. More often than not I give our regular CrossFit classes more variety than they really need, that is just because those people aren’t competitors. They are just looking for a fun way to stay in shape, move better, and get stronger. So it doesn’t matter to me if they ever master the 3rd pull on a snatch, as long as they can perform the movement safely and they have fun and actually show up, I win but if people get bored and don’t show up, then I get no results. Fun is not for competitors though, far out from competition you should be practicing everything as skill and keeping your conditioning to things that you can do perfectly. That way, as you near competition and you start to add these things into your conditioning work, you have great technique. I do think that it is important to practice stringing movements together as you get close to the competition, but if you are training, and more than half of the reps you perform in a given movement are in a conditioning workout in a fatigued state with form not being the number one concern, then that means that you are practicing doing things incorrectly more often than you are practicing them correctly and that seems pretty wack.
What upcoming competitions do you have? What are your competitive goals in the next year?
Next weekend (sept 16th) I have a USAW meet in Lexington. I think that we are going to have 7 lifters compete, so I’ll give a meet recap sometime next week. I will probably try to hit one more USAW meet before the end of the year, before I really start to shift my focus on getting ready for the Open and the beginning of next year, and I have a plane pull to benefit the special olympics on Sept. 29th…. so feel free to donate to my team and support the special olympics. My goal is to get into the regional and see what happens from there. The Central East is probably the most competitive of all the regions with the last few Games winners coming from here, and last year most of the records for the Regional workouts were set here. I also still have the goal of qualifying for National competition in weightlifting by this time next year as well. On the coaching side, we have an oly meet this weekend, crossfit comp the weekend after that, a powerlifting meet two weeks after that and some runs scheduled. As a coach my, competitive goals are to put a team of athletes into the 2013 CrossFit Games, have 4 nationally qualified lifters in our USAW club, and have somebody hit an Elite total in power lifting. Griffin did unofficially in the gym one day, but I need something legit. I don’t have specific goals for our runners and Tri people, I am just happy when they are consistently hitting PR’s. My first ever MMA fighter, Brent Weedman, is fighting in the Bellator Tournament in a couple months, and I would appreciate it if he won that. Oh, and I am working on single handedly turning the State Championship lacrosse game into a physical, glorious, bloodbath because currently, I am working on turning players from both teams from last years game into strong, fast, blood thirsty, killers.
How do you see the sport of CrossFit evolving in the next 5 years?
Crossfit has changed a ton since last competed. We were in the middle of a field in Nowheresville, Ohio. This year, when I was coaching Taylor, I realized it was a much different experience now. Reebok and ESPN have dumped a bunch of money into it and really turned them into fun events. At the games, there were bloody mary’s, $9 beers, and half naked women everywhere. It was pretty awesome. Not to mention that, the sponsors had some much going on that when the really boring events were going on there was plenty to do. The money also starts to attract better and better athletes. A $250,000 prize for winning the games is worth training for, not to mention money and products from sponsors. I have even seen some local competition with a $100,000 prize. The money brings in better athletes, better coaches, better equipment and more people treating it as a professional sport to train for. I think that over the next couple of years there will be more and more of a growing distinction between CrossFit the fun group fitness class (which can be great for the average person who wants to be in shape, strong, and healthy if done in the correct way) and CrossFit as a competitive sport. One just uses a basic strength program, combines it with some conditioning work, and some mobility/reverse posturing in warmups and cool downs and creates an incredibly effective way for people to be strong an healthy and only dedicate an hour a day, a few days a week to it. It gives enough variety to make people enjoy coming and keeps them interested by giving them new things to learn, but still ensures that they are consistently doing the basics so that they continue to improve. It is about finding a balance of giving people a little of what they want, and getting them do what they need. Whereas you don’t have the problem with the competitor, everything is aimed at what are the things that are going to make the greatest gains in performance. Athletes have a finite amount of time and energy, so you can’t waste time with movements or activities that have little carryover. For many beginners, that is as simple as you need to get stronger, and more than likely, improve your mobility. That is why it is important to distinguish whether or not you are doing CrossFit for fun, or if you want to be a competitive athlete.
What are the most common mistake you see being made in preparing for CrossFit competitions?
Everybody is searching for a magic program, they want to know what Rich Froning is doing or they want to do Outlaw. As a guy who pretty much writes programs for a living, I am here to tell you that programs really don’t matter all that much. The most important thing is to make sure that you are doing things correctly, and that you are consistently stronger. I have had several people email me who were frustrated with their training because they seemed to be stalled on their progress. 90% of the time I don’t even talk about their program when I first start working with them, I just start working on correcting the movement quality first, because if you are doing an awesome program but you are butchering movements you will certainly stall your progress. Hell, people even see progress and then get stalled with horrible programs. After we begin to correct movement quality, and they already start to see improvements no matter what program they are doing, if any. Then, we can start talking about programming to address specific needs. That way we can produce a quick change and gain some confidence from them before I go and ask them to change everything that they are doing. Basically, understand your training age.
You can check out more of our training logs for competitors and our group classes here