‘The Big 3’ – Wildcat’s New Powerlifting Class – Is Awesome.

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Jen Wirth | October 22, 2017 | no comments |

‘The Big 3’ – Powerlifting Wildcat Style

As you may already know, we pride ourselves on the variety of specialty classes we offer at Wildcat CrossFit. Recently, thanks to the enthusiasm of Wildcat Athlete, Marion Matos, we decided to add a new class focused totally on Powerlifting. Since ‘The Big 3’ started, the class and Coach Marion, have taken Friday evenings by storm! Every athlete who tries this class walks down the ramp raving about it when it is over.

[Quick note: The photos that accompany this article are from a different evening of ‘The Big 3,’ a night when the class was working on Deadlifts, not Bench Press.]

Recently, we had Wildcat Athlete Jessica Stewart attend a session of ‘The Big 3’ and share her experiences. This is what she had to say:

Jessica Stewart: Well….first off ‘The Big 3’ is amazing! I am moving my schedule around so I can make it to this class more often.

Question: Wow, that’s awesome! Who would you recommend this class to?

J.S.: I recommend this class to anyone, especially beginners. Because different muscle groups are isolated, targeted and worked, you get to really feel where your different muscles are. You also really learn to engage your core, this is key for beginners.

Coach Marion also explains why you’re practicing certain movements and is very hands on. She shows you exactly what she wants to see and corrects your form if you are doing a something improperly. Marion really pays attention and makes sure you’re not going to get hurt. And you can tell she cares that you’re truly getting the most out of the knowledge she is providing.

Q: That’s great! Let’s back up though, what’s covered in ‘The Big 3’ class?

J.S.: The class, “The Big 3,” itself focuses on the three main Powerlifts: Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Squats.

The day I attended, Marion was teaching Bench Press. I was excited because I learned to lift in high school (my dad was the football coach and he used to program weight training class), but I hadn’t really done any Powerlifting since then.

I had forgotten a lot, but as The Big 3 class went by, it started to come back.

Q: Tell us something about the Bench Press…

J.S.: In the Powerlifting world, setting up for the Bench Press is a two step process. You start by getting your body in the proper position. This includes making sure your shoulders are activated and your legs are sturdy; glutes tightened; core tightened. Next, you make sure your grip on the bar is where you like it and make sure your hands are evenly spaced.

Marion helped me make a great adjustment to my grip. I started off placing my hands a few fingers outside the groove of the bar. Marion corrected me a few times, telling me my grip was uneven. I decided to narrow my grip so that my fingers were on the bar groove itself. This felt more natural to me, and I didn’t have to worry about my hand position anymore. Totally cool.

Q: What other exercises did you do during ‘The Big 3’ to help improve your Bench Press?

J.S.: Marion had us working our all of the accessory muscles that are helpful during the Bench Press. These included Banded Tricep Pull-downs, as well as Dumbbell Pull-overs..
Marion had me alternate these two movements so I wouldn’t quickly fatigue my muscles. It worked and I kept going for much longer than I thought I could! My muscles felt super duper weak by the end of this class!

Cool fact about the Dumbbell Pull-over: It’s a movement that Arnold Schwarzenegger has boasted about. Arnold found this movement benfical to many different muscle groups; from the bottom of your pecs, to the abs, lats and triceps. And wouldn’t you know it, when I did the the exercise, I felt it in all of those places too!?

I laid my shoulders on a bench, lifted my hips up squeezing those booty cheeks and made my abs super tight. That helped stablize my body; especially when working on my breathing, which needed some work. Marion handed me a dumbbell, a good heavy one. Marion had me pull the dumbbell back behind me, extending towards the ground; I felt that stretch in my lats and triceps. When bringing the weight up from behind me, I isolated my chest and pressed the weight as hard as I could towards my rib cage.

How did you feel when the class was over?

J.S.: First of all, Wow. I haven’t felt my body get a “pump” in such a long time. Seriously, it’s been years! For those who don’t know, the “pump” is a tight feeling you get when blood that is carrying oxygen & nutrients is circulating in the muscles being worked; very important for muscle growth. Your muscles can get up to 4x bigger than normal due to the influx of blood flow. It is a crazy feeling! Marion said she actually saw the pump happening in my chest while I was doing the movements.

Q: Crazy. Is there anything else you got out of the class that you want other athletes to know about?
J.S.: Well, after a while all that focus on tightening and engaging specific muscles, and carefully controllin g your breathing, you begin to mentally prepare yourself for one movement or rep at a time. And this is a really cool feeling, you know? You will get there, you will achieve your goal. It just takes time and concentration.

Needless to say, I am in love with this class. Come check it out for yourself!

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