Fancy Footwork during your Lifts, with Coach Ryan

Jen Wirth | January 13, 2019 | no comments
Fancy Footwork during your Lifts, with Coach Ryan

Fancy Footwork during your Lifts, with Coach Ryan

by, Coach Jen

Check out the latest video on the Wildcat YouTube Channel.

In this video Coach Ryan shows two key foot positions to practice in order to improve your Olympic Lifts.

One key to improving your Olympic Lifts (the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch) is to continue improving upon your rough form, through lots of practice. When you are first learning the lifts, however, the key is to learn to put your body parts in the right place, at the beginning, and all the way through the lift. In other words, the first thing you need to know is Where to put your body at the start of the lift.

A Jumping Foot Position at the start of the lift gives you more power at the start of the lift, as your heels are pressing down and your hips are shooting forward.
The ‘Air Squat’ foot position at the Catch (when you first catch the bar on your shoulders) gives you the stability you need to stand your body up, with weight on your shoulders.

Start at the bottom, if you will.

Interested in learning more?

Here is the sign up link for the OlyOne Olympic Lifting Series Starting Feb 5th:



Ryan Barlow | January 10, 2019 | no comments


Meet Coach Ryan (Again!)

I am writing this post in spite of the fact that many of you know me reasonably well already. And yet there is always something more to learn. I believe that as humans, we are more similar than we are different. Hopefully, through this short bio, you can find some common ground or a shared experience that will let us connect on an even more personal level.

It all started in the late summer of 1991. I was born Ryan Andrew Barlow at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT. I was the third child of my parents, Richard and Lynn, and the last one that they planned (a fact I like to remind my younger brother of when he gets on my nerves). I don’t remember much about my time in Connecticut, because before I could do much of anything useful my family relocated to a significantly warmer climate: Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young child, I was never into sports. Despite my parents’ best efforts, I showed a complete lack of interest in most physical pursuits. I instead took to reading, playing with Legos, and solving puzzles. The first “sport” I played competitively was chess. By sixth grade I was highly ranked within my age group, competing at USA Nationals that year in Atlanta, GA. When middle school ended and I moved on to a large public high school I became acutely aware of how uncool my hobbies were (though I still regret giving up playing chess competitively). This was the first time I really worked hard to sow new relationships and step out of my comfort zone.

My freshman year I joined the wrestling team and I am pretty sure that my mother has since destroyed every scrap of evidence. I was a woefully poor wrestler, completely unfit for the sport due to my very above-average height and, at that time, below average weight. However wrestling did teach me a few things; I learned how to better control my body, I became significantly more conditioned, and began to understand the advantages of physical strength. During my sophomore year I started hanging out with some boys that were on the Junior Varsity basketball team. The season was already underway, but they invited me to play at the park after school and on the weekends. Soon after, they told me that I should join their travelling club team. This was the first time I really loved playing a sport. I enjoyed every second of playing, learning how to shoot, dribble, and pass. It took a while for me to feel comfortable on the court, but I never gave up. By my senior year, I was playing varsity basketball on one of the best teams the state.

Fast forward through college, where I spent the majority of my time studying or partying and abusing my body in a multitude of new and entertaining ways. I found myself working a lucrative, though mostly sedentary, desk job down in Tucson. My body was changing in a not so positive way. I was slower on and off the court; I was ready for a new routine. Enter Wildcat CrossFit. I had done only one CrossFit workout prior to walking through the doors of Wildcat at a small community center in Vernal, Utah. It had left an imprint on me though. It was devastatingly difficult, yet even more fun. After the workout, the best athletes in the class did not just pick up and leave, instead they stayed and cheered on the other athletes, congratulating them and giving them high-fives and fist bumps when they finished their last rep. It was a unique experience. It reminded me of the emotions felt at the end of a tough basketball practice, the team exhausted yet proud of what they had just accomplished. I LIVE for that feeling.

I have now spent over three years as part of the CrossFit community chasing that same feeling after every workout. My life has become fuller and more rewarding with each passing day. In March of 2016 I took a leap of faith and completed the CrossFit Level One Certificate class, fully believing that I may never actually coach CrossFit. At the time my only intention was to make myself a more knowledgable athlete and better mover. It may have been the very best decision I have ever made. As I look back almost three years later, over 600 hours of coaching, countless workouts, dozens of friends, a few bumps and bruises, and an entirely new career, I am very proud of that decision. My life is better now than it has ever been.

My new mission is to serve others and inspire them to live their best life. Fitness has a huge impact on all areas of life. Every time you walk into the gym, high-five your friend or your coach, move your body with conscious intent and intensity, and end up lying in a sweaty heap on the floor, you are improving your health and in turn your life. I may not be the most knowledgable coach in the world (yet), but I do care deeply for the wellbeing of each and every one of my athletes. I will go to almost any length to see them succeed simply because I get no greater pleasure in life than watching others overcome obstacles, learn about themselves, and grow as human beings.

Part of executing that mission is to create and bring to you all of the knowledge and experience I currently possess in the form of special series classes here at Wildcat CrossFit. The first series, beginning next month, will cover the technical elements of both the snatch and clean and jerk. Participants will learn the finer points of the olympics lifts in a fun, friendly, and enlightening environment. Each class will cover a different portion of the lift culminating with classes where lifters will be challenged to perform the full movement with excellent technique at the highest load possible. Register now – classes start Tuesday, February 5th.

-Ryan Barlow, CF-L2

OlyOne Olympic Weightlifting Series coming to Wildcat on February 5th

Jen Wirth | January 8, 2019 | no comments
OlyOne Olympic Weightlifting Series coming to Wildcat on February 5th

OlyOne Olympic Weightlifting Series, a unique Wildcat learning opportunity.

by, Coach Ryan Barlow

I’m super excited to announce our first Olympic Lifting series of 2019, coached by yours truly.

This special series class, OLY ONE, will take place Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:30-7:30PM. The series is 10 sessions long, 5 classes dedicated solely to Snatch technique and execution with the other 5 classes covering the Clean and Jerk.

No matter what your current skill level or strength, there is information and practice drills provided in each and every class that will carry over to other movements in the gym.

Get ready to greatly improve your Olympic Lifting technique and knowledge in a fun and friendly environment. I’ll make you feel like you’re ready for the platform!

The series begins Tuesday, February 5th. Register Here

Here’s Why You Should Do the Hook Grip, with Coach Ryan

Jen Wirth | January 4, 2019 | no comments
Here’s Why You Should Do the Hook Grip, with Coach Ryan

Here’s Why You Should Do the Hook Grip.

With Coach Ryan

Have you heard about the Hook Grip, but haven’t tried it yet?
Have you got a minute and 12 seconds?
If your answer to either of the above questions is yes, you should check out this video


Coach Ryan is informative and succinct, and gives you some pretty great food for thought here.

Have any questions for Coach Ryan? Let us know in the comments and he will answer them in subsequent posts!

The OlyOne Olympic Lifting Special Series starts on February 5th. Limited spaces available. Click here to sign up.


Ryan Barlow | January 3, 2019 | no comments


by Ryan Barlow


Throughout my years as a CrossFit and Olympic Lifting coach I have fielded the question, “do I really need lifting shoes, Coach?” dozens of times.

I usually respond with, “do you clean, jerk, and snatch regularly?”

The answer, at least in the CrossFit gym, is overwhelmingly, “yes, multiple times every week.”

To which I reply, “yes, you most certainly need olympic lifting shoes!”

Here are three reasons why:

Reason #1: You can lift more weight!

Honestly, I could probably stop right there. Do you need another reason? There are several reasons why this phenomenon occurs, but I’ll focus on just one for now: force transfer. The shoes you are wearing right now are probably made for running (please stop wearing them to the gym, unless the WOD is over 50% running) or possibly CrossFit (e.g. Nike Metcons, Reebok Nanos, NoBulls, etc…). While those CrossFit shoes are relatively stable and flat, they are still made to absorb and cushion impact so a certain degree. Olympic Lifters do just the opposite. They provide an extremely rigid base that does not allow your foot to slide side-to-side which greatly increases the percentage of force your body generates that gets transferred into the floor. Hence, more force down into the floor, more force up into the barbell, more power, and thus more weight lifted!

Reason #2: They will improve your positions!

Do you have limited ankle mobility? Do you have a hard time breaking parallel on your squat? Does your chest fall so much in a deep squat that you resemble a collapsed lawn chair? Not to worry, go get yourself a pair of lifting shoes. All olympic lifting shoes have a heel raise in them. The benefits of this are extreme! A heel raise means that for the same angle of ankle flexion, your knees can travel significantly further forward. When the knees move forward, so do the hips (unless you have elastic femurs), leading to a more vertical torso. A vertical torso decreases the force needed to maintain a strong front rack and overhead position. It also means that you no longer need to reach as far back to maintain stability in our overhead squat, an issue that causes shoulder pain and greatly reduces the chances of an athlete catching their snatch in a quality position. The image below illustrates what I have just stated. Which position looks more comfortable to you?

Reason #3: You will look like a pro!

This isn’t something to be taken lightly. There is a good reason why you wear a suit and tie when you go to an important business meeting or interview and you iron your button-down shirt before a hot date or a night out. And likewise there is a reason why you wear olympic lifting shoes when you are performing olympic lifts. Look good, feel good, perform better! It’s not just a saying, psychologists have proven it is a fact. Wearing lifting shoes does several things for an athlete. As soon as you slip them on you are mentally preparing yourself for what is ahead, some serious lifting. Your positions have improved due to the heel lift, your power output has increased due to the rigid structure, your style points have gone through the roof. You are ready to train like a professional. So go out and get yourself a pair. You deserve it!

And don’t forget to bring those awesome shoes to my upcoming Olympic Lifting Series: OLY ONE

Check out some of the most popular weightlifting shoe styles below.

Reebok Legacy Lifter

Nike Romaleo

Adidas Adipower

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