Notes from the Liberty Barbell Club Q&A



Defining Liberty Barbell Club:

Entry Level (you are interested in taking classes to improve your olympic lifts for CF or you have just joined LBC and need to be exposed to the olympic lifts before you can consistently train them) – classes for this category of athlete will be Oly Basics (on the weekend) a day when if you can’t make classes during the week (intro classes) you can train BOTH lifts within the space of an hour and a half.  The majority of these classes will be coached by CrossFit Coaches and the Oly Apprentices.  The programming for these sessions is always one hour of one olympic lift of your choice OR in Oly Basics, skill review for both lifts and completion peaking each lift.

Hybrid Oly (you do CrossFit and you do Oly, or you just do Oly – but in either case, you want to compete in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting – at LEAST in the two meets we have right at CrossFit Center City!) – classes for this category of athlete will be held throughout the weekday mornings and evenings and also on the weekends.  The majority of these classes will be coached by the Oly Apprentices.  The programming for these sessions will run in cycles that easily blend with CrossFit programming but are chiefly created for an athlete training Olympic Lifting 4 to 5 times per week.  In most cases two programming options will be offered and wherever possible each 6-8 week cycle will be adapted to each athlete as specifically as possible. The basic programming will be posted on the new Liberty Barbell section of the blog (coming soon!)  Also, we will do everything in our power to introduce any new members to Hybrid by relegating them to time slots that are not already full so that current Hybrid members may continue to train in the capacity they have been training in for a while (until they move on to Advanced or until they choose to shift their focus).

Advanced Oly (you do CrossFit or you do Oly, but you have a total that falls within 90% of a National Qualifying Total of any sort – University and Master’s Totals count!) – classes for this category of athlete will be held throughout the week at 3-4 (with one of these sessions being on the weekend) designated times that are for Advanced Oly athletes only. We believe these common training times will foster a focused atmosphere within these sessions that pushes all athletes to work to their full (and very specific) potential. Programming for these classes will be completely specialized and written by Erin (with input from the Oly apprentices and athletes themselves).  We will know more about when these sessions must be when we figure out what kind of availability Advanced Level athletes have (we’ll be trying to do this by Monday!)

Athletes of any level are a critical part of the program and called upon to support one another by encouraging each other in sessions, maintaining a positive attitude when attending sessions (even if we all get frustrated from time to time), and generally cultivating an atmosphere of teamwork from the youngest beginner to those medaling at National Level competitions.  To aid in this Liberty Barbell will be intentionally revamping the space and the schedule of LBC activities and competitions this Fall to reflect our shared love Olympic Lifting and mild obsession with bringing “honor to our famiry”. :)  I’m excited!

Many thanks to Meghan for taking the notes!  Here’s the comprehensive document – keep in mind – all of this was a work in practice while we were talking.  The above are the current conclusions!


  1. Schedule
  2. Types of classes/sessions
    1. Defining advanced, hybrid, intro and oly basics
    2. Team Building


  1. What’s the plan for getting a new head coach?
    1. This is not the last we’ll ever know/see Jim. He doesn’t want it that way and neither do we. Jim’s a great Coach and it’ll always be that way regardless of where he is.
    2. The search for a new coach partly rides on the fact that we need to become MUCH more organized. We want everyone to learn on the right curve and have equal chances to be successful. That will allow someone new to lead in an organized fashion.
    3. The best we can do is go by word of mouth. Submitted resumes don’t always work as a reliable source.
    4. WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR: Experience within the weightlifting community. Experience with building a program and/or bringing lifters to the national stage. Someone who’s genuinely excited and passionate about building a club. This is really difficult to find, and as such this process will take a long time. If we rush this process, we’ll all be very sorry. We want to be very intentional about this and take our time to find the right person for the job.
    5. In the meantime, Basa and Zoda are paying a lot of attention to everyone’s lifts. They meet with Erin weekly for hours to review cueing, individual lifts, talk about the season and programming. They’ve really grown as coaches and athletes already.
    6. Individualized programming – is that still an option? Erin’s not sure how much is going to be expected of her, and she wants to know so she can either continue doing it or restructure it. This is one of the reasons that we’re having this meeting. Hybrid people are supposed to get programming that cycles with CrossFit.
    7. We are considering making Hybrid an hour long program knowing that people are doubling up on Hybrid sessions and CF – three hours in the gym in one day is not conducive to progress.
    8. The people who are the most serious about Olympic weightlifting (ie people who are training for national level oly competitions) are the ones that can’t afford to/won’t miss a day of training. Competing at this level really changes your commitment to training. There will ALWAYS be programming for people at this level. The only challenge is providing a time to train for every single advanced athlete to do what they do. It’s important for people in that group to get the time and attention they deserve because they’ve worked hard to achieve something incredibly notable.
    9. One idea – that to be “advanced” you’d have to achieve a personal total that’s 90% of a national level total
    10. “I thought the point of Liberty Barbell was to compete. So wouldn’t everyone be at the advanced level?” Yes – everyone is eligible to compete but not everyone is eligible to compete at the national level. Once you achieve that milestone, then you should be turning your attention entirely to Olympic lifting and focusing hardcore on your training. As someone who hasn’t achieved this yet, you’re still eligible to and welcome/encouraged to compete.
    11. Hybrid vs. Advanced. Your purpose here is the same, but your training has to be different. Hybrid = different attitude, different purpose. Advanced = needs to be a bit more focused and serious
    12. What happens if you achieve the national level 90% total but then lose it? Does that mean you can only train in hour long session? Nope…that’s why we’re still thinking about it as an idea.
    13. Also, we can’t forget that we want Basa and Zoda to be able to train with their teammates even when they’re coaching some sessions. Let’s make sure we have opportunities for them to do that.
    14. Nat’s been to a lot of gyms and done a lot of talking about how other gyms structure
    15. Entry level: not necessarily good or bad, but not interested in competing in weightlifting (just a supplement to CF)
    16. Middle level: training exclusively for oly but not quite necessarily at a national level  but wants to compete
    17. Upper level: Nationally competitive total
    18. *One problem – wildly different availability if we want the team to be able to train together. Some people can only train evenings, some people can’t, some are available at 3pm, most aren’t. How do we get everyone together when we only have 5-6 platforms?
    19. Suggestion: what if there were just 2-3 sessions per week that the advanced team ALWAYS trained together, but the rest of the week was on everyone’s own as far as getting their training in (via hybrid or whatever sessions were available)
    20. PROGRAMMING: Everyone’s supposed to have it but frankly Erin is just doing it every moment she’s available. We’re (collectively) tired of maxing out every day to the point where it makes us not want to go. On the programming front, the maxing out every day thing may work for some but not for everyone, especially those who are CFing or injured. There can be more balance than that and there should be.  Should people email Erin with their max lifts and get programming that way? We don’t knowwww.
    21. CrossFit Advanced team won’t automatically have access to LBC advanced class.
    22. “Entry Level” or “Intro” Level is always going to be an hour, and no more signing up for two back to back hours of Intro. It just becomes way too much to do all the CF, all the squatting, all the intro à it’s our fault for providing way too many options and you shouldn’t be expected to know about proper training load, so it’s our responsibility to streamline these options so it makes sense to fit them into your training week
    23. We’re also gradually shifting the whole gym’s CF programming into including more complex oly lifts and drills into the regular sessions to allow people to get more experience with the Olympic lifts in regular programming.
    24. Getting the website up and running for LBC is our top priority so we have a central location for info, as well as explaining it somewhere posted in the gym where people can see.
    25. Suggestion: What if we posted a Hybrid WOD for everyone to do instead of individualized personal programming? We used to do this, where Erin would adapt the WOD programming in cycles based on what everyone in Hybrid needed extra work on certain accessory stuff/drills. Ideally you’d repeat these and aim to repeat them and get better at them just like the big lifts
    26. Suggestion: Come up with the same structure of names for LBC as we do for CF (competitive team, advanced team?)
    27. We’d love to have 7-9 Hybrid on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It’ll also help a lot to have the 6th platform and can expand the class sizes
    28. Grievance: I think it’s a little unfair to have Advanced level class take up the valuable 6:30 time slot. How do we account for allowing people that can’t make it any other time (at hybrid level). How we will be able to train to move up?  Response: Good point. We probably won’t be this restrictive because that concern is valid. Maybe 3-4 sessions per week as Advanced only but the rest are advanced/hybrid?
    29. Concern: People in hybrid are there for different reasons and have different weaknesses. How do we account for that in group programming?
    30. Idea: apply similar template to Hybrid programming as we do to CF WODs (make sure you hit different weakness throughout the week). What about goat days?
    31. WHY NOT OPEN GYM? Dear God no. Just kidding. Reasons are a) insurance policies that don’t allow us to have people training without a coach and b) we don’t want to be Moorestown. The environment we intended to create is different than that. We want to create coaching times and we want every lift to be watched. Victor at Moorestown is a great coach but he watches maybe one of every nine lifts. If you want personal attention there, you have to pay someone.
    32. How do we feel about taking hiatuses? Maybe post American Open we have some reduced hours to give some people the chance to deload?
    33. I think we should hold Hybrid folks accountable to compete in at the very least, meets that we host here.
    34. Is there a feeling of an Advanced clique? We want to stop that right now. There will be no obligation to attend social events. Going to different meets as a group and helping are a few examples of activities that should be part of this club. You learn by going to these things but it also helps build the morale of the team. We need to feature the team (every single person). LBC has the potential on the east coast to be a hub for oly and strength training that doesn’t exist elsewhere. It’s our responsibility on the team to cultivate this place and this team.
    35. We’ve slated Hookgrip classic to be BEFORE the CF total so LBC’ers can actually lift in the Total this year
    36. Also slated: more strongman competitions since there’s sort of a dearth of them now that Rob Orlando doesn’t really run them anymore
    37. The intent of having standards is not to shut people out but to provide people with an incentive to get in.
    38. What separates Intro from Hybrid? Do we set a performance standard for Hybrid
    39. Everyone also needs to commit to supporting the team, having a good attitude, etc.
    40. We will send out an email to everybody that confirms: do you have a national qualifying total? What is your intent?
    41. We also may close out times for Hybrid like we’d do at CF classes in regard to accepting new people

Thank you. We care so much about you as people and as athletes. OL in this gym is such a powerful draw for so many people. Thank you for giving me your thoughts.

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