#943 – Jesse BiFano | Squamish Barbell

Jesse BiFano (00:00):

No, not at all. No. Okay, good. Yep. Just figuring out the, just getting it all loaded for, um, the, uh, mic and, uh, uh, audio. That’s all.

Sevan Matossian (00:12):

Thank you, Jesse. Bam. We’re live.

Jesse BiFano (00:14):

Yeah. Sweet.

Sevan Matossian (00:15):

We did it <laugh>.

Jesse BiFano (00:17):

How you doing?

Sevan Matossian (00:18):

I’m doing great. I, I, I watched that video, uh, that Justin made. I’m gonna guess it’s like a year old. He’s visiting your gym. Oh,

Jesse BiFano (00:28):

Yeah. Yeah. The Squamish one. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, uh, it’s almost exactly a year old. Yep.

Sevan Matossian (00:32):

And how many gyms do you have?

Jesse BiFano (00:34):

Oh, just one.

Sevan Matossian (00:35):


Jesse BiFano (00:36):

Barely managed. That one,

Sevan Matossian (00:37):

That gym reminds me of, like, when you go to some guy’s, uh, garage and he’s like a master craftsman. Like, he built like one-off chairs and shit, you know what I mean? That’s

Jesse BiFano (00:50):

Actually what I did for a little while. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (00:52):

Really? Yeah. You were a, you were a woodworker.

Jesse BiFano (00:55):

Yeah. I went to school for, uh, like fine furniture cabinetry. Yeah. First year

Sevan Matossian (00:58):

British. Oh, wow. God. I don’t feel dumb for making that comparison now. <laugh>. I cannot believe how meticulous and perfect and clean. It’s like a, uh, congratulations. I mean, I’ve seen Oh, thank, you’ve seen, you know, thousands of videos. I feel like, like that, uh, you know, kind of, I wouldn’t say Yeah. Gym tours, and I’ve never seen one quite like that. It, it is, it is a place where you go to, um, to work on something you love to, and yeah. Like the tools are as important as anything. I don’t know. It’s, it’s beautiful.

Jesse BiFano (01:29):

Yeah. Thank you very much. Yeah. No, it’s a lot of, uh, yeah. That’s our, that was our third iteration. So we started in a different space, um, 13 and a half years ago, and then moved to a second gym location. And then finally that’s our, our third version. So that’s my, my best one yet, I guess.

Sevan Matossian (01:45):

And, and you love going there?

Jesse BiFano (01:47):

Oh, yeah. Yeah. It,

Sevan Matossian (01:49):

It looks like it. You made it, so it’s a place where you walk in and you’re like, yeah,

Jesse BiFano (01:53):

Yeah, yeah. We did it ourselves. Like, um, like we don’t own the building, but, um, I took over as a general contractor, like once the building was sort of locked up mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, uh, and everything you see in there, like we, we did. So like all the woodworking is, uh, is my own. And, um, anything that was like outside of my wheelhouse or, um, uh, I wasn’t super good at. Then we pulled people from the gym, so it’s like all, all community driven. So people from the gym did like all the specialty work and everything, and there’s steel. We build a lot of stuff. Um, so some of steel work in there is like, uh, like training partners and everything else. Super cool. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (02:34):

Well, well, a, a beautiful facility, obviously you’re making, uh, incredible, uh, athletes over there, but let’s stop fucking around. <laugh>. What the fuck is up with this stance? Oh,

Jesse BiFano (02:46):

I’s frog.

Sevan Matossian (02:47):

Tell me, tell me, how have I never seen this? Is it because I’m a dipshit and I’m not paying close attention? No, just,

Jesse BiFano (02:53):

No. It, it’s not super common.

Sevan Matossian (02:55):

This is a 341 pound deadlift, ladies and gentlemen, by a 17 year old pro, uh, BMX writer. Uh, um, I’m gonna go out on the limb and say it’s a woman. Yep. I’ve never deadlifted 341 pounds, uh, myself. Um, first of all, tell me about that stance.

Jesse BiFano (03:12):

Yeah, it’s just a variation, right? So we use, we use conjugate system,

Sevan Matossian (03:16):

Um, and I’m, we’ll come back to that cause I don’t even know what that is, but we’ll come back to

Jesse BiFano (03:19):

That. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s just a variation. So it’s not like her primary, like her best pull is like three 80. Um, and, uh, and so she’ll pull sumo, conventional, uh, frog ultra wide, uh, all those variations we have maxes in numbers for. So this is just a good variation. And, uh, it’s actually surpri, like some CrossFitters will actually end up hitting a pr with that narrower stance. Just, just change the style a bit. A lot of people often just are a little too wide with their feet, um, and just bringing them in at all. But, you know, o like, you know, for almost everybody that’s gonna be just not, not their optimal stance. A little, little wider is gonna help, but, uh, yeah. Just a variation.

Sevan Matossian (03:58):

And are her heels actually touching?

Jesse BiFano (04:01):

Yeah, we go heels touching feet on a 45 degree angle. Angle. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (04:05):

Why have I never, um, seen this? Am I not paying attention? How, how rare is this? This is like, I, when I saw this, I, at first I thought, oh, they’re, they’re fooling around. It’s like Halloween or something. Yeah. <laugh>.

Jesse BiFano (04:16):

No, no. The, um, no, it’s, uh, yeah, I guess, I don’t know. I guess you wouldn’t see it very often outside of like, the world that we’re in, but, uh, yeah, I mean, like Ohio west side sweatshop, like, uh, this would, this would be something that every, everyone’s kind of playing with. I mean, you’d see it from photos in the seventies and stuff like that, for sure. There’s a couple guys, um, you know, um, who, uh, yeah, I struggle with the names from, uh, from the past, but the, um, but there’s guys who have like 365 deadlift with, uh, heels touching, um,

Sevan Matossian (04:49):

Are, well, here, here’s a 17 year old girl doing it with 3 41. Is this, is this something that, um, uh, every CrossFit should be doing? Is this like, hey, I mean, not necessarily need to do it this heavy, but this is like, hey, this is, this is an important part of the constantly very piece. Like, Hey, you’re just doing strong and conventional. Yeah, I think so. Sure. Maybe some of need do sumo, but everyone’s missing frog.

Jesse BiFano (05:09):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I mean, honestly, deadlift is an interesting one with the CrossFit world. Um, for sure. I think, I think of all the movements that, uh, that CrossFitters use deadlift probably has the most to grow for skill set. And, um, and then just variations of like, just because it doesn’t show up in competition doesn’t mean that it’s not a valuable lift to train, right? Like, you know, squats will front squat over at squat, back squat almost, you know, everybody’s doing that and then cleans and, um, you know, squats, natural good variations, but, uh, or their own thing. But, uh, deadlift is just like either people conventional deadlift or they don’t deadlift at all for the most part. And, uh, I mean, I think variations are really worth putting time into, especially because sometimes you can find quite a large discrepancy between a sumo and a conventional, and that sort of gives some good indication of where some weaknesses may lie and what might be worth putting extra time into as an athlete.

Sevan Matossian (06:09):

Uh, um, everything else is the same about this deadlift. Yeah, totally conventional deadlift. Mm-hmm. Because it looks the same to me, and, and she looks like she’s for lift I’ve never seen before. I’m gonna say she’s doing it perfectly.

Jesse BiFano (06:23):

She’s a very good lifter. Yeah. I like Tee Teague’s awesome. Like she’s, she’s in Europe right now training there. And, um, the, uh, she’s been lifting with us. She’s actually Gen one CrossFit kid, no kid. So she’s more than 10 years into training with us. Um, yeah, she’s like 141 pounds, body weight, three 80 deadlift. Um, but all of them are tight, right? So that’s three 40. I think her conventional is 365 and her CMOs three 80, which is kinda like the spread we’re looking for. Right. So like, very low discrepancy,

Sevan Matossian (07:00):

Uh, tall,

Jesse BiFano (07:02):

Uh, five eight, I think.

Sevan Matossian (07:04):

Yeah. I mean, for me that’s tall that Yeah. Yeah. Tall. That’s tall. The woman,

Jesse BiFano (07:08):

She’s, she’s, she’s, uh, she’s lean and, and tall. Yeah. The, um, I mean, yeah, she’s, she’s, she’s a really cool example for us because she’s also someone who, um, I mean, we predominantly have used conjugate method and powerlifting to build her and, uh, I mean, she’s got like a 48 and a half inch box jump and like, um, just real, real powerful athlete in a power sport. Right? Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (07:34):

Um, tell me, what is the conjugate method?

Jesse BiFano (07:37):

So, conjugate method

Sevan Matossian (07:38):

Is, can you, first of all, before I ask that, can you tell me meaning, meaning, like, like, okay. Okay.

Jesse BiFano (07:44):

Um, conjugate method is like, uh, originated in Russia, right? So it was, it was like, it’s, it’s a system that’s like, I mean, if you’re gonna put it real simple, you’re gonna say kind of the same things as CrossFit, constantly varied, you know, functional movement as it pertains to your objective, which would be, you know, squat, bench dead, and then nature or the case of power thing, or, you know, snatch clean and jerk in the case of weightlifting. Um, and then perform at high intensity. So working as hard as you can. So, you know, it’s a, it’s a system using sort of a ton of movement pattern to build the primary lifts. So Russia started it, um, Louis Simmons of West Side barbell found it and kind of ran it with his own direction. So originally it’s the, uh, system Russia used for weightlifting. So as Russian weightlifting system, China used it as well to model their Chinese weightlifting system, which is why you see, I don’t know, when you talk to those guys, like, I don’t wanna speak past my, sort of like, what I can say for sure, but I mean, when you listen to the Chinese, um, coaches and those guys speak, you’re kind of feeling like you’re hearing the same thing.


So like a ton of accessory work, um, and like movements that are variants used to build snatch and clean and jerk. And so, uh, Louie and West Side barbell took that system, adapted it, and started, you know, he ran West Side barbell until he passed, uh, I don’t know, maybe I think two a year or two years ago. Um, but it’s a, I mean, it’s built world champions and it’s really cool because it’s been, he applied it not only to Powerlifters very, very successfully, like strongest gym on the planet. Uh, he also applied it to a ton of sport athletes from, you know, UFC fighters to Olympics sprinters, and, um, saw a huge progress and gains for them. Um, I mean, to be honest, like I actually found it, my, I found it, uh, a video CrossFit journal, I mean, I don’t know, maybe 11 years ago of Dave Castro, um, out at this weird gym in Columbus, Ohio, pulling like a sled with his, like, hands below his knees, um, and then like carrot, like pulling a dragging sled like that across the yard. Um, and it kind of piqued my interest. And so I, I found West Side through CrossFit.

Sevan Matossian (10:01):

Oh, interesting. Yeah. Is the conjugate system, is there anything, uh, definitive about it in terms of its, um, time? Like all the cycles are nine weeks or

Jesse BiFano (10:10):

Mm. Yeah,

Sevan Matossian (10:11):

It’s all, it’s always three steps forward, one steps back. It’s, it’s raised the way three, is there anything like that? Are there any percentages that they’re con that they’re dogmatic about? Anything dogmatic about it? Like that that define, I mean, that defines it. I don’t mean that with a negative connotation.

Jesse BiFano (10:24):

Yeah, no, I know what you’re saying. Um, yeah, so you’ve got sort of four primary days a week. So you got two max effort days, one upper, one lower, and you’ve got two dynamic effort days, one upper, one lower.

Sevan Matossian (10:34):

Okay. And, and when you say upper one, upper one lower, what does that mean?

Jesse BiFano (10:38):

So, specifically as it relates to para thing, it’d be upper days would be bench or pressing patterns.

Sevan Matossian (10:43):


Jesse BiFano (10:43):

And then lower would be squatter, Ted.

Sevan Matossian (10:46):

Okay. So upper body, lower

Jesse BiFano (10:47):

Body, yeah. Yeah,

Sevan Matossian (10:49):

Totally. Two, two max efforts a week in each of those?

Jesse BiFano (10:52):

Yeah. Uh, no one for max, one for upper, one for lower, so Okay. For us, like, um, you know, what did we do sort of, uh, last Monday we maxed, we did a three rep max, good morning. And then last Wednesday we did, uh, one rep max, uh, two board bench, and then the, go

Sevan Matossian (11:11):

Ahead. No, no, you go ahead.

Jesse BiFano (11:13):

Uh, and then Fridays are like speed days. So that’s like, dynamic efforts are gonna be, that’s where we apply bands or chains to the bar. So we’ll do those squat and deadlift both with bands predominantly. Um, but done, like, you know, we’ll do 12 sets of two on the 45 seconds or on the minute for squats. And then, you know, 12 singles, uh, on the 30 seconds or 45 seconds for dead and the waves for those days. So Max’s cycle out every week, and then dynamic efforts cycle out usually every three weeks. But I mean, there are, yeah, in general that would be, that’d be how, how it kinda moves through

Sevan Matossian (11:53):

And bands and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, uh, chains. Are those required pieces of equipment for, uh, conjugate, for, for the, for the strength training? If you

Jesse BiFano (12:03):

Yeah, totally. Yeah. I would like, no, but it is optimal.

Sevan Matossian (12:08):

Okay. Freak almost always seen if someone’s from the con they have, those are some of the tools totally that they use. Okay.

Jesse BiFano (12:14):

Yeah. The dynamic efforts just aren’t the same without that band apply. Cuz you’re, you’re looking to sort of have that accommodating resistance. So the change in, in tension from the bottom of the lift to the top of the lift. So you’re looking to sort of force that accelerating speed. So, you know, you could, like, there’s ways of cycling without it, but eventually that’s kind of where you’re gonna end up. So for building like explosive power, that would be what we predominantly lean on. Oh. For like sport athletes.

Sevan Matossian (12:44):

Okay. That, that makes sense. Uh, uh, par pardon me, uh, here, uh, a minute, I, I wish you didn’t have to see this ugly side of my, um, family here. Uh, Trish, uh, Savon, you’ve been with CrossFit forever and you don’t know what conjugate is. Listen, you ding dong <laugh>. I know everything. I wouldn’t, I, the only reason why I have a podcast is to try to teach you guys shit. I don’t have I podcast with me would be just me sitting here staring into the eyes of my guests. That being said, I have no idea what the conjugate system is. Uh, so No, you’re right, Trish. Um, there was one more in here. Oh, Heidi Krum. So Russia started CrossFit not nice. Heidi, I see what you did there. I, I, I see, uh, what you, uh, twisted up there. Okay. Um, before, um, I, I am, uh, it’s funny that you say that the, or interesting that you say that the deadlift is in CrossFit is, what was the word you used? An area where there’s still a lot of room to grow or explore

Jesse BiFano (13:38):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, totally.

Sevan Matossian (13:40):

Because it also seems like it’s one of the favorite lifts of CrossFitters. Um, the deadlift, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but basically just picking, no, basically just picking things off the ground. Don’t, don’t CrossFitters just like to pick heavy shit off the ground. Mean like when I was introduced to the deadlift, I kind of got addicted to it. Yeah. It’s, but you’re right. I’s my favorite. Only did conventional. I didn’t do sumo. I didn’t do frog, but I like picking I’m stones off the ground bars. Totally. Making kind of addicted to just picking shit off the ground.

Jesse BiFano (14:04):

Yeah. I mean, the deadlift is fantastic. I mean, it’s amazing. So for Powerlift thing, you know, the other two, so squat and bench press both have a, um, down before it goes back up, so you get to load into it, but the deadlifts up only, right? Okay. So the deadlifts just that raw starting strength. So it’s just that barbell sits on the floor and you can either raise it or you can’t. And even for equipped lifters, so people who would compete for power lifting thing, who have like suits, have you ever seen that? Like the, like the heavy, so like even for those, so like you

Sevan Matossian (14:34):

Put a, those are the ones that kind of, the shirts kind of Yeah. It’s, you keep it in in the

Jesse BiFano (14:37):

Pathway’s. Crazy heavy duty. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Super extreme. Like those, those guys, I mean, um, it’s a, it’s very different and it’s, it’s, um, it’s, it’s definitely super hardcore. But, uh, I mean, you put a squat seat on and it changes your, your number dramatically on the, on the squat, you put a bench shirt on, it changes that number dramatically on a bench. You put anything on for deadlift and it maybe gives you 50 pounds is what, you know, I think most, most people would say, um, again, I don’t have a ton of experience in gear, um, but it’s just cool. It’s just something you just can’t, can’t, um, mess up with too, uh, too much for, like, you can’t cheat it. It’s just like, you know, throw a belt on, uh, and you gotta work as hard as you can. So it’s, it’s a great lift.

Sevan Matossian (15:21):

And is the belt exercise?

Jesse BiFano (15:24):

Say again?

Sevan Matossian (15:25):

It is a belt exercise question mark.

Jesse BiFano (15:27):

Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah,

Sevan Matossian (15:30):

Man, I need, I need to own a belt. I’m 51. Is it too late for me to start incorporating a belt in?

Jesse BiFano (15:35):

I get a belt for

Sevan Matossian (15:35):

Sure. Okay. Uh, Barry, look it, everyone’s exci excited, uh, Barry Cocker, uh, 5 25 deadlift. Everyone wants to just like, I appreciate and I respect this. This is crazy. That’s a great lift. Barry. Uh, jeez Louise, 4 85. Awesome. Uh, Jeffrey Birchfield. I did, uh, five by three at 4 0 5 the other day. Not bad for a guy who’s 112, uh, FAS and Hopper hit four 50 deadlift last week, two 30 squat, uh, snatch Monday and 3 0 5. Clean and jerk yesterday. Dang. Dude. <laugh>. Yeah. Some, some strong cats. Um, in the, in the audience. Okay. Uh, I had no idea we were gonna start the show like this, but let’s keep going with the deadlift. Okay. Uh, pro beach volleyball player.

Jesse BiFano (16:18):

Yeah. Yeah. Leanne are,

Sevan Matossian (16:20):

She’s such

Jesse BiFano (16:20):

A stud. Yeah, she’s awesome.

Sevan Matossian (16:23):

Uh, is it possible for every healthy able-bodied person and by healthy, I’m just saying, you know, you can jog a 400 meter track. You can, you got one pull up. You, you, you, you can ride a bike, you know what I mean? You can wipe your own butt. You like, you got some of the fundamentals down in life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yep. Um, to, to, um, uh, let’s say under 60 to deadlift, 400 pounds, could you teach any human being to pick 400 pounds off the ground outside of like some sort of Yeah, I

Jesse BiFano (17:00):

Can say no.

Sevan Matossian (17:02):

No. Okay. That, that’s what, what about 300?

Jesse BiFano (17:05):

Well, I guess men are men or women, I guess would be the thing. I mean, um, I mean, de actually

Sevan Matossian (17:10):

This is a woman right here, right? 4 35. Yeah. This is mind bog

Jesse BiFano (17:13):

Boggling. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great.

Sevan Matossian (17:14):

This is like, I saw this, I’m like, you play volleyball, why do I not? And she even got the volleyball sweatshirt on, like, fuck you. I play volleyball. Yeah,

Jesse BiFano (17:23):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s, uh, yeah, I mean that’s, so that’s sweatshop Cincinnati, so that’s Shane Sweat’s gym. Um, one of his athletes, like, I mean, SHA Shane is a stud coach. Um, you know, that’s who I do sort of our podcast with. Um, he’s been in the game for, for a long time. I mean, like, he’s had lifters break all time world records, like time and time again, like huge, huge lifting happens in Ohio. Um, yeah, for us, we’ve, we’ve been pushing that, like chasing that 400 for, for women in our gym for, for a while. Um, we’ve got maybe like 30 plus women over 300. Um, and like, you know, Teagues at three 80, we’d, one of our girls just pull, I

Sevan Matossian (18:08):

Think, uh, that’s the 17 year old girls at three 80, you

Jesse BiFano (18:10):

Just said. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, she’s, she turns 19 this summer. Uh, so that was two years ago. Um, but, um, yeah,

Sevan Matossian (18:17):

Did every man do 400 pounds?

Jesse BiFano (18:21):

Well, I guess depending on like, uh, health and training, volume, et cetera. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (18:24):

Outside of, outside of, um, of being, you know, have some, having some sort of like, uh, permanent decrepitude. Like can you teach every, let’s just make it easy. Every any 20 year old kid who comes in off the street, if he puts in, uh, 10 years of work to 10 deadlift 400 pounds.

Jesse BiFano (18:43):

Yeah. I think that, I think that feels pretty reasonable.

Sevan Matossian (18:46):

Yeah, that’s

Jesse BiFano (18:46):

An easy, I’d like to think that would be the case. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (18:49):

Uh, uh, sev you can’t, I, I don’t know. Maybe I could.

Jesse BiFano (18:54):

Yeah. Yeah. Where where are you deadlift at now?

Sevan Matossian (18:57):

The other, well, I, I don’t deadlift. I, I, I mean, I never, I rarely deadlift over the other day I did lifted 1 65 for a bunch of reps and a CrossFit workout. Usually I do just, um, 1 35 for sets of 10, somewhere in some sort of workout. But the other day, for the first time in probably four years, I, I did pull 2 95 and it came up kind of e easy. Yeah. But, but then I visited it again like a week later and it, it, it didn’t come up at all. Um, yeah. But I, but I have, I have serious mental issues. I have serious fear, like real, like real fear.

Jesse BiFano (19:31):

Have you ever had any issues with deadlift before?

Sevan Matossian (19:33):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Like, um, before I started CrossFit, I would hurt my back four times a year. Oh yeah. I was immobilized and then I started CrossFit and I only started hurting it twice a year, but it was always fucking around with the deadlift. Right.

Jesse BiFano (19:45):


Sevan Matossian (19:46):

Yeah. And mean, I’d feel that, like, that ping and then I would be crawling to the bathroom for a week.

Jesse BiFano (19:51):


Sevan Matossian (19:51):

Yeah. And I’m not blaming anyone but myself. It was always like, there were always signs.

Jesse BiFano (19:56):

Totally. Yeah. I mean, I, yeah, it, it’s one, it’s, it’s one of those things that sucks. Like the deadlift gets a, um, you know, bad rap for, um, beating people up and back issues. And then it sucks once people have a bad experience with it. It’s like having a bad experience with a box jump. Like it’s real hard to build that sort of confidence back up and, and, uh, push it again. But, um,

Sevan Matossian (20:18):

The box jumps in that category too.

Jesse BiFano (20:20):

Yeah. I would say bo like a box jump for sure. I mean,

Sevan Matossian (20:22):

You jump, jump down and something. Is it your back or what goes out in the box?

Jesse BiFano (20:26):

Oh, it’s no, just like if you fail, like if you fail a box jump, it’s hard to build confidence. Oh. Like if you got someone who’s jumping like, high, high jumps and, and, uh, they have like a misstep and, and bail, it’s hard for ’em to like regain that confidence. Um, cuz that’s what it is. I mean, the other side of it too is if, you know, you’ve got sort of like, if you’re getting breakdown on a pattern, then for us that’d be something where we start look at, um, you know, why that would be, and then try to attack it with other means. So rather than build the deadlift by more deadlifts, we would build the deadlift off of like seeing where breakdown starts to occur and then like applying accessory work to like fortify those areas, bring up those weaknesses, and then retest, deadlift and see if it had a positive effect or not.

Sevan Matossian (21:08):

What would some of those movements be?

Jesse BiFano (21:11):

Uh, it depends where you’re getting breakdown, but you know, for deadlift, like in my experience, like it’s been the difference between going from like a 300 to 400 dead and four to five, five to six, six to seven, like, it, it’s kind of a, it’s been a pretty cool road where I feel like every sort of a hundred pounds, um, the, the deadlift asks like, something different to you. So a lot of times at that base level, like the initial phase is just understanding the moving pattern and getting it right. So very common issue is to set the deadlift up the same way you would set up a clean or a snatch mm-hmm. <affirmative> where you’re gonna have the weight shifted just maybe a little bit more forward on the foot. Uh, the knees track a little more forward. So you got, uh, more forward shin angle and the hips are lower, but the clean on the snatch, you’re optimized for that movement from the knees to the hips.


Right. So you’re trying to get the most outta a cleaner snatch above the knees to apply that force to barbell. It’s, you know, no one’s having a problem on their snatch or they’re clean from the floor to above the knees, but the deadlift, it all happens in that first couple inches in general, especially when you’re new. Uh, so that, that position then is really important. So having a much steeper shit angle, the hips are a bunch higher, and being able to understand the basics of like bracing and position to make sure you’re in a good star position. You know, the weights, you know, driven through the heels, um, you know, dialing that in gets you your first, you know, bunch of weights and then you start to see sort of breakdown. But usually then it starts to occur through like that classic like low back rounding. Right. So either lead from the upper folding or, uh, just, just that sort of, if they can get to the start position, you know, their mobility’s good. Wow. Right. So that they can set up a great like setup. Then you’re like, okay, they’ve got a place to start and if they fail as they start to pull, then we know that it’s something else and usually it’s bracing. Um, so we pour a ton of effort into midline work.

Sevan Matossian (23:07):

Oh. Like things like situps ghd, um,

Jesse BiFano (23:12):

Yeah. Some flexion extension patterns to the spine. Um, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Front squat, I mean, depends on the athlete, like for sure. Front squat for, for, um, crossbar. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Those are the patterns. Like these elbows we’ll do strict toast bar. Yeah. These elbows a little more old school now, it feels like. I feel like those are the patterns that like, you know, when was the last time we’ve seen those

Sevan Matossian (23:33):

Those are great though.

Jesse BiFano (23:34):

Totally. Yeah. Agree. I mean

Sevan Matossian (23:36):

Oh yeah, a hundred. You can destroy someone’s midline like that,

Jesse BiFano (23:38):

Right? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I just want, it’s just one of those funny ones from like cross it back in the day, you know? Right. Um, the, uh, yeah. Yeah. It just feels like ne knees to elbows is one that you’re like, ah, you just don’t see that

Sevan Matossian (23:49):

As much. Plank.

Jesse BiFano (23:51):

Plank for sure. Yeah. Plank. So it’s like isometric holds for sure with like tons and tons of variations. So like, you know, variations on those patterns are gonna be, um, like we’ve, we will have someone in a plank position up on like a bench with their hands and a box with their feet and they would sort of like hang kettlebells off of bands at sort of that hip level. So instead of hanging plate weight off you, we would hang kettlebells and bands and they might have someone do like cross body shoulder touches, so they raise their hand off the bench touch opposite shoulder. So something that sort of like forces like trying to create stability from instability. Um, you know, a lot of rotational work, like just lots of variation. I mean, sa same as CrossFit’s doing just as, as much variation as we can get. So we’re not sort of like failing to adapt to stimulus, like changing as much as we Yeah, there you go. Yeah. Yeah. Classic.

Sevan Matossian (24:43):

Yeah, I remember seeing that.

Jesse BiFano (24:44):

Yeah. Yeah. Things like that for sure. Trying to be creative. Like, I mean, there’s always that component that, you know, one of the things I think that has made CrossFit super successful has been, uh, just it’s real fun, interesting, and different, right? Right. So then trying to apply that to accessory work and strength to keep the, you know, motivated motivation there is, uh, is like high value. So trying to incorporate new pieces and, you know, whatever we can get sort of positive, uh, changes from,

Sevan Matossian (25:13):

I I used to trip on this too, speaking of a breakdown position. Whenever I would hang out with, uh, Rob Orlando, I’d be like, Hey, that, um, that picking up the, uh, the stone?

Jesse BiFano (25:24):

Yeah. Oh yeah.

Sevan Matossian (25:26):

Picking up the stone is actually, it’s, it’s like the worst deadlift form, but mm-hmm. <affirmative> actually, yeah. My back loves rounding like that when I pick things up, like it, like I actually, it actually feels good.

Jesse BiFano (25:37):

Yeah. The, the stone is like, the stone is super cool. That first clip with the wall was one that was one of our best, uh, uh, strongman events we ever did. Was that wall stay? Yeah, that one.

Sevan Matossian (25:48):

Yeah. Let’s take a break here for a second. Why before we go back to the stone.

Jesse BiFano (25:52):

Oh man. It was just, it was such a short, uh, time domain and just like soul crushing. Like people said, some people still will reach out and be like, dude, hardest event that I’ve done in my entire life. Um,

Sevan Matossian (26:06):

Interesting. What’s the stop? What, what’s that look like when someone fails that?

Jesse BiFano (26:10):

Uh, there’s spotters on both sides.

Sevan Matossian (26:12):


Jesse BiFano (26:12):

Okay. So you see those guys in the background just chasing it with their hands. Yeah. And then there’s tires in the ground as well. So there’s the d it can’t actually get all the way to the ground, so, okay. Yeah. Yeah. It, uh, yeah, we got some crazy photos from, that was su super cool event. Yeah, we, we made it plate loadable, so you can see on the top of that wall on the outside. Oh. Is like, uh, we, we built sort of like a way to slide plates on the end to like overload it, but yeah, I was working on a job site and it just crossed my mind, like, wondered what was the, like most, the heaviest wall one person could possibly stand, uh, by themselves. And so we, we turned it into event. So we put that wall on like a hinge at the bottom and, uh, and worked this, that one video that that clip of the start is actually one of the strongest men in Western Canada. Um, he came out and, uh, did the event and yeah, it was,

Sevan Matossian (26:59):

It was, so there’s a hinge at the bottom, meaning that thing can’t slide?

Jesse BiFano (27:02):

No, can’t slide at all. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s on a hinge and all. Yeah. We’re good at building things. Um, but, um, yeah, actually, so the, I guess the point with the, um, the stone piece

Sevan Matossian (27:12):

Piece Build the stone. Yeah.

Jesse BiFano (27:12):

Yeah. Yeah. Really interesting. Right? So it’s something that like, uh, for sure

Sevan Matossian (27:16):

Because it, everything you’re not supposed to do

Jesse BiFano (27:18):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah. It’s stone is, so I, I love stones. Um, we, we do quite a bit of stone work and, um, the stone pick is like, is different, right? Because one, you think of the deadlift bar where your hands go, your mid shins, right? But a stone is not only like at the ground, it’s like your wrists bend to get under the stone, so it’s like so low, right? So it’s a much deeper pick for that, that start position. The difference in, and again, this is just my opinion, but in my opinion, a deadlift bar is optimized, right? So like, if you got cross the bar, you’re like 28 mil, 20 and a half mil. If you got a deadlift bar, you’re 27 mil. Uh, the knurling is super aggressive on a, on a specialty bar, it’s meant to be lifted. It’s got the right whip. It’s, it’s like the most weight you can lift and everything is set up for you to be successful. A stone is the opposite of that. So even a light stone still takes substantial bracing.

Sevan Matossian (28:21):

So much of it’s off your midline. It’s just, it’s just, yeah. It’s, it’s like

Jesse BiFano (28:25):

You just have to, you just have to grip it hard to have it come off the floor at all. So I think where on a deadlift, when you grip it and start your pole, because everything’s set up, you mix your grip or you hook your thumbs, like all those sort of things allow you to be, it allows you to sort of still be successful when maybe you shouldn’t, you know. So you can, you can be kinda lazy, have your background and be like, ah, this sucks, but I can still make it. But a stone, you’re like, the bracing is so much that, like if you, especially it’s, if it’s really heavy, um, if you back off your tension through your body just a bit, it’s over. Like that’s don’t go straight back to the floor and that’s the end of it. Um, so although you are getting a ton of flexion through that low back

Sevan Matossian (29:10):

Yeah. Deadlift, you can almost kind of, rest is a, is a exaggeration, but you can lean back and as it’s coming up and, and push it off your, off your shins or whatever you, you there, there’s, well, you can

Jesse BiFano (29:19):

Just have your background and still keep pulling. Okay. You can, you can be relaxed and still lifting. Okay. But a stone, you, you can’t really be relaxed and still lifting. So that’s, that, that’s what

Sevan Matossian (29:31):

Kinda, it’s pulling you in more than one direction.

Jesse BiFano (29:34):


Sevan Matossian (29:34):

Mar’s just like going up the stone’s actually trying to get away from you. Yeah.

Jesse BiFano (29:37):

And you’re, and you got that crushing strength, so you’re like, you’re actually like, you know, squeezing it between your arms as hard as you can as well and Yeah. Yeah. Stone, stone is a, is a very special lift. But

Sevan Matossian (29:47):

What about the rounding of the back part? Why is that okay with stones and it’s not okay

Jesse BiFano (29:50):

With deadlift? Well, I think because even though it’s rounded, yeah, you’re still have, you have still have a ton of systemic tension, right? It’s not.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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