Tag Archives: American

American Open with Christmas Abbott and Mike Bledsoe


​Wow, what a great weekend! Olympic Weightlifting’s American Open took place in Dallas, TX with over 450 registered lifters. The meet was not only the biggest in American History, but the biggest in the world this year. I either coached or helped coach over nine lifters. I watched two of my lifters that I started in this sport break into the top ten, Rebecca Gerdon and Jacob “Rabbit” Wyatt. I can’t even begin to explain how proud I am of them. They are both rookies in the sport, and I have no doubts that both of them will be on the podium next year. The Attitude Nation lifters killed it as a team, and I was very proud to be helping coach that team. Jon and Jessica North are real pioneers in this sport, and they are both a big reason why the sport has increased in popularity so much.
​Weightlifting Talk went live Saturday night right outside of the competition. What a night it was!!!! Christmas Abbott, Mike Bledsoe “Barbell Shrugged”, James Tatum, Kendrick Farris(2 Time Olympian), Jared Fleming, Chad Vaughn(2 Time Olympian), Cody Gibbs, Coach Zygmunt Smalcerz(Olympic Gold Medallist and US Head Coach), and many more celebrity guest were on our show. It’s an episode that you don’t want to miss, so go to http://www.spreaker.com/page#!/user/weightlifting_talk/american-open-prt-3 and listen.
​Finally Sunday, I was given the privilege of commentating for the 94k A Session live stream that was listened to by over 24000 people across the world. I just feel so blessed to be a part of such a great sport especially during this time of amazing growth. With the podcast, seminars, competition, and my team, I feel a small part of taking this great sport to the world. Like I’ve said before, the barbell teaches people about themselves. There is no better way to learn about yourself than the sport of weightlifting. You will learn if you are a risk taker, if you are courageous, and if you are fearless. The barbell is a way of life, and now the world will know.
​My MashMafia Powerlifting Team also did work in Hickory, NC at the state championships. They took home a lot of hardware, and as soon as I get the full report, I will let you all know how they did. I am just so excited to have both a Powerlifting Team and a Weightlifting Team. I love both sports, and I just love introducing people to the different aspects of the barbell. My goal is to dominate both sports with unbeatable teams. I want to put a program into place to start recruiting serious athletes in both sports. Hopefully early in 2014, I will be able to announce the program.
​This weekend was also a reunion of old friends, and it was a time to meet new people throughout the country that love weightlifting. I try to take advantage of every second of my time with these great people. After the day of competition in the bar/restaurant, is where the real exchange of knowledge goes down. I wanted to give you guys a few of the tips that I learned:

1. Try to find great athletes throughout the world with similar builds as yourself and mimic their technique. There is no one technique that fits all body types, so set out on a quest to find what works for your build.
2. Universal truths- sweep the bar close to the body during the pull, peak the bar, pull yourself aggressively underneath the bar, and move the feet.
3. Ask yourself, “If you had 45 minutes to get across the most important point of your life to an audience, what would you say and what would it be about? Then start to perfect that 45 minute discussion.
4. All programming works! Some is better than others, but the key is the athlete buying in to the plan.
5. At a meet, less verbal cues is better. Just relax your athlete, keep track of his or her numbers and warm ups, and keep them relaxes.

​The weekend is over, but the memories of this epic weekend will live forever. I think that CrossFit has shed light on the barbell, and it is up to people like me to take it to the world.

The Christmas Abbott and Mike Bledsoe “Barbell Shrugged” Podcast


Morgan King, Elisabeth Akinwale, Rebecca Gerdon, and my beautiful wife Emily Drew Mash





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On My Way to the American Open

I’m so excited to be a part of the biggest weightlifting competition in US History. I have three awesome athletes qualified for this event which I am super excited about. The MashMafia Weightlifting Team is only two years old, and is comprised of young rookie lifters. My athletes were not recruited, but they were made into great weightlifters. I’m just so dang proud of the Team.

Sunday I am commentating for the 94kA Session. I’m just so excited to be a part of Weightlifting History. The past two years have been awesome for the sport. There are a lot of reasons for the increase in popularity including: CrossFit, Greg Everett, Cal Strength, Jon North and the Attitude Nation, Weightlifting Talk, and MDUSA. That is only a few of the reasons, but they are the ones that I am most familiar.

I will be posting highlights and my take on the action daily, so stay tune!

For any questions regarding Learn 2 Lift Seminars or Online Coaching, go to:


Or if you are interested in hosting a Learn 2 Lift Seminar on the topics of Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, or Athletic Performance, email me at:


Attitude Nation AO Qualifier


Today was the Attitude Nation Last Chance Qualifier for the American Open. Scuba Steve, Hayden Dupont and I were representing the MashMafia. Scuba absolutely killed it! He hit 117k/258lbs in the Snatch, and he hit 149k/328lbs in the Clean & Jerk to qualify. He actually Cleaned 153k/336lbs, but he missed the jerk. I am so proud of this young man. He has come along so quickly in a short amount of time. Just two weeks ago he competed in the NC State Championships, but fell short of the qualifying total. Today he looked like he was good for plenty more. Not only is he a freak athlete, but he is a Math Major at Wake Forest University with a 3.6GPA. He will be attending Law School next Fall, so MashMafia has a freak athlete for at least three more years.

Hayden Dupont was trying to qualify for the Youth Nationals, but he fell just a little short. I think that he did awesome because he took a month off. Hayden is another brain child in the 9th Grade taking all honors courses, so he needed a little time to adjust to high school. I fell a little short hitting 120k in the Snatch, and missing the 157k Clean & Jerk that would have qualified me. I’m still very happy because I weighed 94k/207lbs for the first time since 1999. I owe it all to my wife’s famous cooking. Go Mash Potatoes! I feel so much better, and I am moving much better. I just need to get acclimated to this body weight strength wise, and then I believe that next year I will hit some much bigger weights. We all owe my wife, Emily Drew and Brealon’s girlfriend, Haley for not only putting up with us, but they ran the table at the meet. They both helped out in all aspects of the meet. Thank you both!

None of this would have been possible without Coach Brealon. He helped with the meet, and coached all of us. He truly is a huge asset to the MashMafia Weightlifting Team. I think that he will be one of the best coaches of all-time when he has a little more time under his belt. I don’t say this lightly. He has three great things going for him: education, experience, and heart. He is an Exercise Science Major from Appalachian State University, and he is around all the right people. He’s only twenty-two, and he has met and friended: me, Jon North, Donnie Shankle, Glenn Pendlay, and Coach Joe Kenn. That’s not to bad for 22! He is a lifter too! He gets it! I believe that without a doubt he will be on the National scene next year. He is assistant coach at MashMafia as well, so he’s getting that experience daily. More importantly than all of this, his heart is in the right place. He cares about his lifters and his teammates. He loves them, and we love him. This is why he will be great!

I must also give a shout out to MashMafia’s sister gym, The Attitude Nation Weightlifting Team. Justin Lovinggood also qualified for the American Open with 125k Snatch and 152k Clean & Jerk. Jacob “Rabbit Wyatt totaled enough for the American Open A Session hitting 105k Snatch and 126k Clean & Jerk. Rabbit is a MashMafia Original, and I am very proud of him. He has come along way as an athlete since I first met him. I look for him to medal on the National Stage real soon. I don’t know what I would do without the Attitude Nation. When I say that, I mean Jon and Jessica, their team, and the many people who listen to Jon and me on Weightlifting Talk. I feel without a doubt that we are all close family, and I truly love them all.
I’m excited for the American Open as I will be one of the announcers, and I will be coaching Scuba Steve and the Attitude Nation lifters. I will have three athletes that I have coached in the AO: Scuba, Rabbit, and MDUSA’s Rebecca Gerdon. December is going to be an exciting month, and I am excited to watch all my MashMafia and Attitude Nation lifter go at it!

For any questions regarding Learn 2 Lift Seminars or Online Coaching, go to:


Or if you are interested in hosting a Learn 2 Lift Seminar on the topics of Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, or Athletic Performance, email me at:


Greg Everett, American Weightlifting


Weightlifting Pioneers

Yesterday on Weightlifting Talk (http://www.spreaker.com/page#!/user/weightlifting_talk/greg_everett) my friend Greg Everett joined me and Jon North in a discussion about his upcoming Documentary Film “American Weightlifting”. We also discussed the future of American Weightlifting. I loved the fact that we were all positive. We gave solutions and ideas. I feel like I am a small part of the Evolution of American Weightlifting.

I believe that there is a new generation of Weightlifter that wants to see the sport grow. A generation that has the energy to bring the sport to the people. A generation that wants to show public the reason they have such extraordinary passion for the sport of Weightlifting. With the help of social media and CrossFit, I believe that people like Jon North, Greg Everett, and myself are showing the public why the sport of Weightlifting is so exciting.

CrossFit has taken the world by storm with millions of fans world wide. For the first time in history, people are starting to know and respect the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. A MashEliter Lisa Sokolsky told me a story about watching the Crossfit Games with her husband Mitch. Mitch wasn’t really interested until he saw the Clean & Jerk ladder. When people see 300+lbs heaved above someone’s head, they realize how awesome it is.

We have all tried lifting various rocks, hay, or other objects, so the public can identify with certain weights being lifted from the ground to overhead. It’s the most functional movement on earth. Especially when you add in the beauty and grace of a well performed Snatch or Clean & Jerk, people are left in awe.

Yesterday after the show, I was left motivated to take the sport to the world. I am blessed to already have a Weightlifting Team, but I want to take the sport to the schools. I want to have weightlifting in every school in my area. The sport of Weightlifting is superior when it comes to comes to Athletic Performance. That’s why I think that it’s a good fit for all schools. We just need the man power and education systems put in place to educate the community leaders.

I just feel so blessed to be a part of this movement. The pioneers of the past have laid a wonderful foundation for the current generation to run with. I just thank God that I am friends and partners with men like Greg Everett, Jon North, Glenn Pendlay, Spencer Arnold, and Donnie Shankle. We all love, sweat, and bleed the sport of Weightlifting. I believe this passion will spill over onto the world!

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