Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Best Pull-Up Assist Bands

Adidas Leistung 16.II Review

BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder Review – Big Ingredient List

Can Practicing Incorrect Form Actually Improve Your Lifting?

Julie Foucher Announces Her Plans for 2017 CrossFit® Games Regionals

Thor Bjornsson Benches 200kg For the Easiest Ten Reps You’ve Ever Seen

Kinesio Tex Gold 100% Cotton Kinesiology Tape Review

In 1979, Dr. Kenzo Kase (some people consider him the originator of kinesiology tape) founded Kinesio, who today manufactures kinesiology tape for athletic applications. One of the leading tapes by Kinesio is the Kinesio Tex Gold Tape, which is made of 100% cotton and offers lightweight to medium support for nearly every athletic endeavor.

After my previous experiences with cotton kinesiology tape from a variety of manufactures, I was eager to see how this roll held up during sweaty, explosive, and full range of motion training sessions to then share my experiences and feedback.

In this article we are reviewing the Kinesio Tex Gold 100% cotton tape by Kinesio.


Kinesio Tex Gold cotton is a fairly low profile tape when applied, and offers the amount of support I was expecting from kinesiology tape. I was initially drawn to the adhesive abilities of this tape, especially when compared with other 100% cotton and less adhesive rolls. The tape stayed in place, offered good support, and was much appreciated after my first experience with another leading 100% cotton tape.

Applying the tape to the skin was as easy as peeling and sticking. Once in place, the tape stayed put and offered a light and noticeable pull to trigger better movement patterning. I personally found this tape to offer a fair amount of support and pull, which I preferred as compared to lighter less adhesive tapes on the market. Lifters who are looking for a less noticeable tape (feel on skin) may want to opt for another version or brand, as I did feel the tape and it’s pull, however at no point did it hinder my movement in anyway.

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape Fit

Comfort and Fit

Kinesio Tex Gold is constructed of elastic cotton material, which offers lightweight support. The material is soft on the skin, and really stayed put which is highly beneficial during more intense training sessions involving fuller range of motion movements.

Unlike other versions, this tape did not come in pre-cut strips, however,I found this tape to be very tear-able, and the additional markings on the back of the tape made it easy to measure lengths. While I would say pre-cut is a plus, this tape was tear-able, measured well, and stayed in place.

I found applying the tape to be pretty easy, and didn’t have any issues tearing it or getting strips the same length (thanks to the grip on the back of each strip). I found the cotton tape to be pretty comfortable on the skin, and didn’t really absorb the sweat, which is a good thing, as this helped it stay adhered.

I applied the tape across the bicep/elbow, as well as on the upper trap and shoulder complex. I was actually surprised at how quickly I felt some relief from some weird trap alignment I have going on, and found it to provide good feedback during pull ups and push ups.

Kinesio Tex Gold Application


This material is comprised of latex free 100% cotton fibers, that are very stretchy allowing for full ranges of movement yet still was able to stay adhered and firm to the skin, which is a must for a no fuss tape. I didn’t have any issues during most of my training, which was much appreciated, unlike some other versions of cotton kinesiology tape.

Kinesio Tex Gold Review


I personally found this tape to adhere well during training involving snatches, overhead pressing, and even back squats (bar on the shoulder strips). They stayed in place, didn’t lose firmness and feel, and lasted the entire training session. Granted, I do not wear kinesiology tape often, and if I do I use for only single use, as I sweat, a lot.


These rolls of the tape vary based on thickness and size. Sold on Amazon, as well as the company website, you can expect to get the 1 or 2” rolls for $14.95, and the thicker 3” roll for $21.95. I found the price to be warranted when compared to more popular and well-known brands that may lack the adhesive properties that Kinesio Flex Gold provides.

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape Price

Final Words

I found the Kinesio Flex Gold tape to be a good all-around kinesiology tape that offered midrange support, great adhesiveness, and had a smooth, natural feel.

A potential drawback of this tape is that some people may want less of a supportive and adhesive feeling tape, which in that case may make this not the best option. For the price, and the qualities of adhesiveness and firmness, I would recommend this product to budget shoppers and high end athletes alike.

The post Kinesio Tex Gold 100% Cotton Kinesiology Tape Review appeared first on BarBend.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Watch This 70-Year-Old Dominate His Final Powerlifting Meet

At BarBend, we’re big fans of videos of strength athletes crushing PRs and pulling heavy lifts at an older age. (Some of our favorites include Fred Rice deadlifting 520 pounds on his 72nd birthday and Janis McBee taking up Olympic weightlifting in her late 70s.)

But it’s not often that we’re treated to a documentary about senior lifters that’s as high quality as Iron Grandpa, the excellent short film about Finnish powerlifter Esko Ketola.

The documentary, which was produced by Al Jazeera and the Finnish media company Matto Media, follows the 70-year-old Ketola as he trains to compete in the 2014 Global Powerlifting Committee World Championships in Argentina.

It’s a complex story. Not only does Ketola have to contend with his history of injuries (in particular, a ruptured joint capsule in his hip), he also has to grapple with his checkered history of steroid usage. Ketola failed doping tests in 1992 and 1995 and received a lifetime ban from international competition. He is now only able to compete in untested federations, which is why he flies to Argentina to win the GPC’s 67.5kg division. Check out the trailer below.

The full film can be watched right here.

“I’ve talked a lot about winning five world championships,” says Ketola. “I need one more to be a man of my word. That’s why i’m going to Argentina for the World Championship. Only the weak give up.”

The film overall is a great meditation on the sport of powerlifting, and Ketola — though he experiences the occasional moments of cantankerousness — is a wise soul who shares lifting philosophy from the perspective of a septuagenarian.

You have to be strong overall, just as strong from head to toe. Legs for squats, arms for bench, back for deadlift. (…) It’s a test for the whole body. If competitors are equally strong, the one with the strongest willpower wins. Luckily, all I have in my head is incredible willpower.

Ketola’s goal is to deadlift 190kg (419 pounds), and along the way he experiences a troublesome weight cut, and a lot nailbiting failed lifts. The final competition lifts, even for audiences unfamiliar with the sport, are seriously suspenseful.

Image via Al Jazeera on Facebook.

We won’t reveal whether or not he achieves his goal, but the film closes with Ketola joyfully describing his doctor’s anger at his decision to continue lifting, despite requiring surgery on his hip.

“You should’ve seen (his) face,” he smiles. “I’ll train to become the strongest in the world in my category. Then we’ll go again.”

Featured image via Al Jazeera on Facebook.

The post Watch This 70-Year-Old Dominate His Final Powerlifting Meet appeared first on BarBend.

How Being Stressed Can Impact Your Strength Training

New Documentary: A Day In the Life of Mat Fraser, the Fittest Man On Earth

If you’ve ever wanted to follow The Fittest Man on Earth  throughout a day of training, you’re in luck. and NF Sports (one of Fraser’s sponsors) have come together to film this short, eight-minute documentary titled A Day With the 2016 CrossFit Champ.

At the start of the video, Fraser describes the tipping point when he realized he could win the CrossFit Games.

At the Games (…) I sat down next to one of the really good guys. And I’m like, ‘Huh. You’re my size. (…) Our legs are the same size. You’re not this superhero everyone has on a pedestal. OK, maybe I can compare with you.’

Watch the video below.

The documentary is well shot, but to be honest, it doesn’t provide as much detail as we’d like. For example, we learn little about his nutrition, we see him making bacon, eggs, a muffin, and a glutamine shake for breakfast, but we don’t know what else he eats — he simply says, “Then I eat” as he describes the rest of his day.

And while it’s cool to watch the Fittest Man on Earth and winner of the 2017 CrossFit® Open work out all day (we see him complete three solid sessions), it would have been useful to learn a little more about his training methodology.

As another example, after he completes a home workout and a gym workout, he returns home to “do another, like hour or two of just the accessory stuff, you know stuff that isn’t hard (…) just that nagging stuff that piles up. Finish that, stretch, eat, bed.”

We see him performing some cleans, back extensions, and scap work, but we would have liked to hear more about the Games champion’s prehab. What does he do that others don’t, or don’t do enough of? What has he found most useful to protect his back, which he once broke in two places? What are the exercises that give him an edge? Fraser talks a lot about having learned from his mistakes, but we don’t really learn what those are.

Image via on YouTube

A Day With the 2016 CrossFit Champ is actually the second of several documentaries that is releasing about Fraser. The series, called The Making of a Champion, debuted a week ago with Beginnings, a longer, ten-minute documentary about Fraser that focuses much more on his motivations and mentality. We’ve embedded it below.

It’s not clear how many films will be released under the Making of a Champion title, but they should provide some great insight into the champion as we approach the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, where he’ll be defending his title as the Fittest Man on Earth.

Featured image via on YouTube

The post New Documentary: A Day In the Life of Mat Fraser, the Fittest Man On Earth appeared first on BarBend.

Ultimate Nutrition Whey Gold Review — Is It An “Anytime” Protein Powder?

ORAC Energy Greens Vs. Healthforce Vitamineral Green – Which Has More Benefits?

Split Squat vs Squat – What’s the Difference, and Muscles Worked?

Monday, April 24, 2017

John Cena Celebrates His 40th Birthday With a 602 Pound Deadlift

Foam Rollers – How to Use, Benefits, and Best Exercises

Hey, Athletes! Stop Apologizing For Selfies

D’Angelo Osorio Sets a New PWA Clean & Jerk Record With 215Kg

78 Year Old Janis McBee Proves It’s Never to Late to Start Olympic Lifting

How to REALLY Set Goals in Strongman Competition

Strongman is very much unlike two other contests designed to test strength: powerlifting and weightlifting. When you participate in one of the aforementioned meets, you know what you should be capable of and how you should place compared to the other athletes . This helps you understand your place in the endeavor and how much you need to improv. This is not even remotely true of the absolute, endurance, and varying tests in strongman contests. I’ve found that this uncertainty can lead many competitors to set unrealistic goals and actually believe in game day magic.

“He’s got a 33rd place car. He should stop racing like it’s a top ten car.”

Watching a NASCAR race last month fed me that bit of genius from an announcer. It is a point that (by realists) should be well heeded. It applies directly to strongman athletes when planning out their days outcome if they want the best possible result. Prior to many contests that I’ve reported on I have asked many contestants:

“How are you going to do tomorrow?”

Let’s first discuss the most common answer I get:

“I’m going to win, I’m the one to beat,” or some similar thought.

Don’t misunderstand, I am all for having a positive attitude but most often these people are flat out wrong. There can be only one victor and there may be ten people assuming they will have the same outcome. By saying this massive singular goal aloud they often give themselves a validation that may work against them (as I wrote here). There is a second and more important way this statement and belief can work against them.

If your only goal is to win the show and you have a poor first or second event, I would wager that the rest of your performance will be negatively impacted. While most people think they will pick themselves up and game harder, the opposite is more likely true. Often, that disappointment will make you feel like you’ve already lost, so why keep pushing? Fear and doubt will begin to creep in, along with being overwhelmed. Seeing that you have so much ground to make up can play on your subconscious making it difficult for you to go the extra mile later in the show.

The author speaks to a competitor before a strongman event

The second second answer I receive is is the polar opposite of the fist:

“I just want to do my best.”

My initial thought when I hear this is:

“Way to set yourself up for success.” (Sarcasm implied.)

Having such an open ended goal lowers all expectations on yourself and your fans. You basically just said whatever happens is sufficient. This is never an acceptable mindset for a true competitor. This line of thinking will have you leaving too many points on the table. There is a better way to think about your contests and here are the key points:

  • Know your events inside and out: Flawless technique, your trial runs properly weighted and being comfortable are going to go a long way to understanding how you stack up on an event. This will allow you to know how you can place on an event. If you find that a certain event is a weakness and you know this ahead of time, you will be OK with your placement on it and it guide you when it comes to how much better you need to do on your good events.
  • Remember, magic is only an illusion: While a novice might not understand their true ability someone with a few contests under their belt and properly prepared should. If you are constantly missing a weight in training and you must do it during a contest don’t count on an adrenaline surge to get the weight to where it needs to be. Adjust your training accordingly or pick a better contest for your abilities.
  • First places on events isn’t as important as your overall score: This is a points game so it’s important to accumulate as many of them as possible. Always going for the win on events can work against winning the overall. You must decide if expending high amounts of your endurance will work against you on the strength events or vice versa. If you know you can beat the field on your best event (or events) consider pacing your lesser events and look for a solid finish as opposed to an outright win.
  • Study your competitors: Most of your competitors will have a social media account where you can check on how their training is coming along. If that isn’t the case you can often check their past contest scores to see how they do on similar events coming up. Remember, you aren’t just competing against the weights in the contest, but against yourself and others as well.

Now, having looked at the contest in this light and having studied it a bit, you can help to articulate your goals for yourself (and your audience a bit better). This correct verbalization can help you be more successful and hold you accountable to actual measurable goals. Here is how the revised conversation would go:

“How do you plan on doing this weekend?”

Enthusiastic athlete: “Well, last year I placed eighth at this event but made a few technical errors. I am looking for the top three this year with the log being something I can take outright. If I win that, I know I can hold my own with the best in class on the farmer’s walk and deadlift for reps. The yoke may hold me back a bit as I’ve not been that strong on it but I have done extra work to get more comfortable with and make less mistakes. That will take us to the stones, my best event. If I have a flawless run with them, I will see you at awards!”

An elite competitor will always have a strong set of goals and have the ability to explain them. With a solid knowledge of how the day would play out perfectly in your head, you can help erase some jitters and increase your confidence and marketability. Now get focused and game plan like you should!

Photos courtesy Michele Wozniak

The post How to REALLY Set Goals in Strongman Competition appeared first on BarBend.

Emerge Fitness 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

Friday, April 21, 2017

Need Motivation? Watch Oscar Figueroa’s Epic Comeback to Win Gold in Rio

Very rarely do the best athletes ever have it easy. There always seems to be a great obstacle one must overcome before achieving true greatness. In an athlete’s case, this could be a comeback from injury, or other great life trauma that has derailed their current state of training and progress.

One of Olympic weightlifting’s best comeback stories comes from Colombian -62kg lifter Oscar Figueroa. His tail starts with his birth in Zaragoza, Antioquia, which is small municipality in the Colombian department. This Olympian competed four times, claiming fifth in 2004, taking a DNF (did not finish) in 2008 after injury, a silver in 2012, and finally a gold in 2016. He’s said to have retired, but could we be seeing a fifth appearance from him at Tokyo in 2020?

“I just like being number one.”

Figueroa’s story was recently told in a video shared on The Olympic YouTube channel in late March. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest sitting down and watching it full through, preferably before the gym. The video is a little long, but I promise you it’s worth it to watch through.

His story begins by taking you back to his home where it all started. There’s an interview with Figuero’s childhood coach Delmaris Delgado who runs the gym he first attended. In her interview, Delgado says, “At the time, I had no idea he was a prodigy.” She also pointed out that when Figueroa first decided to attend the gym he learned the form in ONE day.

The video then transitions into Figueroa’s 2004 performance where he realized he had a real chance to win an Olympic gold medal one day. Yet, not without adversity, which is where the video proceeds to next. They highlight and talk about the injury (shown below) that knocked this favored athletes from a possible first place medal to a DNF.

After the 2008 Olympics, Colombia and the media turned against Figueroa stating he was being rebellious due to his poor relationship with his coach. The doctors he saw said there was nothing wrong with his hand or wrist, which at the time made the case for Figueroa’s rebellious attitude stronger.

It turned out that Figueroa had suffered from a Cervical spine hernia in the 6 & 7 discs. This type of injury not properly cared for can lead to serious nerve damage and possible paralysis. The physiotherapist who accompanied Figueroa to the doctors almost came to tears when they saw the diagnosis. She turned to Figueroa and stated, “It is very serious and you can become a quadriplegic.”  

The rest of the video takes you through Figueroa’s operation and journey back on the platform to eventually claim gold. Serious injuries such as Figueroa’s are a risk that every athlete must always be prepared for. Yet, it’s the small few that can bounce back and return stronger who truly thrive.

Feature image screenshot from Olympic YouTube channel. 

The post Need Motivation? Watch Oscar Figueroa’s Epic Comeback to Win Gold in Rio appeared first on BarBend.

Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Shoes Review

Trap Bar Squat vs Deadlift – What’s the Difference?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Exclusive: Eleiko Unveils Their New Generation of Barbells

Throwback to Lamar Gant’s 5x Bodyweight Deadlift, World’s Oldest Powerlifting Record

Possibly one of the best resourced athletes to ever grace the sport of powerlifting was Lamar Gant. He competed in both the 123 lb and 132 lb weight classes and was a dominant force throughout his tenure. How dominant was he? In 1980, he was inducted in the IPF Powerlifting Hall of Fame (ten years before he stopped competing in the IPF World Championships).

What may be Gant’s biggest claim to fame was his impeccable deadlift strength. He’s often considered the best deadlifter of all-time, and is said to rival Ed Coan in earning the nickname the “GOAT” of powerlifting. Don’t get me wrong, Coan is an amazing deadlifter, but it was Gant who made history as the first strength athlete to deadlift five times his bodyweight.

The video below features 123 lb Gant deadlifting five times his bodyweight for the first time with an insane 634 lbs.

What’s also impressive is that Gant pulled most deadlifts conventionally. This silences a lot of folks who argue against heavy sumos as a way of cheating.

To this day, Gant has arguably the best anthropometric advantages for deadlifting, especially conventional styled pulls. For starters, Gant stood at 5′ 2″, which already limits his range of motion. In addition, he had longer arms (check out his wing-span!) and legs, plus suffered from scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

An article composed by Sports Illustrated in 1984, quotes Robert E. Kappler, chairman of the department of osteopathic medicine at the Chicago Osteopathic Medical Center saying, “I’ve seen nothing in the literature at all like this, in which a person with such an advanced degree of curvature—so advanced that he’d be four to six inches taller without it—is nevertheless a world-class athlete. Most scoliotics are weaker than an average person of the same age. My guess—and it’s only a guess—is that Lamar’s heavy lifting and extraordinary musculature have helped him to be more stable then he otherwise would be.”

All of Gant’s anthropometric advantages aside, it takes an incredible amount of strength to perform the lifts Gant did. The video below features Gant pulling 672 lbs at a 132 lb bodyweight at 1988 Hawaii World Record Breakers.

In this article we only talked deadlifts, but Gant’s squat and bench were almost as impressive. When he started competing in the 1970s up until 1990, he broke and set multiple bench and squat records. His best benches are said to be around 320 lbs at 123 lbs bodyweight (featured above), and 350 lbs at 132 lbs. In terms of his squat, some sources state Gant’s best squats were around 595 lbs at 132 lbs, and 600+ lbs in training. 

Throughout Gant’s career he won a total of 15 IPF World Championships from 1975-1990. Not to mention that in 1975 he became the youngest powerlifter to win an IPF World Championship at the age of 18.

Gant’s 123 lb and 132 lb deadlift records still stand today, and beg the question...will they ever be broken? 

Feature image screenshot from Lexington Plummer YouTube channel. 

The post Throwback to Lamar Gant’s 5x Bodyweight Deadlift, World’s Oldest Powerlifting Record appeared first on BarBend.

I Kept A Fitness Journal For A Month. Here Are 6 Things I Learned

Hookgrip Neoprene Knee Sleeves 2.0 Review

Hookgrip is a popular weightlifting media brand known for their photography and videography, and has also been producing weightlifting apparel and supportive gear. In an earlier article, we reviewed the knee sleeve 2.0 (non-neoprene) by Hookgrip, which were more for joint warmth and light compression, rather than maximal support. In this article I’m reviewing the Hookgrip 2.0 neoprene 7mm knee sleeves.

The Hookgrip 2.0 neoprene 7mm knee sleeves are the actual second version produced by Hookgrip. According to Hookgrip, their first version didn’t meet their expectations, leading them to make a more durable and supportive sleeve.

After receiving the neoprene knee sleeves by Hookgrip, and hearing about their commitment to make a durable, supportive knee sleeve, I was eager to put them to the test and share me feedback and experiences on them.


The Hookgrip neoprene knee sleeves 2.0 are standard thickness for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes, which offers a nice balance between stiffness and support with movement and flexibility.

When compared to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, these knee sleeves didn’t stand out too much. To me, they were a no frills sleeve. The sleeves themselves were supportive, much like many other sleeves on the market, with good compression and flexibility. I felt good support during squats and weightlifting as I would expect from any pair of knee sleeves. The balance between support and flexibility was good, and at no time did I personally feel I wanted more support and/or wished for a less flexible sleeve.

Due to the balanced nature of the sleeves, some lifters who have tried neoprene sleeves before and are looking for a more supportive and or lightweight/flexible sleeve, these may not be the best option, as they do not really go in one direction more than the other. I have found the sleeves to offer middle of the road support and flexibility, which may also be what some lifters opt for.

Hookgrip Knee Sleeves Review

Lifters who may be more stationary in their training and competition, and/or are looking specifically for a more rigid knee sleeve, I feel there are other knee sleeves in this category that may be a better option. For lifters who want a lightweight, less compression based sleeve, this may also not be the best option. However, lifters who want a middle of the road sleeve that offers good supper and flexibility, these could be a good fit.

Comfort and Fit

The knee sleeves sizing was comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well as trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns).

The sleeves offered a tapered fit, with strong sticking and soft material; a highly appreciate upgrade from their first run at the neoprene version. The fit was snug, however I found them pretty easy to slide on and take off, with or without pants underneath.

Hookgrip Neoprene Knee Sleeves Sizing

The sleeve itself was slightly on the short side, which I noticed a little more sliding and having to readjust between sets after moving around in. The compression was ample for most lifters, however, as stated above in the stability section, may not be the fit one is looking for (either too much or vice versa).

I did find that these sleeves kept my knees warm while still allowing for some pretty fast paced and explosive movements. For lifters, like me, who are doing more full range movements such as squats and Olympic lifting, you may find a elite more sliding of the sleeves which may or may not be something to consider.


These neoprene knee sleeves are the second edition of neoprene knee sleeves from Hookgrip to be produced, however the first edition never made it to retail due to not meeting their expectations.

These version, the 2.0s, are made of a soft material that has a rigid feel yet maintains some flexibility. The seams and stitching are reinforced, and have a nice contorted design to facilitate full range of motion movement.

Hookgrip Neoprene Knee Sleeves Durability


These sleeves do feel and look durable enough to stand up to most general fitness and beginner/intermediate lifter needs. The material is similar to other 7mm sleeves, and the seams felt sturdy and reinforced, a must have for heavy squats, fast-paced WODs, and most strengths and power movements.


The Hookgrip neoprene knee sleeves 2.0 are sold as either singles ($20.00 per single sleeve) or as a pair ($35.00 for two sleeves). Comparatively, these sleeves are one of the least expensive 7mm knee sleeves on the market and offer good support and flexibility when compared with other sleeves. The price point could be a draw for lifters looking for their first pair of sleeves and/or lifters looking for a balanced, good fitting sleeve to do most training in.

Hookgrip Neoprene Knee Sleeves Price

Final Thoughts

Personally, I found these sleeves to offer good support and flexibility, although no attribute sticks out as something I would say it was best at (high support or flexibility of sleeve). The material and fit was comfortable, with a good stability factor after reworking the previous version to include reinforced seams and better material.

Quite possibly the best thing about these sleeve is the price, as they are one of the least expensive 7mm knee neoprene sleeves the that offer good support and flexibility on the market. These sleeves could be a good option for lifters looking for their first pair of neoprene sleeve, as they offer a good balance of support and movement. For lifters who are looking for more structured support and/or a lightweight, light compression sleeve, these may not be the best option, as they offer a balanced sleeve rather than a sleeve know for one over the other.

The post Hookgrip Neoprene Knee Sleeves 2.0 Review appeared first on BarBend.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

USA Weightlifting Announces 2017 Summer Universiade Team

Earlier tonight, USA Weightlifting announced the official lineup for their Summer Universiade Team, the group of young American athletes who are headed to Taipei to compete from August 19-30 of this year.

The Summer Universiade is held every two years by the International University Sport Federation.

Earlier this month, USA Weightlifting’s University & Under 25 National Championships served as the final qualifier for the Universiade. At that competition, 58kg lifter Taylor Turner broke a nearly 15-year-old Junior American Record in the snatch to highlight an eventful weekend in Gainesville, Florida.

The full roster for both the Men and Women is below. Congrats to all the team members!

Team USA Men

Name Weight Category Hometown Club College/University
Christian Rodriguez-Ocasio 85kg Toa Baja, Puerto Rico Stoneage Weightlifting Club East Tennessee State University
Zachary Karlins 85kg Orlando, FL Florida Elite University of Central Florida
Darren Barnes 56kg St Louis, MO East Coast Gold Lindenwood University
Andrew Cheung 56kg Richmond, CA Sense Gym Weightlifting Midwestern University
Jake Baker 105kg Aurora, CO Delta Weightlifting California State University, Sacramento
Drake Thompson 105kg Englewood, OH Pinnacle Weightlifting Sinclair Community College
David Jorge +105kg Morristown, NJ East Coast Gold Union County College
Javier Pagliery +105kg Miami, FL Team Soul Miami St. Thomas University


Team USA Women

Name Weight Category Hometown Club College/University
Shannon McNames 48kg Wilmington, DE West Chester Weighlifting West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Danielle Roberts 58kg Snellville, GA East Alamama Weightlifting University of North Georgia
Taylor Turner 58kg Saint Augustine, FL Vero Beach Weightlifting Northern Michigan University
Adrianne Acosta 63kg Forest Lake, MN Mash Mafia Weightlifting Herzing University
Kristin Pope 63kg Atlanta, GA Team Juggernaut CCC
Danielle Hudes 69kg Medford, NJ East Coast Gold Pima Medical Institute
Sylvia Hoffman 69kg Philadelphia, PA East Coast Gold Pikes Peak Community College
Ruby Haman 75kg Colorado Springs, CO Pinnacle Weightlifting University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. Unless otherwise stated in feature content, the two organizations maintain editorial independence.

Nick English contributed reporting to this article.

The post USA Weightlifting Announces 2017 Summer Universiade Team appeared first on BarBend.

Athletic Greens Vs. Macro Greens — Is Cheaper Better?

Athletic Greens and Macro Greens are both among the most nutritious green superfood drinks on the market. They don’t just have impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals, they’re also excellent sources of probiotic bacteria and even cognitive benefits.

Comparing the two is a difficult task, but we think we have a good idea as to who comes out on top.


Athletic Greens

This stuff is absolutely delicious. It’s vaguely tropical, with notes of papaya, vanilla, and carrot. There’s also a hint of ginger, which helps to balance out the barely noticeable bitterness of the greens themselves.

Macro Greens

Macro Greens tastes quite similar to Athletic Greens — they’re both smooth and slightly tropical, but Macro Greens is a little creamier, lighter on the ginger, and has a hint of mixed berry flavor.

They both taste great, but I found I enjoyed savoring the complex taste of Athletic Greens just a little more.

Winner: Athletic Greens


Athletic Greens

At 97 dollars for 30 servings, it amounts to $3.23 per scoop. If you like it enough to sign up for a monthly subscription of the stuff, the price drops to $77 per bag, or $2.56 per serving.

Macro Greens

At 65 dollars for 90 servings, or 72 cents per serving, it’s extremely well-priced, particularly since most other green superfood powders don’t have anywhere near the same level of nutrition. Note that 65 dollars is the price on Amazon — the same tub costs $99.95 on their official site.

Winner: Macro Greens


Athletic Greens

With seventy-five ingredients, Athletic Greens contains a very wide variety of fruits, vegetables, roots, and herbs.

It includes the regular green superfood ingredients wheat grass, chlorella, and spirulina, but there are also ingredients with more unusual properties like rhodiola rosea (which may support cognitive function and lower stress), milk thistle (which is linked to liver health), and more than seven billion probiotic bacteria, which is more than many dedicated gut health supplements.

Finally, there’s a blend of adaptogenic mushrooms that are intended to improve stress response and digestive enzymes to improve nutrient absorption.

Macro Greens

There are thirty-eight ingredients (roughly half as many as Athletic Greens) and there are a lot of similarities between the two products. They both have the spirulina and chlorella, various grasses, adaptogens, milk thistle, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.

There are some key differences, however: Macro Greens has more than twice as many probiotic bacteria from more than twice as many strains. However, while Macro Greens does contain some ingredients linked to cognitive performance, Athletic Greens outperforms it in this regard with its rhodiola rosea, astragalus, and ashwagandha.

Winner: Athletic Greens

Benefits and Effectiveness

Athletic Greens

So what are the real benefits? One serving of Athletic Greens contains as many antioxidants as can be found in twelve serves of vegetables and provides 700 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 100 percent or more of most B-vitamins (including B12), K2, and zinc; at least twenty percent of your RDI of selenium, manganese, and chromium; and even eleven percent of your daily calcium.

For many green superfood drinks, the antioxidants and probiotics are the main source of benefits. Athletic Greens has plenty of those, but it can also double as a vitamin supplement, in addition to being a pretty solid cognitive booster as well.

One issue is that Athletic Greens makes a couple of outlandish claims, like “you’ll never need to take another supplement again.” That’s not true. But it is one of the most effective green superfood powders on the market.

Macro Greens

One serving contains 790 percent of your recommended intake of Vitamin C, 330 percent of your Vitamin E, 50 percent of your Vitamin B12, 8 percent of your daily iron, and 8 percent of your Vitamin A. There’s a small amount of magnesium (1 percent), calcium (2 percent), and sodium (2 percent).

This is more nutritious than most of its competitors, but significantly less so than Athletic Greens. Macro Greens has far more more probiotic bacteria and digestive enzymes, so if you’re taking a greens powder for the digestive benefits, Macro Greens is a better choice. But Athletic Greens has more micronutrients, cognitive benefits, and antioxidants, plus at 7.2 billion, it still delivers a very high amount of probiotics.

Winner: Athletic Greens

Overall Winner: Athletic Greens

When compared to Athletic Greens, Macro Greens has more digestive benefits and a little more vitamin C, but it’s not as potent in regards to vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and cognitive benefits. Macro Greens is still an outstanding product and significantly cheaper, but if we were to pick one supplement we’d take every day, it would be Athletic Greens.

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Can This New App Revolutionize Powerlifting Meets? (Plus a Guide)

A new powerlifting referee app was recently released by Norwegian powerlifter Stian Walgermo, and it’s available for Android and iOS. Today’s options for judging parameters can be expensive. This app was designed to be an option for those looking to save money or move away from the sometimes lucrative hand signals at smaller meets. It also allows multiple people to put judging in the palm of your hand.

From what I can see and assess, this app could be useful to a powerlifter in multiple ways.

  • First, it could be an alternative way to create seamless portable communication between powerlifting judges. For instance, after all refs have made their decisions, then the lights will show instantly on the device that has the view open. So there’s no need for the judges to experience any miscommunications.
  • Second, it might be a way to spark and regulate friendly competition. For example, this app could work for judging friendly competitions within your local gym.
  • Third, it may help you build a better understanding of what’s deemed as a white light competition lift. You can assess those around you, or track other judge’s calls to build your perception of white light lifts. Plus, Walgermo has in red, blue, and yellow cards with explanations for international lifters.

From the site there’s a few distinct features that are shared, which include..

  • Create new meets (free until 31th of august)
  • Judge a meet
  • Show lights
  • Show statistics for meets
  • Show reason for failures (rules)

My main concern with this app was it’s ease of use. To help you out, I created a step by step guide, which is shared below.

1. Download

Visit your Apple App Store or Google Play Store and type in something such as “powerlifting referee,” and you’ll see an app that looks like the photo below. It was created by Stian Walgermo, so if you’re not seeing that author, then you’re in the wrong place.

2. Creating and Selecting an Event

After you’ve downloaded and opened the app, then you’ll be presented with two options: New Event and Select Event.

If you’re a meet creator or director, you’ll choose to create a new event, which you’ll then by prompted to plug in your information (name of event, organization, contact info, and password). For judges, you’ll press “select event” and find your corresponding meet with the password provided by the creator.

3. Judges Setup

Once you’ve selected your event and entered your password, then you’ll arrive to a screen that looks like the one below. This is where you’ll select the judging position you plan on observing from.

When you’ve selected which judging station you’ll be heading, then you’ll be brought to a screen like the one below to the left. Once you’ve seen the lift, you’ll input your call and wait for the other judges to finish. After every judge has finished making their call, then you’ll press the “Lights” button (shown below) and be presented with the final calling, which is shown on the right.

The creator is Norwegian, which is why there are red, blue, and yellow card options. There’s an explanation of each card’s calling too if you’re interested in using them.

4. Statistics

A cool aspect about this app is that it tallies up calls and creates graphs to show percentages. I think this could be useful for training purposes, judging discrepancies, and noticing trends.

Final Word

I think this app is cool when it comes to creating a simple method for handheld judging. This app has uses that a regular judging system can’t create. Plus, it’s relatively simple to use and understand, plus anyone can have access to it.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this could be a useful tool for competition and training purposes? 

Feature image screenshot from Referees Light System in Google Play Store by Stian Walgermo. 

The post Can This New App Revolutionize Powerlifting Meets? (Plus a Guide) appeared first on BarBend.

The Differences Between Powerlifting and Weightlifting (Feat Meg Squats & Kristin Pope)

Most of the time strength sports seem easy and straightforward. Yet, for those who don’t compete or may be new to strength sports sports in general, then there may be confusion between what differentiates each one, such as powerlifting and weightlifting.

In a recent video posted on YouTube, Kristin Pope and BarBend contributor Meg Gallagher (Meg Squats) break down what differentiates powerlifting and weightlifting. A lot of times if can be intimidating for lifting newbies to ask questions about each sport, so the video below does a really good job at simplifying this issue.

Pope and Gallagher first discuss (1:30) the differences between each sport’s movements. If you’re new to either sport, then you’ll learn that weightlifting includes two movements: snatch and clean & jerk. While powerlifting includes three movements: squat, bench, and deadlift.

They then move into what you’ll find on the platform at competitions (2:20) for each sport. Pope talks about weightlifting only including a barbell and bumper plates, which are used because weights are dropped from overhead. Powerlifting is similar with the use of a barbell, but uses metal plates. Also, powerlifting includes a rack for the squat and bench.

When it comes to meet progressions (3:45), the main difference is how the weight on the bar increases. For weightlifting, lifters will go in the order of bar weight. For example, one lifter may be done with all three lifts before another goes (if their three attempts are lighter than the other lifter’s opener). In weightlifting, during a particular session, the weight on the bar never goes down. Powerlifting will have the bar’s weight change from lightest to heaviest, but will vary between different lifter’s attempts.

Another aspect that a lot of athletes don’t consider is the energy that comes with each sport (6:20) on competition day. Pope and Gallagher both discuss how weightlifting is often more refined and quiet in terms of the crowd and coaches. On the contrary, powerlifting is often filled with yelling and is a lot more like a party.

The next difference they discuss has to do with federations and end goals (10:05) between each sport. Powerlifting has multiple federations, which all come with different rules and regulations. As an Olympic sport, weightlifting is pretty much consolidated to single national governing bodies, with the International Weightlifting Federation overseeing those. (BarBend is the official media partner of USA Weightlifting.)

Long-term goals of each sport also vary. For weightlifters, the dream is to eventually make it to an Olympic or World Championship team (which can include a paid stipend). Powerlifters often work towards prize money meets, but often don’t have the same level of paid competition team goals.

Around 17:40, Gallagher and Pope briefly break down training differences in each sport and transition into their concluding thoughts. They basically talk about how each sport will have lifters cater their programming to work on enhancing their competition lifts.

If you’re new to either sport, or you’re interested in picking one to do full-time, then reach out to lifters and coaches around you. Each strength sport comes with differences that will influence the way you train and move forward in your strength career.

Feature image from @megsquats and @kris10pope Instagram page. 

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Rocktape Assassins 7mm Knee Sleeves Review

RockTape is a popular brand in the kinesiology tape sector, and they also manufacture supportive gear for lifters and fitness athletes alike. The RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves can be seen being worn by some top CrossFit® athletes and lifters, and we are excited to put these sleeves to the test.

At first glance, these knee sleeves had an interesting construction and feel. After receiving a pair, I was eager to put these sleeves to the test during heavier weightlifting sessions and share my experiences and feedback.


The RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves are the standard thickness (7mm) for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes, however have a completely different feel than most, despite being constructed of neoprene. The stability factor seemed legitimate, as the sleeve itself had good rigidity (may need to have a break in period) that was paired well with a tapered, snug fit that offered complete compression and support.

The sleeves themselves stayed in place during heavier squats and Olympic lifts, and didn’t impede too much during lighter fitness WODs and sled work.

RockTape Assassins Review

I found the balance between support and flexibility to be good with these sleeves, and found the neoprene material to offer good stability and compression, potentially even more so than other 7mm sleeves on the market.

For athletes who are looking for a well rounded sleeve that offers good support, rigidity, with adequate amounts of movement and flexibility, these could be a good option.

I did find however, that for lighter WODs involving jumping, running or other forms of dynamic repetitive movements, these did start to move around some, potentially making them a little to rigid for such purposes.

Comfort and Fit

The sleeves come in a range of colors and designs, and are offered in both 5mm 7mm options.

The RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves sizing was, for the most part (see below) comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well a trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns).

RockTape Assassins Knee Sleeves Fit

While I generally train in pants, and have done multiple reviews in them, I found these particular sleeves to fit a lot more snug than others, potentially due to the tapered and contoured fit, which helped to make these a very comfortable sleeve.

The 4-seam construction offered a flexible sleeve that also stayed in place (most of the time, see above). The material, while neoprene like most other options, was comfortable yet felt more rigid, which for lifters looking for some support and a sturdy feel, these could be a good fit.

As discussed above, the increased feel of rigidity may mean that there could be a bit of a “breaking in” period with the sleeves.

The sleeves themselves were slightly longer in length than some of the other 7mm knee sleeves I have worn, which for taller lifters may not be an issue. For shorter lifters however, this is something to think about. Although these sleeves were taller with more material to cover the knee joint and surrounding areas, I did not notice any excessive material of bulk due to the added seams or length.

One thing to keep in mind is that while these sleeves were flexible thanks to the contoured fit, for lifters exclusively looking for lightweight support and the highest degrees of flexibility in sleeves, I do not feel that these may be your best option, despite their adequate flexibility. I personally prefer a more rigid sleeve over flexibility, and didn’t have many issues with these during most of my training.

RockTape Assassins Knee Sleeves Sizing


The RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves has demonstrated good stiffness and flexibility during most of my weightlifting, strongman, and general hypertrophy training.

The neoprene is soft, but rigid feel, more so than many other 7mm sleeves I have tried. The 4-seam construction, reinforced with stitching, offers a firm fitting sleeve for most fitness activities.


The look, feel, and construction of this sleeve says durability. On top of the highly reinforced 4-seams, the sleeve itself feels soft, flexible, yet made of a highly durable neoprene.

RockTape offers a 12-Month warranty on their Assassins 7mm Knee sleeves, making one feel completely confident that they stand by their products’ durability 100%.


The price for the RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves (sold in pairs, so two sleeves) are $50.00, which is slightly more expensive than most 7mm knee sleeve on the market, with the exception of Rehband, who sells only one sleeve at roughly the same cost.

Given the price point, lifters who are knew to sleeves and/or are unsure how much support they need/want, these may be an expensive initial expense. That said, the 12-Month warranty is a great benefit, making these a solid option for more seasoned athletes and/or those who are willing to invest in a higher performance knee sleeve.

RockTape Assassins Knee Sleeves Price

Final Thoughts

The RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves offered support and compression while still allowing adequate flexibility for most fitness WODs and conditioning segments, however they did feel slightly more rigid than other sleeves I have reviewed.

I found these sleeves to be a good choice for most of my training; squatting, Olympic weightlifting, sleds, and general conditioning pieces. However, I do feel they may be excessive for lifters starting out and/or are unsure if they want more support of just general warmth and light compression. Nonetheless, the RockTape Assassins 7mm knee sleeves could be a good, balanced option for most recreational and competitive fitness, power, and some strength athletes.

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