My Consultation with Tom Campitelli (CrossFit Oakland)

Today was rainy and miserable. What better day to stay in doors and work on lifting technique. It’s always a bit refreshing walking into a gym where it’s obvious that actual work gets done. A CrossFit gym is about the farthest away you can get from the gym I lift in. Really, I’m lucky that they actually have a power rack.

When I walked in and met Tom the first thing I noticed about him was that he was a big dude. Ladies and gentleman, this is a good sign. Practice what he preaches and all that. As I began warming up with some band shoulder stretches and the pre squat hip sequence I basically started grilling him with all manner of training questions. It’s not often that I get to talk to someone legitimately stronger than me (toot toot).

When I was limber enough I talked briefly about the issues I was facing in the Squat, namely the bar tilting to the right, and then we got down to business. He could tell something was up immediately by how the bar sat on my back. He said my left side was just a bit higher than my right and that there might not be all that much we could do about it. All the same, he had me take a wider grip, I used my ring finger on the un-knurled ring, and shrug up my right shoulder while relaxing my left a bit. The bar leveled out. We took the weight higher, eventually doing two sets of five at 300. Tom made very little corrections to my form; point my left foot out a bit more, knees forward more, but he said for the most part my form was really solid. This was really exciting to hear after being so critical of my form for so long.

I had him look at my pulls next and his reaction wasn’t really surprising. I was losing extension when breaking the plates off the floor. It was helpful to have someone yelling at me while I got in extension because otherwise it can be hard to tell when I’m fully extended. I also have the tendency to drop my hips when I squeeze my chest up. I also dick around to long in that position. I just need to get up to the bar, extend, and pull. So my takeaways for this lift are to squeeze my chest up uncomfortably tight while not dropping my hips and squeezing the bar off the floor. Oh, and don’t dick around in the starting position.

Overall, I am extremely happy and impressed with my consultation with Tom. I would absolutely recommend anyone wanting to refine their form to either attend one of his Starting Strength events or just get a consultation as I did.


Pre-Squat hip sequence

Shoulder band work

Back Squat

300 X 5 X 2


315 X 5

250 X 3

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