Monday, July 13, 2009

David Morgan crushes Kong

This is great. Hat tip to Nick McKinless

David Morgan is a 5 times Commonwealth Games Olympic Weightlifting Champion, 3 time Olympian and current Masters World Record Holder....44 years of age.

Kong is a crossfit workout - 3 rounds of a single rep with a 455lb deadlift, 2 muscle ups on rings, 250lb squat clean for 3 reps and 3 handstand pushups. David increased the barbell to 500lbs for the deadlift and 275lbs for the squat clean.


panoptical said...

He's not getting the full range of motion on those techniques. Notice how his knees and hips don't fully extend at the top of the cleans; his arms never straighten out at the top of the pushups or the bottom of the muscle-ups.

I mean, he's obviously a very fit and very strong guy, but, at the crossfit box where I work out we don't get to cut corners like that.

Chris said...

I was waiting for the crossfitters to come out criticising this one! Is a kipping pullup cutting corners?

theorytopractice said...

I don't most people can truly appreciate just how friggin' difficult that complex is to pull off. An awesome display indeed of power, strength, strength and agility. Cutting corners? Yeah, whatever.

panoptical said...

"Is a kipping pullup cutting corners?"

Depends on how it's done. The crossfit definition of a pullup is chin to the bar at the top and arms fully extended (elbows straight) at the bottom, unless otherwise specified. We have some chest-to-bar workouts, and some strict pullup workouts (no kipping allowed). The justification for kipping (as I'm sure you know) is simply that it lets you do more work in less time (in other words, it's more powerful) because you engage your full body rather than just your arms.

On the other hand, not standing up all the way during a clean is not doing more work, it's doing less work. You're just not moving the weight the same distance. And you can see the difference between his Oly clean and his Kong clean - Oly judges simply wouldn't accept his Kong cleans as legit and he damn well knows that.

Again, I'm not saying this guy isn't talented. I'm just saying that if you're going to do a crossfit workout, don't half-ass it just because you don't think crossfit has the same legitimacy or standards as the Olympics does. Honestly we don't give a crap what other people do, but if you cut corners in our workouts you're only cheating yourself.

Chris said...

Oly judges simply wouldn't accept his Kong cleans as legit and he damn well knows that.

That is bombastic nonsense.

You can powerclean in Olympic lifting or powersnatch. Both are legal. Look up the rules. They only do full cleans and snatches because the weight is too heavy to power up.

This is what gets to me about Crossfitters. There is a world of great athletes beyond Crossfit and this guy knows more about Olympic lifting than most. Give him a little more credit.

Jason Lake said...

That was an awesome display.... Like Chris said, the simple fact is that he didn't have to use the full clean that weight as it was light enough (relatively for him) to power clean. And come on... are you telling me that he got the bar up there but that he wasn't able to fully stand up with it? What would that achieve? The phase during which maximal power is generated is during the second pull, which, for David, was easy, even towards the end!!!

Matt said...

That was stupid and completely unnecessary.

Chris said...

Matt - to what are you referring?

panoptical said...

To be clear, a power clean is when you don't go all the way to the bottom. Morgan is absolutely not powercleaning - his squats are legit, as you can see his hip joint dip just below his knee joints, which is a squat clean and which is, as I said, totally legit.

What I'm pointing out is that Morgan didn't go all the way to the *top* - watch how he throws the bar off his shoulders while his knees and hips are still bent. The bar never makes it to the top of the movement. The bar never sits on top of his shoulders with his knees and hips locked out - in other words, there is no time when he is standing at his full height with the weight on top of his shoulders, which means he has never reached the top of the clean.

One more time, I'm not saying that this guy isn't insanely strong or a great athlete. I'm just saying that in this particular case he's not doing the whole movement, which means that he didn't really do Kong. And again, I don't really care what workouts other people want to do, and I'm not here to say that no one is fit unless they do their techniques to the crossfit standard. I'm just observing that this person did not do his techniques to the crossfit standard (or even the Oly standard) and so comparing what he did to what crossfitters do is sort of apples to oranges. Not to say that one is worse or better - but to say that they are not the same.

If you look on youtube, the top related video to this video is a guy named Josh Everett doing the same workout. Listen closely to the coach's corrections - he polices Josh to make sure he locks out at the top of his cleans and pushups. Those corrections are the same corrections a crossfit coach would give Morgan on Kong.

Chris said...

I've just watched the Josh Everett video. Again another great display of power and agility.

However if you are going to nitpick about David Morgan's form there also areas of Everett's form about which we could be critical if we wanted to be anal about all this. Josh didn't lock out his arms at the bottom of the MUs and he also went touch and go on some of the cleans. Plus factor in that Morgan is using more weight.... Morgan also looked a lot snappier and powerful on his final cleans.

This is of course a stupid discussion. Both are great athletes. Let's move on.

Matt said...

Chris - I was a little harsh and general in my comment. I realize this video was simply a display of strength and fitness (at least I hope that was all it was meant to be) and this gentleman is obviously very strong and fit and he puts on an impressive display (similar to what one might find in the circus). However, I believe that most people will view this and think that this is proper, safe exercise, which I strongly believe is not. The biggest problem I have with this video is a misdirection of what exercise should be.

Asclepius said...

That was bloody awesome strength...but they are not what I'd call muscle ups! ;)

I have ordered his book on the strength (!) of this footage. I think I have finally been drawn in to the world of heavy lifting....! Seriously inspiring stuff.

Chris said...


thanks for the clarification. Are you coming from a BBS HIT perspective? If so you should be aware from other stuff on this site - e.g. the interviews with Doug McGuff and John Little - that I am more than sympathetic with that approach.

Matt said...

Chris -

First, thank you for taking the time to address my concern.

I am certainly a HIT advocate, however not as "cut and dry" as some. I always think there is room for variation.

I have read your interviews with Dr. McGuff and Mr. Little and I see that you do respect their writings and sayings, and that is why I am confused about some of the contradicting approaches that you promote on your may be a little confusing to some as to what you believe is the best approach.

From what I read on your blogs it seems you have a wide range of followers. Some of which don't have a lot of training/exercise science background, herein lies my concern about distribution of information.

Chris said...


I don't know about followers, but there are lots of people who read what I put up here. It has only ever been somewhere where I post things that I find interesting. Granted I have a bias towards a paleo diet - low carb etc - and something of an evolutionary fitness type approach. Some of the things I post are just things I've spotted and been impressed by - like fee running round Edinburgh or the tumbling - not necessarily things to copy.

What do I believe is the best approach? I think if you are talking pure technical exercise then the McGuff/Little approach is it.

However there is another side to it which is in their writings but not necessarily something that is really picked up on - play / fun / sports. Little does martial arts. McGuff does BMX racing. You do not need to do sports to be fit and healthy but they are fun.

I think there is a social and psychological side to health as well and playing with friends and spending time in the outdoors in nature is really important.

Two 7 hour walks in the mountains which I did at the weekend might not technically qualify as "exercise" according to the HIT definition. However they were fun and natural. I think we are designed to move, to walk in particular. Yes there dangers from overuse and from injury, but I refuse to limit my activity to 12 minutes a week. I enjoy other things. Now the 12 minutes might be what gives me the strength to play sports etc.

I think people in general need to sort out their diets, move a lot more and do some occasional hard (intense) exercise. Then the sports will come.

I hope that makes sense?

Matt said...

Chris -

Thank you for clarifying your position. That does make great sense to me. I do feel there is a need for sport/activity/fun as well, don't get me wrong. I guess I just have a personal bias against lifting weights for "fun". ;)

On a side, I really enjoyed the video you posted on tumbling.

Kyle said...

I don't understand Matt problem with this video. Is it the deadlifts, cleans, muscle-ups, handstand pushups. Why is this not "proper" and or "safe." Just curious as to his argument.

dangoldberg33 said...

I believe Matt is saying that to claim you have done King Kong in a certain amount of time is based on the assumption that you have fulfilled the movement requirements for each specific movement.

For example, the world record bench press requires you to bench a certain amount of weight from the chest to locked elbows. If you don't bring the bar to the chest but still lock out the elbow, that is not fulfilling the movement requirements.

To claim you did King Kong in a record setting time requires that you have fair comparison b/w competitors with consistent movement. Matt doesn't think that David Morgan fulfilled the requirements for some of the movements of King Kong and I have to agree with him. The power cleans do not get to full knee extension.

However, this doesn't mean that David Morgan is a jerk or that the workout isn't impressive. All it means is that David Morgan cannot claim he finished King Kong in 2:05 b/c it would have taken him longer if he fulfilled all the movement requirements. AGAIN, this doesn't mean David is wrong or doing anything incorrectly. He is a beast and the workout is an inspiration.