Author Archives: Risto Sports

What Grinds my gears, episode 1: “mobility”


This is Coach Ivan Rojas.  One thing that really grinds my gears is hearing athletes with weak cores incorrectly complain about their mobility.   Let me tell you, almost every seminar we at Risto Sports hosts, there are at least 3 CrossFitters who complain that they can’t do a snatch because they have bad mobility.  They tell me that their trainer told them they were also inflexible.

98% of the time this is WRONG.

If you have a WEAK core and are snatching in sneakers or barefoot– goodluck trying to catch the bar overhead.  Many times these athletes are sufficiently flexible and have joints that are well put together– BUT, they have incredibly weak cores.  In CrossFit, their is an aesthetic importance of having a sixpack, yet this doesn’t guarantee that the sixpack owner has sufficient abdominal strength relative to their other muscle groups.

So, repeat, if your core is weak, yes, you are going to collapse under a snatch.  Yes, its going to be really hard to do a proper overhead squat.  AND, if  you’re not lifting in weightlifting shoes, then your snatch is doomed because snatching isn’t a natural movement.

The next time an athlete struggles to do a decent snatch, before blaming it on their mobility, ask yourself the following, ” Do they have a strong core- back and abs?” , “Are they wearing weightlifting shoes to help hit these unnatural positions?”







Legendary of bodybuilders and Risto sports at AFX

Risto Sports has worked with the best athletes and minds of the weightlifting world, including Olympic medalists and coaches of multiple Olympic Gold medalists.

In the same tradition, we are proud to announce that Mike O’Hearn – 4 time Mr. Natural Universe, actor, guinness world record holder, multi-sport champion, gladiator, and Fitness Model –  will represent the Risto Sports brand at the 2013 AFX, October 26th in Anchorage , Alaska.  You may also know Mike from the over 500 magazine covers he has been on, and he is often compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger for his amazing fitness modeling career. Mike will also be guest posing at the AFX and will be giving a seminar on powerbodybuilding, including how to incorporate Olympic lifts into bodybuilding.

Mike O'Hearn to represent Risto Sports at 2013 AFX

In Addition to Mike, bodybuilding superstars Goerge Farah, Kai Greene, and Shaw Ray will be at the Risto Sports booth during the expo.  Our booth will be located by the Olympic Weightlifting competition, which takes place during the day time.   Later in the evening, Kai Greene will also be guest posing. Bodybuilders2013AFXRisto

For more information on the AFX and how to register for the AFX, go to  For more information on Mike, got to and find him on twitter!



Famous Athletes that have worked with Risto Sports

Because you asked, here’s a list of famous athlete’s who have trained at Risto Sports with Coach Ivan Rojas:
Annie Thorisdottir, CrossFit Games Champion
Diego Salazar, Olympic Silver Medalist, weightlifting
Maryam Usman, Bronze medalist at Weightlifting world championships
Carlos Andica, weightlifting Pan Am Record holder, 205KG clean and jerk at 85kg
Johnny Andica, weightlifting Pan Am Champion
Luz Mercedes Acosta 5th in the Olympics, weightlifting
Gwendolyn Sisto, US Olympic Trials, weightlifting, 5th World University Championships
Lesbia Cruz, Guatemalan National Team, weightlifting
Javier Castillo, Guatemalan National Team, weightlifting

Check out our galleries and facebook pages for photos.

4 Months to the AFX, Did you remember to register?

The Alaska Fitness Expo (AFX) is the premier multi-sport expo of the Pacific Northwest.  Where else can you ahng out with the like of Kai Greene and Goerge Farrah, while getting in a  high level weightlifting competition.  In many ways, the AFX is much like the Arnold, though on a more intimate level — its an event jam packed with every strength sport involving a barbell– Olympic Weightlifting, CrossFit, Powerlifting, StrongMan  as well as feature an NPC bodybuilding, fitness, and physique competition The NPC competition is always emceed by a world renowend body builder and features a guest poser.AFX

Risto Sports will be a title sponsor of the weightlifting competition.  The competition will feature prize money as well as guest competitors.  You can get international wieghtlifting experience, win some cash, then chill out with the best of the strength sports world all in one day.  The competitors also receive high quality competitor bags. Teh whole weekend will also feature seminars for several of the sports, including a Soviet System seminar by Risto Sports  and Kendrick Farris’s Bless the Gym seminar.

Register here:

Even better, its much cheaper to fly to the AFX in Anchorage, AK in the fall than it is to many other places where Olympic lifting international level meets are held.  Anchorage is also quite beautiful and still warm in October– you might even get a free show by the Northern Lights.

The AFX…finally an excuse to go to Alaska!


Boston Marathon – We’re with you Boston.

We want to extend our condolences to everyone affected by the events this past week in the Boston area. We want to thank law enforcement for bringing this week long tragedy to a close.

We are a New England company.  And, we are very idealistic. We believe we can make the world a better place through weightlifting shoes as well as the sport of weightlifting itself.   We think any product you buy should make you better in some way, and we think the people making the products should be treated with dignity…and that high quality products can still be made in the USA at a market competitive price.

In effect,  it is really hard to believe that anyone would want to bomb Boston. It is hard to believe that, just a short drive from us, a fire fight went down from MIT to Watertown.  A place we’ve lived, worked, and went to school.

Like Boston, we move forward.  We continue to believe that the positive light that each of us brings to the world shall conquer the darkness we’ve witnessed.

Paul Revere Statue, bathed in light, North End, Boston

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.



Risto Sports


Risto Sports and the Superstars of weightlifting- Kazakhstan!

Kazakhstan weightlifting is the superstar of the Olympic Weightlifting World. Two time Olympic Gold medalist,  Ilya Ilyin, would best be described as the next Pyrros Dimas.  Their female lifters – Svetlana Podobedova, Maiya Maneza, and Zulfiya Chinshanlo- are the gold trifecta of women’s weighlifting.


Dr Herrera, Mendikhan Tapsir, Ivan Rojas, Victor Ni, Aleksey Ni


Ohh, and guess what, the coaches of the Kazakhstan Weightlifting Federation attended Risto Sport’s International Weightlifting Conference in Eliot, Maine, USA.

Even though they were here to attend our seminar, we’ll share some interesting facts.

1. The Training system

A few months ago, we did write a post on how Risto Sports uses the same system as Kazakhstan. Yes, they use a Soviet System for all lifters – just like the one Dr. Herrera spoke about during our seminar.  So, if you want to train like a Kazakh champ, then you can do so right here in the USA at Risto Sports.

They did also mention, that athletes who are “Master’s of the Sport” (ie champions like Podobedova) use a hybrid system from Enver Turkeleri (Naim Suleymonoglu’s coach).  This system is appropriate if you are vying to be world champion.

Look for more publications on these systems from Risto Sports.

2. How is their Federation organized

All coaches report into Aleksey Ni, the Head Coach. Aleksey reports to Mendikhan Tapsir the General Secretary.  Victor Ni coaches Svetlana Podobedova, Maiya Maneza, and Zulfiya Chinshanlo.  Ilya Ilyin’s coach reports to Aleksey Ni.  Again, Victor, Aleksey, anf Mendikhan were all present at Risto Sports.

3. Fun facts

Svetlana Podobedova is getting married this summer. Maiya Maneza is also getting married this year. Zulfiya has a boyfriend. Ilya Ilyin is already married.

So, we’re sorry, the best weightlifters in the world are all taken.


International conference off to good start- be part of it before it’s over

The International Conference on Olympic Weightlifting, scheduled to start Saturday, March 16 at 9AM is already off to a great start.

The several of the seminar speakers received the Kazakhstan Weightlifting Federation, tonight.  This photo is just a small snapshot of the cast of characters you can interact with this weekend.

Yes, that’s the guy you’ve seen coaching Ilya Ilyin at the Olympics.

Don’t miss out.  You can still register at the door —Thanks to Marshwood School system, we have an expanded space which will accommodate walk-ins on either day.

The conference is at Marshwood Middle School in Eliot, ME, on the corner of Depot  Road and Route 236 North.

Yes, for the record, that really is Ilya Ilyin’s coach from the Olympics sitting with us.