Interview with Markus Krümmer – Weightlifter CrossFitter Strongman

The man in the video above is Markus Krümmer, Snatch Grip Deadlifting 250kg (550lbs) at 90kg.

It must have been something like a year ago when I first stumbled across his YouTube channel, which features strength and conditioning at its finest.

He represents the kind of athlete I would like to be. Super strong and with a big engine.

So I asked Markus for a little interview so we all could get to know him a little better. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Also, If you are in the Leipzig area in Germany you can train with and be coached by Markus in his Genuine Sport Gym.

Who is Markus Krümmer?

Olympic Weightlifter – CrossFitter –Strongman U90

  • Weightlifter: 2010 German 94kg Champion, C&J Silver 2010 World University Games in Taiwan, Bronze Total, 2005 European Junior Championships 7th
  • Coach: Strength and Conditioning Coach, A – License Coach for Weightlifting, Food Coach, Bachelor Sport Science, CrossFit Level 1 Coach
  • Strongman: Best German Newcomer 2011, 3rd place U105kg (GFSA)
  • Raw Powerlifting: Multiple German Championship titles, 2011 European Champion in Squat, 2nd in Squat Deadlift (German-RAW-Association GRAWA)

Stats

  • Age: 28
  • Weight: 90-93kg
  • Height: 183cm
  • PR List

Ok, Markus, let’s talk about your training history. After your weightlifting Career, how did your training evolve? Was it a slow transition, or did you just try a CrossFit Workout and got hooked? Or were you seeking new challenges in general?

I grew up in Chemnitz and lifted for the Chemnitzer AC in 1st Bundesliga (German Weightlifting Premier League) together with Matthias Steiner. Together we were German Team Champions in 2009 and 2010.

In December 2008, despite training alone (without a coach or club) at the time, I achieved my highest total to date- 151+195 at 99kg bodyweight, while at the same time being a student at the University of Leipzig.
When I trained there wasn’t even a single weightlifting platform! Therefore I was never allowed to drop the weights in the University weightroom.

This went on through summer of 2010 when, finally, two platforms were built and I had proper training conditions again. I put a great deal of effort into preparing for the Universiade in China 2011. That was a very stressful time for me with studying for university, jobs on the side and coaching.

Nonetheless I managed to get 5 valid attempts – 151+189kg at 93kg.

This result was only enough for the B group and got me 12th overall.

After this I was questioning myself. “Why even keep training for Weightlifting?” I was miles away from the top of the world. My technique is not the best and I was already too old.

To finance my studies I am still lifting today. End of 2010 I switched to another club in the 1. Bundesliga, SSV Samswegen. In November 2010 I had my best match for the team – 153+188 at 93kg (cleaned 193).

In order to give 100% in training I was always looking for strong training partners in Leipzig. In the University weightroom there were only extremely weak folks together with the usual bros who pump up for club night.

That’s why in spring 2011 I signed up for Kraftsportverein Kitzscher (Power Sports Club 30min drive from Leipzig). In this club there were also some strongmen. These boys were heavier and stronger than me. Finally, I was surrounded by people who could push me again.

Markus-Krümmer-StoneShortly thereafter I participated in strongman newcomer cups (GFSA) und could secure the title. Even though my opponents were 20kg heavier, they couldn’t keep up with my explosive power, athleticism and endurance.

From this time on I dreamed of a strongman career. That dream however bursted faster than I thought. In the following year I only managed to place between 8th and 10th in various German cups and did not qualify for the final.

The weights were heavier than those in the newcomer cups and the opponents were even more gigantic. At that level my athleticism was no longer enough to beat them. And since I am averse to doping and will never weigh 130+kg in my life, I realized that I won’t get anywhere in this beautiful sport.

By the way, I have always been doing powerlifting on the side. But since there are infinitely many federations in the sport and most athletes supplement with steroids, I was also done with competing in this sport.

It was just the right timing that I saw the Crossfit games in 2012. The requirements of the events fully applied to me. I am more the all-rounder. I can Jerk 180kg, pull heavy. I like to train Sprints & Co., and in my youth we often did gymnastics.

“So the only thing I need to improve is endurance” I said to myself at the time.

I immediately tried a couple of games workouts (Clean Ladder, Isabel) and realized that I can be competitive here.

Here is Markus’ 615kg “CrossFit Total” at 90kg Bodyweight
(Squat 235kg, Strict Press 100kg, Deadlift 280kg)

In autumn of 2012 I participated in the qualification for the London Throwdown [Videos here]. There I quickly realized that I was lacking lots of skills, like double unders for example.
But after I started more serious CrossFit training in 2013 I can see progress every week.

I am aware that there are people in this sport who competed by illicit means. But because CrossFit calls for a wide variety of complex tasks I am sure I can be successful doing it by natural means.

My advantage is my strength. That is a given. Endurance is easier to improve.

This year, on the side, I gave strongman another go, but in the U90kg class. There doping won’t be that much of an issue and training for strongman is compatible with training for CrossFit.

It is virtually functional training, only with much heavier loads.

In London this year I was able to win London’s Strongest Man and Qualified for the U90 European Championships.

  • Squat 200kg 60 sec. – 8 reps (1st)
  • Farmers Hold 125kg each Hand – 45 sec. (3rd)
  • Log Lift 90kg 60 sec. – 8 reps (2nd)
  • Stone to Shoulder 106kg 60 sec. – 5 reps (1st)
  • Deadlift 210kg 60 sec. – 13 reps (1st) — 1st place overall

Video of Markus’ performance there.

Unfortunately the competition will take place on 23.11.2013. That’s when I have a Bundesliga competition, which of course is more important to me.

When you started with CF / High Intensity Conditioning, how did your training change and what aspects did stay the same?

In the beginning organization was the biggest problem. Rings, a pull up bar, wall balls, box jumps etc.

Besides the University weightroom I often tried to train outdoors. Either in the park or on a playground where I could hang rings and where box jumps were possible.

After some time it was just annoying to bring all the equipment every time and besides we were way to dependent on the weather. That’s why for the last 3 weeks I have been in the process of building my own “garage gym” (45 square meters) [Video here]. There will be a weightlifting platform, pull up bar, Prowler, Strongman equipment etc, so that I can finally train professionally. Shirtless, Chalked up-loud music and nobody will complain about it.

Overall I would say that CrossFit has changed my training for the better.

My training is more diverse. Previously I trained a total of maybe 15 exercises, with everything being in the 1-5 rep range. Everything above 5 reps was boring and a pain for me.

Markus doing “Fran” in 2:36

Today, 30 reps for time is not a problem. I often implement EMOTM – every minute on the minute. And I also do more bodyweight exercises, that I previously thought of as being too simple. In addition I also pay a lot more attention to mobility nowadays.

I was able to to improve my basic level of stamina and stress tolerance – more training sessions, more reps in less time – no more conventional periodization anymore. Now it is more of a wave like pattern with a constant change of stimulus and daily surprises for the body.

110m Handstand Walk for Time in 5:26

Meanwhile I can’t complain about a significant loss of strength. While I’ve lost body mass I am still able to achieve my old strength numbers.

How do you structure your training now? Maybe talk about your weekly rhythm. I know that’s a very general question, but give us a slight overview about the philosophy behind your training.

I don’t have a fixed plan. I train more intuitively and try to take care of my weaknesses. As I have mentioned earlier, in the beginning my Double Unders and Handstand Push Ups were horrendous. Same for box jumps. I try to combine such weak points in the WOD (Workout Of the Day). Then each weak I do:

  • 2 x Squat
  • 1 x Power Snatch
  • 1 x Power Clean
  • Snatch + C&J
  • Press (Push Press/Split Jerk, Strict Press)
  • Snatch Pull

In addition to that I deadlift approximately every 10 days. Strength first, at the beginning of each session, then the WOD.

Back in my junior weightlifting days we trained 9-11x per week. Just weightlifting, nothing else. 4x squats etc…
Nowadays, with the added moderate endurance sessions, you could say that the training intensity did not increase, and I can compensate for the stress.

In preparation for the new Bundesliga weightlifting season, which starts in October, I keep the CrossFit Workouts short, but intense. Nothing longer than 10 minutes. And I also try to go for sprints very rarely.

2014 CrossFit Games?

Sure, every competition oriented CrossFitter dreams about it. But I am a realist.

My goal for 2014: Top 100 in Europe. 2015 I want to make it to the regionals!My goal for 2014: Top 100 in Europe. 2015 I want to make it to the regionals!

You have to keep in mind that the number of competitors increases each year. Among them former division 1 athletes.

The biggest problem I see is that the OPEN [Qualifying event for the CF Games] rarely if ever call for strength and hard skills. Burpees are popular in these workouts and the weight on the bar does not pass the 100kg mark.
I like the workouts at the regionals and CrossFit Games much better.

Update 08.01.2014: Markus did a Bear Complex with 150kg – 1 Clean/Front Squat/Jerk/Back Squat/Jerk

When I don’t train, I like to do …?

Coach athletes. And sleep! Because of the number of training sessions I’m always tired.I could not survive without coffee.

Getting up earlier than 8 o’clock is is not easy for me. The usual daily routine then calls for: training, coaching, university,eating, sleeping.

What question would you have liked I’d ask you? Maybe something about nutrition?

All relevant points have already been addressed. I keep my nutrition very simple. No weighing or counting calories.

Protein and fat rich foods. First and last meal each day are carbohydrates free.

Scrambled eggs in the morning. 500g of Quark with nuts or avocado in the evening.

Goals for this year: finally get a 300kg Deadlift (2 weeks ago I managed to get 280kg without much preparation)

Then one could do different exercises in one session: with a bodyweight of 200 lbs, 300 Snatch, 400 C&J, 500 Back Squat, 600 Deadlift, and a sub 3 minute Fran to round it off.

Rolemodel: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Well, Markus, Thanks for taking the time. Who would you like to thank? Any Shout Outs?

I want to thank Maria – my girlfriend. We have been together for 2 years. I am so happy to have found a woman that understands and accepts my passion for sport.

Markus-Krümmer-Maria

Also thanks to www.protein-store.de for my protein supplements & Co.

Where can people follow you / your training?

Facebook: facebook.com/GenuineSport
YouTube: youtube.com/GenuineSport
Twitter: twitter.com/GenuineSport
Website: genuine-sport.com

  • name

    Didn’t realise he was at LSM. Cool.

  • Jason Bourgeois

    Small world. Shared a shuttle with him from the airport to the meet hotel at World Uni’s back in 2010. Good to see he’s still competing.

  • Steven

    Being jealous is an understatement right now

  • Mr_Rogers

    Fantastic interview, I really enjoyed it. Though it has me thinking that maybe taking up weightlifting at 32 wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

    I can’t believe there are actually weightlifting leagues in Europe. There really isn’t that sort of thing in Canada (that I’m aware of), though maybe if you’re in a major city (Toronto, Montreal, etc). I’d settle for access to coaching.

    • http://www.allthingsgym.com/ Gregor

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Just because you started late in life doesn’t mean you can have a blast doing it. Markus is still a passionate weightlifter and probably be one for the rest of his life.

      If there aren’t leagues in Canada, why not start one? First on club vs club level and then go from there. I posted something about it here:
      http://www.allthingsgym.com/make-olympic-weightlifting-more-competitive/

      • http://www.damonkelly.com/ Damon Kelly

        Do you have any information on how the German Bundesliga works?

        • Dan

          hi damon.

          each mixed team has 5 lifters and one “Springer” (Jumper). they sum the relative points of the best lift of snatch (Reißen) and jerk (Stoßen) of all lifters. the team with the highest score wins. with a jumper in your team two teammembers just have to lift one exercise.

          ..like one lifters does a snatch and another the cj. the other 4 team members do both lifts.

          relative points? huh???

          relative points allow to compare lifters with different bodyweight and gender.

          http://www.ac82.de/gewichtheben/tabellen/relativtabelle.htm

          look at you Body weight and subtract the figure in the list.

          e.g. your Body weight (Gewicht) is 79 (rel. Points: 78), your best snatch is 100. your best jerk is 120. te

          Relative Points: 100-78+120-78=64

          to see some results of competitions:

          http://www.bvdg-online.com/?mod=0

          click “Bundesliga” (down, left)

          click Saison xxx

          click “Resultate”

          Chose a….”Protokoll” ….

          • Dan

            London:
            BW: 150,83
            best snatch: 165
            best cj: 216
            RP:165-122,5+216-122,5=136

          • http://www.damonkelly.com/ Damon Kelly

            Great. Thanks for that Dan. I have always known of the Bundesliga but never knew how it worked. I have stumbled across the results on the German but had no idea what it meant. Looks like a pretty good league system. Any clubs need an ageing Aussie super? :) haha

          • Leon

            Just ask. Usually clubs have trouble finding enough members to lift. There is also a 2nd division.

          • Dan

            thanks – my pleasure.
            ist like leon said. just ask for it. there is also Money for the amount of relative Points you can achieve. but I think it is not enough for the living. most foreign lifters are from europe. look at the “Bestenliste” in Saison 2012/2013 and you get an idea
            bye

          • Henning

            Biggest club in Berlin and certainly always in need for competitors that can make it to Olympia: http://berlinertsc.de/index.php/abteilungen/gewichtheben.html

            They also have a couple of guys that compete internationally and C&J around 200Kg, if I’m not mistaken. Might not be the shabbiest environment for your lifts.

          • http://www.allthingsgym.com/ Gregor

            Thanks for the info Dan.

  • jon cole

    he’s the kind of warrior we all want to be !

  • Henning

    I lifted with this guy at the GRAWA (powerlifting) competition in Cottbus, 2010. Back then I thought “Well, this is what I expected to happen if olympic weightlifters started to care about powerlifting. They would crush most competitions without even prepping for it.”