The TreeTown Barbell Club is a weightlifting club that aims to build foundational strength for its athletes, focusing on Olympic weightlifting. Led by Josh Leonardis and Monica Bruell, TreeTown Barbell Club caters to all levels of weightlifters. Whether you are a recreational lifter or a competitive athlete, TreeTown will suit your needs.
In addition to the Barbell Club weightlifting team, coaching is available to supplement CrossFit athletes’ weightlifting. Open classes provide opportunities for all athletes to receive coaching in the Olympic lifts.
- 3 Michigan State Championship Qualifiers
- 1 Michigan State Championship Medal
- 3 Michigan State Records
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about Barbell Club or joining our weightlifting team.
“I’ve been going to the ‘Oly Platform’ class with Coach Monica for only about two weeks and it’s already made a huge difference in my performance during Crossfit classes. In the short amount of time I’ve spent in the Oly room, I’ve learned a great deal about proper techniques and how to improve in areas I struggle with. I’ve also built a LOT more confidence in lifting and have become much more comfortable in the strength exercises during Crossfit. I’d highly recommend the extra time in the Oly room for any Crossfitter, as a little bit of coaching can go a LONG way!”
“I started with lifting at TreeTown almost exactly a year ago, and the experience has been tremendous. Coming from an endurance sports background, I started with very low strength, a light bodyweight, and next to no body awareness. In the past year, through excellent coaching from Monica and Josh, my lifts have shot up: C&J from 70 to 101, Snatch from 50 to 76, and Back Squat from 80 to 120. Even more importantly (to me), I’ve found a new family in the barbell club. Gyms can be intimidating spaces, where strong people feel comfortable and everyone else feels out of place. The coaches have cultivated a community where those feelings of intimidation are simply not present: instead, coming to lift every day is exciting, freeing, and social. While I originally came to TreeTown to learn a new sport and to change my body, I now come to TreeTown to be with the people I care most about, to share a lifting experience with them, and to isolate myself from the outside world. Josh and Monica– thanks for making our little weight room a second home.”
“The weightlifting team has been a great chance to slow down movements away from the CrossFit floor. When I joined, I felt great about moving, but not confident in handling the bar. The coaches (who are PHENOMENAL) really took the time to understand what I was doing, and then systematically correct behavior. And slowly, yet surely, increases in maximums were made and confidence built. Stepping into the weightlifting room every time feels like a community of people who are SUPER focused on improving themselves, but also want to crack a joke and not take everything too seriously. It’s a community of lifters who challenge each other mentally and physically … and know how to have fun. I’ve made major gains and have SHOCKED myself with what I’ve been able to do in only 12 months. I know the coaches care … and know I mean something to them, which is hard to find.”
“I had no idea how much my life would change when I started lifting with the barbell team at TreeTown. I had recently moved to Ann Arbor and found a unexpected community in our little barbell team. On the weightlifting side, I’ve seen changes in my body, lift technique, and strength that I didn’t know were possible. Despite how challenging weightlifting can be, I know I have the support and motivation to improve each day I come in. Monica and Josh foster a lifting culture that is inclusive, empowering, and respectful. The improvement to my mental health rivals the improvement to my physical health in the 6 short months since I’ve been here. On the personal side, the friendships I’ve made through our barbell team have made Ann Arbor finally feel like home. I feel lucky to be part of a group that inspires me to be a stronger, kinder, and funnier person every day – inside and outside of the gym.”
“As a new member with limited barbell experience, there are two things that standout to me with the team. First, is the level of attention to detail given to each person’s form not just from the coaches, but also from team members is impeccable. Second, what makes the team truly special and inimitable is that everyone wants to see each lifter succeed, so everyone will go the extra mile to help each other out, while keeping things as competitive as the lifter wants it to be.
Why Did I Start? Curiosity. I heard a lot of loud feet slamming the floor that sounded pretty cool and I wanted to be part of the crew. In all seriousness, this helps me with my cross fit strength and enables me to do much more during the cross fit workouts. Also, when I did my 3rd assessment with Monica, I really liked the attention to detail she provided and wanted to keep working with her. I feel this is a great way to just get better.” —Ali S
“I started Crossfit in January 2017 and knew I was going to need a lot of work to improve my lifts. Monica, Josh, and the oly crew welcomed me into their world and the work we’ve done as a team has been incredibly rewarding. Nine months later I’ve almost doubled my capacity in both major lifts, improved my overall confidence, and made great friends. I’d recommend the oly team to anyone!”
After roughly a year of crossfiting, I asked Max what I could do to “start to learn how to clean without just closing my eyes, muscling the bar and seeing what happened.” he recommended I try out OLY. I was hesitant because I was about as far away from anything ‘olympic’ as, well …a ham sandwich is from winning the olympics. what I discovered, tucked away behind shoe-ville is an incredible tribe. one that:
– encourages me to trust the process. they hold me accountable to keep going, keep practicing when I feel I’m never going to figure out (insert pretty much any skill/lift/or drill with a short/tall box here), the coaches give a cue or correction that – even if I miss the lift – keeps me learning.
– cultivates an environment where people want to do (at least) one thing, every time, better than the last time. maybe it’s solving a puzzle! maybe it’s lifting one kilo more! maybe it’s learning how to hook grip!
– the energy is so positive. it’s just fun. and the coaches work to get everyone in the room who is lifting, involved. both their voice in any conversation, and give them specific feedback. we’ve made big changes based on someone’s idea for improvement.
– even when it’s scary, they help me choose courage. I’m sure both of our coaches believe I’m capable of well beyond what I can imagine. And when I approach that comfort limit, I have such trust in them (and they are cheering so f’ing loud), that I have no where else to go, but up.
and yes, I’ve gotten stronger, but the reason I keep coming back, the best part, is that it’s not about me, it’s not about the coaches, it’s not about one specific squatting all star – it’s about the community. and sharing care, puzzles, delicious food, and making us all stronger. together. —Laura W