Wednesday, January 26, 2011

11-01-25: Hang snatches and running

CrossFit Garden City WoD for Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Burgener Warmup (PVC)
 - 3 sets of 3 reps of the following:
  • Down, Up, Shrug
  • Down, Up, High Pull
  • Muscle Snatch
  • Snatch Drops
  • Hang Snatch
Skill: Hang Snatch
Spend 15 minutes practicing with PVC, Training Bar, Barbell, or lightly loaded barbell. Focus on jumping and landing in deepest squat position while maintaining position/stability in receiving position.

4 rounds:

Shows the basic motion a bit after the start (the bar starts at mid-thigh, drops bit as you unlock your hips, then rises up to the position in the first picture as you re-open your hips to start driving the bar up.)  See that final pic, with the beautiful deep squat? Turns out that's RELLY f'ing hard. Seriously.

One thing CrossFitters try to be honest about is their "goats."  Simply put, "What do you suck at?"  For me, its definitely the olympic lifts and their variations. As well as several other skills. That's an inevitable outcome of doing this on my own, without coaching. Most of the skill-based movements NEED an outside set of eyes watching form and function... no matter how many mirrors there are, you can't watch your own back.

Another goat is the olympic rings, which is why I've been working them so hard lately. After warming up, I hopped on the rings, and starting working on my ring dips, getting as far as a triple! I love seeing progress... I may not be very far along yet, but that means each achievement looks HYOOOGE! Going from 10 to 11 won't feel nearly as awesome, I bet.  I also tried a few L-Sits.

I don't think I've ever done ANYTHING that lit up my abs as fast as this did. Planche holds take a good 5-10 seconds to let you know how much they can suck. This was nearly instantaneous. (

Boy, these suck!

After several runs through the Burgener Warm-Up, I started experimenting on running it with increased weights. So far so good, so I transitioned into the skill practice on the full Hang Snatch. Once I started including the squat landing, I discovered an inability to keep my final stance from being too wide, with toes splayed too far out. In that position, trying to catch the bar in a full squat position would inevitably cause my balance to shift forward, causing my knees to cave in. While this didn't keep me from completing the lift, I could tell right away that this was putting an insane amount of stress on my knees. Not what I want to feel.  Ever. I practiced keeping my feet closer in, in what I consider to be my overhead squat stance, which *ideally* (i think) is identical to the catch position for the snatch (notes on snatch technique here, courtesy the fine folks at CrossFit New England). I had at best mixed results. Plus, when I focused too much on my footwork, my control of the bar path went straight to crap. Like I said, a coach would have been a wonderful thing. I tried a few with 85# on the bar, but had even more wide-stance/knee torque issues, so I decided to keep it light.  PVD would have been ideal, but I opted for the empty bar (35#), which is the lightest thing we have. Speaking of, I finally remembered to take a video of the gym:

As you can see, its not great, but I could certainly be doing a lot worse, especially for free. However, when we get our way, most of the machines are going to be on Craigslist, and we're going to have a lot more room for power racks and pull-up bars and actual barbells. Woohoo! If they give us the budget... sigh.

At the end of the 15 minutes, as I was starting to feel a little better about my hang snatch footwork, I got the treadmill up and running, and got ready to hit the Training portion of the workout. I honestly can't remember the last time I did any running, which is ALWAYS a good sign that its probably going to hurt. I was happily surprised in some ways.  I managed to do each of the 400m runs unbroken (usually by the 3rd or 4th, I completely gas out halfway through) AND I upped the speed for each one. At least that way I was suffering for slightly less time... not that it ever really felt it.

After the run, I made my way to the bar and knocked out 12 hang snatches of various quality. Some seemed perfect, including a nice squat depth and everything. Some had the worst of the foot-placement issues leading to the worst of the knee torques. Second round of running and hang snatches felt much the same.

For the third round, after the run, I was feeling a little gun shy, which manifested in two hang power snatches in a row (no squat motion at all).  I ended up finishing out the set that way, but it kinda bugged me. I was missing something (not just the squat.) There was a way to scale this, I knew it....

Final run, fastest speed yet.  Lungs of fire. Legs of jelly. Back to the bar. Standing over it, I came to a decision: since my form was so shaky as to be unusable, this wasn't exactly a well-performed WoD for time anymore. So I could change it up a little to get in the work I clearly needed. A solution presented itself: Hang power snatch, followed by an overhead squat. Just break the motion into the two constituent movements, and give each the attention it needed. I toyed with doing all twelve of one, then the other, but decided to keep them together. That way, each squat would depend on the foot position from the power snatch, keeping that part of it intact. Otherwise, I could just find a single good foot position, bang out twelve overhead squats without having to worry about it, and gotten no skill practice at all!

Overall, I felt good about the run (though I have calves of concrete today), but it was the snatches that really threw me off. Today, my knees are aching... so not good. More work, and hopefully some good coaching in the near future. I mean, it literally can NOT hurt, from where I am right now! ;)

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