Monday, March 7, 2011

11-03-07: Front squats, thrusters and burpees

CrossFit Garden City WoD for March 2, 2011

  • Jump rope
  • Shoulder Mobility Circuit
  • Burgener Warmup

Front Squat
 - Build to a heavy triple in 20 minutes (30X1 tempo)
6 sets:
  • AMRAP in 30 sec of Thrusters 
  • Rest 30 sec
  • AMRAP in 30 sec of Burpees
  • Rest 30 sec
AMRAP = As Many Reps as Possible.
Weight for Thrusters is 135/95 or 40-50% of heaviest set of Front Squats (55#).

An awesome front squat. (
A well-performed thruster, a movement which I believe is only trumped by the snatch (both power and squat/split varieties) in terms of sheer range of motion with a barbell. (
Stand, squat, planche position, push-up, kick back to the squat, jump up and clap. Repeat. If you're not quickly gargling with stomach acid, you're not doing it right. These are full body murder, especially interlaced with thrusters!

Back to working out with the students getting in the way. Tried to correct some massive form issues for the guys slowly trading bench press sets on the Smith machine. These guys just can't figure out that having the bar landing directly over your neck is a bad thing. Upshot is that they were all doing 1/4 to 1/2 presses at best, no matter how many times I pointed out their awful ROM, but that's a discussion that will need to take place in a classroom, or at least an official "listen to me, I'm smarter than you" discussion. These guys want to do seated "concentration" curls with their wrist landing on their thigh. Who am I to point out the many levels of irony and ineptitude? Just a moderator, not a teacher. I've got the track guys starting to listen to me, and a few of the baseball players, but that's about it so far.

Started out with some hasty warm-up, leading off with jump-rope. I'm still struggling to replicate last weeks' feat of linking double-unders. Best I had today was 4-5. I have NO idea what I was doing last week, and no idea how to fix what I was doing today, either. That's a bit frustrating. Moved on to shoulder mobility via the beginning of my active stretching routine, also focusing on a triplet of slower stretches I've started incorporating lately. First, a good morning to try to target the hamstrings, followed by a back bend, trying to mobilize the lower back with the recently loosened hamstrings, then a deep squat pushing the knees apart with my elbows, to wake up the rest of the posterior chain. I generally hold each position for about 3 seconds at the longest, not trying to shoot for static stretching, but just moving the body through those positions that will grease the grooves for the exertions to come. Along those lines, a trip through the Burgener warm-up just to keep those skills fresh also serves as another shoulder mobility enhancement.

Finally, it was time for the front squats. I hate these, but only because my arm flexibility really limits me on them...and the lack of a rack makes doing them a pain in the ass. Check out Dave Lipson front squatting heavy triples, like what I was shooting for today. That arm/hand position is really only usable when you can walk the bar right back into the rack. It's utterly useless if you're going to have to finish off the move by trying to get the bar to levitate back up into your grip so you can put the bar down safely on the ground. Especially several sets in. the goal of that position is to have the bar carried on the front of the deltoids, pinned there by the fingers. Still, for all that, I started out light, aiming to do lots of sets, lots of small jumps, and really focus on both my hand and arm position, as well as foot width and back position. I'm not strong enough in my technique to worry too much about going super-heavy, since my form would begin betraying me long before those increased weights could start causing huge amount of growth.

So, with that in mind, in 20 minutes I did 10 sets. Starting with the empty bar (35#), and pretty much unable to get it in the proper position (which more weight does actually enable) I moved up 10# at a time, successfully nailing triplets at the following weights:

35# / 45# / 55# / 65# / 75# / 85# / 95# / 105# / 115# / 125# (PR)

With proper form, and for a triplet, 125# is a new PR for me, though its very low. However, putting in the work on proper from, proper arm and hand position (which came together in about the 3rd round, and fell apart in the last 3), and keeping everything else tight, will do more good for increasing those weights in the long run than just throwing myself at 125# and hoping against hope that there would be more in the tank ever could.

After resting up for a few minutes, I dropped the weight on the bar to 55# pounds, took a moment to scoff jealously at the original Rx for the workout (135#), then said a silent thanks to the knowledge that killing myself at that weight was NOT the point of the workout, and that 55# would be way more likely to allow me to annihilate my lungs. No matter how easy the first few reps or sets felt, the weight would be MORE than adequate to stimulate a training response!


Despite the fact that I ended up barely able to get up off the floor by the time this one was over, I felt really good throughout this workout. A few days off had done my body wonders as far as recovery from the last workout, and the cold symptoms that made that last workout so terrible were mostly past, meaning I had been sleeping way better for the past few days, too. I had handled food better during the day, as well. In every way possible, I was just better prepared for this workout, and that's just a fantastic feeling.

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