Wednesday, October 19, 2011

11-10-19: 1 Rep Max Clean and Jerk

Elm City CrossFit WoD for October 19th, 2011

Natalie Burgener cranking up some big weights in the clean and jerk. (Looks like 118kg according to the board behind her...260#? Yeesh. Someday, maybe. Maybe.)

Sage Burgener also cranking up some big weights. Strong family!

Strength: 1 Rep-Max Clean and Jerk
  • Complete no more than 10 attempts/sets
Pretty simple. After a bit of review and warm-up, we started in our warm-up sets. After a few reps at 45#, 65# and 85#, I hit my work sets. My previous PR was 125#, set back in June. I had the mental goal of 155#, just based off of setting two 30# PRs back on Friday. Not the sanest plan, but not a terrible one, either. After Monday's fun with power cleans and squat snatches, my right collar bone was a bit bruised up, making me a bit gun shy on the catches. I was also struggling with popping my elbows through quickly enough (picture #3 in the Natalie Burgener pictures, and #4 in the Sage Burgener set). They just felt crusty and slow, especially the left elbow.

I failed on my first two attempts at 95#, not due to a lack of strength, but due to a lack of technique. I can easily power clean that weight, which I did both times. However, after feeling myself slowly catch the bar and essentially lower it to my shoulders, I realized my pinkies had popped up into the way of the bar. I couldn't pop the bar back up into a full grip for the jerk, because of those damn pinkies in the way. In checking in with Coach Vin, we had a quick laugh at the fact that I was popping the bar up in front of my face (a several inch bump), but still couldn't get my hands back on the damn bar. At a heavy weight, where the bar would barely move a single inch, I would stand no chance. Technique technique technique. I finally nailed a 95# clean and jerk by not letting the bar actually roll all the way out of my fingers. It meant I didn't actually get my upper arms all the way parallel, but at that weight, I'm strong enough to do it poorly. This isn't necessarily a good thing...

I failed once at 115# (same issues), then nailed it on my second attempt. As there was a lack of 5# plates, I added two more 10# plates, and jumped to 135#, shooting for my first PR of the day. I failed twice, both for the same stupid issues as before. My clean form was getting a little worse, as I had completely stopped bothering to try to squat for the catch, and so was power cleaning the bar on every rep, without even getting my feet into the receiving position (a little bit wider than shoulder width). The only way I could have made it harder would have been to try to catch the bar while standing on my tip-toes. Still, it was all forearm/wrist/finger issues that was making me fail. Again, I finally nailed the 135# rep when I kept the bar from rolling out of my fingers, compromising my form overall. Meh.

I admit to being pretty psyched the whole way through with my jerk form. Though I wasn't overly happy throwing heavy weights over my head, I never once finished the rep by pressing out. Each time, I had a nice good pop, and my splits were all deep enough (and quick enough) that I was able to get completely under the bar. And hold and recover every single rep. As crappy as my cleans were, the jerks were all kind of awesome.

Finally, the time had come. My goal weight of 155#. (Another 20# jump... sheer stupidity, I know, but again, there weren't enough small weights to go around.) I failed once, but again, it wasn't strength that failed me... f'ing technique. F'ing pinkies!! I realized there was a pair of 5# plates, and that I could drop down to 145#... which I considered doing. Then I said "screw it" and tried again at 155#. This would be my 30# PR I was hoping for. All I needed was one good clean... crappy or not.

One crappy clean later, I had the weight on my shoulders. My hands weren't completely out of position. My pinkies weren't in the way. Holy crap, all I needed was one more good jerk. Just one more good jerk. I took a bit of time to gather my breath, trying not to panic at my stupidity for trying to throw 155# over my head. Dip, drive, CATCH! Holy crap, I had 155# over my head! I quickly got my feet back under me, spent a second to make sure the weight was solidly up, then dropped it, having just set a 30# PR on the clean and jerk.

So, though I struggled the entire time with form, and probably looked like an idiot with my crappy form, I still got that damn weight overhead. Can't complain too much about that. What it reveals though, is that I need to improve my form (and quick) if I want to lift heavier weights, and getting stronger will allow me to improve my form. Or, if you're from the 80s like me...

  • Bill: Ted, while I agree that, in time, our band will be most triumphant. The truth is, Wyld Stallyns will never be a super band until we have Eddie Van Halen on guitar.
  • Ted: Yes, Bill. But, I do not believe we will get Eddie Van Halen until we have a triumphant video.
  • Bill: Ted, it's pointless to have a triumphant video before we even have decent instruments.
  • Ted: Well, how can we have decent instruments when we don't really even know how to play?
  • Bill: That is why we NEED Eddie Van Halen!
  • Ted: And THAT is why we need a triumphant video.
  • Bill, Ted: EXCELLENT! 

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