Tuesday, December 20, 2011

11-12-19: 1RM Cleans and Front Squats

Elm City CrossFit WoD for Monday, December 19th, 2011

The clean. Floor to shoulders, using just about every muscle in the body EXCEPT the arms (other than just for control). If you're using your arms a lot, you're doing it wrong.Note pictures 2-3... the weight hasn't moved much, only the lifter has. And his arms are STRAIGHT in the 2nd pic.

Brett Marshall (AFT) demos awesome front squat form. The weight is out of the hands and riding on the delts. Knees are out, feet are flat on the floor. Perfection. (crossfit.com)

Strength: 1 Rep Max
  • Clean
  • Front Squat
Pretty simple prescription: Work up to 1 rep maxes on the clean, then on the front squat (ie, NOT in the same move; a full clean (which includes catching the bar in a full squat) does NOT count as the front squat attempt.) After a good amount of warm-up and review with empty bars, we set to work. Despite all of my recent complaining and whining about my own shortcomings and goats, especially the olympic lifts, including cleans, today felt really good. I felt like I was really popping the bar up to my shoulders using mostly the triple extension of hips, knees and ankles, and I was having some pretty good success dropping under the bar, rather than just relying on firing up to full standing height in a power clean. So that was all good.  As I climbed up in weight, I just trying to keep my head fully in the moment, only worrying about the deadlift "yellow light" portion of the lift, then the explosive pop, then the catch, and not getting all flustered by dealing with everything at the same time. 

After a few warm-ups at 95#, I started moving up in weight. I had two good lifts at 115# and 135#, then matched my previous PR at 155#. That felt so good with my improved form, I shot to 175# and nailed it, setting a 20# PR. After taking a few minutes, I tried for a final attempt at 185#, but didn't quite get under the bar properly, causing it to "stack up" on my left wrist wrong. Though I was able to shake it out in time for the front squats, it definitely made me bring my clean attempts to an end!

For the front squat, I picked right up at 185#, banging out two reps easily. I again started climbing, this time gunning for my previous PR of 215#. After a rep at 205#, I went to 225# and nailed it. I tried a rep at 235# and nailed it, putting me at a 20# PR on front squats, too. After nearly deciding to quit (it was time for the next class to come in), I opted for one more lift, this time at 245#. I nailed it, inking in a 30# PR on front squats for the day. Not a bad start to the week, and a welcome change from my usual bitching and moaning, at least in recent posts. Progress. Getting stronger. THIS is why we do this. No, its NOT always fun, but on days like this (or when I got to the top of the climbing rope, or broke 300# on my deadlift), its totally worth it!

One other thing I thought of later: I had NO problems with my grip on this workout. Granted, I didn't do any high reps on the front squats, so there wasn't a lot of time for fingers to slip out.  I also did some triceps work during the warm-up, which I think definitely paid off. Interesting. 

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