Olympic Lifting, Volume 1

Last Thursday I felt like doing something different workout-wise, so I decided to switch my normal CrossFit class to attend the Olympic Lifting class at the gym. Spoiler alert, it was SO FUN!

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No, really, it was fun. And OMG I just keep laughing at that All-Drug Olympics gif.

We started with high hang squat snatches, focusing on pulling the bar up (squat snatch: pick the bar up overhead with a wide grip and land in a full squat). The program was for 5×3 at 60-70% max rep, but since I don’t really have a max rep I just worked up from a PVC pipe to a junior bar to the women’s bar and eventually loaded the 2.5kg plates to give it some weight. This way I could focus on the form instead of “you want me to lift THAT over my head?!?” My biggest problem so far is keeping the bar close to me. I tend to swing it out front and try to muscle it up overhead instead of pulling strong and getting under the bar when I turn my wrists under it. To be honest, snatches kinda scare me. The wide arm position is not one I’m used to, and it seems contrary to self-preservation to willingly dive UNDER a huge weight overhead. But the more reps at a low weight I do, the better I can dial in my form and get more comfortable with the movement. There is a lot to think about!

Next we moved on to high hang squat cleans, which I like a lot better. With a clean you grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width, and catch it at your shoulders in a front rack position, so it’s not going OVER MY HEAD OMG WHY DO YOU DO THAT. I started with just the bar for this one since I was warmed up from the snatches and I feel more comfortable with cleans. I did maybe 8×3 working up to 25kg, just focusing on form and keeping the bar close. My cue for this was to keep my chest up and open (like a ballerina!) when I pull and catch the bar, I tend to throw the bar in front of me and I have to jump out really far to catch it; if I keep the bar close and my chest open, the bar path is more straight up-and-down and I don’t have to jump so far to get under it.

Finally we wrapped up with split jerks, which I really like to do but don’t work nearly enough. I started at 5×3 with the 25kg that was already on my bar since I’m pretty comfortable with overhead movements. I’m just not used to jumping into the split stance, and my coach had to remind me almost every set to get my front foot forward more. By my last set, I was starting to fatigue and my form was getting sloppy, so I was glad to wrap it up …

With some front squats! Since I wasn’t resting between sets very long I blasted through the workout so my coach had me do “the squat of my choice” for a cash-out. I chose front squats to work my front rack position a bit more. I loaded up 35kg and did 5×3 until I couldn’t feel my legs and Hulk was done with his class. Then I ate a can of tuna (protein!) and collapsed in a heap.

Now that I understand the structure and pacing of an oly class, I’m pumped to work on light technique work in the garage gym on my own.

Perform the following. Rest as needed between sets:

  • High hang squat snatch, 5×3 @ 60-70% max
  • High hang squat clean, 5×3 @ 60-70% max
  • Split jerk, 5×3 @ 60-70% max

Cash out:

  • The squat of your choice, 5×3 @ a reasonably heavy weigh

That’s it for now, go make it a great day!

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Crossfit, the “Emotional Nutcase” Edition

Everyone is different. Part of the fun in life is figuring out what kind of different you are. Do I like to write on a computer or with pen and paper? Do I like large parties, or are nights with a few good friends preferred? Dog or cat person? I hope I never lose my personal curiosity on trying out stuff to figure out my personality and what makes me tick. The other day I was reading some article about quick ways to pick your mood up, and one of the suggestions was exercise. Well, this morning’s crossfit class was a good example of not every piece of advice was meant for everyone.

I started out in a sulky mood I couldn’t shake. Hulk had been traveling for work all week, so I was alone with the kids and starting to feel the crunch. I had scolded Squish for not getting dressed when I asked him to and making us late for the babysitter’s drop-off, Olive snuck the eggs off my plate again when my back was turned, I’m struggling with a sore neck problem that won’t go away, work deadlines are looming, and I was feeling frazzled and overbooked and needed a break. So I decided to sneak in a crossfit class, since that’s supposed to be a great way to perk up, right?

Warmup:

  • Joint mobility
  • 800 m run
  • 10 situps & 10 bridges x 2
  • Small band exercises: side-to-side walk, forward walk, backward walk, 10 air squats
  • I’s Y’s T’s with 2kg plates
  • Practice power snatches

Strength:

  • Front squat 5x5x5x5x5

Workout:

  • 4 rounds of:
    • 10 power snatches
    • 15 wall balls

Starting out, I felt pretty good physically even though my brain was still under dark clouds. I had 3 rest days since my last workout (otherwise known as I haven’t done anything since my last workout) and although I haven’t been really taking care of my recovery like I should, I was okay.

The warm-up and drills felt really good. I was enjoying the movement and looking forward to the strength portion. For the front squats, I ended up at 40kg for the five sets. They were tough, and my last set was starting to go downhill form-wise, so I think I picked a good weight.

Then the WOD. Oh, how I wanted so badly to Rx! But I tried to just go up to 20kg for the power snatches, and stuck with the prescribed 14lb wall ball. Ugh, and ugh. I killed myself snatching, and the wall balls were dismal. I couldn’t even push the ball up to the wall, I would sort of weakly toss it up and not even be able to catch it, it would just drop over my fingers. My coach grabbed me a 10lb ball, and I kicked off the plates from my bar for the second set of snatches.  That sort of sent me into a mental tailspin. I just felt miserable, even though I’m still new, and I absolutely had no reason to be hard on myself. All I could think of is, “I just can’t handle one more failure!” As if I get a pass/fail grade on WODs, and like that would mean something in my life. I took me a couple rounds of holding back tears and mental back-and-forth talk to bring myself back to enjoying the movement in the moment and not worrying about how much weight I was snatching, or how high my wall ball was hitting. I finished in a time of 11:05 which wasn’t too far behind most of the class.

So now, lesson learned. If I’m in a sour mood before class, I had best check my attitude at the door, or adapt as needed during the workout to prevent total meltdown. Exercise did not seem to perk me up as you would think it should.

But on the bright side, the post-workout endorphins are noticeable. So maybe it isn’t all different for little special snowflake me.

happy

Go make it a great day!