I trained twice again today; the first session was at 9AM and the second 5PM. The morning session was around an hour and fifteen minutes long and primarily activated muscles and movement patterns; assistance movements were used with light weights and two of the exercises in particular addressed some of the main areas I need to work on.
The warm up was different again and involved pushing, pulling and squatting movements with various thera-bands. We also used med balls to induce inward pushing pressure while pulling, pressing and squatting. Like the other warm ups, this was different and was relevant to the skills and movements that we were about to train. Plus, the fact that it was different to the other days means that you cannot sleepwalk through the warm up—I think this is something we can all be guilty of.
1. Front Squat to Push Press—Crossfit call this the thruster I think. I did a set of five with the bar, 40 and 3 sets with 60. This was light, but I was working on getting a wider stance and keeping the knees out in the Front Squat. In the Push Press portion I worked on getting my chest through and not my head—this is a bad habit. These are all things I need to work on for my Clean and Jerk.
2. Lunge High Pull—This exercise is used to activate the mid traps and rhomboids as well as inducing a movement pattern so that you are pulling up and through while going down. You hold the bar in a Clean grip and while you lunge down you begin your pull and finish the pull when at the bottom of your lunge. Squeezing the shoulder blades is important to fully activate the appropriate muscles.
3. Clean grip Romanian Deadlifts—Tom had me doing this movement differently to the more common version of the exercise. There is a set in the video below and you can listen to Tom’s own explanation for this exercise. This variation of the RDL emphasises the flexion of the middle of your back so that you pull the bar around your knees but keep your hips in the same place while flexing with the mid back to get the bar up to mid-thigh level. The idea is to strengthen and activate the lower and mid back and also to help learn the movement pattern for the double knee bend. Whether you agree with the movement part of this exercise or not, this variation is fantastic for my needs because I am starting to activate these muscles for the first time when lifting and therefore, my back and hip lock and my entire pull will benefit. I only did a few sets of 5 with 80kg so that I could learn the movement, but in the future, I need to build up so that I can do five or eight solid reps with the weights I am Cleaning.
That was it for the morning session. I finished off with some foam rolling. The foam rollers in this gym have the middle cut out with a fitted hard pipe in between. It feels far more beneficial than the regular foam rollers. Tom also showed me some exercises to loosen up the hip and shoulder joint which I found very useful. I will try to get a video of these over the next few days.
We had very little warm up for this session and I was happier for it because I was quite fatigued. We went straight into bar work and into the Snatch up to 90% for 3 singles.
1. Snatch—I worked up to 3 singles with 100, which was a bit over 90% but I was happier to do it. I was happy with the three reps because they were the first relatively heavy Snatches I have done with my new first pull. My first rep was good except for the fact that I did not finish the pull and the third rep was the best except I somehow decided to look down when squatting up. Have a look at them on the video and any comments are welcome.
2. Clean and Jerk—I worked up to singles with 110, 120, 125 and 130 with the last two lifts being on the video below. I was really focusing on the technique which, like the Snatch, tended to limit the speed of my lift. With the Jerk, I focused on what Harry is always telling me along with Tom: control your dip and drive through the Jerk with speed, emphasising getting the chest through, not the head—which I did with the 125 Jerk. I was happy with the Jerk today because they were far snappier than Tuesday.
3. Clean Pulls—I did triples with 130 and two with 140; my last set is on the video below. My first rep was lazy and slow and the third rep was by far my best lock and quickest pull.
4. Back Squat—I did triples with 100, 120 and 130 and they were slow down, a second or so at the bottom and driven up as fast as possible—except that I could muster hardly any speed. Light weights in my usual style, but this way they feel heavy because of the stop and the attempt for maximum speed back up.
We finished off with a set of Sumo Squats to improve hip mobility and the session lasted maybe an hour and twenty minutes at most. Tom’s 12 year old son Teun Snatched a pr and this is in the video along with a 110 Snatch by Safak.
With the Snatch and Clean, I feel that the only difference between my lifts now and this time last week is: I can keep my back locked more throughout the pull, which is keeping my hips and trunk in line; this keeps the bar closer also; I am also really focusing on extending as much as is optimal—again this is what I try to do at home. Cathal was right when he said I already had a double knee bend. Now I think I am improving it with the back that is only starting to wake up properly which means that my legs and hips can do their job. Tom is really helping me with these factors and the 8 days is going really well so far. As always, if there is anything I can learn from anyone’s comments or opinions, fire away.