Important gainz

Not much to update from last week as Wednesday was the Olympic weightlifting beginner’s class, and I was away for the rest of the week.  The class was mostly stretching, interspersed with doing overhead squats to see if the stretching was changing anything.  Suffice it to say I learned some new stretches, and made real improvements in my technique by the end.  I could have stayed on for the 19.00 WOD but, to be honest, I didn’t fancy the look of it.  Too much running for my still-aching glutes, and I had to drive the car over 250 miles the next day.

Anyway, fast-forward five days, and we’re at the start of another week of the current strength cycle.

Time to smash those PRs!
Time to smash those personal records!

The 20-second overhead squat holds at the start were slightly easier than before, especially as I did a bit of thoracic spine mobility before the session started, as suggested by the weightlifting coach last week!  And there’s nothing better than almost pulling your shoulder out of its socket by stretching the bugger with an elastic band if you want some extra mobility.  It may hurt, but it’s supposed to.

So to the main event – slinging heavy pieces of metal with rubber plates attached over your head.  The idea was to build up weight over six sets until you got to the maximum you could manage.  Each set comprised a push press, a push jerk, and a split jerk, all performed one after the other.  This was the first time I’ve done a split jerk (the split leg technique that you see Olympic weightlifters do when lifting the bar from shoulders to overhead – one leg forward, the other behind you in a sort of lunge position).  The idea is to get lower under the bar than you do with the push jerk, thus allowing you to lift a heavier weight.  We could scale it to two push jerks, but I reasoned that if I was going to get near or over 40kg then I was going to have to use the split jerk.

My previous best on the push press was 35kg, so I started with that, just to get my split jerk technique right at a weight I knew I could manage.  Having done all three moves with no problem, I then added 2.5kg to the bar with each set.  I sped through 37.5kg and 40kg with no trouble, and then I put 42.5kg. on the bar.  I dropped the bar during the push jerk in set four, and lost it attempting the split jerk in set five.  But after a couple of pointers from the coach, I nailed all three moves in set six.  So that’s one PR completely smashed.  Hopefully, I’ll have 50kg over my head before long.

What better way to proceed than to try to better a movement which I struggled with when I started CrossFit, mostly due to weak legs.  But the quads have taken a good pounding in the last nine weeks, and have started to repay me.  We were working up to a 4RM with the front squat (the maximum weight at which you can do four reps before dying).  My previous best was 45kg, so I started there (as is my usual practice when trying for improvements).  It felt good, so I went up through 47.5kg, 50kg, 52.5kg, and just about managed four reps at 55kg in the fourth set.  That’s my absolute maximum for the front squat, and I’m very impressed with legs for managing it.  Another one smashed.

Unfortunately, that’s where the awesome stuff ended, as today’s WOD was “Jackie”.  They’ve got nice names, but they all kick you in the balls.  You’re actually supposed to row 1000m at the start of this, but we don’t have enough rowing machines for everyone, so we had to run 1k instead.  I should have commandeered one of the rowers for this anyway, as I have a chest cold (I was hacking like a 30-a-day smoker in the car on the way home).  It’s a good job that the thrusters were using the 20kg bar only, as I was well out of breath after that run.  I am onto our coach and his practice of making us do max-weight squatting stuff before WODs involving squatting, in the same way he made us do those front-rack lunge walks before a WOD involving KB thrusters last week.  Evil bastard.

Naturally I did ring rows instead of pull-ups, but they still hurt like hell after 50 thrusters.  My time was 10 minutes, 33 seconds.  Not spectacular, but I tend to see these “for time” WODs as a necessary evil to get through.  I’m not after any records with them at this stage.  Anyway, I got two important PRs today, so Jackie can bugger off.

Bigger numbers next to my name
Bigger numbers next to my name now …

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