← reST Go Diagrams Implemented | Crossfit Total →

New Bars, New PRs

New PRs:
Clean and Jerk—200# (90.9 kg)
Jerk—200# (90.9 kg)

Today did not start off well. I woke up late. My dog shit on the floor. The milk was wretchedly sour. All I had to eat before I went to work was a grape and an unintentional gulp of stinky cheese. I arrived at Crossfit Durham a few minutes later than I had planned with low expectations and low motivation. But I arrived. Sometimes, that's enough.

Recently, our gym's owner, Dave Rubin, had purchased some new Olympic Weightlifting bars and new competition weights, calibrated in kilograms. My mood improved when I realized I would be able to use the new bars for the first time today. I stuck with the old pound plates because there was a bootcamp class filling the room with the kg plates, and I didn't want to get in their way.

My left wrist had been bothering me this weekend, so I planned to avoid snatching. My workout would focus on clean and jerks. If that started aggravating my wrist, I would stop, and find something else to work on, or go home. Like I said, my motivation wasn't too high.

But once I got started, my mood improved. I wasn't doing the best cleans, but I was enjoying myself, and my wrist felt fine. I worked up through my warm-up weights: 45 lbs, 95 lbs, 135 lbs, 165 lbs. 45 felt awkwardly light. 95 flew up. 135 was starting to feel like weight. I even got one good jerk with my toes turned in, that felt really solid. I just landed like a rock with the bar locked out overhead.

At 165, I started noticing that I was jumping forward on the third pull, and then having to step back to get my balance. Probably indicative of me not extending my hips all the way on the second pull. So I spent a couple reps at 165 fixing that, and moved the weight up to 185.

For my first couple reps at 185, I was still trying to power clean the weight. I managed to pull it off on the first weight, but I wasn't all the way under the bar, so I couldn't get my elbows up high enough. When that happens, instead of having weight land on my shoulders, it pushes down my forearms to my elbows, which hurts. I took a couple extra minutes, to make sure my arms were okay, and went for it again, but didn't get the bar up high enough—or, more importanly, myself down low enough—to catch the clean. It also felt like the bar was out too far in front of me.

185 lbs is still 30 lbs less than my best clean, so I was feeling a little frustrated that I was having so much trouble with it today. I took a step back, and decided to work on my clean pulls for a couple reps. First pull: keeping my back straight, and pushing my weight back to my heels, and my knees back out of the way. This was key. If I could finish the first pull with my weight on my heels, and my knees out of the way, I'd be in good position to send the bar straight up instead of out in front, away from my body. Second pull: driving my hips up, and pulling the bar back into it, hips fully extended. I hit three reps, with the bar coming up right against my belly, and on one rep actually bumping up against the bottom of my ribs. I'd never had that happen before, and I'm not sure it's good, but it's certainly a correction of what I had been doing wrong.

So I did a couple more reps as full squat cleans at 185, and was able to drop underneath much more readily. On the first rep, I tried to stand up with it to quickly, and ended up stepping forward. I managed to finish the rep, but the jerk was a little weak. My coach, Doug, wisely advised me to wait in the squat until I was stable, and not rush up out of it. I took his advice for the next rep, and felt much more solid. Even the jerk was completely stable.

My confidence was coming back, so I decided to try for 200 lbs, a ten pound clean and jerk PR and a four pound jerk PR. I approached the bar a couple times before I decided I was ready to lift it. Got some water. Finally, I stepped up to the bar, set my back, loaded my hips, and pulled the weight off the ground. I felt my voice start to groan, while in my head I was thinking, "Knees back. Knees back. Knees back." The groan became a roar. "EXPLODE!" I told myself. As the bar became weightless, I let myself drop under it. "ELBOWS!" I threw my elbows up, and as the weight landed on my shoulders, I started to drive it up. I was doing exactly what Doug had told me not to do! And the weight was clearly going forward. I had to chase it four or five paces to get my balance under it, but I could tell the whole time that I wasn't going to lose it. The jerk was over before I knew it. It wasn't the prettiest, but I had the bar overhead and I was standing upright underneath it. So I threw it on the ground. Sometimes that's the most satisfying part of the lift.

Before I went home, I did one more clean at 200 lbs, remembering to catch my balance before standing up with it. Then I missed the jerk. But I didn't mind. I had my PR. Next time I'm going to try to get a picture of me cleaning heavy weight with my ridiculous new moustache. It's gonna be awesome.

Oh, yeah. Did I forget to mention that?

My new moustache.

Comments !