- Program A*:
I. Snatch Balance: Work to a "heavy" single in 5 reps. If you have never performed this movement, start very light and work up gradually. Otherwise, target 85-110% of your 1RM Snatch.
II. Snatch: 7 single attempts to work up to a 1Rep. Max.
Great work by everyone from last night's class. We had some first time one rep maxes and some PR's from some of the more experienced athletes.
Watching video analysis of your lifts is one of the best ways to discover flaws in your technique and ways to work through them. In the photos below, I'll describe what I'm seeing as far as the good and the bad...
Starting position for the first pull...
Here we can see that Joanna is in a pretty good setup position. Her feet are about hip width apart, her arms are pretty much perpendicular to the floor with her shoulders just slightly ahead of the bar. Her gaze is neutral (straight ahead). Would like to see a bit more of a lumbar curve but that's probably nitpicking.
Wow! Everything looks great. Torso is upright, bar is racked high on the shoulders with elbows forward. Nice!
Transition from Clean recovery to Jerk...
Joanna has used the momentum from the Clean recovery to pop that bar off her shoulders just enough so that she can get her hands under the bar and in good position for the Jerk. She has also shifted her feet back in to a narrower stance that is ideal for the drive portion of the Jerk. This is exactly what we worked in drills last night!!...
Good job of achieving full extension of the legs and hips before driving under the bar. Everything looks GREAT up to this point!
Uh-oh!! Something went wrong here. It looks like Joanna needs to focus on pushing her head and chest forward as the bar passes overhead. Look at the photo of Chad Vaughn from yesterday's blog entry to see what I mean. Her lead foot should also be a few inches forward but again, that is probably nitpicking.
Where are your flaws and sticking points? What are you doing to work through them? If you've never been to our Weightlifting specialty class, what are you waiting for??
This picture shows a perfect example of keeping the weight back in the heels and the barbell close to your body during the first pull from the ground. Jamie is doing an excellent job of not letting the barbell get out away from him where it would tend to shift his center of balance out over his toes.
Here you can see that Jamie is doing a really good job of hitting that triple extension before pulling himself under the bar. By starting the pull from the "pockets" instead of from the knees he will generate much more power through the drive of the hips and will end up in a much better position when receiving the barbell. Great job Jamie!
Olympic Lifting class feedback...
So we've been running this class for about 3 months now. I've seen some of you make HUGE progress on your Oly lifts and it's great to see! I would like to ask for some feedback on how you think the program is going, what should remain the same, what could be improved, etc.
Your goal is to work up to a 1 rep, 3 rep and 5 rep max in the Muscle, Power and Full Snatch respectively. In the muscle snatch, the bar must be received with no rebend of the knees. In the Power Snatch, the bar must be received with the thighs above parallel.
I. Starting Foot Position: Feet underneath the Hips during the "drive" or jumping portion of the lift.
II. Grip: Hands slightly outside the shoulders. Use the barbell knurling marks as a point of reference. Hands should be about 1 "thumb length" or slightly more from the end of the knurling marks.
III. Rack position: Barbell should rest high on the front of your shoulders. Slightly elevating your shoulders will help keep the bar off your collarbone.
IV. Elbows: Elbow position can vary somewhat by what the athlete is comfortable with. However; the elbows should definitely be forward of the barbell, higher than they would be for a strict shoulder press.
V. Dip & Drive: As you dip and drive the barbell up, it is critical that you do not allow the bar to "float" even for a nanosecond. When the barbell reaches it's highest point, drive yourself under the bar and punch your feet to the floor just as the elbows are locking out.
3 Rounds @ Light Intensity of the following movements
10 PVC Overhead Squats
10 Back Extensions
Dynamic Stretch and Mobility Work
Skills and Drills:
Coach B Progression Drill with Snatch Width Grip (Snatch Pull, Snatch High Pull, Muscle Snatch)
8 Sets of...
1 Rep Power Snatch + 3 Overhead Squats
Recommended Loads - Start work sets at about 70% of your best 1 rep Power Snatch. Progress to 90% or greater. Rest 1-2:00 between attempts.
Post loads to comments
This excellent article from T-Nation (thanks Matt D. for the link) has some great information on Overhead Squat technique. It addresses the most common flaws in technique seen in inexperienced lifters.
1. Forward torso lean
2. Poor mobility in the hips, shoulders and ankles
3. Poor shoulder stability
Try to think of the following cues when performing this movement - 1) Chest up!, 2) "Show me your armpits", 3) "Keep the shoulders packed and stacked".
There is a school of thought mainly found in the competitive Weightlifting community that doing Oly lifts at high reps and high weight "for time" is a horrible way to train. This belief is partly based on the relatively high complexity of the movements and the relatively low level of training of most CrossFit athletes.
Like many people who start CrossFit my journey started with reading the main site every day, perusing the hundreds of articles and videos and eventually finding the nerve to attempt some of this stuff at my GloboGym. I probably did CrossFit for about a year before I even found a box within driving distance. Up until that point, I was "self schooled" which is a nice way of saying I had plenty of time to practice my shit form on my own! If you'd like to give your thoughts on the picture perfect technique in the photos below, please post to comments!
Now back to the original question - is it ill advised to do high-rep Olympic Lifts for time in CrossFit workouts. Well, my personal opinion is..."that depends". There are a few simple rules that I would give any true novice before even thinking about doing a WOD like Grace or Isabell Rx'ed.
1. If you're doing a high rep met-con with a weight that is 85% of your 1 Rep PR, it's way too f$%^ing heavy!! I'll never forget a WOD I did at a CrossFit box I was visiting in Michigan. It was Isabelle and Grace back to back....with Squat Snatches and Squat Cleans!!! So, at that point I really didn't even know what my 1 rep max Snatch was but I knew that 115 would be really tough and 135 would be a mess. So I did 115 pound power snatches followed by overhead squats and finished the WOD without incident. Meanwhile there was this kid trying to do the WOD at the rx weight and falling on his ass every other rep. After the WOD I went over to him and said "ummm...props dude for doing the WOD Rx'ed". He gave me this tough guy look and said "I DON'T SCALE!!". Whatever dude, you also took 20 minutes to do a 5 minute workout and almost dropped a barbell on your head!!
2. Slow is fast. What I mean by this is that sacrificing 1/10 of a second to dial in your form will make each rep easier. You will not get gassed as fast and more important, you are less likely to get injured.
3. Chest up, back straight -ALWAYS! When you get tired, there is a great tendency to get lazy through your core and let your chest drop as you lower the weight (like the guy below). Make sure to lower your hips and push your chest out before each rep.
4. Finish each pull aggressively. In the Snatch, this means receiving the bar overhead with arms locked out and active shoulders. In the clean, this means snapping those elbows through to avoid the barbell crashing onto your shoulders or wrists.
5. "When the arms bend, the power ends": Coach B's favorite saying. When the weight gets heavy, there is a great tendency to want to "gorilla" the weight up by pulling through your arms rather than using the speed of the hip drive in the second pull. Instead think about doing an explosive jump followed by an aggressive pull through your shoulders to create the upward momentum on the barbell.
So to sum it up - if you're new to the Olympic lifts make sure to go light until you develop some consistency of form and consider the points above the next time you do them in a CrossFit WOD.
- 3:00 of row, run or jump rope at light intensity
Dynamic Stretch and Mobility
Skills & Drills
I. Jumping and Landing Drills (no barbells)
II. "Stay-back drills" with empty barbell
I. Clean Deadlift: 4 sets of 4 reps @ 75% of 1 Rep Max Clean
II. Squat Cleans: 1 rep. every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
- Start at 70% of 1 Rep. Max and work up to 90% of Max.
- 3 mins. @ 70%
- 3 mins. @ 75%
- 2 mins. @ 80%
- 1 min. @ 85%
- 1 min. @ 90%
The setup and first pull of the Snatch and the Clean is one of the most important aspects of the lifts to master. If you're sloppy off the ground, chances are things are going to go horribly wrong throughout the rest of the lifts. The athlete will likely overcome this if the loads are well below max. However; these flaws get exposed during heavier lifts.
The most important thing to understand about the first pull is that the sole purpose of this component of the lift is to achieve perfect positioning for the second pull. The second pull is where the knees re-bend and the athlete begins the aggressive hip extension that creates the upward momentum of the barbell.
Some key things to remember for the starting position (these will apply to the clean and the snatch)...
1. Barbell should be over the base of the toes (balls of the feet)
2. Arms should be perpendicular to the floor when viewed from the side as in the photo below.
3. Depth of the hips will vary between the clean and the snatch and will also vary based on the build of the athlete. However; the key thing to remember is that the hip position should enable 1 and 2 from above. In other words, if the hips are too high, the athlete will be leaning too far over the bar with the arms not perpendicular to the floor. Too low and the barbell will be over the ankles, not the balls of the feet.
4. Last, the knees should be flared out. This enables the athlete to have his or her hips closer to the bar and achieve a more upright angle of the torso.
The first pull should begin by "pushing the ground away" through the feet while maintaining a constant back angle. This part of the lift should NOT be quick and aggressive. It should be slow and controlled. Think about sweeping the bar into the body by activating your lats. Make sure that barbell is in contact with or extremely close to your mid-thigh before beginning the aggressive "jump" of the second pull. Maintaining that close proximity will allow you to transfer force through your center of balance in the mid-foot vs. through your toes.
This blog will be used for information on the VBC Olympic Weightlifting Specialty Class. Here I will be posting the weekly program for Tuesday's class as well as links to other weightlifting resources and coaching tips.