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Entries in clean (39)

Beast Mode + Workout Notes

The workout on Friday was probably the first time in a while that I felt like I really messed up at the sessions; we needed to do the back squats from the racks so we could go heavier. But this really got me thinking a lot about barbell strength and lifting heavy weights. This is a topic that I ponder and has been covered on this site a handful of times - most famously in the editorial What is Strength? from the glory days of 2015. This topic also popped up in my head while watching college football over the weekend and seeing players continuously tap their helmet to ask for a sub, and also at our basketball open gym while noticing how much more our kids complained about getting fouled when they were tired. And also watching Planet Earth II.

I really, really think CrossFit hit the nail on the head with how they approach building strength. If you can do a 400-lb. deadlift then big ups to you. If you can do a 300-lb. deadlift in the middle of a brutal workout with running and pull-ups mixed in, then you are a different breed of beast.

Strength, in real life, is very, very rarely expressed at full rest. The ability to be strong, - in as many varieties as possible, while being tired is something that I need, you need, my grandma needs, baby Josh needs, and Shea Patterson needs. (Chase Winovich seems to have that covered.) A lot of attention was given last year to Saquon Barkley cleaning 400-lbs.

This is absurd. I would also love to see what his capacity would be doing Elizabeth (even if he needed to up the weight to 155 or 185 pounds). I think most coaches and programs will be blending strength with conditioning sometime in the future - probably when the younger coaches move up in the ranks - but until then it's mostly theoretical, though backed with some good anecdotes.

As far as our gym goes, it's tough to judge purely by numbers because of the variety of athletes. Alexis Anthes is a high school sophomore with 3 months of CrossFit experience and an average strength base coming from Coach T. NuNu is an 8th grader who's feet might well have never both been off the ground at the same time before joining in May. Jay is Jay. Mrs. Pip is Mrs. Pip. Saporito, Elizabeth, and Cecilia are all back in college. I would say Katie Shakes has a perfect capacity of being strong while tired, but then I'll watch her do a push-up in Cindy and reconsider.

Mostly, I judge things based on my gut feeling. We had to get our technique on point at the end of the spring/start of Summer, then we needed to build some stamina in the legs and feet. Now I really think it will help us to feel some heavier weight in the workouts. I don't like it. And Murley/Shannon might not come back until we're through this phase, but I think it's a big part of getting a great effect from workouts like Friday or today. I don't really want any 500-lb. deadlifters, or 300-lb. cleaners, but I would like to see what kind of capacity we can develop with heavier weights within the confines of a workout.

What does this look like? Well as luck would have it, our 8:30 am session did a nice job of showing us this morning.

Normally, Mrs. Pip would have been at 65 lbs., Schornack at 25 or 35 lbs., and Mrs. Kroll at 35 lbs.; here they were at 85, 45, and 55 respectively. Not huge increases, not a weight that would be a big sick of injury, just a little extra something that might require them to slow down a bit and really zone in on the lift. I thought the technique was really good considering it was the third round. Yes, it was technically supposed to be a power clean, but as long as the squat position looked good I wasn't going to mention anything; they already had enough on their mind. Either way, all three were able to keep their positions pretty well with a weight heavier than usual.

More to come!

Quote of the Week vol. 257 + Beast Mode: Conor and Kasey

"Offering a service is having a purpose."

- Kanye West

Last Tuesday we did max effort cleans, and we ended up allowing some kids to work up to their 1-rep max. Here's Conor and Kasey with their final lifts.

Beast Mode: Parent Power Cleans

...well, kinda power cleans. We were a little bit lenient on the depth if everything else looked good. Either way all the parents at the 5:30 pm session on Monday did well. The standouts, in my opinion, were Mrs. Carey (as usual) and much to my surprise... Mr. Warthman. His form was about as good as I have ever seen from him and he seemed content with having some left in the tank after his last set at 135 lbs. I was thoroughly impressed. 

Mrs. Carey was Mrs. Carey; in other news, water is wet.

Beast Mode: Scrawny Boy is Back

Remember, Athlete of the Fall comes out tomorrow


So I have been known to be on both ends of the JZ spectrum; crazy praise and harsh criticism. When he told me he was coming back at the end of October, I made it clear that he had to work his way out of the doughouse he built for himself after his 4-day Summer attendance. He's not all the way out yet, but he helped his cause yesterday (and with four weeks of consistent attendance).

I did a drill with him that helped his timing on both the clean and jerk and he worked up to getting a solid-form 220-lb. clean and jerk. But I noticed the clean looked pretty easy so I was curious to test the waters - giving him two sets to work up as high as he wanted.

Final result: 250-lbs. PR.

Keep working scrawny boy.

Skill Transfer in Action

"We haven't done cleans in a while."

I heard this towards the end of my 7 pm session, right as we were getting up in weight. There's no doubt about it- we haven't done cleans that much this summer, let alone max effort cleans. In fact, the last max effort squat clean we did was about 10 months ago. For anyone who wants to pull some serious weight, or do anything seriously at all, once every 10 months is not enough. But here's the funny thing: there were PRs across the board. In fact, out of the 28 people who did this workout, 19 PR'd or tied their PR. That's 68%!

Lookin dang good!

Not bad for people who barely hit a max rep clean.

The cool thing is that you're practicing your clean all the time. Anytime that you are focusing on your bodyweight and going from pose to pose by unweighting (like a snatch, or dare I say...running), you're working on that max effort clean. Looks like it's paying off.

It's been a good week for this guy - will he possibly be the first parent Athlete of the Week this summer??

Beast Mode: Football Boys

The Mott football boys have been putting in a good Summer of work here in addition to the lifting they are doing with Coach T around the corner at school. We're been really trying to dial in technique for Dawson Bielski and Tyler Jabara on Olympic lifts - especially the timing portion. We usually go from the hang because it almost forces the correct movement, but today we went from the ground and they both looked good. Check it out.

Dawson: 145 lbs.

Tyler: 160 lbs.

From the Vault: Banets Go Head-to-Head

Since the Summer we have been trying to emphasize intensity in as many workouts as possible. In other words, I want to guys to get used to going faster than you're comfortable with if your form allows for it. What often goes overlooked is how long it took us to get to where I was okay with your form on a consistent basis.

The video below is Jacqueline and Elizabeth Banet doing the clean/dip sandwich from February 6, 2014. To me, it's interesting to watch because the form looks nearly identical to how they move now. The only difference is they were about 7 months into CrossFit at the time. If they were to do this now (almost three years with us) they would be able to keep the same form moving a lot faster.

It is important to understand that, in non-benchmark circumstances, the movement must remain constant. Your first rep should look the same as your last rep. When doing things like burpees and Olympic lifts, that can be very difficult, but I think a lot can be judged about someone's athleticism and skill when seeing them do complex movements at a fast pace - something I might get to watch today now that I think of it.