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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?


Entries in clean (42)

Beast Mode: Cecilia and Mrs. Kroll

We had quite a few good performances on last Thursday's max effort clean day. In the morning, Mrs. Kroll and Cecilia both showed good technique as the weights got heavier. Mrs. Kroll was a little hesitant to fall under, and Cec had a tendency to use her arms too much. But still ended up looking pretty good.

Mrs. Kroll topped out at 75 lbs.

And Cecilia topped out at 125 lbs.

Beast Mode: Moms Cleaning As Usual

Yesterday morning we had Mrs. Bennis, Mrs. Pip, and Mama V in attendance for max effort cleans. We worked on going from the ground with all three of them because 1) things were looking good from the hang position and 2) being able to do cleans from the ground during regular metcon workouts adds a different level of suck and fatigue. So congratulations ladies!

Anyway, here's their last sets:

85 lbs. for Mrs. Bennis, 105 for Mrs. Pip, and 75 for Mama V.

Coach's Corner: Good Enough

The term "good enough" usually means someone has given up looking for what they want and settle for what they are seeing. It carries a negative connotation, at least from my pespective.

This morning Cecilia, Luke, and Noah stopped by the 8:30 session with Mrs. Pip while back from college for winter/spring break. They were rookies last Summer, had a few weeks of laid-back training during Christmas, and they look like this towards the end of the workout:

What I was looking at mostly was the cleans. During the technique prep we did mostly hang then I figured we could see how things looked going from the ground. Timing (meaning legs before arms) is what I was looking for. And what I saw was the perfect example of a positive version of "good enough."

I have them for like 4 days. There is really not much we can accomplish in the grand scheme of things in 4 days. So my first priority was for them to feel like they got a good workout in. Check. Then I wanted to see how close they were to "the standard" for the movements. Verdict: definitely within eyesight. We could have spent the entire session trying to fine-tune the movement, and there would be very little chance it would stick around come May. But what I was was form and technique that is "Summer-ready" - meaning give it a few weeks of consistent attendance and it will be nails! Look for a big Summer from these three.

Ps. With the exception of jumping halfway across the floor on some reps, Mrs. Pip's timing was really good.

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.