Saturday, March 21, 2009

A few PRs: Some good, some in need of much improvement

Saturday March 21, 2009

Normally when one achieves a PR, it is a cause to be jubilant about. In my case I PR-ed multiple times today. The PRs in my front squats were performed with solid technique and I was very pleased. The PR in my heaviest clean, although legal lift, used poor technique bordering on dangerous. As Coach Fuller emphatically pointed

"Franklin, we have to get you to the point where the weight is heavy enough that can't get away with what you are doing."

What happened is that with 90kg, I power-splay cleaned it. This means instead of just squatting under it, I splayed my legs wide enough to catch on my deltoids. Even though the pull was very strong, I chickened out and did what I did previously when I thought the weight was too heavy and thought that my body didn't want to have to squat it .. I slayed my legs very wide so that it lowered my torso just enough to catch the weight. If you are familiar with Olympic lift platforms, my legs splayed so wide they each touched the black rubber mats on the sides of polished wood part of the platform. Although at the time I didnt' realize that I had done this, Coach would not allow me to try it again (even though I came just short of begging for another chance to do it right) as he was concerned I might injure myself.

Honestly, I am extremely fortunate to have such a great coach to guide me. He has seen all too many injuries in his career from bad technique and knows its just not worth it. I had already done a large volume of lifts at 90%+ 1RM and would have probably injured myself if I kept going .. a pattern I unfortunately am only too familiar with.

The solution to this is actually quite simple .. lots of squat cleans with 80 to 85kg until they are as automatic as they now are with 75 to 78 kgs. I had the same exact problem with avoiding squat cleaning 80 to 85. Once I started cleaning these weights properly, the jerk fell into place. Thus it is no surprise that my power-splay cleans led to jerk failures as they take too much energy to recover from.

Fortunately, the new strength that allowed me to poorly clean the 90kg carried over positivley to my front squats where I added 15 lbs to my 1RM with very solid technique.

Afternoon Olympic Lifting Session:

Z-Health: Neural Warm-up Level 2 (Dynamic Joint Mobility Drills)

C&J (kg):
20 x 1 x 5 Hang C&J
50 x 1 x 3 C&J
60 x 1 x 2 C&J
65 x 1 x 2 C&J
70 x 1 x 2 C&J
75 x 1 x 2 C&J
78 x 3 x 2 C&J (90%)
85 x 1 x 1 C&J
87 x 2 x 1 C&J, missed both jerks, clean PR
90 x 1 x 1 C&J missed the jerk, clean PR

Front Squats (lbs):
140 x 1 x 2
160 x 1 x 2
180 x 1 x 2
225 x 1 x 2 PR
235 x 1 x 1 PR
245 x 1 x 1 Miss
180 x 5 x 2

Thumbless Tactical Pull-ups
BW x 6 x 4

OH Squat (kg):
50 x 1 x 2
40 x 1 x 5
45 x 1 x 5
60 x 1 x 3

One of the clubs new lifters, Chris Dolan, recently took third place in his first competition at the Atlantic Open in the very tough 77kg class. He is both extremely strong and very athletic. He has only been lifting for 4 months and just on Thursday snatched 92kg. While I was in one of power racks finishing my 1st set of front squats doubles with 180lbs, he was knocking off triples in teh rack next to me with two wheels, 225lbs. With my juices still flowing from the lifts with 90kg, I asked to be spotted for the 225lb. It went so easy, so I did another rep for a double. I waited about three minutes and did 235lb. I figured WTH, so a short while later I tried and then failed with 245lb.

Of note is that I'm not even half way completed with my current RSR (Russian Strength Routine) squat cycle and have already increased my 1RM by 6.8%. I'm sure my experiment of doubling up the RSR with both front and back squats has a lot to do with it. To be on the safe side, I'm not going to re-adjust the RSR percentages to account for my new 1RM but instead complete the current both front and back squat cycles unchanged.

Total Volume: 8500 lbs

Sunday March 22, 2009

This morning I decided to knock off the moderate RSR back squat session. Even though yesterday was a heavy front squat day, today's went very well.

Morning basement dungeon assistance lifts:

Z-Health: Neural Warm-up Level 2 (Dynamic Joint Mobility Drills)

Russian Strength Routine Barbell Back Squats (lbs):
155 x 1 x 2
185 x 1 x 2
205 x 5 x 2 @ 80%
205 x 1 x 10

I surprised myself by ending with a set of ten reps with my 80%. The 205 x 5 x 2 were performed each set at the top of minute. I waited an extra minute before the last set of ten.


Diet and Nutrition:

Goal: 182 lbs by April 2009

Saturday March 21, 2009

Current: 183 3/4 lbs

This week I was just plain hungry all the time. I did have a few cookies but well within the limits of moderation. I may have to just cut back on the intake to get back under 182.

Sunday March 22, 2009

Current: 184 1/4 lbs

Struggling a bit with a huge increase in appetite .. the heavy squatting really does require extra calories. I'm still eating very cleanly so I've decided not to sweat it.


Colin said...

Even with the lighter weights I'm using I can already see how much of it is a mental game. Your coach will sort you out and build up your confidence using proper technique at those heavier weights in no time. Congrats on the PRs.

You're doing a lot of work what with the RSR, small wonder the appetite is up. I bet the extra weight is going on as muscle.

Franklin said...


You are correct in that the mental aspect is non-trivial. I had no idea I was splay cleaning until the coaches informed me. As I get more and more comfortable with squat cleaning and snatching and with another six months under my belt, I hope to have this one permanently nailed.