Friday, April 3, 2009

Back Squats and a Clean PR

Friday April 3, 2009

Morning Basement Assistance Lifts:

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

RSR Back Squat (lbs): 6x6@80%
160 x 1 x 6
185 x 1 x 6
205 x 6 x 6

I felt very strong through these and did the last six sets in under thirteen minutes. For the first time since heavy squatting, I broke a good sweat enough to warrant a quick shower. Also for first time, my entire body got an unexpected pumped up feeling that lasted the entire day. I now understand first hand why back squats may be the king of the strength lifts.

Total Volume: 9450 lbs

Saturday April 4, 2009

I woke up a little sore in my left hip flexor. After breakfast I got out my long wooden dowel and did numerous repetitions of shoulder dislocates, OH-squats and snatches to get some fluid working through the hip and shoulder joints. Since reading a blog post and video demonstration at Pierini Fitness for the shoulder dislocates, my left shoulder has been the most stable ever considering all the OH Olympic and assistance I've been doing. By 10:30 am I was feeling much better and drove out to the club for my session.

Early afternoon Olympic Lifting session:

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

C&J (kg): 3x2@85%, 2x2@90%, 3x1@95%
20 x 2 x 5 Hang-clean and power-jerk
40 x 1 x 4 Clean and power-jerk
50 x 1 x 4 Clean and power-jerk
60 x 1 x 2 C&J
65 x 1 x 2 C&J
70 x 1 x 2 C&J
75 x 3 x 2 C&J
78 x 1 x 2 C&J
82 x 1 x 1 C&J
90 x 1 x 1 Clean and Jerk with press-out
92 x 1 x 1 Clean (PR) and missed jerk
95 x 1 x 1 Clean miss
95 x 1 x 1 Clean (PR) and no jerk attempt

I am very fortunate that I shortly after I started, Jason Edmonds, another master lifter (over 35), also joined the club to learn Olympic lifting. Jason probably the hardest working individual at the club and his weekly PRs are always inspirational. We almost always lift together on the same platform which has created a great camaraderie. Jason's clean form of late has been exceptional .. he has integrated a very strong pull together with a quick drop into full squat and recover. Although he demonstrated good technique early on with the lighter weights, he is now doing this consistently with much heavier weights. Because of his body type, 6'3", 210lbs, with huge shoulders and chest, his feet move only slightly, usually inward, when dropping under the clean for the squat.

In my case, as the weight gets heavier, I invariably start getting gun shy about having to squat under it and consequently splay my legs wider to help get me lower. Unfortunately there is very little power in doing this and as a result my clean recover is extremely labored.

Jason, having watched me struggle with the clean recovery with the moderate weights up to 75kg, offered up his support and encouragement by commenting that my struggle was probably due to the heavy back squats I did yesterday. Perhaps a part of it was true, but I knew deep inside that I couldn't blame heavy squats for my poor technique.

Finally when it was my turn to do some doubles with 90% (78kg) and after watching Jason with beautiful form for so many C&J reps with heavier weights, I decided I was going to keep my stance from going out any further than my normal front squat width .. even if it meant falling on my butt.

Holy Ned! Not only did I not fall on my butt, I keep a much shorter stance and I had so much more power when recovering from my squat clean. As a result, my jerk was so much easier as I had considerably more energy left over from the clean. At that point I realized, that I had finally leveraged off of the heavy front squat assistance work I had been doing over the last few months. Not surprising as new my squat clean stance was pretty close to what I have been front squatting with.

Jason immediately commented that the clean was much stronger and better looking than the ones I did before with 15kg less. I did another one the same way with 78 kg and then a single with 95% (82kg). With his encouragement, he urged me to give 90kg a shot. I had splayed clean a few weeks ago and I was determined not to do that again. I was shocked when did it with the shortened stance and I recovered fairly easily from it. I had so much energy left that I jerked it with a small press-out with my weak left arm.

Coach Fuller saw the attempt and was very pleased. He suggested I try 92kg and again the clean went very well. This time the jerk failed completely but I wasn't too concerned .. my jerk has always lagged my clean. Coach Fuller suggested one more clean attempt with 95kg. I failed the first time by not getting under it quickly. I then rested, tried again and this time nailed it. I did have to grind it out but that's okay .. my stance, although a little wider than the previous cleans, was fine.

I had nothing left for the other lifts specified in today's template and called it a day. I left with a great feeling of accomplishment .. perhaps a 100kg C&J is not as far off in the future as I had previously thought.

Total Volume: 4460 lbs


Colin said...

It seems everytime I visit your blog you are raising your PRs. Not surprising with the effort you clearly put in.

Looks like you and I are in another race to 100 C&J. Slightly different this time, and I'd be shocked if you didn't beat me to it.

Congrats Franklin

Franklin said...


I might beat you to a 100kg clean, but a 100kg c&j might take significantly longer.

Here's another challenge I would like to suggest .. who can snatch body-weight first. I think this will take even longer than a 100kg c&j.