Not sure how I feel about today’s WOD. That’s not true. The WOD was fine. In fact it was a nice change of pace after 4 work outs last week that all took me 12 min or FAR longer. It’s my mindset which still remains unsettled that I’m questioning today.

I skipped my 800M pre-WOD run today. My legs felt creaky from the moment I rolled out of bed and I  just elected to conserve the energy for the WOD itself. So I owe myself a run at some point this week. Jack led us through a straight forward warm up complex of deadlifts, front squats, presses and good mornings with bare bars. Then it was on to business.

WOD for Monday 111411
Power Clean
Establish 1RM

Been a few months since I’ve worked power cleans. Based on my notes, it was sometime back in September and I posted a top weight of 85lbs. Knowing that we’ve worked other variations of cleans since then and knowing that my range on those lifts runs anywhere from 125-135, I simply had those numbers in mind as I got to work today.

The shortest explanation of why this lift challenges me so much is it’s still very rare that I can put all the components together in order. Cleans remind me of hitting a baseball. When you analyze hitting in it’s purest sense you say, “See the ball. Swing the bat. Hit the ball.” Many very accomplished hitters don’t like to over analyze the effort much beyond that for fear of cluttering up their brains and screwing up the process.

However, anyone who’s played baseball beyond backyard pick up games knows that the science of consistently hitting a baseball hard is far more complicated than its essence. You generate the power from your hips. You need to extend your arms. You need quick hands and strong wrists. A stable base is necessary for balance. It’s very easy to get very caught up in the minutae of each stage of the swing. Get one body part out of sequence and it’s real easy to look really foolish very quickly.

The condensed version of doing a clean is, “Explode the hips, shrug, dip, catch, stand.” But just like hitting that baseball, there’s a whole WHOLE lot of substeps and processes going on in rapid succession and frequently the same time to make this lift happen. Power comes from the hips. You draw up the arms and shoulders as you shrug. Lift the bar, but not too high! Dip your body which just an instant ago was jumping upward UNDER the hopefully still rising bar. Then roll the wrists to shoot your elbows under the bar. Catch it on the shelf of your chest. Land on your heels, and then stand up. “Grip the bar. Lift the bar.” Simple, right?

For me one rep I’m landing on the balls of my feet with the weight forward. So the next lift I’m concentrating on landing on my heels, but then I’m not bringing my elbows up high enough. The next lift, I’m relying entirely on my arms and not driving my hips at all to generate any lift.

Like a developing ball player what I need to keep in mind is that I just needs lots and lots more repetitions to develop some semblance of muscle memory. It’s still too soon to expect my body to understand all of this rote. I need to accept that I’m still a novice at this. I need to keep my emotions in check at the gym. Accept the challenge. Confront it and push through it, but don’t get hung up on it.

At the end of the day, I successfully worked up to lifting 145 once. Jack observed that lift and gave me a congratulatory “Yes,” and a clap. I’ll interpret that to mean that it looked passably well executed.  I haven’t checked my notes yet today, but I think that is the most I’ve cleaned. I wasn’t sure at the time, so I didn’t ring it in as a PR. Plus, my mindset at that point was more, “’bout damn time,” than celebratory.

21-15-9 Reps For Time:
Ring Dips
Wall Ball (20/12)
Power Clean (135/95)

Knowing I’m not capable of doing 45 ring dips w/out assistance, Rx was already off the board for this WOD. That was a relief. I grabbed a red band and claimed a set of rings. Then I set up my bar. I chose 85lbs. One of the things that Jack mentioned during the strength session is that I have “an elbow issue.” His point was I’m not lifting them high enough, or even pushing them through fast enough. I’ve heard this before from Stew too. So like a hitter in a batting cage, I chose to focus on a single component of the lift.

Throughout this entire METCON I chose to pay continuous attention to pushing my elbows through under the bar quickly and lifting them high to create a better catch. This meant my hips and feet were likely sloppy, but I was willing to compromise that to build confidence and consistency in my elbows. It seemed to work for the most part.

By the time I had rings and a bar set up all of the 20lb wall balls were claimed (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.), so I pulled a 16lb ball off the shelf. Like I said, Rx wasn’t a factor for me, so the opportunity to scale that back a bit and apply that energy somewhere else suited me fine.

In the end, I finished the METCON in either 9:47 or 10:47. I’m not sure which. Ask Griff. He was along side of me and finished ahead of me but within the same minute. Jack called out the time for me and I know it was something:47. But I got distracted immediately after the WOD and didn’t record the time. I penciled in 9:47, but reconsidering it now, I’m just not sure.