Another real good day. I went back to an old standby philoshophy and it served well. Ended up beginning the week, but closing out the month on a high note. Very satisfying indeed.

WOD for Monday 043012
Front Squat

It was exciting to close out the month taking a shot at a 1 rep max for a lift. I find it’s easier to get motivated when you have an opportunity to establish a new benchmark.

Jack watched a set of bare bar warm up squats and warned me to keep my weight back. My heels weren’t coming off the floor, but it was evident to him that I was shifting forward on the balls of my feet. It would be a recurring theme for the day.

First set of 3 was done at 135# and I got the same warning. I did two sets of three at 185#. They felt ok. Felt like I was back more often than forward, but there was still a tendency to lean. It took a while to tease out what was going on, but I finally figured it out. It’s the left wrist.

The left hand is not 100%. ( I know I said I wouldn’t write about the wrist anymore, but it’s relevant) When the bar is racked up high during a front squat and I’m fighting to keep my elbows up, the strain on the left hand at the base of the thumb is uncomfortable. Relaxing that tension by dropping the elbows a bit relieves the pain. That’s a lousy way to develop bad habits. It’s something to be aware of and work through. The pain’s not unbearable. Certainly not for the time it takes to do a single or even three reps. I don’t believe I’m doing any harm to the hand by pushing through it, so I just have to be mindful.

For the first single, I decided to go straight to my old 1RM of 215#. Jack was nearby and observed. When it was done, I think we both agreed that it was a valid lift in that  it went below parallel and came back upright again, but not really a good lift. Still got foward a bit. Needed to drive up faster. Desptite that, I felt confident that I could do more and simultaneously clean it up, so I went after 225#.

After a brief rest, I went for it. When it was done, Jack and I both agreed that it was one of the better reps of the day. The chest and elbows were better than any other lift and there was good drive out of the bottom. It was very satisfying. It was noisy too. I turned a few heads groaning loudly as I completed the lift. Just the way it goes.

At that point, with a new 1RM established I walked away from the rack and started setting up for the METCON. My mindset was, “end with a hit.” There wasn’t going to be a better front squat this morning. I don’t think I could have gone heavier and I don’t think I could have done another rep as technically clean. Sure there parts that could have better. There always are, but that was the best it was going to be today. Better to walk away with the satisfaction of that last lift still on the brain.

21-15-9 Reps For Time::
Front Squat (185/115)
KB Swings (52/35)

Talked with Jack briefly before the start to understand the intent of the WOD. Specifically, would we be working the squats from the rack or the floor? His direction was that if there were enough racks available, we could work from the rack. He pointed out that the effort on the squat shouldn’t be limited by the clean required to get the bar off the floor. I was relieved to hear that. I chose 135# for the squats, sticking to my mindset of working at around 70% of Rx. It was a challenging but not overwhelming weight.

The result was a very satisfying and demanding METCON. No round of front squats went unbroken. The first two rounds were done in three sets each, but not evenly divided. The final round may have been four subsets. I failed during one set and the bar crashed to the floor. Jack was nearby and gracious enough to rack it for me so I could continue. I appreciated that because no matter how hard I stared the bar refused to lift itself back into the rack. No respect for the mean face. So frustrating. The opportunity to catch my breath was also much appreciated. I shifted to no-hands or arms-crossed squats going into the round of 15 to protect my hand. 45 reps of squats done for time was proving to be too painful.

All kettle bell swings went unbroken, but not unobserved or un-coached. Jack caught me coasting (as much as anyone swinging a 52 pound iron ball in front of themselves repeatedly can coast). My body was loose and the swings were soft all the way through. I was allowing momentum at the top of the swing, to dictate the range of motion and just letting it drop rather than driving the kettle bell down again. Jack caught me and coached me to tighten up and actively stop the top of the swing and violently drive the kettle bell back down. Whew! That’s a whole lot more work!

Final time on the WOD was 7:52.  All in all a very good day.