Robbed myself of a ‘home run’ this morning and figured out a thing or two about how I do the cleans.

Cleans Est 1RM
Set a new PR and 1RM for Cleans a week ago. I was feeling pretty confident coming into today’s workout, but told myself over and over again on the drive in, “you PR’d this last week. Don’t expect more. You need to pay more attention to form. Make them look and feel good. Worry about the weight after that.”

That being said, it was just a PR sort of day at the 6:15 session at CFD. Coach Erin was very encouraging to folks and eager to see some PR’s in the group. A couple of other folks hit PR’s early in the session and the success was just sort of contagious.

I warmed up with 3 reps at 95# and things felt very good. Everything was moving quickly. Mobility felt really good. Form was very stable. So I went to 115# and did 2 reps. These also felt good, so onto single reps.

The lifts at 135# and 145# were both decent. I came up with a new cue today for the cleans while doing these lifts. Every coach that’s watched me do a clean has told me the same two things. One, “fast elbows.” They all tell me that I don’t get my arms around under the bar fast enough. The second cue is “elbows up.” I have the mobility to get my elbows up into a good rack position. However, partly because I’m slow and partly because I want to rely too much on my arms, I often fail to drive my elbows into a good position.

The challenge with those cues is that they’re two separate things to remember. There’s already a lot going on in the clean. “Knees back, slow and steady until you clear your knees, explosive hips, hit the pockets, pull, mind your bar path, etc, etc.” Anything I can do to simplify the process helps me out. Today, with respect to my arms/elbows, I kept telling myself, “force ’em through!”

In my head, the idea of moving forcefully means I have to move my arms under the bar fast. It also means that the explosive movement under the bar and the follow through encourages me to drive the elbows upward. I don’t know. That may not work for anyone else, but it sure helped me today. So that’s my new personal cue, “force ’em through!”

Feeling confident coming off the 145# lift, I moved to 165# and it was decent. I deliberated over the weight for the next lift for a while and ultimately set up for 185# which should have been a 10# increase. The lift went very well and afterward Coach Erin and a few others mentioned that the form looked really good. That’s very encouraging. I know when I hit 175 last week it was ugly.

While breaking down the bar before the METCON I discovered I had a 10# plate on one side and a 15# on the other. So the lift was 180# rather than 185#.  To use a baseball analogy, there I was thinking I’d hit a home run and it turns out after further review I discovered I bounced one off the top of the outfield wall into the stands. Call it a ground rule double! 😉 I’ll take it. It’s still a PR and new 1RM, so I can’t be disappointed. I’ll get 185# next time. I’m finding more and more parallels between baseball and crossfit/lifting. Think that will be a separate post though.

4 Rounds For Time:
10 KB High Pulls (52/35) – each arm
20 American KB swings
Run 200m

I did this one Rx and it was a lot of fun. At the outset, my one goal was to go completely unbroken. When I finished the second round in less than 4 and a half minutes, I added a spontaneous goal of finishing under 10 minutes. I went .500. Missed the first goal. Hit the second.

All high pulls and swings were unbroken until the transition in the final round. Up to that point, I hadn’t used any chalk. I was a sweaty slippery mess and the kettle bell was sliding around in my hands during the pulls. I was worried that if I went straight into the swings, I was going to hurl a 52# kettle bell at one of my friends. I didn’t see anyone who deserved to get pummeled with a kettle bell, so I set it down and hustled over for some chalk. Safety first.

Runs were sluggish this morning. After all the cleans and the explosive hips in the kettle bell work, my legs just felt like concrete. I didn’t even check my splits. They sure weren’t sprints.

In the end, I finished the METCON in 9:39, so I met my second goal of the day. I’m very satisfied with that.

Sunday I’m taking part in the gym’s tribute WOD “Xander”. I’m really looking forward to participating. At the same time, I’m intimidated by this workout. I know from posts about the WOD last year that this is going to be a very long WOD. I expect it to go in excess of 40 minutes. That’s a LOT of work.

I just have to embrace that fact going into the WOD that day and pace myself accordingly. It will also be important to remember that it’s a priveledge to take part in a WOD that has serious personal meaning to friends around CFD and supports a local charity. It’s a partner WOD so in many ways, it’s an experience to be shared. It’s going to be a good time. I will say though, understanding that the workout is composed of exercises that spell out “Xander’s” name, I’m glad our coach and  friend’s dog wasn’t named Cornelius. 😉