No Rest For the Wicked!

Ok, I told everyone to take it easy and at best, work on skills. So, my plan today was to lay low and recover from three days of WOD’s, one of which was probably the worst 3k run I have ever done, but let’s not relive that agony.

I walked out into the gym and found Allison hard at work working on her Snatch (minds out of the gutter people, we are talking about the Olympic Weightlifting maneuver here, not the whisker-biscuit) with a PVC warm up bar. Allison was doing very well on her own and I was able to help clean up a couple of flaws to get her dialed in. Talk about a natural athlete…

The Snatch is one of the most explosive and physically all-encompassing movements in sports. You are taking a weighted bar from the ground to overhead in one movement, landing in a overhead squat position and standing up with the bar overhead in full lock-out. The movement requires timing and incredible coordination and attention to minute details to make it work correctly. In order to make this happen, almost every muscle in the body has to fire on all 8 cylinders, in order from the ground up, at maximal output for an instant. The movement is fast and violent – slow means failure. The explosive action is anchored by the posterior chain, core and hips. If the hips don’t blast open to inititiate the final pull before going under the bar, you will not make the move. It is a thing of beauty once you understand the movement and see someone do it at full throttle, yet make it look so effortless. As you can see, there is so much going on in the Snatch, you have to be on top of your athletic game to make it happen. Allison has arrived at that point after a long time of hard work. She is a poster child for moms all over who have one hour a day to go full bore at bettering themselves.

The other crucial component of the Snatch is being able to do a clean and strong overhead squat. If you have never tried one, you are in for a treat. GO LIGHT when learning this motion. An athlete doing Olympic lifts, the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, must be proficient in the overhead squat for the Snatch and the front squat for the Clean. You can’t stand it up if you can’t even squat it, right?! You will also find that the OHS is not so much a leg based exercise as it is an incredible core based exercise. For pure leg strength, go do squats. For core based strength, do OH Squats.

Think of how much stability is required of your torso to hold a weighted object overhead. Your midline will wobble like a piece of spaghetti until you build it up and lock it in. A good OHS workout will leave your legs a bit tired, but your upper and lower back and shoulders toasted. You may feel some soreness in the Serratus and oblique muscles the next day – that’s called proof.

So Allison did 5×5 sets of OHS – very nicely I might add. We also worked on properly push jerking the bar overhead as well as dumping a loaded bar with bumper plates on. Allison got up to 85 Lbs OHS with very nice form, a below parallel squat, and open hips at the top. Good work!!!

So, in my effort to “rest”, I chose to do some OHS and Oly lift work for “fun”. One of the CrossFit gold standards in fitness is to be able to do 15 OHS at bodyweight. This is no small feat for anyone, regardless of gender or weight. I worked up to 175 Lbs with some lower weight warm up sets with no problems and then went at it. I shocked myself by getting right through the 15 reps with not too much difficulty. I could feel the active shoulder and locked out arms softening up a bit at rep 12, but kept it tight and finished up nicely. I was pretty stoked seeing as to how I had never tried this before.

OHS - Get Some!!
OHS - Get Some!!

Afterwards, I did some Clean & Jerk and Snatch practice to show Allison the movements under load and the speed needed to make it happen. I dumped a couple too due to bad body positioning, so she got to see it all come together and fall apart. So much for rest days, eh?

This is what those of us in CrossFit land enjoy doing. We love to be around each other, pushing each other and helping each other. Demonstrating and learning from each other is a huge part of being a trainer, as each person I train teaches me something in return, whether they know it or not. Allison brought up form points for me today that I had not known of before. Knowledge, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate with each other – this is why the CF community rocks and why we can provide the results in fitness that we say we can.

I’m done rambling, so now you can rest. See you tomorrow!

One thought on “No Rest For the Wicked!

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