On Sunday the 23rd, myself along with two of my teammates lifted at the 48th(!) Annual Golden West Open. The meet was held at California Strength in San Ramon, CA. I lifted in the 77 kg class for the second time, weighing in at an all time high of 70.8. Leading into this meet I had one of the most laid back taper weeks I have ever had. I did one heavy front squat single on Monday, Wednesday I hardly did anything because I felt terrible, and Friday was a light technique day.
The taper week helped, as I felt strong on the day of the meet. I opened with 72 in the snatch and missed in behind me. It felt very light, and I immediately made the call to go to 75. I made 75 for a competition PR, then missed a 78 which I should have made. I didn’t stay over long enough, and the bar hit mid-thigh, killing my pull.
I opened with 92 in the clean and jerk and made it easy. I then made 95 for a competition PR. I was very happy I made this weight, and decided to go for 100. I made the clean strong, but did not get my head through on the jerk, and dropped it. If I would have had a coach yelling at me to get my head through and get under, it would have reminded me and I would have finished the jerk. I know, if, if, if…But I think having a coach would help me fix errors like that. So with two competition PR’s, and a PR total while going 3 for 6 means there is more in the tank.
I must also mention my teammate Cecily, who is a junior lifter with much potential. She broke her own PWA junior record in the snatch with 66, then clean and jerked 82 to set a PWA total record. But it was her last lift, an attempt at 85, that shows just how much of a fighter she is. Watch for yourself:
You may recall a post several weeks back about me failing my 20th rep with 90 kilos. If not, I can summarize by saying I have been doing one set of 20 in the back squat every week now for the past 9 weeks. I started with 70 kilos the first week, and worked up to 90 in six weeks. I failed my 20th rep with 90, and I don’t even know how I got to that considering reps 17, 18, and 19 were pure hell. My friend Ben (www.alongthelinesof.com) told me do go back down to 80, then work back up with 85, then try 90 again. I did this, and today, after not feeling very well thanks to some wine last night, and not wanting to do these squats at all, I got in all 20 reps with 90. Much stronger than my previous attempt, much less painful, and all around much, much better
Of all the different programs I have tried, (there have been many: Russian squat program, hatch squat program, 10x3’s, 5x5’s, linear progression, periodized progressions) I can say, unequivocally, that Super Squats has worked the best and has given me gains in 9 weeks that I would have gotten in 6 months on those other programs. 5x5’s worked well for me too, but not like 1 hard set of 20.
The only thing I will say about my snatches was that today was the first day going off of straps in preparation for the meet on the 23rd. I sure hope they feel better than they did today. May go in tomorrow to get some extra work in.
Sure, ya got a warehouse space, some bumper plates and a collection of bars. Do you REALLY know what you’re doing? Chances are there is probably work to be done, technique that needs a bit of tweaking and some more awareness of what the heck you’re doing. The techniques of the sport of…
Today was one of those great days at the gym where your body seems to just do what you want it to with no fuss. I was not sore or tired this morning, my warm-up was easy and painless, and before you knew it, was snatching 70 for a double, then 75, then I made an easy 80. I tried 82 twice, and came very close both times, but missed both in front. Just a little more pull and I would have nailed it. I was happy that 80 felt so good though. Dropped down and hit 70 for a double and 75 for 3 singles.
I then did back squats up to 130, tying my best, and did 20 reps with 85. These felt great; the legs felt strong today. I could have gotten 5 more I think! Finished with snatch grip behind the neck presses. These really get that rear deltoid burning. I am doing these for mass gain, get a little extra yolkage. The hardest part of the movement is the initial lift off the back. Once the bar passes the ears it is easy to finish, but that start is tough.
I’ll be getting ready for the Golden West Open on the 23rd next week. Not much in my program will change, but I will have to stop using straps on snatches.
Fairly mundane today and the gym. My snatches felt pretty good while I was warming up, and I thought I would be able to try for a new best today. I was focusing on really pulling the bar high into the hip crease, and when I did, the bar just flew up. My positioning was a little inconsistent, however, and I missed some weights I should have made. After making 75 I missed 80 twice. I think this was just due to me not getting as fired up for these as I should have. I made this weight last week and it felt pretty easy. I just wanted it more last week, I think. After the misses, I went down to 50 and worked up again to 70, doing doubles.
I then worked up to 120 in the back squat, went down to 80 and did 20 reps with it. Pretty easy, judging by my tempo and breathing, but my legs were burning afterwards. Hopefully I can keep working up and get that 90 that I got 19 reps with last week.
I am going to get a light workout in tomorrow, working on positioning mostly. I may try some pause-snatches and cleans were you pull off the floor, stop, then finish. Going to get some presses in too, hopefully.
Another PR day, both in the clean and jerk and in the clean. Came in today feeling decent, started off with power clean + squat clean + jerks, and went up to 80. I decided to keep going up just doing clean and jerks and made 90, then 95 for a new best. I then cleaned 100, but missed the jerk. With fresh legs I will be able to make this, no doubt.
Here is the video of it:
So, kind of a milestone for me. When I started lifting weights about 4-5 years ago, I couldn’t even deadlift 100 Kilos. Now that I have cleaned it, I just need to put it over my head.
It has been 7 weeks since I started on my program, which has consisted of clean doubles and front squats on Monday, power snatch and power cleans on Wednesday, and snatch doubles followed by working up to a heavy back squat, dropping the weight, and doing 20 reps with it. I have also thrown in some push presses, pull ups, bench press, and behind the neck snatch grip presses. My progression has been fairly linear. For snatches and cleans, if I got the weight for 2 or 3 doubles I would increase the weight the next week. I have also increased the weight for 20 reps every week. I started to feel pretty tired and sore in the last 2 weeks, and the weights have started to feel heavier.
So with what may have been the last workout of this type today, I figured I would try for a new best in the snatch. I got 75 for 2 sets of 2 last week, and coming in my best snatch was 77, so I knew I was good for more. Once I made 75, I put 80 on and made it fairly easy. 82 was not there today, so I went for 80 again and made it again. New personal best in the snatch!
My last (maybe) 20 rep squat weight was with 90. 87.5 went pretty well last week after Ben convinced me I could make it. I was actually pretty confident I would make 90 today. The first 10 were okay. Once I hit 15 I was grinding them out. 18 and 19 were very,very hard, and I failed on my 20th rep. I am pretty disappointed that I did not make all 20, but oh well. I may start them up again next week with 80 and work my way back up again, we shall see. I would like to work on my pulls a bit too, as I have not done any while working on my squats.
Another week on super squats, another week of getting stronger! Monday started of with 2 cleans, 1 jerk. I went up to 90, and it felt pretty solid. If you remember, 90 is what I opened with at the Kono last month. To now be able to clean this weight for doubles is pretty good I think. I then did front squats, got 100 for 3 sets of 3, then did a set of 5 with 90. And that was it! I have found that 2, maybe 3 exercises a day is enough for me. My teammate Sarah brought in some amazing eggs with sausage and peppers, and then we all went to Tower Cafe for brunch. The french toast is awesome there.
Wednesday saw more power snatches and power clean and jerks. My power snatches are still terrible. That is one exercise that I have not gotten the hang of yet. I couldn’t quite get 65 for doubles, I think they turned into full snatches. Power cleans on the other hand, have been feeling really good lately. After getting 80 for 1 clean, 2 jerks, I decided to go for 90. I came so close to power cleaning 90, I think I will get this next time.
Friday was my super squat day, and as usual, started out with snatch doubles. I felt pretty strong and got a double with 75. I then made the first, missed the second on my second set with that weight. I took it back down and hit a routine 70. For squats I was able to work up to 130 for a PR back squat. I took it down to 85 and got 20 reps in. Even with a heavier weight, these felt much better than last week. It was still hard, and I was screaming and basically causing a scene, what with my teammates counting and cheering me on, but I got through it. Solid. Took a 10 minute break and finished off with some snatch grip behind the neck presses. Time to increase the weight on these, I think.
Tomorrow is the Atlas Open at Arden Hills Resort. Several of my teammates will be lifting, and I will be there coaching and helping out. Should be a good time.
Training has been going well as of late. After getting 87.5 for 2 clean 1 jerk on Monday, followed by 3x3 front squats with 95, I took it pretty light on Wednesday. I did PR in the power clean by getting 85, followed with 2 jerks. Jerks are so much easier when you do not have to squat the weight up. Today I started off with snatch doubles, getting 3 sets with 72.5. These have been feeling really good as of late. I have made an effort to drive with my legs more, not just popping the hips. This has allowed me to keep the bar closer, and has added to the overall speed of the lift. It has also dramatically reduce the hitch in the pull that I had. After snatches I did super squats. This is my fourth week of doing 20-rep squats once a week. My legs are really starting to feel it, and every week it is getting harder. Today was rough. I worked up to 120 for a single, then went to 82.5 for 20. The first 12 or so were okay. Then by 15 my legs were really burning. Just standing there with the weight on my back, they were quivering. But I got through it. Next week 85 is going to be brutal.
I should also mention that my bench press has been going up like crazy lately. Since starting to do them regularly 4-5 months ago, I have put 35 pounds on my 5x5. Never would have thought I would ever feel good about my bench press, but lately I have!
I have decided that, in my quest to be a 77 kilo lifter, I will try the super squat program. Well, it won’t be the super squat program outlined in the book, it will have more weightlifting movements and only one day of 20 rep squats a week. My first day of doing the squats was today, and was success.
I started of the day with snatches, working up to 70 for doubles. I still have this hitch in my pull that I need to get rid of. I think I need to stay over the bar longer. I am not sure. This is where not having a coach really sucks. After snatch I did my squats. I worked up to a heavy single at 120, then dropped down to 70 and did 20 reps with it. I banged them out pretty quick, and they were not bad at all really. I was purposefully conservative on my first day, because I want to make sure that I am able to increase the weight I use every week.