Posts Tagged ‘Snatch’

The first thing Zach, our Olympic lifting coach, taught us in his Sunday morning Oly lifting class was how to address the barbell. He clearly was not as amused as I was when I chimed in, “Good Morning, Mr. Bar!”

Addressing the bar is very important and there is one thing that Zach never, ever wants you to do. Bend over, grab the bar and then roll it back and forth a few times. Zach hates this. I mean he really, really hates this. He tells us this every class: “Don’t do this,” Zach says, rolling the bar back and forth in front of him. “You’ll look like a fuckin’ idiot. I hate this.”

Zach

Zach, my coach, played professional R-U-G-B-Y. He also wears socks with kitties on them.

Next question: “Where do your feet go – and don’t say under the bar!” Zach hates it when people say under the bar. He tells us this every class, too. The bar should be directly over the spot on your foot where your toes meet your foot. Gotcha.

We work on snatch progressions, from the floor, from below the knee, from above the knee, from position two, from the power position. We work on making contact with the bar.

I tend to “hump” the bar instead of jump with it, which prompts Zach to tell me, for the millionth time, “More jumpy, jumpy. Less humpy, humpy.” Gotcha. (This guy is going to make a great dad someday.)

I also tend to pull on the bar with my arms instead of driving with my legs. Your arms, Zach explains, should be “like spaghetti strings” and shakes his huge arms at me. Gotcha.

Now comes my favorite Zachism, which comes in three variations:

“Get under the bar.”

“GET UNDER THE BAR!”

“GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR!”

I haven’t really gotten that one yet. My instincts tells me NOT to throw heavy objects above my head and then jump under them and try to catch them. I saw Wile E. Coyote do that once and it didn’t end well for Mr. Coyote. Zach says I will lose that fear when the bar actually drops on my head. Gotcha. (Remember, Zach played R-U-G-B-Y.)

Zach demonstrates how to “GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR” and he makes it look so simple, so effortless. I ask him to do it again, and he does it again, just as effortlessly as the first time. I would ask him to do it a third time – just for yucks – but Zach played R-U-G-B-Y and now wears socks with kitties on them. Swear to God. You don’t want to yuck around with a retired professional R-U-G-B-Y player in kitty socks.

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back to Season Two of It Ain’t Over: A middle-aged mom’s attempt to make it to the CrossFit Games!

We ended Season One in 72nd place – exactly 52 slots away from Carson City. That’s a few slots less than my age, 55. This year I’m changing things up. My training partner, Lynn – a 45-year-old badass firefighter/physical therapist/single-mom – moved back to Australia, her homeland, leaving me wondering what the hell I was going to do to train for the games.Lynn&I

So, this year I decided to put together a team of experts to help me train. I have a coach and a chiropractor. I’m also seeing a PT and a massage therapist.

First, let me introduce you to my coach: Zach Caswell. Zach is my Olympic lifting coach. Why am I focusing on Oly lifting? Oly lifting is exclusively about the snatch and clean and jerk but if you can do these two lifts well, your overhead squats and thrusters will rock and you will vastly improve your balance and strength.

Zach is a former professional rugby player, which explains his total indifference to inflicting pain. He also played college football. He’s this huge bearded mass of muscle and I’m easily old enough to be his mother. But he didn’t laugh when I asked him to train me’ Turns out he’s one of those teddy bear kind of guys. He actually feeds his cats ice cream with a spoon.

MeZachEvery Sunday morning Zach holds an Oly lifting class at CrossFit CityPlace. I attend religiously. It’s like church but with cussing and sweating. After a few classes I concluded that Zach knows his shit and he’s passionate about making athletes who can lift efficiently. In my world, it’s all about efficiency. I may not get a lot stronger at this age but efficient movement will allow me to perform longer and avoid injury. So, Zach’s my man. (more…)

As of today, I have been on the planet for exactly 20,089 days, which makes today my 55th birthday!

A lot of women probably don’t want to turn 55 but I have been longing for 55. Two reasons: 1. My employer provides lifetime medical benefits to employees 55+ who have worked at the company for at least 20 years. 2. Weights and movements are scaled for 55+ Masters in the CrossFit Open.

KeepCalmIn other words, I don’t have to lift as much weight or throw as heavy a damn wall ball as you do! Na-na-na-na-boo-boo. 

The lifetime medical benefits are great. However, the odds of me ever retiring are pretty slim so I may never get a chance to use them. Still, I earned them and that’s all that matters.

As for the scaled weights and movement, I intend to take ruthless advantage of that advantage. Ruthless.

For example, here was the Week 1 WOD that I did last year:

WOMEN – includes Masters Women up to 54 years old

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • 40 BurpeesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

And here’s the 55+ ladies’ WOD

MASTERS WOMEN – includes Masters Women 55+

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:

  • Jackson40 Burpees
  • 35 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 30 Burpees
  • 55 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 20 Burpees
  • 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
  • 10 burpees
  • 90 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

See where I’m going here? There’s a big difference between a 55# snatch and a 75# snatch. Like a 20 pound difference. It gets better, I now get to use a 10# wall ball – which I didn’t even know we had – instead of the 14# wall ball. Four pounds makes a big difference.

I now get to do jumping chest-to-bar pull-ups instead of regular chest-to-bar pull-ups. I don’t know what a jumping chest-to-bar pull-up is but it can’t be harder than a regular C2B, can it?

It kind of feels like I’m getting a AARP discount on my lifts and movements and by-golly, I deserve it. So, to honor this special day I’m going to work on my 35# snatches and see what a 10# wall ball feels like. Ah, the privileges of age: wrinkles, gray hair and jumping C2Bs – whatever they are.

Maybe some non-paleo cake, too.

There really is no elegant way for a woman my age to say this, but my snatch was on fire this morning!

Okay. Enough with the double entendres – I won’t share with you details of my explosive hips or random utterances of how good it feels. Seriously, my snatch was something to behold – at least I thought so.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Enough with the snatch jokes already.

Granted, I did not have much weight on the bar – a measly 45# – but I have not even attempted a snatch in weeks so I was anxious to see whether all the resistance work with chains and bands had paid off. Man, did it ever. I threw that sucker over my head like it was nothing and then I dropped down into a deep overhead squat over and over.

It not only felt good, it felt comfortable and fast. I had a feeling – a hope – that the Westside Barbell training I had been doing would give me the power and strength I desperately need. It did.

I am completely smitten with Westside. It makes sense to me and I need more things in my life that make sense. The training is hard – not just because it takes a lot of time but because I’m working little teeny, weeny muscles that I didn’t even know I had and they hurt like hell. (more…)

Somewhere – probably over some frickin’ rainbow – lies my graceful, silent 75# snatch. The one with the perfect pull and bump. Fast and confident.  It’s a beautiful thing, unlike my current #75 snatch

I’m taking it as a sign from above that so many of my workouts lately have included snatches. I work my way up to 75# and not only do I look like an old lady trying to throw a 75# bar over her head, I sound like I’m in Quentin Tarrantino murder scene.

English: Frederick Winters during 1904 Summer ...

English: Frederick Winters during 1904 Summer Olympics Русский: Фредерик Уинтерс во время летних Олимпийских игр 1904 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not a pretty sight or sound.

Once I was accused of being patient. Once. Patience is not one of a my virtues. I want my 75# snatch and I want it now. I did two during a WOD last week. Just two. And I maxed out at 65# during a snatch workshop a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was PR-ing all over the place and there was me, stuck at 65#.

There’s just something unnatural about throwing a 75# bar over my head. I’ve been trying to figure out how a snatch can be considered a “functional movement.”

I clearly see how squats are functional. Everyone else in the nursing home is going to wish they had done squats like me when they’re stuck on the toilet and can’t get up.  Deadlifts already come in handy for picking up those 50-pound bags of dog food – which are a much better deal than the little 5-pound bag a lot of seniors have to buy.

But how is a snatch a functional movement? It’s not like I’m going to snatch a couple of my future grand-kids off the floor, throw them over my head and then drop them to the floor. Seriously, what am I going to snatch when I’m 75-years-old?

Maybe I’ll just be snatching barbells when I’m 75. That would actually be very cool. Screw functionality.

After last Sunday’s embarrassing performance at the RAID 4 Games – especially those 75# snatches – I needed something to lift my spirits. I got it yesterday.

A two-mile run for time in the blazing South Florida midday sun: 16:03. Thank GOD I’m still good at something – running. Too bad Crossfit competitions don’t have more running and less snatching.

I took a couple of days off after RAID and eased back into it on Wednesday. While doing a ladder of back squats at progressively heavier weights, I felt a sharp pain on the left side of my back while coming out of a 125# squat – heavy, but not exactly a PR.

I was so ticked off that I walked it off, put my belt back on and tried again with 95#. Again, sharp pain that made me yelp. Never should have tried it again. Don’t know what I was thinking. I was just frustrated and still stinging from RAID. I figured I was going to be out for awhile with a back injury.

Weird thing was, the next morning my back actually felt better. For the last couple of months the lower left side of my back had been extremely tight. I stretched and stretched and stretched but I could not seem to get out this strange, deep knot.

It felt like it just needed a good crack and everything would again flow. Crazy as it sounds, I think that back squat did the trick and opened it up.

Something similar happened about 10 years ago. I was walking my dog, a big, manic Weimaraner, and was not paying attention when she suddenly bolted after a squirrel. My neck snapped, I heard a crack and the next morning it hurt like hell. Weimaraner whiplash.

I went to the chiropractor and did all the exercises and stretches I was told to do but still, it hurt. About a year later I went skiing. I raced on the high school ski team and sometimes I forget that I graduated in 1977 – in the last millennium!

I was skiing way to fast and fell. CRACK. My neck snapped. Visions of me in a neck brace filled my head. Oddly, though, my neck felt much looser. I got up the next morning expecting to be in pain and unable to ski. Instead, my head was as loose as a bobble head. It felt sore, but great!

I don’t advise being your own chiropractor. Yes, it’s cheaper and you can do it at the convenience of your own box or ski slope, but I could have been hurt very badly.

I tried a few front squats on Thursday after 30 minutes of hip and back stretching. Viola! No pain and a very deep squat. I am staying away from the heavy weights for awhile. My coach wants to work on strengthening my obliques and core. Still, the unhinging of my back coupled with a 16:03 two-mile run in the hot sun and I’m feeling much better – at least in my head.