My Olympic Lifting Days

I have been working on my technique in the last few weeks, knowing that I really shouldn’t be trying to achieve higher weights if I want to control my size. I know that now, being a little older, it’s not always better to be or go bigger. That said, I have been trying to work my way into developing a solid clean and press where previously I was using the hang clean to do the movement. It has taken me a while but I am now at a point where I can comfortably do around 10 full cleans with squat and press without feeling like I am going to lose my balance or lose the bar.

I have also managed to work on my rack position so that the bar actually rests on my delts like it should but I am having a tough time with wrist flexibility and arm size. My arms are built in a way that makes it tough to get the forearm and bicep to occupy a similar space and for the wrist to maintain even the most rudimentary grip on the bar. I did notice during the Olympics that the way the pros do it is to take an extra little bump after the rack to get the hands under the bar ready to press. I’m trying to work on that.

Finally, since my squat is pretty solid I thought I would give overhead squats a try. It’s something I have tried in the past with mixed results, and by mixed I mean absolutely zero success. For some reason I can’t get my arms back far enough to balance, that is until I realized that my hands were FAR to close together. Once I slid my hands out to the end of the bar, like one would for a snatch, I found that I could squeeze out a couple of reps. I was pretty happy, but it is a very uncomfortable and strenuous activity, one that will require many many more attempts to become comfortable.

Since I am getting more comfortable I have also started doing multiple movements, specifically going from clean and press to back squat. Not only that, but a 4 movement set of deadlift, clean, clean and press, clean and press with squat. It’s becoming a lot of fun and I can definitely feel the benefit in my legs and my lower back.



10.66-69 – My Olympic Lifting Days

Since I moved my bar up to the garage and have bumper plates that I can get decent weights with I am now getting more and more into the Oly movements. On a typical day I will try to do 4 movements, deadlift, hang clean, clean and press and squat. Occasionally I will do push press or power cleans but I don’t seem to be able to nail the regular clean quite yet, my balance seems to let me down. I will try to do 100 movements, it usually takes between 30-40 minutes and it is a great workout. I have a makeshift chin up bar out there too so I can always add chin ups into the mix to make it more interesting. I alternate between sets of 5 and 10 and even add in a 55lb kettlebell whenever I can. I know the weather isn’t going to last, but for this summer I have had a great time building great core strength, back strength and coordination with these amazing movements.

Last week my workouts resembled this:

Friday: 135lb

Deadlift 5×5
Hang Clean 5×5
Clean and Press 5×5
Squat 5×5

Saturday: 5 rounds of:

5 Clean and Press
5 1 arm swings
5 KB Snatch
5 Pullups

Sunday: 135lb

Sets of 10

Deadlift x5
Clean and Press x5
Hang Clean x5


10.40/2 – Weekend Review (O-Lift Special)

10.40 – Rest
10.41 – 100 Clean and Press with 115lbs
10.42 – 100 Squat with 115lbs

I can’t shake my past. Whenever I force myself to do some lighter weight rep intense timed workouts like I did this weekend I can’t help but feel cheated. I know the days of 400lb squats are behind me but its frustrating to be doing the workouts that I love but with weights I hate. Fortunately I have my daughter and wife to think of who would not benefit from my requiring extra back surgeries or anything worse. I guess I just have to learn to love lighter weights. That said, I think that bodyweight is a satisfactory max, which means I still have some room to grow since I can’t remember the last time I cleaned 230lbs. Once I get my hands on some more bumper plates I should be good. Just a couple of 45’s and I will be up to 205 which is a respectable working weight for C&P at least from my perspective. I have opted to go for barbell rather than kettlebell clean and press the last couple of weeks which means I will probably have to squeeze in a RKC workout this week. Even though I enjoy the barbell work, the KB swings are a major developmental movement when it comes to back strength. My form has been good with the barbell work too and I think I owe a lot of that to good KB work.

As far as the sets go, for the C&P I did 1-10-1 and for the squats just 10 sets of 10. It’s WOD day at the gym tonight so I have to get to grips with another Crossfit workout, that makes 3 in 3 days and no yoga this week. Maybe I will try and squeeze in FOY tomorrow.

In other news we went swimming with my daughter yesterday which was fun, she is finally getting used to the water and even dunked her head a couple of times! We also attended a birthday party for one of her friends on Saturday which was really nice, it was a good relaxing weekend and that’s what I really needed. As far as my body report goes, my desire to push below 232lbs isn’t really going anywhere. I make a couple of lbs here and there but seem to put it right back. My left shin splint is hurting at the moment and I still have residual pain from when I strained my achilles a few weeks ago at the gym. I think if I am going to push below 230 I think I need a significant change, maybe getting rid of dairy for  few weeks might do it. I’ll have to think about that one.

10.33 -10.36 – The Weekend Of Pain

It must have been the bootcamp, and if not, then surely the stretching and mobility we did on Thursday after bootcamp. Personally my money is on the plate weighted squats and lunges that we did. Whatever it was, my hamstrings and quads were on fire on Friday and Saturday. So much so, in fact, that I took Friday off and resorted to doing Fountain of Youth Yoga on Saturday. By Sunday my legs were OK and so as a bit of a cardio workout I decided to do some barbell clean and press with a light weight but large volume. I managed to count up to 10 reps and back down to 1 again making it 100 clean and press with a 95lb barbell. Sore? My shoulders and traps are sore today and of course it’s WOD day at the gym with potentially some more strength work this evening. No rest for the wicked I guess. Since I really don’t have much to say since the workouts are pretty self-explanatory I will show you what my new scale tells me.

It’s a Tanita BC549 Ironman Body Composition Monitor and basically it claims to produce all kinds of measurements when you step on the thing including:

Features and Specifications:

  • Weight
  • Body Fat %
  • Body Water %
  • Muscle Mass
  • Physique Rating
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
  • Metabolic Age
  • Bone Mass
  • Visceral Fat Rating

Now I have long suspected that my old Tanita which just did bodyfat % was thrown off by hydration and that the cure for that would be to get a scale that does hydration levels too. I was sadly disappointed. If I step on my old scale before and after a workout I can have lost up to 5% body fat which of course is ridiculous. My thought was that the new scale would reflect the same bodyfat after the workout but a lower hydration level. I was not right to assume that. I did it with my new scale and the same thing happened, a massive drop in body fat and a slight drop in hydration. Anyway, I am not here to bash the scale for extreme conditions, I am going to do a long term study of my stats and see what my hydration and fat levels are like as I try to drop to 220lbs.

The first few days results are here:

Date June-30-12 July-01-12 July-02-12
Weight 232.6 231.2 231.2
Fat 19.4 19.5 19.4
Water 54.2 54.1 54.2
Muscle 178.2 177 178.2
Rating 6 6 6
BMR 2512 2594 2511
Age 29 30 29
Bone Mass 9.2 9 9.2
Visceral Fat 9 9 9

I am not sure exactly what some of the numbers mean, but as I stepped on the scale after my workout to see the hydration level effect I was told my age was 12… Interesting.

I will try and go over some of the definitions tomorrow…

R4 D69 – I Can’t Count But I Can Kettlebell


Going forward:
68 Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X
69 OFF
70 WOD with Pullups
71 Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
72 Max Cardio
73 Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X
74 OFF

Since I can’t seem to get the days straight EVER on this site, I will just go with the flow and call this day 69. It was listed as being day 68 but with a day off I probably won’t take it should all line up again tomorrow.

For Christmas my adorable wife got me, among other things, a 45lb kettlebell. This was exactly what I wanted since I have 35lb dumbbells but nothing heavier. I have wanted to get into the swing of kettlebell workouts for a while and this was my big chance so I decided to check some video on the internet and get right into it.

I opted for cleans, clean and press, high pull and two handed swings. I did a quick warmup set of 5 each making a total rep count of 30. It was at that point that I realized this was going to be harder than I thought. I plugged away, doing another set of 60 total reps, 10 of each and then finished with another 5 count set. That gave me a total workout of 120 reps which doesn’t sound like much but for a beginner doing 45lbs I think it was plenty. I had started off by trying to perfect the form before I began so it actually ended up being a 40 minute workout. The most difficult thing, as it turned out, was trying not to bash my forearms on the clean and the clean and press. I found a great youtube piece which solved that for me and I was all set. Some of the videos that were the most helpful are from kbellqueen including the tip that helped me protect my forearms. Her website lists her as a level 1 and 2 Kettlebell instructor and ACE certified among others. Funnily enough, I find many of the male kettlebell instructors on the web have a distasteful elitist attitude, probably because the skill is new and in demand. However, since these videos came up most often for the searches I did, I think she deserves the credit. By the way, listen to what she says about starting with the thumbs back and twist early to avoid painful forearms.

R4 D46 to D49 – Kelly (incomplete) and catchup

R4 D46 – Kelly

I find that when I do new Crossfit workouts that I often fall short. That in itself is weird since I usually (and I believe I am not alone in this) blast as hard as I can the first time I try things. For some reason it is just not the case with these workouts, a case in point is Kelly. Maybe it is intimidation, maybe just because I am at home doing this alone I am not sure. In retrospect, maybe it was because I was outside and it was 3 degrees but I am a man dammit!


Five rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
30 Box jump, 24 inch box
30 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball

As is well documented, I have a 26lb ball that I use for wall ball and having to run outside and do the wall ball outside meant this was going to be a cold workout. For that reason, among others I suppose, I only managed 3 rounds. My time was around 4:30 per round which if I was able to maintain that pace would have put me around the 22:30 mark for 5 rounds. That seems unreasonably fast to me. I didn’t measure the run exactly and I believe I may have been doing a 300m rather than 400m. Given that, it means an extra 500m for the whole round which makes more sense. Anyway, the block jumps were 20″ and the wall ball 10ft. Hopefully next time I will be able to get the 5 rounds but with the weather closing in, I am not sure I will be running outside again any time soon.

R4 D47 – Clean and Press 100

As a change of pace I opted to do 100 clean and press today. Unfortunately due to the low ceiling in the basement I had to settle for 45lbs for 75 clean and press (mostly in order to get the motion correct) and then around 30 95lb cleans.  After, I got the idea that I hadn’t really done enough so I did another 30 or so clean and press with 35lb dumbbells. That is a lot harder than it sounds! I had wanted to do some deadlift high pulls too but time was short and so I will have to leave them for another time. The important thing was that I was, in a manner, greasing the groove by reinforcing the movement with strict control over technique. Over time, this reinforcement should allow me to increase the weight so that once I get an Olympic bar for the garage, I can start to use heavier weight.

R4 D48 – 5K Run

Well, run is probably a strong word. I was tired, I assumed I was too tired to bother with keeping up with Shaun T and his minions so I though a brisk walk would do me as much good as I could tolerate. Besides, I hadn’t had a workout longer than about 30 minutes in a while so I thought a long walk would tick that box too. Uneventful would probably be too colourful a word for the workout and it reminded me why I do Insanity instead of the treadmill.

R4 D49 – Rest

I feel a little worn down and since this coming week is supposed to be rest week 2 I have some thinking to do.