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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Snatching at Catalyst Athletics 8-31-10

This video makes me hungry ...

'What happens when you don't eat and sleep enough'

Went to Catalyst Athletics today with a group of buddies from work. Greg Everett worked us through a training session with the Snatch. We went through an entire snatch learning progression. Did lots of work with just the bar including Heaving Snatch Balance, Press Snatch Balance, Snatch balances, and lots of 3 Position Snatches with 30k.

Snatch - 40 2x2, 50x2, 60, 70, 75m, 75, 80, 84 mx2, 84 (2k PR!!)

Then at home ...

Back Squat - 225lb 5x5

75k Miss


84k Miss #1

84k Miss #2

84k PR

About a week ago I watched Glenn Pendlay's Snatch progression videos which were excellent. They along with a bunch of other great videos can be found here: If you haven't watched them, do yourself a favor and take the time to watch them and then practice what you learn there. So after just watching those videos and using those progressions in my warmups which I learned at Cal Strength at the beginning of this year, it was interesting to run through a different approach with Greg.

Greg's major cue for me was to get more leg drive. He said that I'm getting good hip drive but muting my leg drive which diminishes the upward momentum on the bar and can tend to bounce the bar away from me. He said it takes an equal amount of hip drive and leg drive for an optimal lift. He also cued high elbows to help the bar stay close as I pull under.

One cue that made a lot of sense to me was when coming out of the hole is to 'lead with the bar' instead of just thinking of standing up. Seemed to keep my shoulder girdle and elbows tighter when I did that.

It was a good day today. I believe everyone PR'd! I was glad that these guys got some more exposure to the sport. I think a few of them may be interested in one day competing. How cool is that?

This group of guys will be headed to California Strength on the 14th. Looking forward to it.

Training 8-30-10

Snatch - 30 2x2, 40 2x2, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 72.5k (88%)
C&J - 50 2x2, 70 2x2, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 102.5k (89%)
Front Squat - 85x3, 93, 102.5 1 x 10 (78% of FS 1RM)
Back Ext - 2x10

Shoulder still hurting so I balked on the Push Press. Probably could have done them but I'm trying to go easy on it so it doesn't compromise my training of the C&J. Not 100% sure if I was supposed to make 2.5k or 5k jumps this week. I chose the 2.5k increase in weight on all the lifts over last week. Baby steps.

The weights were light, but no missed lifts tonight. Unfortunately no video.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sn, FS, FP, Dead 8-28-10

Snatch - worked up to 135lb 2 x5
Front Squat - 135x3, 185x2, 205x1, 220 3 x 3
Floor Press - 155x3, 175x3, 195x3, 205x1,m
Deadlift off 3" blocks - 225x3, 275x3, 330lb 3 x 3

The usual pain in my right anterior deltoid flared up so went with Floor Press instead of bench. The background on this: I dislocated my shoulder and tore my labarum in a mountain biking fall in July of 2005. Had surgery with 3 pins put in. Sometimes this rears its head when I do a lot of overhead and/or bench work.

Snatch felt light. However I still wasn't receiving it as deep as I should. I can't put my finger on it, but I think I struggle when I get my hips through well, I don't drop under the bar well and receive it as low as I should. I'm trying to work on this. Any thoughts on this would be great.

Front Squats felt good and not too heavy. Definitely have more in the tank there. I noticed while warming up with a wider stance that I wasn't getting good depth nor a bounce out of the hole, both of which was confirmed by my workout partner. So I switched to a narrower stance which is my usual Front Squat stance and was able to get my depth along with a good bounce out of the bottom. Felt much stronger like that. Do you see any issues with my Front Squat that I need to work on? The one thing I think could be improved is to work on keeping my chest/elbows up and not let them drift forward/down. Do you agree?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Snatch and C&J 8-27-10

Max day. Didn't go so well.

Snatch - 135, 145mx2, 145, 155, 165m, 165, 175mx5, 145 2 x 3
Clean & Jerk - 155, 175, 200, 215, 230m, 230, 245mx2

Frustrated with my performance. Stopped there. See today's video in 8-28 post.

Snatch - Regarding failures at 175lb - 1st and 5th looked close, but didn't get under the bar enough to fully lock out and receive it in a strong enough position. 2nd attempt bar wasn't received far enough back/my weight was a bit forward. 3rd and 5th attempts I came up on my right toe indicative of my weight being too far forward.

On the plus side, I've made a lot of improvement this week in the area of jumping forward.

Clean - I'm landing up on my toes, specifically my right foot. My weight must be forward for this to happen, but not sure what is causing that? Its a recipe for failure.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jerk, PC+FS, Chins 8-26-10

No workout yesterday because my Grandpa took a turn for the worse and went to visit him. He's a tough old bird though and he's holding on at this point.

Jerk - 95x5, 135x4, 155x3, 175x2, 190x1, 200 3x5
Power Clean + 2 Front Squat 135lb 1x6
Chinup - 35lb 7, 7, 5 f

Jerks felt quite doable. Not bad at all. The PC and FS were silly easy. Nothing tough about today and didn't have to squat heavy which I'll be happy about tomorrow when I'm going for a max Sn and C&J.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PS+HS+OHS, HC+CJ, BS 8-24-10

Power Snatch + Hang Snatch + OHS (2 sec pause at bottom) - bar 2x3, 55lb, 65ln, 85lb, 100lb, 110lb 1x5 (60%)

Hang Clean+Clean&Jerk - 115lb, 135, 150, 165 1x5 (66%)

Back Squat - 220lbs 5 x 5

Stretch between each set of Sn, C&J - hold bottom of squat position, pushing knees out and lifting chest up.


Snatch felt light. Was receiving the bar much deeper as the sets wet on. Progress made. I don't know if I went heavier today if I would have been able to keep it up, but I'll take it.

Clean&Jerk was light. But I kinda suck at high hang cleans. Haven't done them in a long time. They got better as time went on.

At work gym by myself so no video today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

1st SKYPE w/ Donny, Snatch, CJ, FS 8-23-10

First skype meeting with Donny. It went real well. So today begins a new journey. I'm embarking upon the pain-train that is programming by Donny Shankle. He is going with primarily Olympic Lifting (obviously) with a dash of generalized strength training thrown in to keep me a bit more well rounded.

I chose to share this video today because I'm in for some hard work with Donny as my slave driver. Maybe you've seen it before. Watch it again. And redefine in your minds what it means to attack heavy weight over and over again. In case there is anyone actually reading this blog and you don't know who Donny Shankle is, he's the lifter in the first two frames of this video.

So .. I'm looking forward to attacking heavy weight!! Then getting under the bar and doing it again. And again!

Snatch - 30 2x2, 40 2x2, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70k
C&J - 50 2x2, 70 2x2, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100k
Front Squat - 85, 93, 100 1 x 10
Back Ext - 2x10

I apologize for the funky sideways view. I recorded all of these with my new iphone and its the first time I've uploaded iphone video into imovie and this was the lovely result. Not sure how to remedy that because when I viewed them on my computer originally they were right side up. I'll look into it. If any of you would like to chime in, now is the time.


Donny wants me to improve my flexibility by sitting in the bottom of the squat position and shoving my knees outward while lifting my chest as high as possible and sinking my hips in as low as possible. He wants me to do this between every single rep of snatch and C&J. He also suggested I have a spotter help me by pushing down on my low back lightly and up on my chest in this position. I had Matt do this a few times and I did it about 60% of the time. Need to stay consistent and take the flexibility work more seriously.

Sn- Felt pretty good. Was able to eliminate the hop forward just by drawing the line on the platform and thinking about staying behind the line. I think this helped me stay off my toes a bit too. Was pretty happy with the Snatch today except for the last rep I didn't receive it at full depth and power snatched it instead. I think its going to take some time working through this issue as I'm now realizing that I've developed a bad habit of doing a power snatch a good majority of the time especially when it gets heavy. I've noticed this is a very common issue with crossfiters. Or maybe anyone who doesn't take the time to learn the lifts well. I'm not sure in the future if I should redo a lift that I complete but I'm not happy about because of an obvious technical flaw?

C&J - low back was getting fatigued. I was worried at 85 that 95 and 100 cleans and the front squats might be too much on my back. I soldiered on and the cleans ended up feeling fine. Overall the C&J's felt ok, not too heavy, though it didn't feel as though I had a lot of pop in me today.

Looking back at my notes I now realize there were a bunch of things I didn't work on that he mentioned. I did address a few of them, but will continue trying to address some of the other issues. Obviously some of these things will be ongoing and/or will take time to improve on.

FS - The front squats didn't make my low back feel any worse. Donny pointed out that my low back was probably fatigued on Sunday from Monday's deadlifting, and I believe this is still me feeling the effects of this. I'm hoping this doesn't rear its head later this week seeing how much work I have in front of me. I'll be foam rolling and icing it to be sure.

Back Ext - Felt a good pump from these and they are designed to aid in recovery as well as strengthening the spinal erectors. I'll slowly work up into using weight on this exercise.

Skype Sesssion with Donny - I thought it was a very useful meeting. We covered a bunch of issues that I can work on in the coming two weeks. We talked technique. Programming. Technique. Flexibility. And some more technique. He answered all the questions I currently had for him. Good stuff. I'm a happy client. It is however a bit frustrating to realize how much farther I have to improve on the lifts before I become proficient in them. Compared to most crossfitters or your average shmoe I'd say I've got very solid technique. Compared to Olympic Lifters however I'm a newbie. A rookie who has a long, long ways to go and some pretty ugly lifts. On the other hand this is encouraging in a way. As I continue to improve on my technique with the lifts, my numbers will just continue to climb. I'll become more efficient which is always good. And of course all this time I'll be building strength and power. So its encouraging to realize how much I have left in the tank. I'm nowhere near hitting a wall or plateauing or my genetic potential or anything like that. This makes me happy to know that a 300lb C&J is only a matter of time and one day, I'll look back on a 300lb C&J and laugh, because I've progressed much further past that! Onward and upward!

Program called for Push Press 5x4 but I took them out. I took them out because I benched yesterday and I'm feeling overall very smoked. My legs are done! I should have taken a rest day or two before starting this program. I fully realize that. But I'm going to give it a whirl anyways and see what happens. If I can eat enough to recover, get some good sleep and take out a lift here and there I think it should work. I do know however that the program Donny wrote for me is a truckload of work. More then I'm used to. Time to buck up and go to work!

Question - On the snatch, one cue that Donny gave me is that I should point my biceps towards the ceiling when receiving a snatch. I played around with that a little bit, but its not clicking yet. I'll work on it some more, but so far as simple as it sounds its not making sense. When I do that it seems to loosen my back up and pull my shoulder blades apart. Also puts the weight in a different spot in my hands and stresses the wrists differently. Need to explore this some more.

C&J, Bench 8-22-10

Clean & Jerk - 155, 175, 195, 205, 215
Bench - 150x5, 170x5, Max w/ 190x6

Lower back not feeling good, so stopped at 215lb. Hopefully its nothing big.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

FS, Dead 8-20-10

Front Squat - 185x3, 205x3, 215x3, 235x1, 255x1, 270x1, 255x2
Deadlift - 225x3, 275x3, 315x3, 335x3, 365x3, 410x2

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sn, Push Press, Weighted Chin 8-19-10

Snatch On the Minute for 20 minutes 85% - 155lb
Push Press - 155x5, 175x5, 190x5 (5lb PR)
Weighted Chinup - 3x10 25lb


Didn't get my hips through as consistently as I'd like. Some pressout here and there. MIssed recording the last rep.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Snatch, C&J, BS 8-17-10

Check out this inspiring documentary about overcoming the obstacles in your life!

'A Fighting Chance' ...

Snatch - 135, 135, 145, 155, 165f, 165, 175f, 175f, 175f, 155, 165, 175f
Clean Jerk - 155+1 Jerk, 155+1 Jerk, 175+1 Jerk, 195, 215, 230, 240f on clean, 240
Back Squat - 135x4, 185x3, 225x2, 245x2, 265x1, 285x1, 300x1


Snatch - Was feeling good today. But 175 just didn't want to go. Between loosing it forward and just not sticking it, letting the momentum of the bar on its way down get the best of me when receiving it, it was a no go.

C&J - 240 was ugly. Came on my toes and let my back round in the hole. On Jerk, I didn't get my head through and had some pressout with my right arm. But at least I got it up.

Squat - 300 was sloooow and HEAVY!

First day of a new training venture. Donny Shankle will be coaching me via reviewing my recorded my lifts, email, and skype discussions. Its the next best thing from being in the gym with him. Its a new coaching approach for Donny as well. I'm hoping it will be a prosperous endeavor for us both.

So I'll be recording my lifts on a regular basis and throwing them up here for Donny to examine.

We've agreed that my number one short term goal is to hit a 300lb Clean & Jerk. Bodyweight, composition, a bodyweight Snatch, flexibility, Squat #'s, cardio, etc etc will all be addressed, but the priority is a 300lb C&J. First things first. 300lbs from ground to overhead! It will be mine, and soon!!

Questions ...


I'm jumping forward. Whats causing this and how do I fix it?

I feel as though I need to be able to receive the snatch at a lower position then what I am currently able to do. Is this a flexibility issue? And/or a positional strength issue (am I too weak in a low receiving position to handle a heavy snatch?)

When receiving the weight it doesn't feel heavy. But the momentum of the bar just makes me collapse under it for some reason. How do I overcome this? Stay tighter. Spread the bar apart. Those things aren't working as well as it should. I think I'm missing something here and it seems like a key component that will lead to much greater success with the lift once I figure it out and dial it in.

One thought in regards to this is that when snatching relatively light 70-85%, I notice I ride the weight down even though I receive it high. Should I not do that? Will that help me stay tight and resist the bar's downward travel when the weight gets heavier?

Clean & Jerk:

I think I know what I need to do, just a matter of doing it. Stay back on my heels for pull, receive the bar tight. Head through!!


In my squat should my torso be more vertical? If so is this a flexibility issue and how should I address it? Should I be dropping my hips more straight down at the start of the squat rather then sending my hips back as much as I do at the start? How is the width of my feet? Are they wide enough? This is a question I have for Front Squat, Snatch and C&J as well.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Squat, Bench, GHR, Plank

Front Squat - 175x5, 195x5, 215x5, 235x2, 255x1, 270 f, 250x2 f on 3rd
Bench - 140x3, 160x3, max out 180x9 f on 10 2nd week 5-3-1
GHR - 3x15
Weighted Plank 1:00min with 138lb 17 y/o trainee standing on my back


Still feel weak on FS but back felt good

Taught my cousin Tim to squat. He's going to try and lift regularly with me and wants to get 70s big. Nice.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Snatch 1 min rest - 65x4, 85x3, 95x2, 115x2, 135x2, 145x2, 155x2, 165x2(92%), 175xf (97%)
Clean & 2 Jerk - 135x2, 155x2, 175, 205, 225 f on 2nd jerk (90%), 235 f clean x 3 (94%)
Front Squat - 205x1 planned for a heavy single but stopped there. Back feeling not 100%

Need to start olifting more regularly again. Regression sucketh.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FS, Run/Mu/dead/pwr cln/jrk prowler 8-10-10

Jason Khalipa was gracious enough to have a group of us from work hit a wod at Crossfit Santa Clara which is now actually in San Jose. Very cool stuff. An awesome box, good trainers and a great wod.

Front Squat - 185x3, 205x3, 225x3, 245x3, 265x1 then fail on 2

3 Rounds:

200m Run
3 Muscle Up (turned and locked out)
5 Deadlift 185lb
3 Pwr Clean 185lb
2 Jerk 185lb


Cash Out:

2 man team prowler relay race. Loaded prowler weighed ~275lb

5 Rounds each of ~30m Out and Back Prowler 'sprint'/push/slog/crawl ...

Forgot to stop the time.


Prowlers are not nice. I gotta figure out how to logistically use one at my garage gym in a convenient manner. The street is too busy to push them there. The sidewalks are all buckled and gnarly from the many trees lining the street. That would mean a special trip to a nearby parking lot, and I just don't see that happening very often. Hmmmm

Missed 2 MU's in 2nd round and 1 in the 3rd which slowed me down a good 1:00+. Doh!

Prowlers are nasty. The front squats before didnt help things.

I'm wrecked.

Prowlers are the D E V I L

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deadlift bx jump/kb snatch 8-9-10

Deadlift 315 x 3, 335 x 3, 355 x 3, 375 x 3, 395 x 3, 415 x 3 (PR)

20 box Jump 32"
5 KB Snatch 1.5 pood
10 box jump
10 KB Snatch
5 box jump
20 KB Snatch


Dip, Push Up 8-8-10

Ring Dip 3 x 10 with 25lb pack (dropped down and rested a second once on set 2 and twice on set 3)
Ring Push Up 4 x 10 with 25lb pack (might have been 3 sets, I can't really remember)

My weighted pullups and hill sprint intervals got the axe due to time constraints. Need to make sure that doesn't become a regular thing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bench, Chin, KB PP 8-5-10

Starting 5-3-1 again. 1st week reset. Bench working 1RM 200lb

Bench 135x5, 150x5, Max w/ 170x11
Weighted Chins - 25lb 9, 7, 6
KB Push Press - 3x53lb, 3x70lb, 4X88lb

Bench = blahh
Meant to do a metcon but ran out of time. Will hit up 12,9,6,3: 185lb Clean and Dips (from CFFB) another time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Squat, SP, MU/Burp

Pussed out on a workout last night. Ended up doing a max plank hold - 3:00min and max pushups in 2:00min - 54

Squat - 205x5, 225x5, 255x2, 275x2, 285x2
Shoulder Press - 105x5, 115x5, 135x5

5 Rounds:

2 Muscleups
10 Burpees



Last time I back squatted was 6 weeks ago. Good news is my knee didn't hurt. Bad news is 6 weeks ago I did 300x2.

Its been about a month since I pressed. I've regressed there too. Go figure.

Got this wod from Joel. First scaled it in half from 10 rounds to 5. Then during the 2nd round had to switch to jumping muscleups.

A sad and pathetic showing.