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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Crossfit, Lifting and Crossfit, Master, Music and Rants, Olympic Lifts, Rant, Strength Training, WOD

Grizzly Way 130511 (Sulking)

Grizzly Way 130511 (Sulking)

Yesterday was a bit rough, and instead of getting home and posting some self indulgent rant and passing out for the day, I thought it would be better to decompress a little and come at it from a more enlightened angle today. Now that I’m on the other side of my bad mood, let’s talk a bit about progress and what missing a new 1RM actually means.

Every missed lift – varied by your own expectations naturally – brings with it a small bit of grief. For instance, yesterday’s missed 1rm squat attempts brought with them my own Kubler-Ross style stages of grief. First there is denial, staring at the bar, racked with 360 pounds, lying on the floor. Instead of moving on I told myself I could work back up from 315 and try again, surely the first attempt didn’t take that much out of me. Then, at missing the lift a second time came anger. Naturally I didn’t have any target for my anger, gravity was not stronger than usual yesterday, my muscles didn’t make an decisions. It was irrational anger, but anger nonetheless. Surely, driving home came bargaining, probably the strangest of the steps, making promises to yourself, trading more time and energy for training or diet, as if you weren’t already doing 99% of things correctly. After a shower and a meal, irrational bargaining turned to depression, I’ll call it sulking, or self-pity, the exact mood I did not want to write this post in. Instead, I closed my laptop and went to sleep, for four hours. Finally, waking up last night for dinner, came acceptance, I finished what I had left of Psych season 7 and decided to press on as I always have.


Granted – some of you are probably wondering why I care so much, or how the stages of grief could possibly apply to missing a lift. I don’t mean to liken my experience to actual loss, but the stages of grief are oddly applicable, at least to my messed up psychology. Spending 15+ hours a week training, you get oddly attached to your own progress, such that failures really do mimic true loss. Gross huh? Surely those 12 hours yesterday are paltry in magnitude to real loss, but some time for self reflection isn’t entirely wasted.

More on this in a bit..


Warmup C
Snatch, blocks 60%, 70% 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%
105, 125, 145, 155, 165, 170, 165
Clean & Jerk 60%, 70% 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%
155, 185, 205, 220, 235, 250, 235
Back Squat 1RM
350 (missed 360 twice)
Clean Deadlift 3 x 3 – heavy – keep good form

Monday I wrote about lifting at percentages above 90%, specifically attempting singles at 95%. Surely as your relationship with weightlifting proceeds, you’ll come to find that coming anywhere close to 95% is a risky proposition. The best lifters, on their best days, are still going to tell you that 95%+ is far from a certainty. Granted – I’m not a great lifter, and even minor improvements in technique and strength are going to trace themselves quickly to better lifts. That being said – out of 4 singles above 90% I missed only one snatch at 95% and one clean at 90%. I’ll take that any day. Especially considering two facts; first Nano-snatcher and friend of the blog, Tim told me that my 90% looked more like 85%, meaning my 100% is likely no longer my 100%. Second, the 100% I’m taking these numbers from are from power snatches, thus every time I truly snatch 165+ is actually 100%+ for that movement. Next Saturday is setup like a straight competition, 3 attempts at 1rm for both snatch and clean & jerk – that will really be the true test.

Let’s talk squat. The squat is the most applicable lift to weightlifting and thus crossfit. Strong legs transfer to so many other movements its hard to overstate their importance. Further, the stabilization required to squat heavy, particularly in the trunk is almost impossible to mimic elsewhere. It’s for these reasons that I place so much of my energy and attention to training the squat, perfecting the squat, and improving the squat. Likewise, it is for these same reasons why failure to improve, at least in weight lifted, is all the more discouraging. Under Mike’s programming we squat (front or back) above 80% at least twice a week. I’ve yet to discuss much of this with Mike, so I’ll hold off on putting words in his mouth. Instead lets examine some habits.

I’m eating 4000+ calories a day, mostly paleo with two chief exceptions, white rice to get enough starch to keep up with training volume, and raw goat’s milk to increase caloric intake without having to get down more food. In general 220g of protein, around 175-200g of fat, and 150-250g of carbohydrates. Though I’m not gaining weight, I’m not losing it either. Its tough to make conjecture here, but based on the trouble with my squat, likely I will have to transfer some of the fats to further carbs in order to spur some progress.

Average 9 hours a night, sometimes 10, never less than 7 and occasional naps. I don’t see any opportunities for improvements here.

Surely it’s hard to improve squat strength if your squat is based mostly on tension in joints rather than true muscular strength. My mobility has improved steadily, though is no where near perfect. Watching video of both my OHS and reps at 90% – there is still room for improvements but my form is hardly damaging or reliant on poor technique. While further progress will help movement efficiency, this should not be holding me from strength gains.

Squatting no fewer than two times a week and usually three, not to mention clean and snatch volume, should be more than sufficient to see progress. The real question is how my body is responding, clearly something is amiss here. The question remains, will I respond to more volume, or less. Different rep schemes perhaps, or load amounts. The theories of squatting are just as varied as the theories of weightlifting. Everyone has a squat program that will promise to increase your squat, the truth is you need to find what works and stick with it until it doesn’t. So there we have it. More squats.

I’ve already written far more than intended for today – but this was largely a necessary exercise for me and less an exercise that might actually help most of you. The end results are the answer to the questions; what do we change? what don’t we change? I think for now, the only change will be dietary. If my weight is not increasing, then it’s hard to reason that my muscle density or volume is increasing. The goal of this summer is to be strong, not fat, but I’m willing to accept both, moreso than I’m willing to accept neither – if that makes any sense. If by mid-June my weight has increased and my squat still has not – then maybe there’s some room to argue, for now, I stay the course.

Sorry for the wall of text – it had to be done, accept it and move on.

MFS | 5 – 5 – 8

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