Grizzly Way 130619 (Upright Demands of the Torso)
Yesterday was a pretty interesting day on the ‘adjusting to new shit’ spectrum. The 25-40-25 conditioning work from Tuesday absolutely destroyed me, particularly my arms, traps, and upper back, literally everything I picked up yesterday was a struggle. Second, yesterday was the first day where Mike had me split AM/PM sessions. If I had a rower in my garage or an airdyne in my living room, I think I’d be a bigger fan of this, but driving to the gym at 5:45 AM, just to do 10 minutes of rowing intervals wasn’t really the most efficient plan. I’m nothing if not ruthlessly obedient, he said ‘try to do in AM if possible’ and I wasn’t about to call that impossible. The real adjustment wasn’t waking up, or altering my morning schedule, it was actually food related. I had no idea how hungry those intervals would make me come 9:30. I was starving, so much so that I ate two lunches yesterday just to find equilibrium again. My waking weight is holding steady at 217.8 so I guess it worked.
Row 30:30 (work:rest) x 10 sets
Power Snatch 2 @ 60%, 2 @ 65%, 3 x 2 @ 70%
115; 125; 135
Clean 3 @ 60%, 2 x 3 @ 70%, 2 x 3 @ 80%
165; 190; 215
Snatch High Pull 4 x 4 @ 80%
Front Squat 4RM, 4 x 4 @ 90% of 4RM
Accumulate 3 min per side, Side Bridge
Unfortunately my phone was charged with providing the gym with tolerable music for the day yesterday, so I have no pictures or video of anything I did. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. I’ll skip over the power snatching because that was more of a CNS/movement primer than anything else. The weight of the clean on my shoulders was nearly unbearable yesterday, my upper back was so fatigued it crumpled under the load almost instantly. I was worried about what this was doing to my spine so I actually opted to power clean the reps at 80% rather than subject myself to that sheering at a pretty high/moderate load. More than fatigue this really comes down to the mobility side of things as well. The upright demand of the torso in the front squat and clean is probably the greatest of any squat variant (yes even than the OHS).
Why does the upright demand of the torso matter. Because if you’re a taller lifter, the more upright the torso needs to be, the more range of motion you’re going to demand from the ankle, and its likely more than many of us have. I’m leaving the back squat out of this because for the most part it’s irrelevant when considering the technique of the clean and the snatch. If we look at the OHS position we see that yes an upright torso is important, but a flat back pitched slightly forward is often optimal for many lifters over a perfectly vertical torso.
Now if we compare that to the demands of the clean and front squat, we see that nothing short of a perfectly vertical torso is going to be optimal, any pitching forward not only destabilizes the bar, but places extra demand on the trunk and spine to do things it was not designed to do, namely shifting under load, which as you can guess is a very bad thing.
It’s for this reason that the front squat, clean, and thruster combo are quickly becoming my latest goat. I’m beyond double unders, and for the most part cleaned up my snatch and back squat, so these are the last straws on my ankle mobility camel’s back. And hopefully save my t-spine in the process.
That was the bad news of the day, my clean and front squat are not where they need to be in the simplest level of form and technique. On the other side of the coin, snatch pulls have become one of my favorite exercises. They used to be one of my most hated. Funny how being able to execute a lift properly changes your perception of it. Yesterday was another incident where someone took note of how much my pull from the floor and starting position has improved, I won’t lie, it felt good, yes I can see it on tape, and post about how much its gotten better, but its nice to hear it from an unsolicited 3rd party. I feel as though I’m right on the edge of making a decent sized jump on the snatch, stay tuned…