July 20, 2011
July 25, 2011

With a smaller class, and some high temperatures creating a cozy work space, Thursday seemed just the day for a low weight met-con. Part of that included dusting off an old staple from the CF exercise-chest.

Skill Work:
Med-Ball Cleans

It’s been a while since we’ve worked med-ball cleans, let alone reviewed them. Thursday night’s class started with a standard progression, beginning with med-ball deadlifts, shrugs, front squats, and, finally, full cleans. Rather than review each piece, I’m going to recommend that you check out the following video of local CF coach Jerry Hill (of CF Oldtown down in Old Town, Alexandria, VA) reviewing the med-ball clean:

Now, I will acknowledge that there is a long standing debate about the usefulness of the med-ball clean AS IT APPLIES to learning an actual Olympic clean. The argument proffered by most Olympic lifting coaches is that the med-ball clean isn’t useful because the movements are so dissimilar (mostly owing to the different shape, size, and weights of the objects being cleaned). I would agree, but only to a point. I think it’s better, or at least more appropriate, to view the med-ball clean as a ‘skill-transfer exercise’. I say this because I believe that the med-ball clean can be useful in helping to teach some of the essential pieces of the actual Olympic clean. For example:

The Triple Extension;

The shrug (although, I freely acknowledge that not all Olympic coaches actively teach or incorporate a shrug into their Olympic lifting); and,

The hand release (i.e., getting away from a front-curl by relaxing the hands a little – a scary prospect for someone new to the clean).

The debate will obviously not be solved by this overly-simplistic approach, nor is it probably novel, but at least it’s a start towards acknowledging the fact that this is not a black or white issue, and that arguing it as such is simply unhelpful.

4 x 10 MB Cleans, 15 Plate Burpees, 20 Plate Laterals, 25 Squats, 1 min Rest

Begin with 10 med-ball cleans, remembering to extend all the way up, pull under the ball without curling it, and then stand all the way back up again before releasing the ball back to the floor. For the plate burpees, have the plate positioned in front of you, and perform your regular burpee, but instead of jumping and clapping, simply jump on to the plate and then back off again. For the plate laterals (or side hops), hurdle the plate sideways for 20 reps (1 rep = 1 jump, as opposed to an over & back jump). Follow with 25 body weight squats (“air squats”). All for time.

Now, I’m no statistician, but let me break this down for you:
40 Med-Ball Cleans (there’s basically 2 squats per clean, so that’s 80 squats);
60 Plate Burpees (there’s 1 squat/jump squat per burpee, so there’s another 60 squats);
80 Plate Laterals (thankfully, no real squats, but honestly, did that matter at this point?)
100 Squats (there’s 1 squat per squat, so that’s, well, 100 squats…)
TOTAL = roughly 240 squats.

So if your legs feel a little stiff today, there’s a reason.

Met-cons plus horrible heat (even inside with a moderately working AC unit) can take a toll. Please be sure to hydrate adequately. If you find that you’re running behind – and it’s a good bet that most of you are – pick up a carton of coconut water, as the electrolytes will really keep your body balanced. Till then, post thoughts and times to comments, and be ready to ‘grip it n’ rip it’ on Sunday!



  1. Dan Samarov says:

    This was a complete butt kicker for me… definitely exposed another weakness/area that needs work. I was able to get through the cleans and about 9/10 burpees in each round before hitting a wall, then it was pretty much grinding through the rest. Definitely looking forward to more wods like this!

    Great job everyone! With the heat and everything else this one was super tough. Chris managed to maintain a pretty ridiculous pace throughout, definitely inspiring!!

  2. Julia says:

    Good luck to Erica and Amelia at the Richmond Triathlon/Duathlon this weekend! 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Sara says:

    That was a tough but fun workout. I really like the plate burpees. I don’t like the plate hops as much. After the workout I did my wendler programing: snatch grip deadlifts.

    After that Tom asked if I wanted to jump in with Julia on some bench press so how could I say no. I hit a new PR of 155lbs which is just about my body weight depending on the day. Julia pressed out 160lbs after heavy deadlifts.

    Nice job Julia!

    Good luck to Erica and Amelia in their tri this weekend. Be save in the heat.

  5. Steph says:

    Good luck Erica and Amelia! Don’t get heat stroke and just have fun most of all!

  6. Andraea says:

    This workout almost did me in. I usually love longer metcons like this too but this one was really rough for me. And I’m definitely going to blame the heat! The plate burpees were tough and so were the plate hops. Jumping exercises are hard for me so I guess on one hand it was good to do them since they kill me faster.

    Great job to everyone for finishing this! I echo Dan by saying that I look forward to challenging wods like this one. I was really happy to make it to the end!

    Good luck Erica and Amelia!

  7. Dian says:

    Good luck Erica and Amelia. Have fun and stay safe out there.

    Congratulations to everyone that made it through this metcon. This sounds like it was a tough one but I would much rather have been doing this lung buster than stuck in my office last night. I’m going to try doing part of this on my own at home.

    Way to go Sara and Julia with the bench press. You are both an inspiration.

    See ya Sunday.

  8. Amelia says:

    Thanks to everyone for the well wishes!!! Gonna be a hot one!

  9. Erica says:

    Reading what you guys did on Thursdays sounds just as bad as what we’re about to do tomorrow! Thanks for the well wishes and assuming all goes well, see you Tuesday!