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.
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.
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!