The goal for Sunday’s class was relatively straight forward: establish a 1RM clean. Class was split into groups of up to 4 athletes ahead of time with 4 coaches roaming the floor helping out – many thanks to Jenn Sargent for coming in, and to Sara for postponing her own lifting, in order to help coach!
Everyone was given roughly 20 minutes to warm-up on the bars, working through multiple reps (reps of 5 and 3) towards heavy singles. At the end of 20 minutes, each athlete was given 3 attempts to hit a max clean. Rather than having everyone go at once, however, we took a page straight from a weightlifting playbook, and had athletes work one-at-a-time while the rest of the class looked on. We cycled through the entire class three full times in this manner, although everyone was given a 4th and final try outside of the spotlight if desired. Once all was said and done, the results were taken down as follows:
A different approach, but well worth it. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, but approaching lifts in this style will help teach you to really clear your mind and think only about the lift. Lifting heavy weights for a max effort, whether it be for a single rep, three reps, five reps, or even 20 reps, is intense. Intensity demands concentration. You must create a solid connection between your brain and your muscles. This is especially true for complex lifts such as the Clean and Snatch. You must focus on what your about to do, to the complete and total exclusion of everything else around you. If you don’t, then your intensity will suffer, and without that intensity and concentration, your results will be minimal (to say nothing of the chances of hurting yourself).
Concentration during a lift, as well as between sets, is vital in order to reach the intensity you need for maximum muscle growth. Some athletes, especially the more experienced ones, are able to joke around between sets, yet immediately reset their mind when they grab ahold of the weight. Sadly, a great majority of us are not those people. The rest of us really need to focus, concentrating on what we’re about to attempt. Some athletes visualize themselves lifting the weights, some will visualize or even practice the form ahead of time without weight, and some will even try to mentally “feel” the muscles they’re about to utilize in order to prime their CNS.
Of course, none of these come naturally (that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?). Much like form and technique, mental focus and concentration must be practiced. Now, we’re not saying you have to turn into a human hermit-crab before each lift, but if that’s what works for you, go with it. However, if you are having trouble concentrating when heavy lifts come up, take the time to step back, flush everything else out of your head, and then refocus on the task to come. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how far a little devoted concentration will take you.
A quick blast to finish off the class. Hollow rocks are an especially useful movement to follow up with after all the heavy cleans which are so dependent on anterior pelvic tilt (see our earlier post on anterior and posterior pelvic tilt if that sentence made no sense to you)
Great work all around – that’s a whole mess of PR’s on that white board. Remember, the 2012 CF Games Open starts this week, so be sure to check back for updates and announcements regarding the workouts, and how your fellow classmates are doing.