The predominant theme to Thursday programming was explosive-movement, that much should be clear. However, part-and-parcel of any explosive work is learning to relax, to get rid of excess tension in the body so that the power generated can effectively be applied to the task at hand (whether that’s moving weight or jumping across the floor).
The goal of the workout was to remain consistently explosive across the board. As part of this, the program called for a “touch-and-go” rep on the second power clean, with the understanding that this would limit the amount of weight that could be used. However, weight could be increased in the power cleans as desired (i.e., you didn’t have to remain at the same weight across all 8 sets), so long as they remained crisp through out the workout.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but one tip that will really help – especially in the catch/turnover phase of the clean – is to relax the grip. Simply because you’re holding onto the bar with your hands is no reason to over-grip. And it’s not just Oly lifting that preaches this approach. Tennis. Golf. Lacrosse. Baseball. Even rock climbing and…wait for it…blacksmithing!
From the Tidewater Blacksmith’s Guild, Inc. Beginners Class webpage is the heading ‘Hammer control/Working at the anvil,’ under which are these instructions: “Get a grip, thumb tucked in , relax grip. Hold just tight enough to control it.”
Unnecessary muscular tension, especially excessive tension due to over-gripping, needlessly restrict the body’s motor resources away from the most important task of generating the power to lift the barbell. Excessively over-gripping the bar has a tendency to “run up the arm.” That is, “muscles other than the actual gripping muscles become involved needlessly. As a result, a ‘seamless’ switch from flexing to extending the arms is met with an ‘internal resistance’ during the instantaneous fixing of the bar in the snatch.” (from Essential Components of Weightlifting Technique – part 1, by Andrew Charniga, Jr.)
In short, excessively gripping the bar will actually impair your ability to clean or snatch properly. This is especially true during the turnover or catch phase of the clean, as the excessively tight grip will not allow the elbows to adequately spin around the bar. The hook grip (fingers wrapped over the thumb)can help, as it provides a lifter with a firm grip without having to resort to excessive tension in the hands and forearms.
Following 8 sets of the clean-broad jump combo, everyone grabbed a single dumbbell for the day’s met-con involving, you guessed it, explosive movements.
Start with the dumbbell in the right hand, and perform 15 DB snatches (starting each snatch from just below the knees). On the 15th rep, keep the DB locked out in the overhead position, and then perform 15 lunges. After 15 lunges, drop the DB, switch hands, and then perform 15 DB snatches with the left arm followed by 15 lunges with the DB held overhead in the left hand. Repeat for 12 reps, and then 9, all for time.
Nice work. Be sure to check out Tuesday’s blogpost/announcement regarding the Mid-Atlantic Affiliates CrossFit for Hope workout. While a few people have signed up, there were some questions regarding scaling – scaling will roundly be implemented, including less weight for the barbell exercises, and both bands and ring rows for the pull-ups. In short, everyone will be able to do the workout. Also, we will be back on our regular Element’s program this Sunday at 9AM, covering OHS and Snatch (heavy emphasis on the OHS, and the turn-over/catch of the snatch). If you have any requests, be sure to leave a comment and we will work it into the Elements programming. See you then.