To help celebrate the last day of the Olympics, Sunday’s class set out to hammer some Olympic lifts with a favorite clean complex, followed by another dose of high rep back squats.
Prep Set #1 = 5 Hang Power Cleans + 5 Push Press (bar only)
Prep Set #2 = 10 Thrusters (bar only)
Working Sets = 5 x 1 Power Clean + Hang Squat Clean + 1 Push Press/Push Jerk
We’ve been doing quite a bit of work on our explosive lifting lately, with a lot of emphasis on position and execution. For this Sunday, we revisited a popular clean complex, one which we actually ran through less than two months ago (“HOT AND HEAVY“), consisting of one power clean, one hang squat clean, and one push press/push jerk/split jerk.
The power clean helps to encourage powerful leg drive and hip extension, since we aren’t pulling under the bar, as well as a more aggressive turnover (“fast elbows”) in order to properly receive the power clean. The hang squat clean forces us to stay upright in our extension (since you won’t be able to pull under a heavy weight if you have an excessive lay back) and to pull into the squat position in conjunction with the aggressive turnover.
By combining the double cleans with an overhead, we’re forced to really concentrate on stabilizing through the mid-section when driving the weight up and then holding there.
Following the clean complex, class brought in a few more racks and prepped for some hi rep back squats.
Two weeks ago, class had the pleasure of working through three sets of ten back squats at 65% (“CLEAN AND MEAN“). For this Sunday’s version, the weight was kept the same, but the reps were upped a little. Two additional reps doesn’t seem like a lot, until you get the weight on your back and moving.
To prepare for the 3 sets of 12 back squats, everyone started off with one set of 10 squats at roughly 35% followed by 15 push-ups, then one set of 5 squats at roughly 50% followed by 15 bench/box dips. Once the two preparation sets were done, each person loaded the bar to 65% of their max rep back squat and went for 12 straight reps, followed by a minute of rest, and then AMRAP ring dips.
Remember, when working dips on the rings, it’s essential to keep the lats retracted, which in turn keeps the shoulders pulled back and down. A great cue for this is to imagine squeezing a pen/marker/etc in the armpit; the act of forcefully squeezing the arms in keeps the elbows in tight and helps set the lats and shoulders. In the deadlift, this keeps the shoulders from rounding forward, which is what leads to a rounded back. In the dips, this stops the elbows from flaring out, reducing stress on the shoulder and aids in stabilizing the body, an absolute must when doing the dips on the rings.
If full-on dips aren’t in the cards yet, there are a few scaled versions which were covered on Sunday. One way is to simply perform a negative – jumping into the support position (with the arms fully extended) and slowly lowering to a point where the shoulders are deeper than the elbows before putting the feet back down. Another way is to use a resistance band, which can be looped around one ring and then held against the other ring. This is similar to using a resistance band for pull-ups, and adds assistance through the hardest parts of the dip. Of course, if stability is the problem, it’s best to back off the rings and work range of motion with the bench/box dips, to help strengthen the triceps while working on keeping the shoulders retracted with a piece of equipment that doesn’t move around on you.
So, yes, sadly, the Olympics are now over. However, that doesn’t mean we’re done with our Olympic lifting – although, hopefully we can all get back to our regular sleep habits. See you all Tuesday.