After months of strength training with the squat cycle, followed by a few more months of Olympic lifting technique work, full of complexes and skill transfer exercises, we put the two together for a little test on Sunday: 1 Rep Max cleans.
What’s left to say at this point? Not a whole lot really. After all the time we’ve put in as a group to practicing the movement in various forms and rep schemes, it was time to see how our bodies would react when we loaded some heavy weight onto the bar.
In truth, the biggest obstacle to performing max effort Olympic lifts is overcoming the voice in your head telling you the weight is so heavy – so heavy it’s tough to pick up off the floor – that there’s no way you can get the weight onto your shoulders. We’ve all been there, we all have that voice. You’ve taught yourself how to lift – through multiple skill transfer exercises and clean-based complexes, you’ve ingrained the movement into your muscle-memory. The trick then becomes knowing, even telling yourself, that the weight’s going to be heavy in your hands as you start the lift, but to trust in the explosive power of your second pull to get the weight moving.
Just when you thought your legs were due for a break, it was time to squat. Again. Over the past couple of months, we’ve followed our clean sessions with back squats, working our way up to 1 x 20 at 65% two weeks ago (following 3 prior sessions of lower reps, but all done at 65%). This Sunday’s program called for 2 sets of 8 reps, but to be done at 80% of an athlete’s 1RM back squat. Warm-up sets were programmed as 1x 10 @35%, 1x 10 @50%, 1x 8 @65%, and then finally the 2x 8 @80%. After the max effort cleans, the squats demanded that everyone re-double the efforts to concentrate on the movement and push through the reps.
Another big group on Sunday, and with class running a little long, we didn’t get the chance to take down everyone’s final weights on the cleans. Please leave your final numbers in the comments section, you know, just in case we decide to go for another max clean in a month or two…