the spaz of fitness has arrived

The PRoblem with PRs

In General, Training on June 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

This morning marked my much-anticipated return to Performance One in Mesa, Az. Today was similar to last time– except that it went smoother because I knew what to expect. We began with mobility work, which involved more stretching of my hips and attempts to push my knees out. Perhaps for the sake of variety, he gave me an entirely different set of stretches today, but the end result was the same– gumby-legged Jo ready for deep squats.

We started with snatch drills again. We slowly worked through the range of motion– starting with the bar at the hips, then to mid-thigh, then just above the knees, working first with a quarter-squat, then a half, then a full squat. Then finally full squat snatches from the floor.

At some point, I power snatched a higher weight than I’ve ever squat snatched, at which coach Craig remarked: “What does that tell me? Your movements are inefficient.” Yes. That’s my problem with… everything. Since I already hit the weight PR, we stripped back down to a lower weight and worked on just dropping to a full squat– which I shall practice more and more often. I’ve been sloppy, allowing myself to catch things in an unintentional power position as long as I manage to get the weight overhead. I need to familiarize myself with the bottom position of the o-lifts in order to trust myself to… get there and not fall over.

Then we moved to clean and jerks, which I also PRd. I actually managed to squat clean the whole weight, which is pretty spectacular considering I don’t think I’ve legitimately squat cleaned anything before.

We finished the workout with clean- grip deadlifts and some core work (weighted planks and Supermans).

So… four PRs in two sessions. Theoretically, this should make me happy. Unfortunately, what it tells me is really that– not only are my movements inefficient– my training is inefficient. What I’m doing on my own is so significantly below my potential that it takes a seasoned, knowledgeable trainer all of two two-hour sessions to diagnose my errors and tweak my performance. While, of course, I’m thrilled to take these steps forward, I also wonder how much time I’m wasting fumbling around by myself. Unfortunately, I can’t visit an Olympic weightlifting facility twice a week for months on end– or at all once I return to State College.

Hopefully, though… I don’t need hundreds of dollars of expensive private coaching sessions. I just need to be more/continuing being conscientious with my training. I’ve been thinking that I should start trying to videotape things like my o-lifts to figure out where I’m being “inefficient,” and possibly taking advantage of the digital coaching on the Crossfit Forums.

Also, of course the coaches at Performance One– though familiar with CrossFit and not nearly as derogatory about it as some other strength-focused trainers I’ve met– still remarked: “If I were to train a CrossFitter, I would never have him/her WOD.” A philosophy I’ve now heard often– something that coincides with the much-discussed Rich Froning training regimen which involves 9 months of powerlifting and only 3 of more traditional CrossFit metcons.

The thing is, I’ve found that my workouts have become increasingly less WOD-like lately. Even though my gym attendance has been spotty in the past few weeks (due to travels), when I do work out, I find myself plotting more focused routines. I start with a lift and go heavy for low reps, and then if I want conditioning that day, I tend to go with something simple that won’t leave me wasted for the next day (sprints, double-unders if I don’t have the space or if it’s raining, rowing, burpees, lunges…) Even when I was in State College, as I got further into my strength-focused regimen, I started doing fewer and fewer “flashy” CrossFit movements. I’d throw a wallball for a few reps just to make sure I remembered the height… if I wanted to do O-lifts, I was more likely to dedicate a large block of time to just snatches than to incorporate them in a metcon.

I guess this is still a repetition of the same motif I’ve been revisiting for months now (sorry for beating the poor dead horse): CrossFit provides an awesome workout. But working out is distinct from training– even training for CrossFit. That said, I believe CrossFit-style WODs can be very efficiently designed for sport-specific training, but that requires your programming to be that strategic and tailored to your individual. Because I’m still new to all this, it’s easier for me to figure out my workouts in solitary, focused blocks (lift, then sprint… then low-weight skill work)

Speaking of sprinting, I enjoyed this article on how to “improve your conditioning level through strength and power training.” I’d like to incorporate more prowler pushes into my workouts, but I’m not sure how– what distances or what weights. I’m open to suggestions?

Taking the redeye back to State College tonight. See those of you on the other side of the country soon šŸ™‚

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