For my first personal training session of the year, Sam had me pulling. It wasn’t all about deadlifting like before, but instead we were going over parts of the motion required to perform a clean properly. Specifically, the middle of the movement once the bar has already been off the ground. It was an awesome session that left me pretty beat up.
I got stretched out with the bands like usual and hit up some kettle bell front squats and walking lunges to get some blood flowing in my legs. I figured we’d be doing some sort of legs today, so if we were finally going to be squatting I wanted to be ready for it. Sam said we’d be doing some pulling once he had walked over to the training section, and explained how it would be a bit different than usual. We got started on part of the technique for cleaning, and it seemed pretty simple once he broke it down. What I wasn’t ready for was having my lower back set on fire after only working with the bar for a few sets.
Sam is awesome for calling out any slacking on technique, so he let me know my back was stacking straight through the movement. After 20 or so reps with just the bar, I could feel my lower back getting incredibly tight. Just goes to show that I still need to build up some lower back strength… As long as my spine is neutral! I wasn’t counting how many reps we got through, but as I tired out, Sam let me switch to doing triples with really short breaks in between. It was exactly what I needed to push through my lower-back tightness. I had only worked up to 105 lbs for a rack-pull-into-shrug-on-my-toes movement, but it wasn’t about the weight… Just the rhythm. I got to work on my hook grip the whole time, (which was great since the weight was light) and finished up feeling like I had a good idea where the full body extension was supposed to be executed. The next step? Switch to snatch grip.
Snatch grip was really throwing me off because I couldn’t figure out how to line up at the bar. I mean, I was going crazy over it. Sam said to forget it for now and we’d go back to pulling conventional off the stands. After I finished a set of conventional again. I slid my hands out to snatch-grip position and said “So, if I pull right from this position, am I good to go?”… Sam laughed and said that was exactly the position he was after, so I figured out right there that I could approach the bar just like I was doing it conventional and simply move my hands out wide. For some reason, the wide grip was throwing me off for how far away my shins needed to be from the bar and how I’d need to bend down to pick up the bar. So, essentially I’m stupid and over-analyzed it until I was paralyzed by it! Now that I had the snatch-grip figured out, I was forced into a few more rounds of pulling.
I finished off the workout by doing some hopping. Seriously. I had to get down into a squat position and flick my feet and ankles to do 10 short hops one way, turn around, and do 10 hops back. Easy, right? I had to do this once before with Sam, and I knew it was going to be hell. My hips were on fire from holding the squat position and my lungs were burning from gasping for air. It turns out I’m really bad at jumping. Like… terrible. I guess I know what I need to work on.