“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.”
Here’s a rundown of the three gym sessions I got in this week; two morning sessions and one evening session. Both morning sessions were performed in a fasted state. The “usual” routine for me Monday thru Friday is: dinner the night prior at approximately 8PM, up at 4:30AM, in the gym at 6:15-ish, in the shower by 7:15, breakfast at around 8-ish. Note that I don’t include the time it takes me to warm-up in my total “workout time”
Tuesday morning’s workout:
1. Power Clean X 5, 3, 2 (increased weight each round)
2. Ballistic Dips x 5 (Max hand/bar separation each rep, catch at bottom-out position, quick transition)
3. Dive Bomber Push-ups x 10 (feet elevated approximately 18”)
3 rounds of the combo above, followed by:
· Power Cleans, 5 singles with the weight used in the final round above, followed by,
· Snatch Grip High Pulls, 2 sets of 3
Workout time here was approximately 30 minutes.
Here’s a video of a full clean and jerk, from the blog, A Philosophy of Strength, showcasing some pretty damn near flawless technique. Of course the power clean (or hang clean, if you prefer) is a truncated version of the “clean” portion of the lift – beginning the lift with the bar between knee and mid-thigh and racking the bar at an approximate ¾ squat position – however, the drive, explosive triple extension, and “pull under” technique is identical across the board. Look at the trap action just prior to pull-under in this photo sequence, again from A Philosophy of Strength.
This clip, from my good friends at Straight to the Bar, is a demonstration of good snatch-grip high pull technique.
Thursday morning’s workout:
1. Power Snatch x 5, 3, 2, 2 (increase weight each round)
2. Ballistic Pull-ups (chest above bar level, max “air”) x 5’s
3. Dive Bombers (feet elevated approximately 3’) x 8’s
4 rounds of the above, followed by 2 sets of this superset:
· Snatch grip high pull x 3, 3
· Ballistic pull-ups, same as above, x 2 sets of 5 (in other words, I ended up doing 6 total sets of ballistic pull-ups)
Check out what strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin says about the power snatch, under The Athlete’s Lift heading, in this T-Nation article. Now, I don’t agree with Poliquin’s negative take on CrossFit (see my post on the subject, here), but I do agree whole-heartedly with his stance on the power snatch. An absolutely fabulous power exercise, and, if you’re a coach – or an athlete looking to gauge yourself in reference to your competition — it’ll show you pretty damn quick who the playmakers are going to be. And, as you might expect, there’s a strong correlation between performance in the vertical jump and power snatching ability.
Check out this clip from Paul Zaichik, as it is an excellent demonstration of various Dive Bomber/Hindu Push up techniques. The variation I used in this particular workout is demonstrated here at the 3:00 mark. Think bodyweight exercises aren’t challenging? Try these on for size!
I hit the gym on Friday, after work (a typical gym dead time, even in the midst of the January, New Year’s resolution period) for a quick strength session and a bit of steam bath/cold shower contrast action. My meals prior to this workout were at 8AM and 11AM, with the workout itself coming at about 5:30PM. The meat of the workout (following the warm-up) lasted about 30 minutes, just enough time to jump from one exercise to the next. The workout consisted of 4 rounds of the following three exercises:
1. Heavy Deadlifts x 3, 2, 1, 1 (increased weight each round. Attempted to pull the weight as fast as possible.
2. Heavy Dips x 2, 2, 3, 3 (same working weight. Same thing here, attempted to lift the weight as fast as possible.
3. Heavy Glute-Ham Raise x 3, 3, 3, 3 (Same thing; attempting to move a heavy weight as fast as possible. I use a DB for added weight).
Note here that I chose weights in each exercise so that I did not have to “grind out” any repetitions; however, the chosen weight in each exercise was also selected so as to be a bit too heavy to permit a “snappy” repetition, although the attempt was made to move each repetition as fast as possible. This is a fine, line and a tough concept to get across without an actual hands-on demonstration, as it really boils down to a “feel” thing. Call it the “Goldilocks” concept, if you like – not too heavy, not too light, but just right.
The steam bath/cold shower contrast was a nice capper to an intense workout and a very long, first full week back at work.
So let’s quickly deconstruct this workout week as a whole. Also note that, in the back of my mind, I’m planning a sprint day for Sunday – though I may push that up to Saturday afternoon, depending upon the weather (we may have some rain this weekend). What we see here, though, is two power-emphasis days and a strength-emphasis day. If we look ahead to the sprint day, and include that in the week, we see that I’ve hit my 3:1 power-to-strength modality session ratio. Now this is certainly not a hard and fast rule, but rather something that I keep in the back of my mind when formulating a day’s workout in relation to the breakdown of the overall week. You’ll also see that I included a hellofalot of pulling this week; overhead pressing and squat and/or lunge work? Well, not so much. There was no reason for this, other than I felt really good and “in the grove” while hitting the power-pulls this week, so I just went with it. I’ll probably start off next week in the gym with an overhead press/squat/lunge combo of some sort. Nothing is solidified yet, just something I’ll keep on the radar.