2016 Fortius Halloween Open

Fortius Halloween Open (2016-10-23)

  • Body weight: 83.89 kg
  • Total: 0 kg
  • Attempts:
Snatch (kg) Clean & Jerk (kg)
88X 106X
88X 106X
88 106X

Meet day

I woke up around 4:15 AM, drove down to Fortius at 5:00 AM, got there at 5:30 AM and was weighed in at 5:45 AM.This was probably the first hurdle. Although I’m a morning person, I don’t ever do any squatting or Olympic lifts this early. Additionally, I’ve developed the bad habit of not eating breakfast so it was difficult to choke down hard boiled eggs and a protein shake after weighing in.

Snatch warm-ups went so-so. The weight felt heavy off the floor, which is consistent with how its felt in training. I had one near miss on my toes and some steps forward on one lift, but other than that I hit all my warm-ups. Nick misjudged the timing of the attempts which led to me being warmed up too fast. This was a slight hurdle because I typically get to my opener quickly and I had to sit for a good amount of time between warm-up attempts. I tried to mitigate getting cold by doing some pulls on the heavier warm-ups.

The first snatch was plenty high but I was anxious and it went behind. The second attempt wasn’t even close. The final attempt was a gross snatch that I caught on my toes and managed to save after what seemed like 5 minutes at the bottom.

C&J warm-ups went so-so as well. I actually felt pretty decent in the clean but the jerk was pretty slow and sloppy. Nick did a much better job timing the warm-ups. It was pretty much perfect and exactly as I would have done it in a training scenario. I got shot out of one warm up clean at what I remember to be 103 kg.

The first attempt was a bit sloppy on the clean but I was able to struggle and stand it up. The jerk, like in the back, was poorly timed and I caught it with bent elbows. It was called for a press out. On the second attempt, I got spit out by the clean.On the final attempt, I pulled the bar very high, it crashed on me, I crumbled, and got stuck at parallel. Honestly, even if I had stood it up I wouldn’t have had anything left for the jerk. Between lifts Nick gave a good cue to “receive the bar” not “catch the bar.” Unfortunately, I did just the opposite.

Looking back

I had been struggling throughout the training cycle. Although I was consistent (i.e., not many misses) in the snatch, I never felt strong off the floor. I think my low back and shoulders were often unset prior to the lift and it was something that I never fixed during the cycle (although Nick certainly commented on this at least twice, if not more). I think this is where I lost my lifts in competition. A weak pull (or heavy-feeling weight) off the floor definitely impacts my confidence as I pass my knees.

C&J pretty much sucked throughout the cycle. Honestly, on most days I just tried to get through them. I maybe had one or two good days when we power cleaned, but other than that I was mashed potatoes for 9 weeks and it showed on the platform. I wouldn’t say I was especially weak in the squatting but I wasn’t especially strong (or proficient) either. With the lack of progress in squatting, it’s not surprising that cleans pretty much always felt heavy (weak legs + mashed potatoes).

I don’t think my commitment was there for this cycle. I stretched very little, ate terribly, and stopped lifting in the morning with my parents for about 5 of the 9 week cycle. Although we don’t do much in the morning, I think the planks and goblet/air squats we do typically do help my Olympic lifts. I also went on vacation twice and got married during this cycle. Neither of which necessarily needed to interfere with getting the work done, but I let them.

Looking forward

Time and time again, leg strength is a limiting factor and time and time again I say I will improve on the next cycle and never do. Turning to mash potatoes in the clean is killing me. The clean will probably always be a really heavy front squat for me and I just cannot afford to be out of position. Nick thinks it’s a weakness in my upper thoracic. Historically, I would say my back is my stronger body part. I believe that my weak core combined with weak glutes are what are hurting me. The weak core is contributing to the mashed potato clean and the weak glutes are why I get stuck at parallel so often.

Going forward I need to commit to doing my own accessory. There is no reason I can’t get work done in the morning with my parents or at lunch while at work. There’s also no reason I can’t ask Nick/Kornel for additional, complimentary programming for me. I also believe that I need to squat everyday. I don’t know that it necessarily needs to be high volume or intensity but it just needs to be something everyday. I lose squatting strength so incredibly fast. I need to build some strength reserve in my legs.

Here are what I think the key exercises to addressing my weaknesses from this past cycle:

  • Back extensions/pulls – Weak first pull in the snatch
  • SQUATS!!!! – For obvious reasons
  • Glute bridges – Not getting stuck at parallel
  • GHD/Planks – Improve the catch in the clean
  • Sots Press – Develop a more upright position in the bottom of the clean
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