April 19, 2019

CrossFit Update

It's been a hard, HARD uphill battle with as much travel as I've had lately, but I'm finally consistent with CrossFit, and I feel so much better in the saddle as a result.

We're in a testing phase right now, doing one 1 rep max (1RM) per week.  1RMs are important because in future workouts when the coach says "today's strength workout is 10 sets of 3 back squats at 60% of your 1 rep max" you need to know what your 100% number is to know how to scale to that 60% number.

My 1RMs aren't back at my all-time highs yet, but I'm proud of them anyway.  I hit an 80lb bench and a 100lb clean and jerk recently.  I hit the clean but failed the split jerk at 105lbs (for context, I currently weigh 112lbs), and I was thrilled, because one of the things I've been MAKING myself do lately is not be a weenie about failing. There's no shame in bailing safely out of a lift, but I'm not gaining anything mentally or physically by not pushing myself to my max capabilities because I have a fear of failure.

I REALLY wanted to test my clean further because I hadn't even needed to drop into a squat clean yet at 105lbs, but I didn't get the chance. 

Power clean - something you can do when the weight is lighter.

Squat clean or just 'clean' - something you have to do when the weight starts getting heavy, because it means the bar doesn't have to travel as far upward, you drop your body quickly under it instead of partially standing up with it like in the power clean

Clean and Jerk - where you combine the clean with "jerking" the barbell overhead

Clean is my favorite lift - there's nothing like ripping a barbell that weighs more than you do off the ground in one explosive moment and getting it to your shoulders.  You can feel like a total badass with it even if you're not super strong yet.

What has all this CrossFitting been doing for me in the saddle?  I've been paying a LOT of attention to engaging my abs from top to the very bottom in my workouts, and it's paying off in core strength in the saddle.  You can do CrossFit without engaging your abs, and but you'll get a lot more out of it if you do, and honestly that's as much about learning how to fire those synapses as it is about developing the muscles.

This workout was 8-6-4-2 of clusters (clean + thruster), box jumps and ring pushups.  Even at 55lbs, you wouldn't think you could get that much out of a 4 minute workout!

Anyone else been on the workout train lately?


  1. I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, I do cardio and light weights / mostly body weight exercises. Yesterday I did a 30 minute conditioning class on the bosu followed by 4 miles on the treadmill. Today I'm doing 30 minute abs class, 30 minutes stretch class, then a 1 hour spin. :)

    1. Whatever works for you is the right type of exercise! I love CrossFit, but for very specific reasons that wouldn't apply to everyone. Good for you!

  2. Your CrossFit gym looks huge! I've been better about getting back to the gym lately- I've been going 3x a week since January. Eventually I need to go more, but at least it's a start. I'm also NO where near as strong as I used to be and that's been a tough mental challenge for me.

    Cleans are my favorite too, but I've actually always had a stronger power clean and jerk than a squat clean (much to the disgust of all of my legit oly friends). For some reason I would rather just rip it up off the ground than have to stand a heavy weight up.. I think catching a heavy weight always subconsciously scares me about hurting my back too.

    It's been good to get back to the gym though!

    1. Yes, it's enormous! The main workout area you see there goes on for another 50ft to the right of the photo (you can just see the edge of the second rig on the right), and then there are two additional areas about the same size as this one that we don't use, and a front office area. It's a former factory in a residential area about 6 blocks from my house.

      I was wondering if you were going! 3x a week is where I am too for the most part. I get the fear of dropping under - I used to be that way with snatches and I always had a way higher power than squat snatch. But it wasn't a strength thing, it was a fear thing. I bet you'd have a crazy high squat clean if you ever actually did test it though.

    2. Possibly, although I think the other half of it is honestly strength, and not putting in the work on my front squats. At my absolute best I could power clean and jerk 150# (power cleaned 155 once), but the absolute heaviest I ever front squatted on a REALLY good day was 160 and that was WAY harder to me than power cleaning. So I think it was some fear and some lack of standing up heavy weight strength. I've never liked the feeling of standing up really heavy squats, but I don't mind ripping it off the ground!

  3. I'm on week 3 of CrossFit and loving it. It's still too early to say how it's going to change my riding, but I have no doubt it will. Mostly I'm happy I've found a good way to restrengthen my core/back after last year's injury and hopefully get rid of the last of the lingering pain.