Tag Archives: squat clean

Squat Cleans Are Not My Fave

After yesterday’s 250 reps, I was hoping for something a bit more “enjoyable” as far as the day’s WOD. Apparently I should get used to disappointment this week.

Coach Larry was finishing up today’s WOD when I got there and looking pretty miserable, but chugging through it. But before 8:30 we had a handful of folks… Melissa and her daughter, Lara, and Sarah. We began with a 400m jog and came back in for a little three round warm-up of:

  • 10 med-ball cleans (20/14#)
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 banded good mornings

ring-dipWith that out of the way, we went through a squat clean refresher and some ring dip essentials.

Today’s workout was a doozy:

  • 27-21-15-9 reps for time
  • squat cleans
  • ring dips
  • Rx/Level II weight – 95/65#, Level I weight – 55/35#
  • Ring dips, leg-assisted ring dips, and push-ups

Quite honestly I knew I was in trouble even during our squat clean warm-up. Between knees and hips it was going to be a challenge to get through 72 of them. But it turned out to be a combination of shoulders and low back that really slowed me down. It took nearly 9 minutes to get through the first round with a combination of actual ring dips and “leg-assisted” ones.

By the time I got through the round of 21 squat cleans, I decided I’d just do push-ups instead of ring dips. But even so, it took me 23:48 to get through the whole thing.


Let me qualify a few things for this one though… I really wanted to quit. My head already knew what my body would figure out pretty quickly – squat cleans still suck. And honestly it wasn’t the weight. I would have struggled with an empty bar just as much as I did the 95# bar.

My cleans looked like crap. Many followed this pattern – straight leg, bend down, snag bar, clean and drop into a squat, then drop it. It’s no wonder my back was bugging me. And if I had done all the ring dips I’d still have been going at least another 10 minutes. The few ring dips I did do were not pretty.


There’s something about combination push and pull workouts. Squat cleans were a pull. Ring dips were a push. And neither movement worked well. It was like my burpees yesterday. Every one looked uglier than the one before.

Meanwhile I watched Lara and Sarah essentially drop far enough and fast enough into their squat that their butts might as well have hit the floor. Ass to grass. They did great.

It was not a good workout for me. I nearly quit at least three times. The door was open. I could have just walked out. Instead I wandered, shook it out, and tried to reset. I never openly said “I quit,” but damn I came close.

Would it have been any different if it was just 21-15-9 instead of 27-21-15-9? I don’t know. That extra round was definitely a mental game.

Larry was always circling, giving encouragement. And I heard some of the other nice folks in the class encouraging me as well. So thank you to all of you. It did help.

Great work folks! Y’all killed it.


The Merry Twelve Days of Christmas WOD

Well, I was merry when I began and exhausted at the end, so I guess it did its duty today. ๐Ÿ™‚


If you haven’t seen the “Twelve Days of Christmas” WOD in various places, it’s a workout where you follow the same scheme as the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and do a different body weight or barbell movement for each “day”, using the rep scheme from the song…

1 squat clean, 2 pull-ups, and 30 double unders (or single unders), etc.

Today CrossFit Continuum ran the 12 Days WOD three times – 9, 11, and 1. The Fitzy clan went to the 9am workout to get it out of the way early. And we weren’t alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coach Larry kept us moving. We had Caleb & Megan, Clara, Vanessa, Stacy, Danielle, Brent, Bill, Todd, and a few others milling about. It was packed. We had people all over the place.

We started with a 400m team run (an “Indian run”) with a medicine ball that we passed from person to person until we hit the end and then that person ran it back to the front and started over. It became guys vs. girls pretty quickly and the girls showed us up. We won though because guile beats skill apparently. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After that we did some warm-up stretches as a group — Spider-man lunges, jumping jacks, etc. — and then Larry went through a quick refresher on some of the movements with a PVC pipe and watched us go through them.

This was a fun group so everyone was giving everyone else grief, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then the real fun began. This is always a challenging workout ย I worked with Brent – he and I kind of waterfalled our way through most of the movements:

  • santaimages1 Squat Clean 135/95
  • 2 Muscle-ups/Chest 2 Bar/Pull-ups/Toes to Bar/Knees to Elbows
  • 3 30 Double unders or Single unders
  • 4 Burpees
  • 5 Box Jumps 24/20
  • 6 Thrusters 135/95
  • 7 Hand Stand Push-ups or Pike Push-ups
  • 8 Goblet Squats 53/35
  • 9 KBS 53/35
  • 10 Wall Balls 20/14
  • 11 Situps
  • 12 Push jerks 135/95

We adjusted the weight from 135# to 115# and scaled in a few other places. I did jumping C2B, single-unders, step-ups (with a few 20″ box jumps), and I did a few HSPUs but quickly fell to pike push-ups.ย The killer? The squat cleans. Wow. Those 6 reps were the roughest part of the whole thing.

Brent hummed right along through all of it. I think he said today was the first HSPU he’d done since his elbow surgery and he looked great. He did Rx movements through most of it too.

I slowed him down a bit. But we finished the whole thing in 58:34. I was the last one to finish off the push jerks I think, but wast just happy to get it done and under an hour. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ev and the girls did great. But everybody kicked butt. Great work folks!

And now… on the last day of Christmas my true love gave to me a rest day! ๐Ÿ™‚ And maybe some ice for my sore body parts after 6 days of workouts this week. ๐Ÿ™‚


We wish a big Merry Christmas to every one of our friends and coaches at the box — and all those CrossFit peeps we’ve met this year from all over the place. It’s been another fantastic year of CrossFit for us and it’s not even quite over yet.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Well Wishes for Everyone!!

Some Days are Meant for Cleaning

As I’ve grown older and adapted to being married to a force of nature, I’ve slowly become better at embracing change. Not always, but sometimes.

Today I went in at noon to CrossFit Continuum expecting to work on a new PR for clean & jerk. That did not happen. Instead I had about an hour’s worth of work with Drea and Bill on my cleans and my split jerks. Mostly cleans. It was just me in the noon class, so it was a great time to just focus on the skills and getting the body to work right (it doesn’t want to).


Started with a bunch of mobility, which was great. Did 2 minutes on the assault bike, which was less great. And then warmed up with a breakdown of the clean and jerk movements.

We then spent the next hour working with lighter weights (95/115/135) and breaking things down further. We did a ton of reps with cleans & jerks at 95# and 115# and a few at 135# before going back down to 95# and 115# to work on technique.


The three clean method – 1 clean each from a high hang, regular hang, and from the floor – worked out really well for me. It short circuited my brain’s need to control everything a bit. And the high hang and regular hang really helped a ton with my shrug and pulling the bar closer to my body, then landing in a squat position.

Was it perfect? Hell no. But I lost track of the number of reps we did and it was nothing like the 7 single clean & jerks that other folks got through, which I didn’t mind at all. I am not great at squat cleans under the best of circumstances and have been shrugging in the wrong direction, which meant my bar path was incorrect all this time.

jerk-clipart-olympic-weightlifting-clean-jerk-hiBetween the shrug and working on dropping under the bar faster (and foot position) it was a great hour. And Bill demonstrated just how awesome he his by jumping into a squat position between two plyo boxes. I immediately told him there was no way in heck that I was going to attempt it. Instead we set yoga mats on the floor beside my feet so I could have a feel of where my feet should be. That helped a bunch.

Ultimately I have to have done about 50 cleans about 10-15 jerks over the course of the hour plus. And I appreciated the help from both coaches. It was great to try and work on developing a skill in that kind of environment as opposed to doing it during a class with 4-10 other people.

So thank you Drea & Bill! I appreciate the time!

By the time we were done I was down to doing a deadlift from the floor to kind of activate my brain in the straight-armed and standing movements before dropping back to the floor and just going for a squat clean, putting it back down, and doing another squat clean. We’ll see if it sticks. I’m hoping it does.

Now I’m very tired. And I am ready for a nap. Think anyone will notice? zzzzzz

Have a great day!


A Little June Cleaning…

Today has been an interesting day. Meetings and work this morning. A workout at lunch. Sitting in traffic for about 30 minutes while waiting for POTUS to drive by while they had I-25 closed. And learning that one of the Thunderbird pilots had to ditch the plane on the southeast side of Colorado Springs after their performance – and did so safely with as little damage as possible. Amazing.

But let’s get back to talking about my crossfit workout while I sip my coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I arrived, I saw Drea, Stacy, and Kelli having a little picnic outside. It was that kind of day. So kudos for seizing the opportunity!

14ozcrI headed in and warmed up my shoulders a little before Coach Drea came in and got me going. It was just me today, so I got some good one-on-one time. Always an awesome thing. To warm up she had me start with a 500m row or 400m jog. I decided to run because I didn’t really want to. ๐Ÿ™‚ (A while back I decided that if there was a choice and I simply didn’t like one of the choices (as opposed to not being able to do it physically), I would choose the one I didn’t like. Maybe someday that will help me out. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Anyway… I digress. After my jog, I did some med-ball cleans, roll-to-candlesticks, and hitchhikers. After that it was some skill work with an empty barbell on cleans and squat cleans.

Now, I have to clarify that squat cleans are not my favorite movement in the world. I would rather take the bar from the rack or even a high hang or power position than just about anything else. There’s something about “squat” anything where you have to go from the floor to straight up and back down again that throws me off.

Wow I’m bouncing all over the place today.

clean-pull-illustrationThe strength portion of the workout was:

  • 7 sets of 3 squat cleans

Drea had me start at 95#, then we hopped up to 135#, and dropped back to 115#, then ended up at 125#. Though I started out a little rough, my body eventually warmed up to the point where things looked a bit better. By the end I had a few good squat cleans out of the bunch.

I had two main problems – keeping tension at the start (I have a tendency to get into my setup then release tension before jerking it off the floor) and breathing. By the end I think I was doing both a bit better.

That startup position is almost a meditation or ritual and once you get into a particular set of steps it can be difficult to change. It is for me anyway. I need to go back to some of what we learned from Jared Enderton’s seminar at the beginning of the year. If I can figure out the right ritual and stick to it, most (if not all) of my lifts should improve. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once that was done, the fun was over and it was time for the metcon portion of the workout. I was not looking forward to it – but again, that just meant I had to work harder and embrace the suck.

rogue-black-med-ball-web6_1Midline:ย 4 Rounds for Reps:

  • Min 1: Med Ball Situps #20/14
  • Min 2: Russian Twist #45/25
  • Min 3: Weighted Plank #45/25

Anyone who looks at me knows that my “midline” is pretty broad these days. I don’t have a six-pack – I have a pony keg. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, I have a few mobility issues I really need to work on at some point. One of them is my left hip, which is greatly improved from when I started – but I have pretty good mobility turning to the right and very little doing to the left. So Russian Twists are a bit awkward.

I tried with a 35# plate to see how those would go and the answer was: not well. So my workout became:

  • Min 1: Med Ball Situps #20 med ball
  • Min 2: Russian Twist #20 med ball
  • Min 3: Weighted Plank 35#

front-plankDrea was nice enough to put the 35# plate on my back every time I had to do the plank.

And honestly I did better than I expected. I averaged about 50 reps for each round and ended up with a score of 200. The sit-ups were ok. The twists got better as I moved from round to round. And the plank just sucked. I started on forearms and eventually my right shoulder screamed enough I couldn’t any more – so I switched to a high plank. And then it was the left shoulder.

Anyway… I heard that I get to thank Coach Ray for that lovely workout. I believe I said “love ya Ray” at the end of almost every round. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And thank you Drea for keeping me going. Sorry I didn’t stop to say bye when I left but you were chatting with a new athlete and I didn’t want to interrupt!


What’s with all the squat cleans?

Yes, you heard me… What’s with all the darn squat cleans of late? Geez!ย Give me a hanging power clean or a power clean, but please don’t make me squat under it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Made it in for another 8:30 class this morning with Coach Drea and we had quite the crew… Ev and I, Carrie, Larry, Jenny, Melissa, Adrienne, Danielle, Melissa (Coach), Ronnie, Anne, and Caleb. There were people everywhere!

Olympic weightsWe started with a 400m jog (no snake today) and then with a medicine ball at the ready we did some squat-to-stands, med ball cleans, and downward dog as a group before diving into the squat clean and splitย jerk with an unloaded barbell. We focused more on the jerk than the squat, but we were still moving pretty well by the time we were done with all the practice.

The first part of the workout was 12 minutes to find our 1 rep max clean & jerk. I worked with Caleb & Larry and we just alternated… We did 115#, then 135#, and 155# – and I got through those. But as soon as we upped to 165# (Larry made it) I was out of my league. Caleb got up 245# by the time he was done. They did awesome.

Though it’s not quite as separate between the clean and the squat, it’s still sloooow for me. But I’ll get there.

And when that was done, we entered metcon land and ugh… it was not a good one for me.

  • 1 minute of hang squat cleans, 45/25-lb. dumbbells (or 35# or 25# to scale)
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 1 minute of toes-to-bars
  • 2 minutes of hang squat cleans, dumbbells
  • 2 minutes of burpees
  • 2 minute of toes-to-bars
  • 1 minute of hang squat cleans, dumbbells
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 1 minute of toes-to-bars

I’m not a huge fan of movements that separate the left and right, whether it be single-arm movements or single-leg movements. Not my thing. So even though it was a hang clean with dumbbells, it wasn’t fun.

20160524_093534I scaled slightly – with 35# kettle bells (the dumbbells were a hot commodity), burpees, and toes-to-bars. Drea wanted us to focus on getting our toes to the bar, not just defaulting to knees to hips or knees to elbows. I can do t2b one at a time, but only for a little while.

Grip was the big part of today. Between the kettle bells and the t2b, my grip was fried. Not sure if was the hook grip from yesterday or just all the cleans and such – but ugh. Not fun.

And neither were the burpees. My shoulders tell me every time there are burpees that they hate me in no uncertain terms. That’s always fun.

Long story short – I didn’t get very far. 67 reps across the three rounds. I was slow on everything across the board. Yay team.

My wife got through 99 reps with 25# dumbbells and knee raises. She did awesome. So did everybody else.


It’s ok. Sometimes I can hang with the big dogs, but metcons are not my cup of tea. My goal as always is just to keep moving. One rep at a time.

I’m going to try and go the next couple of days, then we have stuff going on Friday that will hold us up. And Saturday I have to get some yard work done or I’m going to need a machete soon.

Great work today folks – have a great day and we’ll be back to it tomorrow probably. ๐Ÿ™‚

Squat Cleans and Push Jerks, oh my

It may seem like I skipped yesterday, but I didn’t. I promise!

Our trainers had the box closed for part of yesterday to cheer on a young athlete doing a track and field event all morning. And that was awesome. Family comes first in all things and it sounds like he did well! ๐Ÿ™‚

AngieTo compensate a little, I decided to do a mini workout at home at lunch time after working for 6 hours straight…

It started out being a mini-Angie. Full Angie is 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 air squats for time. We don’t have a pull-up bar set up at home yet (eventually I hope to), but I set up downstairs to do the push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats for time.

Though you’re supposed to do all of one movement before you move to the next, I did sets of 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, and 25 air squats. Better to break it up for me. In the middle of the second set, our dog – Storm, the Weimeraner – decided she didn’t like what I was doing and got in the middle of it all. So I finished with 50-50-50 in about 10 minutes. Not awful and it got me up, moving, and sweaty, so I’ll count it as good.

Plus there was bonding with the dog, so that was a bonus. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I went in for an 8:30 class with my wife and there were a ton of people! The two of us, Danielle, Lori, Sarah, Ellen, Carrie (who was taking pictures), Jenny, Todd & Melissa, Debbie, and David… But it feels like there were at least three more folks there that aren’t in the roster for the class – seemed like there were at least 15 of us. Larry was there as well, helping Drea where he could.

Front-squatWe started with a 400m jog, then came back to do some overhead weight plate presses and Cossack squats. And then we did a whole lot of work on squat cleans and push jerks with an empty barbell. Honestly it was good – been a while since I’ve done squat cleans in any quantity.

The workout itself was 5 minutes of as many reps as possible:

  • 165/115-lb. squat clean and jerks

I am still nursing this damn groin pull. It’s not quite 100%. But I was worried about the weight. Even so, I worked up to 115#, added two 10# weights for 135#, and then 5# on the ends for 145#. That was supposedly the “intermediate” weight for the workout.

My goal was to shoot for 20 reps in 5 minutes. That’s one rep every 15 seconds. I ended up with a score of 10 completed reps. I think I attempted it 13 times but three of them were aborted in various parts of the movement – once I did a hang clean instead of a squat clean and twice I did the clean but couldn’t push it overhead.

Considering that a few of our better athletes managed 25 reps at prescribed weights, I didn’t do all that hot. But then again, squat cleans are not my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I’m not all that concerned.

The groin and quad are sore, but not too bad. I need to do a little more with ice, heat, and general care I think – but we’re getting there.

Afterwards we were supposed to do the ROMWOD, but when I peeked into the yoga room it was full of people (probably 12-14 people all together) and I bowed out. Instead, I went back and did some couch stretch and pigeon stretch before having a long chat with Jimmy. It’s been a while since we chatted, so it was good to catch up.

Now… well, now I’m back to work and trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Wish me luck. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great work everybody! And I hope the 9:30 class had a good time – Maria, Ashley, Larry, Adrienne, Jodi, and Kristen were there with Jayda the guard dog watching on. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks Drea for keeping everybody moving!


Like a good chunk of the crossfit community, I watched Dan Bailey andย Bjรถrgvin Karl Guรฐmundsson kick some serious butt live during the 16.2 announcement. Why? Because it’s fun to watch elite athletes do the impossible I suppose. ๐Ÿ™‚

16.2 from Dave Castro would involve multiple waves of 4 minutes – with each set involving 25 toes to bars, 50 double-unders, and a variable (dropping) number of squat cleans with increasing weight. It was impressive to see those two guys clean 275 and 315 like it was a walk in the park and do the rest of the workout to get there.

I am neither a Bailey nor aย Guรฐmundsson. So I knew 16.2 would have to scale.

Though I can do toes to bar, they’re not pretty. But I cannot manage double-unders yet. I haven’t put in the work to get them figured out. Yet. The key word is yet. And this goat will be crushed in time. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I can do singles!

I pondered just doing the toes to bar so I’d get 25 non-scaled reps in, but decided I wanted to see how far I could push into the scaled weights. Scaled goes 95/115/135/155/185 vs. Rx which was 135/185/225/275/315.

Just like last Friday, the turnout was awesome. We had groups of up to 8 (4 Rx/4 scaled) in each heat, which was cool. Some folks struggled with the first round of Rx. And a handful made it all the way through one of the scaled workouts in under the 20 minute time cap. It was fun to watch!


When it was our turn to do the scaled workout, Ev and I were joined by Danielle and we went at the same time as some of the “big boys” at our gym doing it Rx – Bill, Lyle, Jared, and Evan. They all kicked butt, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

Elizabeth was my judge and she was great. Positive and loud enough for me to hear. And Caleb was kind enough to help swap out weights for Ev and I, which was awesome.

How’d we do?

20160304_192736I got through the first round in about 3:45 and hit the second round a bit winded. The further I got, the more winded I became. And by the time I got into the cleans I was fried.

My score was 172 – so all of round 1 was 90 reps and if I had completed round 2 it would have been 88. I missed finishing round 2 by 6 reps – and I’m ok with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile my wife got through 257 reps, which was all the way through round 2 and 79 reps, which is 7 reps short of completing three full rounds. She did awesome.

Again – my wife kicked my butt in an Open workout and I’m ok with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

We saw a lot of struggle again tonight and a lot of victories – the community is fun to watch and I look forward to seeing how Dave Castro plans on kicking my arse next week.

I do have to give a shout out to the folks behind the HandBand Pro… Here are my two wraps I’ve been using for a while (sorry for the crappy picture, but it’s late and I’m tired):


As you can see, these things have seen some use – they’re getting torn to shreds. And tonight as I did my knee tucks (almost knees to elbows) they protected my hands nicely. I didn’t tear once.

I need to order a new pair for myself and if you’re looking for a good way to protect your hands from the inevitable tears we get – I haven’t found anything I like better. Check out their website at handbandpro.com and order yourself a pair!

So that’s it for tonight. No team workout for me tomorrow – soccer season and we’re traveling early for a local tournament about an hour away.

Have a great weekend and great work everybody!! Good luck with 16.2!