Monday, April 4, 2011

PWNing the Back Squat - A Tale of Whoa

This is what 375 looks like...i.e. that's me next time :)
I'd like to thank my Mom & Dad, my hamstrings and that whole posterior chain that's been so supportive all these years.  You all knew I could do it, even in my dreariest moments of doubt...

OK, so you have to allow me a moment of self-indulgent gloating.  I'm not that guy...I don't normally think this way...maybe I just rarely get put in the position to say things like this but here goes...

I fucking destroyed this WOD.  I killed it.  The bar gave me everything it had and the damn thing was coming back up like styrofoam every time.  For almost five months I've been bitch-slapped by the majority of workouts in Crossfit.  But today I slapped back...hard.

I PR'ed my back squat by 50 lbs and I left what seemed like an easy additional 50 lbs on the table.  335 lbs.  A highly-symbolic weight, as I started this journey tipping the scale right around that very mark.  I saw the WOD come up last night and I could taste this moment.  I've missed back squat singles several times since I started, and endured limiting shoulder pain, triples instead of singles, metcons with high reps but less many explorations of this exercise but never a chance at a max effort...until today.

We warmed up with three rounds of:

20 Walking Lunges
10 GHD situps
10 back extensions

I got my sweat on nicely and was ready to dig in...

BLACK BOX WOD (current skill: back squat):
back squat 1-1-1-1-1-1-1

Seven rounds of singles.  I knew I could start light and warm up before the true WOD kicked in, so I paired up with CFNYC regulars Lucio and Jeff and we got to work.  Kevin went through the movement, the low bar position, and (as always) some helpful hints on getting the most out of this lift.  Kevin is the shit when it comes to Olympic lift coaching.

We started with the bar and I let the other guys set the pace on loads.  I was ready to stay for hours until I got into the heavy zone.  After a while I lost count and just kept adding plates.

Warmup (Sets of 1): 45 – 135 – 155 – 175 – 185

I was putting these singles up quickly...Kevin said to not count reps toward the WOD until we got close to our former PR.  Since mine was 285, we had plenty of sets to go.  I was happy to make 20 or 30 lb jumps until I felt it getting heavy.  Turns out that moment wouldn't come until I got well over 300 lbs.

WOD (Sets of 1): 205 – 225 – 245 – 275 – 295* – 315* – 335*
*1-Rep Max PR

Every time I came up I heard Kevin bust out laughing behind me...he said my heavier reps came up quicker than the warmups.  The other guys were getting a kick out of it too.  Lucio always ribs me that I make them look bad on back squat days, but frankly it's my only time to shine.  The minute we switch from strength to bodyweight stuff I get hey I'll soak up this moment no problem :).  I told them that when you carry this much weight around for that long, any leg-heavy work is going to be no problem.  Today was case in point.

I've been reading a lot of articles on Westside Barbell and their philosophy on lifts.  They talk a lot about prepping your nervous system to get it accustomed to certain ranges of weight.  I truly could have put up 350+, but as I was thinking it Kevin said it.  Stop here.  Let your body absorb this one.  It was the right call.  This was 50 lbs heavier than anything I've ever lifted.  No reason to push.  I was in uncharted waters.  best to right the ship and sail home triumphantly.

I play poker a lot and there's a term for those nights when you just can't lose.  It used to be that you "owned".  Nowadays people say that you PWNed (pronounced "poned").  I played heads up against the back squat and I PWNed.  I look forward to cashing in my winnings in the weeks to come. :)

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