Clean, press, deadlift workout

I practiced cleans today at 35 and 55 pounds. All I want to do is get
faster since I saw video of my slow clean. I did a bunch of reps
starting at the high hang, shrugging and dropping. Then I tried some
from the floor. Scott sensibly told me I should start from the knees
instead, do 50 or 60 reps that way, and try from the floor when those
are really comfortable. I’m glad at least I’m starting to be able to
hold my upper back in position for the shrug, and I understand what Scott means when
he mentions that. Before a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t feel it.

By this time it was pouring outside and I had the scooter so I decided
to work on presses and deadlifts. On the press I warmed up and did five
sets of 5 reps at 33 kg (80 percent of my 1-rep max). I was a little
afraid that I wouldn’t get through all five sets but with several
minutes rest between sets it went fine.

On the deadlift I warmed up and did one set of 5 at 91 kg (also 80
percent of 1RM). Hard work but I love doing it. Afterward I rolled on
the hard foam cylinder with the front of my legs (quads), then stood
and stretched them as well as I could. It felt good.

By now it was snowing, and I rode home on the scooter by repeatedly
wiping snow off my helmet visor. If it had been sticking to the road I
would have been in trouble but it wasn’t.

Definitely can’t believe everything you see on YouTube

I’ve been looking at deadlift videos. A lot of them show guys
lifting hundreds of pounds and saying they show “proper deadlift technique” or “how to deadlift.” But they show rounded backs in the starting position and most of the way up to lockout. Is this just because these are 1-rep max lifts? Not if they can’t even hold the back straight in the start position, while the bar is still on the floor. It would be easy to be misled by these guys if you were looking for good
technique without having a coach. It’s important to keep the back in extension, or at least “flat.”

Every deadlift video I found that showed the lifter’s back flat or extended from the ground up was from a CrossFitter, except on some very heavy 1-rep max lifts, but when their form isn’t ideal they don’t claim to be showing proper form–instead they state that they’re practicing, or that if their client rounded the back like this, they would stop them. Don’t deadlift with a rounded back or you’ll surely give weightlifting a bad name eventually.

Event: women’s barbell clinic at CrossFit Seattle, April 19

purpose of this event is to let women learn about barbell exercises
from each other: primarily the squat, press, and deadlift. Non-gym
members who are inexperienced with barbells are especially welcome.

Women who haven’t used barbells: come find out why barbell exercises are so great and why you should use them.
CrossFit women with limited barbell experience: Come and ask questions. Fill in some gaps in your knowledge in a friendly female setting.
Women who use and love barbells: please come help spread the enthusiasm, help beginners, show off your heavy lifts, and trade coaching tips.

Are you using the Paleo and/or Zone eating plans while training? Bring your favorite recipes to trade.

Class size is limited to 12 people. To sign up or ask questions, email fran at
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2:00 to 4:00 PM or so
Price: $30.

practicing, we will have an unofficial CrossFit Total: three attempts
at each of the three lifts. You can add weight and find out how much
you can lift; or practice your form some more at a light weight; or
watch and ask questions. An unofficial CFT is especially good for women
who have wanted to participate in a CFT but had not figured out what
weights they should attempt.

Additionally if time allows we’ll
look at the short video clips I’ll make of people’s lifts; I’ll put
them on CD for everyone afterward either way.

We’re located
right down the street from Hale’s Ales, so sign up and let’s plan to
continue the party afterwards for people who are hungry after all that

Deadlift and press benchmarks

Tom and I have been having so much fun making movie clips in the gym. He caught my PR 42-kg press (95 lbs) and 115-kg deadlift (253 lbs), also a PR, with the camera so as usual I couldn’t resist posting them. The older I get the more I’m going to enjoy these–the activities AND the video documentation. Hopefully I’ll be able to press 44 kg by my 44th birthday this year.

“Fran” workout, take six

21 thrusters (weight: 65 pounds)
21 pull-ups
15 thrusters
15 pull-ups
9 thrusters
9 pull-ups
Time: 5:34

Last time (a couple of weeks ago) I did “fran” all alone in the gym and I was slower with less weight. Yesterday I was well rested and there was a noisy room full of people working out. I was really glad to be that much faster and heavier, and had no shoulder problem.

I had been unusually tired the previous two days after doing a lot of snatch practice followed by heavy squats to a new max (96 kg) on Monday. I wasn’t sure that should have made me feel totally spent for two whole days, but Scott told me he experienced the same thing when he was doing more O-lifting practice.

Seattle Metropolitan magazine mentions my kettlebell class

It’s in the March 2008 issue in a long feature about 50 fun ways to stay in shape. The reporter came in late January and spent a while with me to see what kettlebells were all about. Click on the inside page thumbnail to see what it says.

This issue came out about the same time I sent an email to my list of interested people to promote the second 6-week series, and it filled up within three days. Kettlebells are getting popular. Why learn them from me? I’ve been using them for several years, I’ve trained under three excellent kettlebell coaches, and I know how to keep safety in mind thanks to that and other training experience.

The current six-week class winds up this Thursday. At about session eight I started to see people’s abilities really taking off! It was cool. All of a sudden the hip power in the kettlebell swing appeared. Trainees’ work capacity had grown enough to power through a hard workout with few stops. The ability to stabilize the trunk and back with a weight in a lot of different positions has become solid. It’s fun and rewarding to introduce people to kettlebells and the skills that they require.


Fran on “Fran”: Yikes! I got slower

Last time, a year ago, I did Fran in 5:56 with 65 pounds. Today I did it in 5:57 with 55 pounds. Ever since I started having that sporadic shoulder problem (which I think of as “the twang”) I’m more tentative with thrusters. No shoulder problem today but I’m always anticipating it. I’ll work on thrusters and pull-ups for a couple of months and do it with 65 to see how it goes. My press is way stronger than it was a year ago for sure, but the thruster is so much more aggressive.

I practiced snatch drops and snatches today at 15 to 22 kg, working on my ability to catch it low and get out of the power-snatch trap. Then I did 11 and 15 overhead squats with 22 kg. All that was with Scott and before “Fran,” which I did alone in the gym.