Friday, April 8, 2011

Thoughts on CrossFit Open Sectionals WOD 11.3

Apologies in advance, I was away on business in the beginning of the week, so I am getting to this late.

Ditty about to jerk at CF KoP
HQ surprised me with this one. As their message was "everyone should do these workouts, no scaling is encouraged" I didn't expect there to be a heavy lift, let alone for multiple repetitions. However, they have given the bigger, stronger folks what they've wanted: 

AMRAP in 5 minutes of:
Squat clean, 165#(men)/110#(women)
Jerk, 165#(men)/110#(women)

You can think of this workout in many different ways, in fact, at least 10 ways:
-squat clean and press
-squat clean and push press
-squat clean and push jerk
-squat clean and split jerk
-squat clean and thruster
-power clean and front squat and press
-power clean and front squat and push press
-power clean and front squat and push jerk
-power clean and front squat and split jerk
-power clean and front squat and thruster

The whole point is that you must achieve 3 key points:
1. the bar must start on the ground 
2. you must be in a squat below parallel with the bar in a rack position
3. you must lock the bar out overhead in a stable position with hips, knees, and arms locked out with feet underneath the hips

Because this is a heavy weight, splitting up the scoring in to a squat clean and jerk does 2 things:
1. allow most people to clean and squat the weight. If there is failure, it would most likely be on the jerk, not the clean. 
2. differentiates people's scores after they submit them. Let's say two people complete 20 clean and jerks, but one of them is able to squat clean the bar in the last two seconds. That person achieves one more rep (41) than the other person (40). This will prevent a lot of "ties" at the same data point. 

Form will be key here. 5 minutes is a LONG time to do heavy olympic lifting and anything involving a loaded squat (even a wall ball) taxes the body unlike most other movements. Some people might be strong enough to string together the first 5 or even 10 repetitions. Personally I think this is not advantageous in the long run. Instead, let the bar drop from the top. Controlling down to the bottom will reserve your resources and allow for better recovery. 
The best method (if you can manage it) is the squat clean and thruster. It will save the most time which again, saves your body from being under that bar. Using the momentum gained from the thruster up can make a huge difference. Of course, if no momentum can be gained from the bottom of the squat, then a split jerk or push jerk must be used. If splitting be sure to bring those feet back in and don't drop the bar too early!
Let's say you get the squat clean, but fail on the jerk. You are allowed to power clean and then attempt the jerk. However, the 2nd clean will not count towards your points, even if you do a full squat. In other words, you cannot count two squats in a row. It must be scored squat/jerk/squat/jerk/squat/jerk, etc. 
In terms of timing, consistency is key. Don't walk too far away from the bar and be sure to set yourself properly. Deep breath in and drive yourself into the ground ready to receive that bar in the rack position. Either dive under the bar in a full squat or power clean it and go down into the squat. Rise up either into the thruster or stand up, set your feet back under the hips for the jerk, and get under that bar. Drop the bar and repeat, but ONLY if you are recovered enough for the lift. Failure on a clean is frustrating to the mind and taxing on the body.

-not locking out their arms, hips, or knees
-not locking out with the bar over their heels (when tired, most people will keep the bar out front)
-rushing too fast and gassing themselves in the first minute
-dropping the bar too early and not demonstrating stability. This is a fine line but bar cannot be wobbling
-not bringing their feet back in from a split or being too wide on the push jerk. I don't think Tony Budding actually addressed foot width, but I would not count someone who was very wide even if they had the bar overhead locked out. Feet need to come back under the hips or at least come in from a wide squat width

-glutes, shoulders, quads, lungs, lower back

-top guys will get 90+ reps (45 clean and jerks) This equates to 9 per minute or about one every 6-7 seconds. There are people capable of basically dropping the bar and completing a rep right after that for all of 5 minutes. Top women will get 80+ reps.
-this will separate the crowd immensely. It will also push the stronger people way ahead of the pack. Some of the lighter guys (who may be doing this with bodyweights below the prescribed weight) might complain about this, but it just goes to show that strength and technique matters. Chris Spealler is 5'5" and 145lbs. but I bet he gets 30+ reps.


  1. Spot on P. I did thrusters in the beginning...but then stoped after the rep that felt hard to get momentum and started jerking. Around 6. Thrusters are def faster, i assume all the best scorers used them. the last couple of reps...really felt my legs burning. Not as lungy as say grace, i guess the heavy weight slows you down enough... but for the firebreathers that might be different..suppose everything is lungy for them!!

  2. You forgot not getting under the bar. A lot of people were doing squat cleans and puck presses.

  3. Well put P. I guess I should read more of these blogs before I do the WOD...Anyway, since being called out on the site for not having my thumbs around the bar on the rep that was photographed; I got fired up and went back to the box the next day and added 1.5 rounds....while using a safe grip this time...

    My problem is still flexibility man, if I can't get into a good front rack position the WOD is over with...I'm bearing the weight with my shoulders the whole time which is giving me a forward inclination and forcing me to drive through my toes and not my heels....terrible. Hence my 14 rounds...I'm not happy with that, but I think I discovered my issues with the movement. Thanks for the breakdown in this post!!


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