Saturday, October 18, 2008 by Rebecca

5x5 Front Squats

Warmup: Mobility Exercises, 10 Rock n' Roll, 10 CFEB Sun salutations, Kip attempt, KB clean & pp ladder 1-5 each hand, KB snatch practice 10 each hand

Front Squat 5-5-5-5-5



Well - this went pretty damn well for a workout I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to do.

A bit of back story: I somehow managed to tweak a muscle in my inner right thigh last night climbing - not sure how or when, and it kept me tossing and turning all night, so I woke up grumpy, and thinking that maybe I should just skip class today.

Daniel was an incredibly good sport and listened very attentively to me complain about how I felt like I'd hit a progress wall, and my climbing was suffering, and I was tired of having all these injuries, and I just had a half intensity week and I wasn't getting the results I was expecting, blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Woe. Is. Me.

Shortly after getting out of bed, and just for kicks, I decided to try one of the bent arm pull-ups I've been doing on the pull-up bar, and HOLY SHIT! - I actually managed to get my chin all the way over the frickin' bar, and hold it there while I yelled for Daniel - who was innocently doing whatever it is he does in the bathroom in the morning - to come take a look. (I had to have 2nd party verification!)

... it's still not technically a deadhang pull up since I didn't start from a hang position. I still haven't figured out how to do that - but OMFG! I got my chin up over that bar! I even managed to do it a second time a little later in the morning - after about 20 minutes or so.

Ok - so. fine. I guess ... maybe ... I'm not so entirely pathetic and worthless afterall, but my thigh still hurts, and just squatting kinda hurts, and Front squats in particular have always sucked for me, so, ... I'll go to class , but maybe I'll just watch, or work with a dowel - definitely an empty bar is the heaviest I'll go. ... Definitely not more than that. >.>

I was glad that rock n'rolls were part of the warm up. They helped me stretch out that sore muscle a bit. The KB clean and push press drills were OK - I used an 8 kg KB - nothing very heavy. I had to move down to the 4kg kb (so ridiculous - hardly even worth doing :-|) for my right handed snatches. I felt like I was getting them really well on the left, and on the right, it wasn't so much a matter of weight as that I just couldn't quite get the coordination of the movement.

For the front squats, we were supposed to do 10 reps with the empty bar to warm up. They started getting really hard around rep 5, and since that was going to be my work set weight anyway, I decided that was plenty. My strained muscle was definitely kicking up a fuss about being required to work - but it was a whine and not a yell.

We have a limited number of bars, and we don't have racks where we have class, so people generally form into little groups with similar weight lifting capabilities, and the people who aren't lifting serve as human racks. So I was in the lightest girl group, and I just helped other people do their reps for a few rounds. There's actually a fair amount of squating and lifting involved in being a human rack, so I suspect this helped to warm me up further.

Once I finally got around to trying my first 45# set , it went up easy, and although my sore muscle twinged really loudly on the first squat, the rest of the squats were easy. More weight was definitely necessary.

A couple more rounds of human rack duty, and I try 55#, it feels totally solid. Almost easy. It was definitely work to get back up, but I was never in doubt that I'd get there. I had to ask the girls I was working with whether I was getting low enough, because it just didn't seem right that it was that easy.

Set #3 I went up to 60#. Same story. Set #4, 65#; still felt really solid. Set # 5, I decided not to push the limits of my strained muscle, and kept it at 65# - though I sorta wish I had gone for 70# I think I could have done it. The last rep was definitely hard, but totally doable.

A couple things of note: the two things that have given me the most trouble with front squats in the past are A) the weight always pulls me forward - I think this is due to poor squat form and holding the bar wrong. B) my wrists get tired and give out.

I think today worked well because my squat form has gotten a lot more solid, and after watching other people struggle with how to hold the bar, I got a really clear picture of how it should work, and I was able to really solidly lock in how to hold my elbows up and comfortably hold the bar on my shoulders with just a couple fingers. Bye Bye wrist strain! :)

It's hard to say since I did not have a mirror, but my knees felt really stable. It didn't feel like I was fighting with them to stay out for most of the reps - although there were one or two in round 4 or 5 where I could definitely tell that my right knee had collapsed in, and getting back up got a lot harder. Also, looking back at my log, it says that 60# is the heaviest I ever managed to go with a back squat, and this is 5# more than that - definitely a PR :-D.

We filmed me doing 55# back squats on August 7th. And I was all wobbly just holding the bar, and my knee collapsed in with every rep. Back and front squats aren't quite the same animal, but everything felt much much stronger and more solid today. I wish I had video so I could compare.

I'm finding this whole fitness journey to be a massive head game. It seems to be all about managing expectations. Today I expected to be able to do basically nothing - and so I am super excited that I did better than nothing. Yesterday I expected to be half-way decent at climbing, and so I was disappointed when I wasn't even close. It's terribly frustrating. It's very easy to be overly impressed/satisfied with the progress I've made so far and to overestimate my current capabilities. It's a hard line to walk: not taking it too easy on myself, yet pushing hard enough to expand my boundaries, but not so hard I injure myself. Unlike front squats, I doubt this aspect of training will get much easier with practice. I just have to learn to be patient with the "down" times, and know that as long as I keep working hard, I will see gains. Usually when I least expect them.

1 comment:

Evelyn Rodas said...

Yes, expectations are a big part of it. I also find that performance anxiety can be an issue too. Sometimes, if I'm too nervous about a workout, I really bomb. Sometimes, though, that nervous energy can be motivating. There's a lot to sport psychology. I am frequently amazed at the power our thoughts have on our daily lives.

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