Monday, August 16, 2010

Cleans with Coach Aimee

Hello from vacation! :) We're relaxing in our hotel after a fun afternoon at the water park. We had dinner at a DINER, which we were both super-stoked about, because good diners do not exist in the south. Yes, we're going back again in the morning for breakfast. :-D

Soooooooo, let's talk about Monday, shall we? (Saturday and Sunday were essentially rest days)

In the morning I had an hour-long, 1-on-1 coaching session with Aimee Lyons at CF KoP. I had emailed her a long list of stuff to review, but we spent the entire hour on the clean.

Feel free to skip the following section, I need to write about what we did so I won't forget...

We started with the first pull, because as Aimee said, "there's a lot you can fuck up when you pull the bar off the ground."

First, she totally revamped my setup. Feet were moved farther apart -- they were too narrow. Toes and knees were pointed slightly out. Ass was lowered. A LOT.

Then, I tried a hook grip on the ladies bar. I think that was the first time I actually did hook grip properly, with my thumb wrapped around the bar, and my fingers wrapped around my thumb. I so need one of those bars now... Not likely to happen any time soon.

Then, my ass was lowered MORE. Aimee proved to me that my shoulders were still in front of the bar, even with my ass practically on the grass. Craziness -- no wonder I couldn't figure this shit out on my own.

Learning to start the pull slowly took me a minute. Pulling the bar against my shins was more learn-able, since I've been practicing that with deadlifts. Took me another minute to figure out how to move my knees out of the way -- unbend, but don't completely straighten.

Cue: "Pull slowly to your pockets, then explode."

With all the work we did at the start, I was overthinking, and having a hard time with my "explosion". I even forgot to move my feet on a few attempts, WTF? *sigh* I am always such a trainwreck during 1-on-1 sessions. I trainwrecked a good bit at my L1 cert anytime the instructor was focused directly on me. Especially during push jerk, ugh.

Anyway, also related to L1, my squat is still busted. Fuck fuckity fuck. Boo.

I first learned I had a butt wink at my L1, and started trying to fix it after that. But apparently I haven't gone far enough, because it's still there. And it's keeping me from coming up out of the bottom of the squat clean.

Scenario: clean bar, land in squat, lose lumbar at bottom of squat, fight up to regain lumbar, ass jumps up, then (if you're lucky and the load is light) you come up out of the squat. Not a pretty picture.

So, I am to practice deep front squats with good form. "Good form" == no loss of lumbar, no shooting butt up first out of bottom (think about elbows/chest up first). I am going to need to do a lot of video of myself...

I have to learn to release the hook grip. That could be a problem once I get to heavier loads.

I squat cleaned 113, but failed 3-4 attempts at 125. One attempt I cleaned and caught at the bottom, but my lumbar was lost so I couldn't get back out of the bottom.

Game plan:
 - Practice squat cleans @ 95# with low ass starting position, hook grip, slow first pull and then explosion, release of hook grip, strong front squat with high elbows out of the bottom; use video to determine if arms are bending early
 - Practice slow first pull and POP @ 55# or 65# (also with new setup)
 - Squat therapy (need to Google for more advice on fixing butt wink...)

While I learned SO MUCH at this session, which was exciting, I have to admit that by the end I felt very frustrated and defeated. Not being able to do 125 for a "finale" was very disheartening, and I could feel some tears coming up. Not being able to get out of the bottom of the squat a few times even at 113# was incredibly frustrating, and surprising. That's not where I expected to fail, because I thought front squats were one of my strengths. Hell, Jason complimented me on my front squat form during my last visit! I guess maybe it doesn't exactly translate to the front squat the end of a clean... 

Driving home I admit that I was thinking, "if I'm this fucked up on a lift like the clean, what makes me capable of helping others learn this stuff?"

I know the best I can do for my athletes is continue to learn and better myself, and I *am* doing that... But I guess that perfectionist side of me demands that I be better, know more, before I put myself in front of others and ask them to trust my advice.

At some point you have to be GOOD to be a coach, good intentions just won't make the cut...

So yeah, I think I'll be back in Philly sooner rather than later for more coaching, and I'll be doing a lot more clean videos of myself and really applying what I have learned. That's the only area I will focus on as far as barbell movements, while I continue to focus on improving my gymnastics.

Speaking of which, I forgot my kip again, or something, but the story of Monday afternoon's 30 minute WOD will have to wait til another day, no more computer for me tonight. Back to vacation. :)

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