Maybe once a month or more realistically once every couple of months, if I’m feeling good, I push it a little bit and try to get some heavy-ish singles in to see where I’m at.
On Friday I worked up and did a bunch of snatch singles. If you’re unsure of what that is, there are videos below.
Meaning, doing some heavy snatches or clean and jerks (or any exercise really) shows me a few things:
What are my strength levels like?
I’m certainly not trying to bust any PR’s when I do this. I am however, trying to see if I can get reasonably close. This tells me that I’m at least maintaining strength. Right now, I am happy with maintaining strength because I am really more focused on building endurance and improving my aerobic capacity. For this reason I don’t go heavy as much.
I was happy to have tied one of my best snatches and felt comfortable on my 2 attempts at a 10 pound PR. What I mean by comfortable is that I wasn’t scared of the weight. The last time I tried it I wasn’t even able to get it over my head, this time I did, but just couldn’t lock it out.
I’m not big on fighting the weight here though. I don’t need to grind anything out to get a true max. Frankly, I don’t care why my real max is. I just want know that I am improving, slowly.
How’s my technique?
I love the olympic lifts because they are so technical. This could be an entire blog post in itself, and probably should be some day. I like that they make me think, assess an adjust accordingly. They are something that even Olympians say you can never master. I like tinkering and trying new things and working on things to make the lifts smoother.
Going heavy can tell me if my adjustments are working. If they don’t have carry over to improved performance that aren’t working. It’s that simple.
How’s my mobility/movement?
This is the biggest category, building off what my technique looks like. A few things I consider here:
How do I feel the next day? If I’m sore, that’s fine, what I want to know is if anything is going to hurt? If it does, there is a movement fault somewhere leading something less than optimal, especially on a complicated movement like a snatch.
How’s it look? This is as much about technique as mobility. Do I have the capacity to get into the correct shapes? Yes or no. Am I stable in these shapes? Yes or no. Which ones do I need to work on.
I always film these lifts so I can analyze them. I had a big revelation from this today. As you’ll see below, on the two lifts that tied my personal best, I stepped forward to complete the lift coming up from the squat. That step happened because I shifted to my left side and basically squatted with one leg. Now, I have something to work on. I’m going highlight exactly what I am going to do to fix this weight shift that’s happening in a upcoming post.
This is why sessions like this are important though, to discover things about yourself and to make improvements.