Jack led today’s session, and the focus was on the push jerk. Let me begin by saying that my biggest obstacle is fear. (Yes, I know Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” I don’t know if he would have felt the same way if he were lifting more than his bodyweight over his head.)
I warmed up with double unders and stretching, and then Jack had us warm up by completing 2 rounds of 30 double unders, 15 air squats, and 10 dumb bell presses. Jack’s kind of a sadist, although I guess you either are or you aren’t a sadist. Are there varying degrees of sadism? I suppose there are. I’m beginning to ramble.
I warmed up with the bar, and Jack gave pointers on form, reminding to make sure I dipped deeper on second dip. I have no problem doing this when the weight is light—and it’s unnecessary—but I have problems doing this when the weight gets heavy—and it’s necessary.
I push jerked 75, 95, 115, and 135 lb, all the time asking for Jack’s feedback. He continues to expand his vocabulary, commenting that my 115 lb push jerk was very good. I had originally planned on push jerking my bodyweight, 145 lb, but instead put 155 lb on the bar and asked Jack to observe. Here is where the fear set in. I kept thinking, “This is 10 pounds more than you weigh. That’s a lot of weight to put over your head.” I nonetheless got 155 lb over my head—but by push pressing instead of jerking. I wanted to get the weight over my head as quickly as possible, and didn’t even allow for the second that it would have taken me to dip and lift with my legs. At any rate, it’s a new PR—for the push press. I felt good, and then I quickly felt bad. This is typical of right-brained people, and I most certainly belong in that category. I placed 175 lb on the bar, and had 2 failed attempts at a push jerk. Why 175 and not 165? Because I know I need to go heavy to make sure that my body has to lift the weight with my legs instead of arms. Why wasn’t I able to push jerk the weight above my head? Four letters: F-E-A-R.
As an aside, New Guy B., a collegiate athlete and all-around-nice-young-man, was on the rack beside me. As we were both push jerking, he asked, “What’s your goal time today? Less than 10 minutes?” My immediate thought was, “He’s going to try to crush the middle-aged gay man.” I replied, “Unless it’s a benchwark WOD or a WOD I’ve done in the past, I usually don’t set time goals.” B. said, “Do you then try to do the WOD unbroken?” “That also depends.” I replied. “I’ll sometimes set a goal to do the WOD or parts of it unbroken, for example I’ve set a goal to do the air squats and double unders unbroken, and as many rounds as possible of push press unbroken. Given that it’s 80 pounds, that might be difficult for me.” B. said, “Yeah, that’s a lot of weight for a little guy like you.” Let the head games begin!
I put the plates away, placed the bar on the rack, and began to get ready for the met-con.
9 dumb bell push press (40 lb)
15 air squats
21 double unders
I set up my area facing the front of the gym (how I wish there were mirrors there, as I looked good today), and both Troie and B. positioned themselves in front of me. DBM set up his silly bands on the GHD machine directly beside me. Once again, he wanted to scope out his sweetheart’s competition.
Oh, I almost forgot. Griff asked me to help him with his double unders. The conversation went something like this…
Me: Slow down your jumps, and keep the timing consistent. Jump, jump, jump, jump.
Griff attempted a few double unders and failed.
Me: Be sure to quickly turn your wrists as soon as the rope passes under your feet. You’re waiting too long.
Griff attempted a few double unders and failed.
Me: More than anything, just don’t think about it. Talk to me instead. Look around you. Just know that you can do it, and do it.
Griff attempted and got a few double unders.
Griff: Wow, that works.
Max: That’s so Zen.
Me: I give Jack credit. He’s the one who taught me, and I’m just teaching you what he taught me.
Jack: Yes, but you take it to a whole other level.
Me: I suppose. You say “Slow” and I say “Slow, making sure that you turn your wrists quickly as soon as the rope passes beneath your feet, focus on your rhythm, and most importantly don’t think too much about it. Just do it.
Back to the met-con…
My goals were to do as many rounds of dumb bell push press unbroken as possible, and to do all rounds of air squats and double unders unbroken. I did first 4 rounds of push press unbroken, and last set in reps of 4, 3, and 2—without dropping the dumb bells. I did all round of air squats and double unders unbroken.
B. and I were neck and neck for the first 2 rounds. Yes, I was keeping an eye on him, and I know he was keeping an eye on me as he told me so after the WOD. Uhm, I had originally planned on using 35 lb dumb bells for push press. Ha! This was the motivation that I need to go heavier than I normally would have. While I was pleased that I used 40, it did feel heavy, and I always dropped the dumb bells after the ninth push press. I once again lost count of rounds, and asked, “Jack, is this my third round? He said, “I don’t know.” B. said, “Yes, it’s your third round.” Thanks, Jack! You’re so very helpful. I push pressed 9 times, dropped the dumb bells, looked at Jack and said, “Will you pick those up for me?” MDB said something about air squat form, and I chose to ignore him. He’s like a gnat buzzing around my head: truly annoying.
I dropped the dumb bells at the end of the fourth round and once again looked at Jack and asked, “Will you pick those up for me?” He replied (with a wide grin on his face, I might add), “No. You’re going to have to pick them up yourself.” Did I mention that Jack has sadistic tendencies?
I completed the met-con in 5:08, and was the first of the 6:15ers to finish. B. was on my heels, finishing in 6:01, and Punky was close behind with a time of 6:11. Yeah, Punky!
Perhaps most importantly, Griff finished in 7:50, and was able to string together quite a few double unders. Great job, Griff, and I am genuinely proud of you! Griff even sincerely thanked me for the help, and shook my hand not once but twice. Let’s not let it escalate beyond that, Griff, as DBM might get jealous.