Deads & Cleans

I have grown to truly enjoy—and dare I say even look forward to—rest days. Yesterday was such a day, and with the exception of taking Xander for a 2-mile walk, I did no other form of exercise. No running, no biking, no lifting, no skill-building. (Kelly Fussell, this is a not-so-subtle hint.)

Jack led today’s session and the focus was on the dead-lift. I love dead-lifts. The focus was also on power cleans. I llike power cleans. I used to hate power cleans, so I’m making progress.

As I arrived early, I had a lengthy discussion with Jack regarding the dead-lifts. It went something like this:

Me: What weight should we be lifting for our 3 sets of 5?

Jack: You’ll first want to warm up with lighter weights, and the 3 sets of heavier lifts should be 80% of 1 rep maximum or higher. When I do this workout I lift 5 reps of 115, 5 reps of 185, 3 reps of 245, 2 reps of 265, and then do 5 reps of 285, 305, and 315. (I’m sure I’m misquoting Jack regarding weights. I’m sure he’ll correct me. He’s left-brained, I’m right-brained. Troie is no-brained.)

Me: What’s your 1 rep maximum?

Jack: 360. (I’m not misquoting here.)

Me: So, if my 1 rep maximum is 330, what weight should I work up to?

Jack: 280 to 290. See how you feel when the weight gets heavier.

Me: Are the reps supposed to be unbroken?

Jack: Yes. Don’t drop the bar, but lower it to the floor. You can take a second or 2 to re-grip the bar, but don’t pause too long.

Me: Do you think I’m pretty?

Jack. Of course I do, Paul.



5 x 125 lb

5 x 185

3 x 215

5 x 245

5 x 265

5 x 285

All lifts felt very solid. I switched grip when I lifted 245, with left hand under the bar, my preferred hand position. Jack said, “Try to see how heavy you can go with both hands over the bar.” “Why?” I asked. “It’s a good way to work on grip strength,” sayeth Jack. I replied, “Jack, after Tuesday’s workout, I don’t care to work on grip strength.”

I nonetheless lifted 265 without switching grip. It was much more challenging to do so. Jack observed and said, “Good!” (But with a small exclamation point. It appears that I’m making progress.) Jack also observed last round of 285 and said, and I quote, “That was good!” (Still with a small exclamation point, but he was more specific.)

Power cleans were next on the agenda. Cleans of any variety are a weakness of mine, and I know I need to work on them. The temptress Renee, however, almost talked me out of doing so, as she was doing yesterday’s WOD that included back squats (awesome!), wall ball shots (incredible!), and kettle bell swings (fantabulous!). I resisted the temptation.

Here’s how I imagined a conversation with Jack would go regarding the cleans:

Me: Jack, the pull cleans we did the other day were great! Pull cleans keep me focused on form.

Jack: Yes.

Me: How about if today I complete heavy pull cleans instead of power cleans?

Jack: But we just did pull cleans. Do power cleans instead.

Here’s how the actual conversation went:

Me: Jack, the pull cleans we did the other day were great! Pull cleans keep me focused on form.

Jack: Yes.

Me: How about if today I complete heavy pull cleans instead of power cleans?

Jack: But we just did pull cleans. Do power cleans instead.


Every 30 seconds for 12 minutes:

1 power clean 80% of 1RM

I put 32.5 lb on both ends of a 45 lb bar for a total of 110 lb, slightly above 80% of 135 lb, my squat clean 1RM. Yes, squat clean, not power clean. I usually lift 85 to 95 lb for power cleans.

We began, and (as there were but 5 of us doing the workout, and 3 of them shirtless) Jack observed closely. Throughout the workout, he gave me quite a few reminders. In order of quantity, they were: 1. Faster elbows!; Go lower!; Keep your back straight!; and You look pretty!

At about the 3- or 4-minute mark, I said, “Jack, the bar feels too light. It’s too easy for me to just use my arms and not my hips.” He replied, “Then put more weight on the bars.” I put 10 lb plates on both ends of the bar for a total of 130, or 96% of squat clean 1RM. The lifts immediately felt more solid. I did have 2 failed attempts, including the very last clean. My self-talk was “Hips, fast elbows, drop below the bar, shelf!”

Am I making progress? I think so. Am I beginning to enjoy the power clean? Uhm, kind of. Am I pretty? Most definitely. Jack said so.

Griff is a gaycist. Earlier in the week he overheard me telling someone that we named our cats Zac and Meg, and that I named Meg after Peter & Lois’ daughter from “Family Guy”. Griff thought I said that I named the cat after Meg from “Phantom of the Opera.” Huh? Four syllables versus 7. While the “f” and “ph” are sounded the same way, “amily” and “antom” sound nothing alike. I used to like Griff ever so slightly more than I like Max, but I now like them equally the same amount, which is very, very little.

Troie is far too vocal. After completing his last round of dead-lifts, he screamed (whilst wearing headphones, I might add), “I am awesome!” Troie was writing in his notebook as I was leaving CFD. I said, “This is what Troie’s writing: ‘Dear Diary, today I lifted something heavy. I like to grunt. I listen to my own music. I am awesome. Love, Troie.’” He said, “Yup, that’s about right.” I replied, “You’re about as smart as you are attractive.” I heart Troie.


2 thoughts on “Deads & Cleans

  1. Okay, Ms. Fussell. I’m also going to discourage you from doing doubles. Stick with CrossFit, and CrossFit only for 6 to 8 weeks. Run ONLY when it’s in the warmup of WOD. You in?

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