Fitness Milestone: Bodyweight Ground to Overhead

22:32 Tue 07 Dec 2010
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This seems like a significant milestone to me, even more than the bodyweight overhead squat I got a couple of months ago, and so it deserves a blog post of its own.

I weigh 185 pounds today; a little more than usual, probably due in part to some Thanksgiving-related overeating. Today I managed to get that same weight, 185 pounds, from the floor of the gym to locked out above my head via a clean and jerk.

That’s not all that impressive by weightlifting standards; 185 kilograms (about 408 pounds) is a warm-up for world-class lifters of about my weight. Even so, it’s not exactly something easy for most people to do, it took quite a lot of work for me to get it, and I’m pretty happy to have hit this milestone.

I did it with a squat clean, not a power clean, meaning that after getting the bar onto my chest/shoulders I went down into a full squat and then came back up; had I been power cleaning it I would have stopped at about a quarter squat. For heavier weights, the squat clean is necessary, as it’s too heavy to lift the bar without getting under it, but for someone at my strength and technique levels the squat clean requires more work and is hence physically more taxing as well as more difficult technically. The clean part, though, wasn’t the difficult part, and I was entirely confident of getting that. I was more concerned with the jerk—getting it from shoulders to overhead—and with putting both movements together successfully.

My upper-body strength is still comparatively weak, and I’d never managed a push jerk at that weight from the front rack position before. On my first attempt at 185, I failed with the bar about two inches away from being locked out overhead, as my technique was off and I didn’t quite have the strength to muscle it up. I managed both a better clean (catching the bar further down into my squat) and a better jerk on my second attempt, and got it overhead.

It was tough, but I don’t think that’s actually my current limit; I think I might be able to get 190 or 195. Of course, today’s WOD was supposed to be sets of three, and I only got one, so the next thing to work on is getting a work set of three done at that weight…

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