2020 is off to a great start here at JR CrossFit with the beginning of our new strength cycle, as well as a brand new weightlifting class for those looking to take things to the next level. In this week’s blog post, we talk to Coach Matt and Coach Haylie about the strength cycle, the weightlifting class, and more.
Snatches and pull-ups: Does it get more fun than this?
If you haven’t caught on yet, our first strength cycle in 2020 focuses on two things: snatches and pull-ups. These are the two hardest CrossFit movements to master, and that’s exactly why Coach Matt picked them for the first strength cycle of the new decade. The goal is to make everyone purposefully focus on their weaknesses to begin the new year, Matt says.
“When someone starts CrossFit, myself included a long time ago, they see people execute a snatch or pull up perfectly and immediately think, ‘I want to do this. How hard can it be?’ And then they learn really quickly exactly how hard it can be.”
So if snatches and pull-ups are the two hardest CrossFit movements to master, why on earth did Coach Matt decide to pair them together in the same cycle? He’s not just trying to torture us. It all comes down to getting better at our weaknesses by attacking them head on. Turning our weaknesses into strengths is going to be a big trend in 2020, Matt explains, and it starts by kicking off the new year “with a bang and a purpose.”
“We’re not going to dodge weaknesses anymore. We’re going to attack them head on and make them strengths. This is going to be a fun year. There are going to be a lot of ‘WTH is he thinking?’ going through some minds. But when the weight is coming off the bodies and going onto the bars, maybe they won’t ask that anymore.”
Once you come to terms with the work we’re going to be doing over the next two months, it’s time to buckle down and learn how to get the most out of Matt’s programming. The first step is simply to “show up and don’t cherry pick,” Matt says — that means you show up to the workouts, regardless of what the programing is for that day.
Snatches and pull-ups are not only challenging, but if you’re doing them incorrectly, they can also quickly cause injury. That’s why the focus isn’t on adding as much weight as possible to your barbell, but rather pairing excellent form with a good working weight.
“One of the big reasons I picked these 2 movements together is because, when done incorrectly, they are the 2 quickest ways to injury (outside of a cat-back deadlift). I know this sounds insane, but we as coaches have to be able to teach the athletes to scale, and what it means to “find a good working weight,” and why form matters so much more over lbs on the bar.”
When the cycle comes to a close at the end of February, Coach Matt says he would love to see people performing snatches and pull-ups “comfortably and confidently.” If you nail the form, you can repeat it over and over again, and build on it from there:
“I would absolutely love to see PRs being smashed at the end of February, but more importantly, I’d love to see a class full of people performing these movements COMFORTABLY AND CONFIDENTLY. I want you to feel that perfect lift happen so you can repeat it the next time you get to the bar. That’s for the snatch. For the pull up, it’s all about strength and repetition. And you get stronger from repetition. So get in there and get the reps and you’ll see the change you’re looking for.”
What about soreness? It comes with the territory when working on snatches and pull-ups, especially if you just took a few weeks off for the holidays. Thankfully, Coach Haylie as a few suggestions for combatting it:
“When you are sore, the best way to combat this is to dig in with a lacrosse ball or a foam roller. On contrary to belief, you should workout again. Getting that blood flowing throughout the body will assist that lactic acid on moving out of the muscle group. It may take a few days, however, you won’t be as miserable as usual.”
So, to recap, here’s how you can get the most out of our snatch and pull-up work over the next two months:
- Show up and don’t cherry pick
- Focus on form rather than weight
- Listen to JR coaches when they explain scaling and modification options
- Strength and repetition
- Stretch, rollout, and mobilize
The JR Weightlifting class
Let’s just say that our work on snatches so far this month has piqued your interest in weightlifting. Well, we’ve got some great news for you: we’re launching a brand new JR Weightlifting class! The JR Weightlifting class will be held every week on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and it starts on January 23rd.
What can you expect from the new JR Weightlifting class? Coach Haylie says you will learn to be more confident in olympic and power lifts, with a specific focus on the finer details of technique:
“People can expect to become more confident in their abilities to complete olympic, and power lifts. This class will include several squats as well as the more important smaller details of each lift that we don’t always work on.”
The JR Weightlifting class will coexist alongside our normal CrossFit WODs, as well as the JR Barbell Club that Coach Matt leads every Saturday morning. The JR Weightlifting class, however, will slow the lifting process down and allow you to perfect the lifting technique, Coach Haylie explains.
In barbell we typically focus on fine tuning one lift. In the typical CrossFit WOD your focus is on moving quickly and beating the person next to you (Sometimes), however, in weightlifting we are going to slow it down (A LOT) and perfect those movements that you typically do in classes. This will allow for more body awareness and success when completing lifts.
What that means is the form and technique you learn in the JR Weightlifting class with Coach Haylie will be tremendously helpful for the lifting you might do in a normal CrossFit WOD, as well as during Barbell Club on Saturdays. It’s the perfect opportunity to take your lifting technique to the next level.
The JR Weightlifting class will be held every week on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and it starts on January 23rd. We hope to see all of you there!
By Chance Miller