One Day.

October 10, 2012

Here’s some footage of me the last time I attempted to front squat 220 back in April.  I got TOTALLY PITTED, BRO.  SO PITTED.

At the time, I was front squatting twice a week and weighed around 114kg.

Here’s the video of me hitting the 220 last night.  Keep in mind that my back is still in process of being rehabbed.  Pain is greatly decreased.  But I’ve only begun to practice the lifts again last week.  Snatches are going to be the last thing to come back.  I couldn’t even hit 120 today.  And the fear of re-injuring myself is leaving me a bit gun shy. Cleans are giving me less trouble.

I’m now about 118kg. and I front squat between 6 and 9 sessions per week.  I still haven’t added in back squats yet as I think that’s what re-injured it the first time.  I can feel my back tighten up from even having anything racked behind my neck.

Here’s the changes that I’ve made which I believe to have helped me get stronger legs:

1) I am bigger.  Bigger legs, bigger arms, bigger traps, and yes, a bigger gut.  That’s fine.  I’m not too concerned about it.  I’ll start worrying when I can no longer hit a few sets of muscle ups.

2) Mobility and warm-up.  I take my warm-up more seriously which includes various hip and quad stretches as well as some glute activation exercises.  I also use my trusty K-Star voodoo band.  I even begin every workout with 3×8 strict RDL’s with light weight just to wake up my hamstrings.  I’m not sure if that will be a permanent feature, but I think it’s helping.

3)  Full grip.  I fully grip the bar when I front squat.  Even if I don’t do this on my cleans, it really gives me a great stretch in my shoulders while front squatting.

4) Valsalva performed before lift off.  I’m NOT saying that you should do this.  But it sure has helped me on the big weights.

5) Frequency.  I’m NOT saying you should do this either, but I’ve been pretty much just doing a daily max.  On days when I front squat multiple times per day, my 2nd session will always be heavier.  I started off with very sub-maximal weights, taking care not to strain too much.  Over a period of about 3-4 weeks, I was able to break the 190kg. mark.  My previous best was 215.  Obviously, once I transition to doing more work with the lifts, my squatting frequency will decrease and I will go for a more traditional approach.

What was funny about my PR last night was I couldn’t really front squat that morning.  It felt terrible.  So instead I just loaded up a bunch of weight (220kg. to be exact) and just unracked it.  After my last set at 220, I turned to M, who was sitting on a stack of plates wondering what I was doing.  I told her that I “wanted to front squat that one day.”

8 Responses to “One Day.”

  1. Gregor said

    Well. either it’s all the reasons you mentioned or it’s because of the more aerodynamic haircut.

    • bclaridad said

      Bro, I wanted to draw more attention to the GNAR chin beard that I’m cultivating. Also, winter is the only season in which I wear hats, which stick to your head better with a little bit of fuzz. But I agree, I’m definitely more aerodynamic if you don’t account for the extra BW.

  2. laurie s said

    I’m coming back from a bulging disc. Just started back in with the front squats, twice a day to max. Like you, totally gun shy of the back squat (that’s what I was doing when it happened).

    Amazing how difficult it is to come back from an injury like that, but you do come back. I can’t wait till everything is back to “normal”.

    Good luck!!!

    • bclaridad said

      Laurie, thank you for sharing and for the words of encouragement. Yeah, it’s crazy how much pulling power you lose when you try NOT to use your lower back at all for a few weeks. I’m confident that it will come back as will yours.
      -Ben

  3. Been reading your blog for awhile (got onto it through 70sbig), haven’t commented though. Just wanted to say thanks – I cut up a few of my old shirts that i didn’t know what to do with, ones a 1KG steak challenge shirt from outback jacks (steak house here in australia), its now my favorite trap cut. Thanks for the fashion tips much appreciated Ben. Love all you’re training vids!

    Boss frontie as well, 5 plates brah!

    • bclaridad said

      Much appreciated, brah.

      I’ll keep posting as much advice and training vids for sure. hit me up if you ever have any questions regarding training. I’ll do my best to give you a spot.

      -Ben

  4. jstadt7 said

    Strong squatting, man. And why not get jacked? Weight class schmweight class.

    • bclaridad said

      My thoughts exactly, dude. I give zero fucks about weightclass. I’ve actually lost a few kg due to being able to get volume on my lifts again. I predict, I’ll drift down to a comfortable 110kg. again.

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