Eat My Dust, Back Squat Goal

When I bundled up and headed to Olympic Lifting today I only had one goal in mind: work on my snatch. Coach Andres has me on a lightweight bar until tossing it is second nature. Translation: I’m looking at a couple solid months of practice before adding weight.

So after 90 minutes of limp-noodle snatches and C&J’s it was a relief to work on some good ol’ back squats. No fast elbows to worry about, no shrugging or jumping or bars overhead.

Squats Under The Radar

The last set the board called for was maxing at 1 @ 90% x 3. But that Close Out 2013 Goal shot to mind. There are only so many opportunities to test a 1 Rep Max during a month of workouts. Here was my chance for a covert PR.

I had a rack to myself and quietly went about the first sets of 3 at 85#-95#. The most I’ve ever tried squatting is 95#, and the other week I was able to do 5 reps at that weight. So according to my handy calculator, my 1 rep max should be 105#. I mentally prepared myself to reach that as I added small weight increments.

With 100# on the bar I took a deep breath. Triple digits. Here we go, x 3. Chest up, butt out, down and up. And… no sweat. In my head the crowd was roaring. Go Erin! 100!

OK, settle down fans. Problem is, now I had 105# on my bar and the board called for 2 reps at that weight. I paced around, collected myself and went back up to the bar. One. Two… got it. That was heavy.

The Only Way To Go Is Up

More pacing. I’d already PR’d and hit my goal for the day, but I still had 3 sets of 1 rep to go. I set my bar with 110# and focused. Standing with the bar on my shoulders, now things were really feeling heavy. Down I went, but nerves kept me from getting proper depth.

I stood back up, shook it off and stared off into space at the rest of the class working on their lifts. I went back up to the bar, determined to get low enough to make it count. Down I went, mentally yelling “knees knees knees knees!!!” as I came back up. Woof. Heavy. But I was below parallel.

Another moment of truth. Stay at 110# or add those cute little 2.5 weights and make it 115#? Instead of just working towards my goal today I could nail it with just one more last lift.

Let’s do it. Nerves began building again. But what was the worst that could happen? I’d dump the bar and fall on my butt?

I went up to the bar entirely focused on proper form. My elbows were close to my body as I stood up and shouldered the weight. Oh man, it was heavy now. The crowd went silent. I took a deep breath, imagining I was filling up my core to be completely solid underneath the bar. Chest up, butt out. Down I went.

I got just below parallel and decided, yes, I need to come back up NOW. I pushed and it felt like nothing was happening. For a split second I thought, “Fuck, am I bailing this bar?” Then it started to move. KNEES KNEES KNEES KNEES. I wobbled up to standing position, and gratefully brought the bar back to the rack. The crowd roared.

Back to reality, I took a sip of water and then went about the business of putting my weights back and doing the wrap up conditioning moves. 115# in and of itself is a little weight. But it hit me later— I hadn’t just entered triple digit territory and nailed my goal, I had squatted my body weight. If I could do a cartwheel, I would’ve right then and there.

Mark that as a future goal.