feet under the bar.
and explode under the bar and receive.
locked in a full depth squat position with the weight of the world resting in a perfect clean.
i have not felt passion for the sport of Crossfit for months now. the love-affair and honeymoon ended way before it begun for most of the world. i lost respect and admiration for the sport of fitness; for the “increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains” that got me to a place of strength, poise and perfection that i never experienced in my life. this “thing” that brought me into a community of friends and supporters beyond the Box had suddenly lost its meaning and i have been searching for it since…
enter: strength training.
over the past six months i have gained interest in strength training. thankfully, this is one class offered at my local crossfit box, TJ’s Gym. through this, i have been able to focus on single-leg/single-arm movements, eccentric training, strong lifts and many combinations of body weight movements. i love this style of training because it suites my body type and i can feel myself get stronger when i focus on the movements rather than racing through them as i once did during the typical crossfit WOD.
i decided to test my strength the other day at the end of open gym and go through a rep scheme of 5, 3, 3, 2, 1 to practice my clean which i have not worked on in months. a clean or squat clean is completed by an explosive jump, shrug of the shoulders and pulling yourself under the bar into a full squat where you catch the load in a front racked position with your knees below the level of your hips and finish with the bar on your shoulders with fully extended hips and knees.
during the moments of these lifts, i found myself performing the clean with such ease and confidence. maintaining my core strength and breath as i went under the weight and not letting my muscles relax at the bottom of my squat (as i did in the past) but hold tight and push my knees out to stand back up, strong and steady, fully extended. i started out with 65#, increasing my weight to 75#, 85#, and then 95# for my 2 rep max. i stood back and looked at the bar. and the weight. i counted it numerous times and decided to add ten more pounds for a total of 105#.
maybe it was the loud music that brought silence to my mind.
or, perhaps it was the organic, vegan gluten-free double chocolate chip cookie and organic coffee i had for breakfast.
maybe it was the energy flowing from the gym community who was so proud of TJ’s Gym team for placing 6th in the world at the 2012 crossfit games.
or it could have been all the grass-fed beef i have been eating over the past year.
but, maybe it was also the fact that i had been strength training for months and completely focusing on my form and letting go of my ego of lifting heavy weight.
and, the pounding and anger inside that i have been experiencing through mending a broken heart probably added to the moment.
also, it might have happened because no one was really watching and i was my own critic. my own judge. my own fan in the moment of that lift.
i realize now that it was everything and nothing all at the same time. in those few seconds, i cleaned 100# for a new 1 rep max that i never imagined i could have achieved a year ago. when, only a year ago, i was in chronic pain and could barely hold on to the belief that it would subside and leave some day and allow me the freedom to play around in the gym. therefore, i have spent the last year completely focusing on my form and building strength gradually and consistently throughout my training. spending a year in chronic pain taught me that it is not about how much you lift but about how you lift it. i am not the strongest woman in our gym but i do know that i will outlast many women and men because now i always put form and function over weight and numbers during any crossfit workout.
in those brief seconds of that lift, it all came together. through patience and perseverance, i know i can conquer the mountain that i am climbing because i know that on the other side, the road still exists, and there is something even more amazing than i will ever imagine waiting for me to arrive.