I love squatting, but I really love overhead squats.

I love everything about the movement. I love the fact that it’s hard to do. I love the way it feels to hold heavy weight overhead. I love that it’s part of the snatch. I love that you have to jerk the weight before you can squat it. I love the feeling of a good rep that rides right in the perfect groove.

I love that you have to squat perfectly to complete a set. I love that you can’t relax at any point and have to fight with the bar for the whole time. I love the sound bumper plates make when you drop them from about seven feet up after a successful set.

The whole movement is simply awesome.

I worked up to a heavy triple yesterday after about 20 warm-up reps, most of them very light. I did exactly two heavy sets of 3. The second one was a record, so I took Louie Simmons’ advice and stopped for the day. That’s 23 reps total, and only 3 of them were really heavy.

Yet as I type this, I can feel my traps, deltoids and rhomboids tightening, and some of my abs feel righteously worked over. My legs and erectors are reporting that they put in some effort yesterday. I’ll probably be even more sore tomorrow.

The overhead squat is a full-body movement that teaches you to hold every part of your yourself tight when you do a set. It also teaches you to focus on the task, because the bar will be on the floor the second your mind drifts away.

Too many of us—myself included—relax at the top of a rep when the barbell is resting on our backs, and too many of us don’t set our backs and cores properly for each rep. We relax our shoulders and abs and loosen our cores between reps. We lose focus and we get lazy. And we get away with it because the bar can just sit on our traps while we mess around underneath it.

The overhead squat isn’t so forgiving. It’s about tough love, and it punishes every fault ruthlessly, reminding you of exactly what your body should be doing every time you squat. It’s like a teacher who demands the best of you and ends up teaching you more than anyone else.

Here’s some overhead work from Dale’s Garage this weekend:

Winnipeg-I took the week after the Intergalactic Throwdown off. I stretched, biked and did a bunch of mobility drills. I also ate pizza, drank some wine and had chocolate. It was a wonderful physical and mental break.

Sunday, I was back at the garage training. I did two-position snatches at 95 lb., and squat cleans. My back was bothering me, so I stopped at 125 lb., recognizing less was more that day. I also worked on muscle-ups. I still haven’t figured out the kip on the rings, but I have a feeling that’s coming shortly.

Monday was 5 x 5 high-bar back squats at 155 lb., 175 lb., and the last 3 sets at 185 lb.  I followed this up with a 2K row and 40 burpees. The total time was 11:55. I finished with 2 x 10 back extensions and 3 x 20 sit-ups.

Tuesday I pressed. I did it from a slightly higher starting point, just above my head to be exact. I wanted to replicate a handstand-pushup. I did 5 x 5 at 100 lb. It was challenging on the last 2 sets for the fourth and fifth rep. I also did 2 x 10 tricep extensions and 2 x 10 delt flies. I finished with 5 sets of stairs and 3 x 8-10 toes-to-bar.

Training for sectionals is officially underway, and I’m super excited. I’ve dialed my diet back in this week, and I’m feeling motivated. Tomorrow is a rest day and massage, and Thursday I hit up Cindy!

On a side note, Mike found me on a “workout porn” site today. I’m not kidding. To be honest, I totally wasn’t offended. I was in the part where the girls were clothed, and they’re all super fit! I think I’m OK with this? Anyways, check it out. It made me laugh.

Mike’s note:

The last two competitions here in Winnipeg were a great test of Crystal’s training, but we weren’t really training for them, and we altered things when they came up. Our original plan was to peak at a sectional competition sometime in spring, so we’re right on pace.

Last year, heading into sectionals, Crystal and I knew we weren’t quite ready to compete with the top athletes after only about six or eight months of CrossFit training. Initially, it was our goal to build up Crystal’s strength, and while we accomplished that, we knew she wouldn’t quite have the power and endurance needed at sectionals. We both felt slightly underprepared, but it was the best we could do given the timelines we were working with.

A year after Crystal just missed getting to regionals, we both feel so much more confident about this year’s sectional competition. We’ll spend the next month bringing up the areas that still need a bit of work while maintaining Crystal’s endurance and strength.

Then we’ll see what CrossFit HQ programs for sectionals, and we’ll rip into it knowing we did everything we could to produce a well-rounded CrossFit athlete!

(Photo by Sandra Benz)

Winnipeg-Below are the cross-Canada Intergalactic Throwdown rankings, courtesy of CrossFit Subzero. Thanks to Funbobby Kwasny and his crew for making this competition happen.

Thanks to all our volunteers: Dale, Brett, Toddy, Ryan, Henry, Eileen, Kathy, Steph, Will, Natalie, Brendan, A.J., Scott, Kim and anyone else who lent a hand.

CrossFit Winnipeg and Prairie CrossFit helped us out with some gear, and Freak Fitness offered gear as well, so a big thank you goes out to those affiliates.

CrossFit 204 would also like to thank everyone who helped raise $600 for charity this weekend!

Finally, thank you to Jeff Wood and A.J. of Focus Fitness for letting us loose in their facility for the day.

Mens Intergalactic

Name – WOD scores (rank) = total points

1. Meredith – 8:18 (1) – 1530 (5) – 187 (5) = 11 points

2. Rogers – 9:40 (2) – 1545 (3) – 142 (10) = 15 points

3. Howell – 9:54 (4) – 1486 (11) – 191 (3) = 18 points

4. Takasaki – 11:20 (11) – 1536 (4) – 171 (8) = 23 points

5. Wickham – 9:43 (3) – 1557 (1) – 109 (20) = 24 points

Women’s Intergalactic

1. Miller – 10:32 (1) – 1230 (1) – 109 (2) = 4 points

2. Jones-Gillespie – 12:45 (2) – 1214 (2) – 132 (1) = 5 points

3. Kehler – 14:13 (4) – 1185 (3) – 102 (3) = 10 points

4. Johnson – 14:52 (5) – 1185 (3) – 94 (4) = 12 points

5. Piller – 13:57 (3) – 1128 (6) – 64 (6) = 15 points

We almost managed to place two athletes on this list. CrossFit 204’s Crystal Kirby-Peloquin missed finishing the first workout by only 1 rep, and Jenn Webber of Freak Fitness was only 2 reps short.

Intergalactic Junior Male

1. Bergeron – 9:10 (1) – 1466 (1) – 143 (4) = 6 points

2. Mercier – 10:25 (2) – 1364 (4) – 164 (1) = 7 points

3. Dilling Jr. – 11:24 (3) – 1373 (2) – 147 (3) = 8 points

4. Sabotig – 14:49 (5) – 1373 (2) – 153 (2) = 9 points

5. Cochrane – 14:48 (4) – 1291 (5) – 49 (5) = 14 points

Due to variations in loads and movements, the Intermediate divisions were not ranked across the country.

Congratulations to all competitors, especially Tyson Takasaki and Grant Dilling Jr., who competed at the CrossFit 204 event in Winnipeg and made the Top 5 nationally.

Winnipeg-Here are three videos from today’s garage workout – including two first muscle-ups! Congratulations to Will and Ryan.

And we did a lot of Oly work learning the form on the snatch and clean and jerk.

Finally, we tussled with Vader.