Pissy Cleaning

Surviving CrossFit workouts is sometimes my only goal. It’s not that I don’t try to achieve more than mere survival, but personal records sometimes goes by the wayside as I struggle through the exercises.

Tonight’s workout was good, but I felt so frustrated by my lack of skill. The warm-up and buy in was fine.


  • 3 minutes of double-unders or attempts — I have yet to do a double under (2 rotations of jump rope for each jump), but I’m cutting myself slack on this one.
  • 10 shoulder rolls
  • 10 overhead squats
  • 10 push-ups

Buy In:

  • 25 back extensions
  • 25 hip extensions
  • 10 “Snakeys” (combined hip and back extensions at slow and focused pace – kind of a snake move)


All I had to do was push presses. Do seven one-rep attempts. My attempts were 20k – 25k -30k(failed) – 27k – 27k – 30k – 30k. So my best was 66 pounds. Not bad. I felt okay about this as my shoulder strength is on the sucky side and it’s taking me time to build up the muscles.

Then we had to take our max weight on the push press and do as many hang cleans as possible. Here’s where the frustration began. I couldn’t do one at 30k. Cullen kept trying to coach me through it, but there seemed no possible way to get my arms around to “receive” the bar, much less quickly squat below the bar. Aargh. Several attempts at the move just made me feel weaker and clumsier.

Cullen had me grab an empty bar and practice the move. It seemed simple at a low weight. I tried the 30k load again and could only get the bar up to my chest height. Cullen and Katie kept telling me that this height was great if I would just squat low enough while bringing my arms quickly around to catch the bar in a good racked position. Shiiiit. No luck.

So Cullen then had me doing front squats — a move I hate. I can’t seem to keep upright and move my butt back enough to do them well. I really try to keep my hamstrings and butt doing the work instead of my quadriceps, as too much load on the quads fires up my knee pain. So, lousy squats and a tired body led to some real pissy mood coming from me.

I was ready to quit. Cullen was so sweet. He kindly acknowledged my feelings, then the bastard made me keep trying the moves. Sweet my ass.

In my frustration I tried cleaning the unweighted bar and it felt fine. This was ridiculous. I just needed at least one clean with some weight. I put down the unweighted bar and went back to the 30k bar. I said “the hell with this” and took off 5k. Lo and behold, I had no problem hoisting the bar up in a decent hang clean. Cullen and Katie both complimented me on my form, which still may not have been great, but I was doing the lift.

Cullen had me practice and practice the move at the lower weight. Katie took pictures and even showed me one shot that proved I was getting the bar high enough with my shrug of the shoulders. If I could only squat quickly (and safely) while getting my elbows up and around I would be able to handle the heavier weight. Cullen then had me do as many as I could  using the old “just one more” routine (I’m a sucker for that one). I made it to eight cleans before the ninth refused to get up to my shoulders — or I refused to squat low enough to catch it. I tried a few more times but I was at my limit.

I survived tonight’s workout. I didn’t exceed any expectations, nor achieve any huge milestones, but I did finish the workout. It took a while, but I walked out of there knowing a bit more about doing cleans than when I walked in the door. I guess I am proud of myself for doing the work even with a pissy attitude.

I’ll certainly remember this workout. After all, starting tomorrow my shoulders will let me know that I worked them hard.

Video on doing the hang clean:


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