Cycle 0 test day

Today was test day, which means the sole purpose of my training session today was to see how much weight I could snatch and how much weight I could clean and jerk (C&J)—with good form and technique—and then use those numbers to build my first official program/cycle with my coach. (My coach and I have been working together for the last two months, tweaking things here and there as my injuries have healed and I’ve been cleared to add more movements into training, which I guess is technically our first training cycle together, but it’s not really, you know?, so I’m calling it Cycle 0.)

I snatched 42kg and C&J 52kg, for a total of 94kg at a current bodyweight of somewhere around 66kg, give or take a kilo or two (I truly have no clue how much I weigh, I don’t own a scale). Bodyweight is relevant because weightlifting is contested by weight classes.

In weightlifting, a training cycle typically ends with a “test” or “max-out” day, to see how much progress an athlete has made with their current training program—how much stronger they’ve gotten, and how much they’ve improved their mechanics and technique. Test/max-out day will also expose or highlight things an athlete still needs to work on, and help an athlete and their coach plan out the next training cycle.

Until today, I hadn’t tested or maxed out either of these lifts since around this time last year, and I hadn’t ever tested or maxed them out with my current coach. When we started working together in mid-August, I still wasn’t cleared to lift weight overhead, which means I couldn’t test either of them. Instead, we tested both my front squat and my back squat, and spent the first few weeks focused on squats, pulls, halting deadlifts, and cleans. With the blessing of my physical therapist, we added in (very light) snatches, jerks, and presses in mid-September. Since then, we’ve stuck with very light weights. Until a few days ago, I was still using the 7kg training bar and training weights instead of the 15kg regular/competition-weight bar and regular training plates to train both competition lifts.

Going into today, I truly had no idea what to expect. It’d been well over a year since I last tested any of my lifts, and almost exactly a year since my last “pre”-injury training session (I was lifting injured for weeks before I finally stopped, got everything checked out, and took a months-long break from structured training). Also, I slept like shit last night, which is to say I barely slept at all (period, migraine, etc.).

Overall, I’m happy with how today went. I really wanted to snatch at least the greens (10kg plates) and C&J at least the yellows (15kg plates), and I did! Also, my mechanics and technique were WAY better than they’ve ever been, and my pelvic floor mostly held.

My next training cycle—my first structured one with this coach—starts Monday, and it’ll be based on the numbers I hit today. I’ll train three days a week for four weeks, then test my lifts again. The obvious aim of this cycle is to get stronger. We’ll also be focused on:

  • Staying tight in the bottom of the squat.
  • Consistently hitting triple extension.
  • Shoulder positioning in the snatch, especially when standing it up. (Hypermobility is a bitch.)
  • Jumping out, not back, in the catch.
  • High shoulders in the pull.
  • More aggressive footwork.
  • Pelvic floor control.

I’d like to add 8kg to both lifts at the end of this next cycle, which means I’m aiming to snatch 50kg and C&J 60kg in four weeks. Here’s hoping my Bambi-ass legs will grow for once their goddamn lives!!!

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