Tuesday's WODs and thoughts on supramaximal loading...

August 1, 2017

Here are your Tuesday WODs and strength! We're going back to some rack holds tomorrow and I've had the question, "What is the purpose of doing the rack holds?" ...and here is the answer directly from the source. HAPPY READING!!


Strength coach @BrianHallam's thoughts on supramaximal loading...


Supramaximal holds build confidence with heavy loads, allow for progressive overload to build specific components of compound movements, and safely develop the “core” musculature that is responsible for spinal integrity.


Why do I love rack holds? For the same reason I love snatch balances, jerk recoveries, rack pulls, and yoke carries. I’ll break them down one at a time.


Snatch Balance - this is a movement that begins with the barbell in a higher position that you can ever expect to pull to unless you’re power snatching. The goal is to dip and drive with enough power to make the bar weightless for long enough to drop underneath and lockout. With regards to the dip, you want to descend deep enough to make a hip drive possible, and no deeper! A shorter dip will keep you balanced (less displacement anteriorly/posteriorly) underneath the bar and bar height is never an issue so moving the barbell an extra inch really doesn’t serve you (plus it’s slow). But the major feature of the snatch balance is that you can overload it. One should be able to snatch balance ~110% of their max snatch. Everyone catches high in a power position and rides it out into the hole, then drives out to full extension. Do you have the mobility to descend while remaining balance? Are you able to stay tight enough to prevent any lumbar/thoracic flexion throughout the snatch movement? Are your shoulders/arms strong enough to maintain an aggressive lockout in the snatch? The snatch balance is a great training and assessment tool to answer these questions.


Jerk recoveries - maximal effort lockouts and recoveries are probably the most neglected aspect of weightlifting. Much of this may be explained by the impracticality of the movement (not every gym has 8 sets of jerk blocks or rigs that are capable of the setup), although it may very well be the missing link in a new clean and jerk PR. You’ll train supramaximal clean pulls, front squats, dip drives, but just expect the lockout to be fine when you get there? I don’t think so. Jerk recoveries are a movement that can be overloaded progressively. Remove the technicality of the jerk and ensure there is adequate strength/mobility to stand up from a catching position. If this isn’t possible, you know you’ve got some work to do before the whole movement has a chance at coming together.


Rack pulls - the ultimate strength movement. Due to strength and mobility limitations, many people aren’t able to safely pull max loads from the floor. Most experienced athletes can, but gaining that experience can be full of tough lessons and weeks on the couch after pulling out your back. The compromising aspect of a conventional deadlift is the first 6 or so inches off the floor, where there is the greatest likelihood of experiencing involuntary spinal flexion. This can be overcome with the rack pull, which will allow you to start from a higher position, and once again, overloads the movement. This will build spinal integrity, provides a significant stimulus and corresponding adaptations (strengthening “core” and grip), all without the risks associated with a conventional deadlift. The illustration to the left shows the moment arm of the deadlift. The further back your hips are relative to the load (barbell), the greater stability is required by the spine. If you want to safely increase your comfort lifting supramaximal load while building grip/shoulder strength, rack pulls are a great look.


Yoke Carries - they take the rack pull a step further, as you are standing upright, thereby minimizing the moment arm. The movement activates all the spinal stabilizing muscles (“core”) through the walking, or isolateral aspect, in conjunction with the absurdly heavy weight on the yolk. This is another way to safely build work capacity and strengthen the core through anti-rotational movements (the best kind of “ab workout”).


Rack holds - one step further, remove the walk. Rack holds involve a supramaximal isometric contraction, safely developing the stabilizing core musculature while minimizing risks. More importantly, they build confidence under the barbell to help overcome the psychological constraints most weightlifters seem to face. I often hear “don’t tell me how much it is!” when I’m coaching a strength athlete, only to have them hit the lift then become ecstatic as I tell them it is a 20lb PR. If you’re comfortably unracking 400lbs, then you will be able to maintain a positive, confident mindset while unracking a 300lb PR back squat. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be difficult to drive out of the hole, I’m just trying to give you the best odds of hitting those numbers that I can. If you’re terrified of the weight before you begin your descent, you’ve already lost.


That being said...here are your Tuesday WODs!


Tuesday Aug.1, 2017


CrossFit (7am/9am/5:30pm/6:30pm/7:30pm)




Front rack holds @ 130% 1RM front squat x 10sec x EMOM-10



Keep a nice thoracic extension, deep breaths.



Good Mornings @ 25% 1RM deadlift x 5 x 3



Stay really tight, and move with full control. This movement puts you in a very compromised position, so take your time getting out of it. As you feel more comfortable, you can move a bit faster, but if there's any spinal flexion at all, you are lifting too heavy and at risk of injury.




4 RFT:

10 Front Squats 65/95

15 Pull-ups

10 Overhead Squats 65/95

15 Burpees

100m Run



CrossFit Endurance (6am)


15 Calorie Bike


4 Rounds of:

15 Box Jumps 24/30

400m Run


15 Calorie Bike


4 Rounds of:

15 Burpees

400m Row


15 Calorie Bike









Please reload

Featured Posts

Camp FUNdraiser Event!

January 25, 2020

Please reload

Recent Posts

January 25, 2020

January 25, 2020

January 24, 2020

January 23, 2020

January 22, 2020

January 21, 2020

January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020

January 18, 2020

Please reload