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Old 04-25-2008, 06:18 AM   #1
Melissa Urban
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OHS question - speed matters?

I am fairly new to OHS. I did them for the first time with weight on March 3rd, and I've only done three OHS workouts since. My form is still inconsistent, and I can't move much weight. (I max out at 65#.)

I overhead squat veeeery slowly. I go down slow, I pause at the bottom and I come back up only marginally faster. I go slow because (a) these intimidate the crap out of me for some reason, and (b) I'm trying really hard to make sure I can keep the bar where it needs to be, especially in the hole.

Am I doing myself a disservice by slowing down the pace so much? Considering making myself speed up the pace a little bit... but I'm not sure that won't be a total disaster. And I'm not sure I know how speed would matter.

Thoughts? Thanks.
Melissa
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:53 AM   #2
Jake Oleander
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

speed matters, strength plus speed = power. power is what we value in sports, CF, and life in general.
with that said, it is very difficult to show power with OHS, it will take a lot time developing the proper technique. balance is often a limiting factor in the OHS, and going slowly makes the balance easier. for now i wouldnt focus on speeding up, just keep working on them and the speed will come naturally with time.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:10 AM   #3
Kirez Reynolds
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

You started March 3rd -- are you saying you haven't experienced significant changes since then? Like greatly increased confidence? Have you dumped yet doing OHS? Coincidentally, I started the same week you did doing OHS.

-- A couple times I had to dump the weight. This increased my confidence, which translated into form and speed improvements, just from being more comfortable.

-- Some days are off, and some on, and this seems to come from ankle flexibility -- whether I stretched enough in warmup. When I'm off, I'm hesitant and unsure of my form, I'm unstable in the hole, and slow down dramatically; I just never feel right and I can't go fast then. I go real slow.

-- Shoulder injury right now, and the difference is interesting: my right, uninjured, shoulder is rock solid, the weight is in the right position, the elbow is locked; but the left shoulder is slightly forward (doesn't lock back), the elbow won't lock out the same, the whole left arm and left side are out of whack, makes me soft and unsteady in the hole, and I can feel that I'm trying a balancing act on my left side; my right side remains rock solid, but the system as a whole is about to topple.

I don't think I'm qualified to answer you, I kinda think you know the details of solid form on this at least as well as I do, but maybe you can elaborate in response to the points I just made?

Obviously, speed will get you more reps and seems to correspond with both strength and confidence in the lift. How many reps are you doing?

It seems to me, the question is not your speed, but what's causing the slowness. Can you go fast if you want to? "Doing yourself a disservice" implies you have a choice. But I'm thinking something is off with your form, forcing you to go slow. In which case --- yeah, you gotta fix that. When you're comfy you can go fast if you want to. So what's up?
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
Melissa Urban
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

Kirez,

Thanks for posting. Right up front, I'll say these intimidate me, so that's part of my problem. The other part is that I'm not comfortable dumping the weight - only because I'm not using bumpers (my gym doesn't have them, and I only have 10# bumpers) and my Globo really frowns on throwing their stuff around. I've dumped once because I *had* do, but I think I'd be more likely to challenge myself if I felt like I could easily abandon the lift.

I'm coming off a shoulder injury too, and my mid-back/scapular retractor area still need a lot of strengthening. That may be part of my form challenges, but the other is that I've only done an OHS workout with weight >45# three or four times now.

My form on the CFWU reps (with a 15# body bar), however, have progressed really nicely. I video'd these two weeks ago, and my novice opinion is that my form is solid - I'm upright, I get nice and low, I have a good active shoulder and I can move pretty fast on 'em now. Back in March, these were much shakier, more leaned forward and slow going too. So I imagine I'll be able to improve with >45# in the same manner if I just work them more.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:59 AM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

Easier to check bad form (or good form) with a vid.

Not sure speed actually matters with this lift at least trending towards 1 RM like any of the other lifts. You wouldn't expect to have a high speed on a 3 RM deadlift or squat. Maybe if it was a 10-15 RM weight though... although you still have to have the stabilizers to make it happen (much like rings). Those will come with practice.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:01 AM   #6
Theresa Meyer
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

Before my injury, I included 45 lb OHS as part of my warm up, and it really made a difference in my confidence when OHS were part of the WOD. I absolutely love this exercise because it requires so much concentration and precision. I found that I could go quicker as I got more confident with the movement, and that when I performed them faster, I was better at it. I suggest getting comfortable and then speeding up. You have less time to think about the mistakes you might make when you just perform the movement. Thinking is the enemy...at least in this case.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:18 AM   #7
Kirez Reynolds
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

So I think my initial gut reaction was right on -- your keywords were March 3rd -- and you'll see substantial improvement with practice.

When I started I was over a marble tile floor with steel weights. :-/ I use nylon towing straps as my "rings", hanging from big pull-up bar (where the supports are angled, not vertical) --- so I put my barbell in these straps, and even put 225 lbs on it, to try OHS with this heavy weight. That was the first time I dumped it. That's one way of catching the bar.

At the GloboGym, I did OHS in a powercage with safety rails... they're ok with me ditching the OHS on the safety rails in the power cage. That's what they're for. If you have a squat / power cage, look for those safety rails: seemingly thin struts just 18" off the floor between the front and back supports. I've dropped a 350lb back squat on them... practice ditching your lift there. Could make a big difference for you if you know you can bail.

Then I migrated outside... and can dump even my steel weights on the dirt. (So there's 3 ways to dump the weights without bumper plates...)

I'm presumably speaking for thousands if I say you should absolutely post your videos for feedback, I'm sure your fans will enjoy them. :-)

When you get those shoulders locked back... it just falls into place. Suddenly you find the bar, and your arms, just riding up and down smoothly, like they're on rails --- and SHAZAAM, you can just rock those squats up and down. The bar tracks perfectly in a straight line over the midfoot. But for me, it's contingent on properly warmed-up legs and being able to comfortably lock my shoulders back.

The weight you're doing overhead --- probably premature. Do a few hundred with just the bar, whether 15, 25, 35 or 45 lb bar. I don't think you'll get all those done without finding a happy place that works for you.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:46 AM   #8
Melissa Urban
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

Huge thank you to everyone for posting.

It's hard not to push for more weight, but I think Theresa and Kirez are right. I'm going to work these hard and often with just the bar, until I really lock down my form. Kirez, I've had random reps that feel just perfect - like the bar is going up and down on rails, as you describe. I'll start adding more weight when that feeling is consistent with 45#.

I do have safety rails, and that is where I managed to dump that one time. I'll continue to work in the rack, just in case.

Steven - stabilizers. Rings, parallettes. Practice. I'm on it.

I will consider posting a video for critique, too. Just flex those typing fingers, because I bet the "things to work on" bullet points will be voluminous. Then again, that's the whole point of posting video.

Melissa
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:43 PM   #9
Mark Richins
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Smile Re: OHS question - speed matters?

I know that when I first started with just a broom stick, it was awkward and slow. As I progressed to weights, with each increase, it took time for my body to work as one-Shoulders to remain still, arms locked, core tight, and finally, the leg strength and balance to go down and come back up.

Now, when I do lighter weight, I can rip right through them, but when I do a WOD with heavier weights or weights near my max, I often have to slow down each rep. There are a lot of dynamics involved and when the weight increases, many different muscles are firing to keep the body balanced and the bar from hitting your head!

I would suggest to keep doing what you have been doing. Continue to practice often. I always do 3 rounds of the CFWU before each WOD. Sometimes, I use only a broom stick for the OHS, other times I use a 45# bar. All the practice has paid off as I am sure it will for you.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:55 PM   #10
Jason M Struck
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Re: OHS question - speed matters?

as I have progressed, a little more speed has meant a little less lockout fatigue.
ie, less pain in the shoulders and palms.
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