have written several articles that reiterate the importance of keeping training basic, and focusing and mastering these fundamental movements. I have been incredibly ruthless with my athletes, and even adult cliental when it comes to mastering these movements. The difference however, is the difference in potential to further progress these movements. Progressions may include any number of advancements, but what I want to focus on are the Olympic Lifts. This is the first article of a series of three that will break down the clean, snatch and the split jerk.
Just like any Olympic lift, time must be invested in order to properly learn the movement, or better yet, the series of movements. While this is a rather difficult lift to learn, the benefits that are transferred to athletes and their sports performance, is quite incredible.
I will break down the exercise into five parts, which include the starting position, first pull, the scoop, the second pull and lastly the catch.
The starting position:
Feet: Feet are positioned hip width apart with toes pointing forward. The feet are to remain flat on the ground. Athletes generally are under the impression that wider is better to increase stability. However, feet are to remain hip width apart and must become a habit.
Hips: Drop the hips to mimic a “sitting down” position. The beginning of a deadlift is another way
to reference it.
Back:This is, if not the most important component to a safe and effective powerclean. The back must be slightly arched, as opposed to a rounded position. Chest held high is another important variable to prevent rounding of the shoulders.
Arms: Arms grip the bar right outside of the knees with wrists initially locked in place. Hands are prorated with a closed grip.
Execute a deadlift motion, which entails extension at the hips (driving the hips forward).
Maintaining a flat back is also important to prevent first pull injuries. Be sure not to let the hips raise before the shoulders. Finally, it is important durning each phase to keep the bar close to the body, at all times.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8nntxygxg] Scoop:
Once the bar is lifted above the knees, continue to extend or drive the hips forward. At this point, elbows are still fully extended and back remains flat.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blCNloBaHNQ&w=420&h=315] Second pull:
At this point, the hips are fully extended and a jump like motion is preformed to continue the upward momentum of the bar. Once full extension at the hip is reached, shrug the shoulders upward and keep the elbows extended for as long as possible.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhuwIT6weHM] Catch:
Once the second pull is executed, with full extension of knees and hips, begin to pull yourself under the bar. In order to pull yourself underneath the bar, you must flex the knees and hips that resemble the starting position. Be sure to raise the elbows and have the bar in a racked position across the front of the clavicles and anterior deltoids. Catch the bar with flat feet almost sitting the weight into the heels.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1jL5DmVm38] and…..THATS IT. Pretty simple eh? Just kidding of course. If you are new to the clean, start light and begin with the starting position and first pull. This is a tough lift to learn, so take it slow and progress through the different phases until each is mastered. Good luck!