The clean is an excellent movement to develop strength and power. In order to perform the full clean properly one must posses a certain amount of flexibility to achieve a good bottom position. Reference the front squat post from Monday for areas to focus on when warming up. Since the clean is received in a front squat position those same flexibility requirements will apply to the clean as well.
When performing the clean or any of our Olympic lifts you must understand that its all about body positioning. If the body is not positioned properly efficiency is lost. Here are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning:
Set Up Position - Butt down chest up! Think of the bottom position of a squat but with the bar on the floor ready to be pulled off the floor.
First Pull - The body basically holds the same position off the floor in the first pull. Keeping the speed of the hips and shoulders the same is critical in order to not lose torso positioning. Make sure to drift the knees back in order to clear the knees of the bar and load the hips for a powerful hip extension.
Second Pull - This is where the violent extension of the hips occur. As the lifter transitions from first to second pull the knees come underneath the bar as the torso angles vertically. The hips then explode towards the bar as the body extends through the ankles, legs, and hips and this creates a contact between bar and body.
Third Pull - Immediately following the second pull the lifter then shrugs the shoulder and bend the elbows vertically as they begin to pull underneath the bar. The speed of the third pull is critical to the lifts success. Focusing on fast elbows around the bar and can help to speed up the third pull.
Pulling to Fast off the floor - Always slow down the first pull to focus on body positioning.
Early second pull - Having patience with the barbell as you bringing the barbell up the legs into the high thigh region is important when trying to hit the sweet spot.
Be fast - Speed and aggressiveness on the second and third pull is critical to any successful lift. Don't be afraid get aggressive!
x30 Wallball (20/14)
x15 Power Snatch (135/93)
x12 Power Snatch (155/103)
x9 Power Snatch (185/123)
The Deadlift is a great strength builder and the only other movement comparable to the back squat and front squat in terms of building strength. Deadlifts are a great way to build posterior chain strength as well as core strength. Its a great movement to work into any strength program and can definitely help to improve first pull strength in both the clean and snatch.
Although the Deadlift seems simple enough from the outside, taking the time to learn the technical subtleties of a Deadlift can help to really improve your current 1RM and/or the ability to move the barbell fast.
A few things to help increase your deadlifting potential:
Flexibility - Yup, flexibility again, you can expect to see flexibility at the top of each lift and deadlifts are no exception. Having adequate hamstring flexible is important for deadlifts so that the knees and hips area able to drift back far enough to clear a path for the barbell. Ankle flexibility is also important, cause if the ankles are tight that can lend one to be more forward on the pull.
Stance - Your feet should the first thing to get set when approaching your barbell for your lift. Feet should be directly underneath the hips so that we can achieve the most efficient force production through the floor. Do not go wider unless there is a mobility issue but let the trainer decide that. The barbell should be directly under your shoelaces so that there is an inch or so of space between shins and barbell.
Grip - Hand positioning has a couple options, the most common being a mixed grip. Mixed grip will give you the most lifting potential out of your options. Your dominant hand should be the over hand well the non dominant should be the under hand. The other option is a standard front grip like your clean minus the hook grip, although using a front grip with the hook is a good way to directly train your first pull for the clean.
HEAVY Heels - When pulling the bar from the floor shift your weight into the heels and drive them through the floor. And stay TIGHT! I cannot stress enough keeping the whole body tight but especially the lower back. Flat Back!
OH KB Lunges (53/35)
box jumps (30"/24")
100m suitcase carry (alt arm at 50m)
I would like to make this weeks series of posts a collection of technique advice and cues to work with when concerning most of our barbell lifts. I know there are a number of members that can't always make classes and workout in the gym on their own time off class hours. For those people it can be hard to make gains without that coaches eye but its my hope through this weeks series of posts that those people can get a little extra help from implementing some of the things I will go over the course of this week. I hope you all enjoy and I would love any feedback during class hours (coach Devin).
Our first movement of the week is Front Squats. Front squats are a critical movement to develope for anyone looking to advance there olympic lifting potential. Along with back squats, front squats are an excellent way to build leg strength as well as core strength. Front squats place a huge demand on the anterior side of the body to stabilize and keep the torso erect.
A few things to help you increase your front squatting potential:
Flexibility - this is first and foremost cause if you don't have the required flexibility to properly perform this movement then your going to be missing out on a lot of weight that could be on that bar. Of course with any squatting always mobilize the hips and calves and more specifically with front squats we need to mobilize the wrist and lats in order to achieve an optimal front rack position. After you got the flexibility down it's a piece of cake!
Elbows Up - When focusing on keeping your elbows up it will help to assist the body in keeping a vertical torso and help to fight core collapse.
Heels Down - With the bar in the front rack position that already puts the weight more forward than in a back rack postition so putting a little extra attention to keeping the weight in the heels can really help your front squat if you often find yourself tip-toeing around.
Knees Out - The is a cue thats stretches across multiple lifts and the front squat is no exception. Driving the knees out helps to stabilize the knee joint better as well as helps to distribute the forces throughout the leg more evenly. And you might not have guessed but it even helps vertical torso positioning.
Hope this is helpful. Perfect practice makes perfect!
Strength: Front Squat
WOD: (same BB for both lifts)
x30 deadlifts (225/153)
x30 thrusters (135/93)
x30 bar facing burpees
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
One of the biggest keys to successful training is consistency. Now I know we all lead very busy lives, but if real fitness is a priority, you can't let your training and diet go to hell for 5 days and then try to make up for it on the weekend by overtraining. Commit to a regualr training schedule and stick to it as best you can as life throws you curve balls. And there is no excuse for not being consistent with your diet. Occassional cheat meals are o.k., but PLAN them in advance. And if it is not time for a cheat meal, then stick to your regime.
Remember, a lifetime of health and fitness starts with building positive habits and patterns. Start yours today!
A few tips include:
- Schedule your workout and put it on your calendar. Treat it like a business meeting with your boss - there's no way you would miss that, right?
- Show up even if you are tired or feel like crap. Tell yourself to just get through the warm-up and then stop if you want - chances are you'll be ready to keep going. If not, at least you still got a good warm-up in.
- Don't make excuses. Real life doesn't care about excuses. If it's not life or death, it can probably wait an hour until you're done with your workout.
- Train with a friend. You are more likely to stay consistent if you train with family or friends. Find someone you like to help keep you on track. Or just show up consistently to our classes and you'll make new friends!
- Keep a workout log. You don't want to have to skip from July 10th to August 1st in your log. Putting it on paper makes you more accountable.
- Post your results. Tell everyone how you did in our comments section of this blog, or start your own training blog - everyone will start looking for your posts and if we don't see 'em, we'll call you out.
- Reward yourself. At the end of the week, if you haven't missed any of your workouts, treat yourself to something you enjoy (we're NOT talking Ben & Jerry's here, guys...). Eat a good steak, get a massage or just sleep in a little later than normal.
Your Saturday morning surprise!