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Topic: Technique Questions (Read 2708 times)
May 01, 2008, 12:24 AM »
I have a couple questions about technique and why such technique is used. I've watched the Tommy Kono instructional vid (Arnold) but it seems like some texts disagree. I've also gone through many sports expert (the website) gif / frame by frames - but not all top lifters use textbook technique.
1. Should the back arch be used in the snatch and/or clean? Why or why not?
2. When exactly should the arms break/bend in the snatch and/or clean?
3. Should the feet pop out when clean/snatching? or stay the same?
4. Should the lifter jump back, or stay in place in the snatch? Why do so many lifters jump back?
5. How long should a lifter stay flat footed?
Practice (help for my lifting problems)
1. I can't seem to receive the bar in a tight position. I often meet the bar high, rack it high, ride it down, crash onto my cavs, and lose the bar forward. Part of the problem might be 1) going on toes too early, 2) lack of back arch, 3) I pop my feet narrow (and sometimes unevenly). Regardless if I was tight - I wouldn't lose the bar like I often do.
The same question applies to the snatch - I'm usually better at the snatch, but I am definately not tight enough in receive and recovery. Again how do I solve this problem? I've tried popping my feet wide and it has been helping. I'm thinking of arching my back also. Currently I do everything with a flat back.
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Re: Technique Questions
Reply #1 on:
May 01, 2008, 10:57 PM »
My thoughts on your technical questions.
1. Rigid, neutral spine. Locked solid with its normal curvature, not an excessive arch (backbend/hyperextension) and not rounded forward (flexion) either. Two reasons: it evenly distributes the forces on the spine and connective tissue, reducing risk of injury, and it provides a mechanically efficient rigid lever for you to transmit the force of your hip and leg extension to the barbell (which force accelerates the BB to a velocity that will carry it high enough after you stop propelling it to give you time to move under and catch it).
You can learn what that feels like in 10 seconds. Stand a foot away from a vertical wall, with your back to it. Drop into a quarter squat and put your hips, shoulder blades, and the back of your head against the wall. There should be space between the wall and your lower back, and your neck, because spines are curved, not "flat" or "straight." You should feel tension in your quads, and just the pressure of the wall on your butt, shoulder blades, and the back of your head. Now straighten your arms. (Straighter.) Push your fingertips toward the floor. (Down more.) Push your arms down more until your traps are taut. Leave them there. Now contract the muscles attached to your shoulder blades and squeeze them together. Leave them there. Pull your shoulders back and stick your chest up and out and get your rear delts on the wall. Hold it. Your hips, shoulder blades, and back of your head are all and against the wall. Your arms are straight and your torso is as tight as Robocops. That is a neutral, rigid spine. It should feel solid, natural, and "lined up right" in your backbone. Memorize how that feels and pull with everything between your waistband and your ears feeling like that. Same deal for squats, only shoulders and arms will be different to form the shelf to rack the bar.
2. Arms straight until they must bend as part of your
under the still rising bar. They never bend when you are pulling/propelling -- they bend when you are going down. You cannot consciously think about "exactly when to bend my arms." The lifts are way too fast for that. Concentrate on pulling and exploding up through your max extension point and even faster -- blindingly fast -- into a stable receiving position and your arms will bend when they are supposed to. Yanking or heaving up on the barbell with arm flexion to try to nudge it up is grossly inefficient. Fly that sucker up with leg and hip extension imparted to the bar through a rigid spine and straight, "steel cable" arms and then flash into your receiving position.
3. Wherever they need to go to put you in a solid and stable receiving position. Most shift them out slightly, some don't move them at all. Make the receiving positions perfect. Its not what you can pull, its what you can catch. If your receiving positions are not solid, you have nothing. If that means you start with a wider initial stance and less or no shift in order to get fast, stable, and consistent in the catches, do it.
4. The lifter should pull the barbell efficiently to impart the maximum upward velocity -- upward, not deflecting the bar out front or swinging it overhead and backward like a bale of hay. Get the pull and bar path right -- smooth, accelerating, and vertical -- and "go where the bar is" to catch it. When your feet reach the receiving position, your ankle joints should be under the barbell, in the same vertical plane. When you hit the bottom of your receiving position, the bar, your ankles, and your center of gravity (middle of your abdomen) should be in the same vertical plane -- that's balanced, nothing else is. Your torso should be as close to vertical as you can get it to be -- the bar just behind your head -- otherwise, your shoulders will have to be torqued back like a Mexican cliff diver to get the bar over your ankles and not topple over. Oh yeah -- where do your feet go? They go under the bar and put you in the above-described position. Whether that is in their original footprints, out and in the same plane, or slightly back depends on the mechanics and the resulting path of the bar. The pull and the catch go together. Its one lift, one movement.
5. Most lifters are are on the entire sole of the foot until after they have initiated the explosion. Some stay flatfooted throughout the explosion. Depends on your lever lengths. Weightlifting is not about doing a "calf raise" type affair as a conscious part of the pull. Its not: (a) Extend your legs. (b) extend your hips. (c) rise up on your toes. (d) peform a shrug. (e) drop into a squat. (f) push up and lock out the bar. Its about (a)SquueeeezzzecrankfasterBAMdowntight. One movement, and frankly way too fast to be thinking of specific component movements while you are doing it. Get that right and your feet will be flat when they need to be and not flat when they need to be.
If you are really interested in understanding the mechanics of the lifts and what the tradeoffs of the various variations in techniques are, you need to invest 35 bucks or so in a good comprehensive technical reference like the Weightlifting Encyclopedia (Google it).
Your Practice Issues:
Dollars to donuts your torso is tilted forward in the bottom position. You are losing them forward because you are not in balance. Work on developing stable bottom positions. Overhead squats with pauses, front squats with pauses, both with the most upright torso you can muster. If that feels like "arching your back" to you, do it. Persist. When those positions are solid, your body will know where to go, your brain will not think you are going to get crushed or maimed there, you will move there faster, and you will be stable and safe when you get there. That's probably why you perceive yourself as catching snatches and cleans "high." You want to lockout under a snatch or rack a clean as close to the "deadpoint" in the bar's upward travel as you can -- at or just a nanosecond after it reaches its high point and is "weightless" or seemingly so. If you are propelling (pulling) the bar high enough to catch it "high" that's exactly where you should be meeting it. Work on getting consistent and smoothly racking and moving into the deep receiving position and gradually -- over the course of hundreds and hundreds of lifts, you will develop the ability to catch lifts lower -- and that means you'll be snatching and cleaning weights that you cannot pull as high as those you are pulling now. This takes a lot of time and persistence for the vast majority of lifters. Good idea to try widening your feet. It probably will help you maintain a more upright torso, especially as you develop hip and ankle flexibility. Think of squatting "between your legs" instead of "folding" your legs. It will get better and better over time. Persist. Once the bottom positions are solid, then you are shooting at a "hard target' with everything that comes before, and it will get real fun real fast. Its not what you can pull, its what you can catch. Think of "progress" in this early stage as getting better and better at the mechanics of the pulling, dipping and driving, and receiving positions. If that means lifting the empty bar, lift the empty bar. If you don't develop good receiving positions, there aren't ever going to be big or even moderatly big weights on the bar anyway. Take your time and you will end up at the finish line faster.
Best of luck.
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #2 on:
May 03, 2008, 01:46 AM »
I started to valsalva the clean from the initial pull. This keeps me from losing the bar. I've combined this with popping my feet wider which has helped stability wise. Many Korean lifters seem to pop quite wide. I'm a bit too flexible in deep squat unless I go really wide. Hence I've started to pop wider than shoulder width. It gives me a good bounce that I don't normally get when squatting. Eventually I hope to clean more than my FS. Flexibility has never been, and will never be a problem because of good genetics. The limiting factor right now is technique more than leg strength. I've learned squatting day in and day out is easy - going in and doing the classic lifts is hard when you're trying to figure out the technique and fix it via video replay.
I would like to emulate Sa Jae-Hyouk in terms of clean.
He holds the air in - and pops quite wide (given he's not very tall/big).
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #3 on:
May 03, 2008, 11:34 AM »
1. I find that a tighter arch lets me keep the bar closer and contacts my thighs higher up. This could be because I have longer limbs. A person with shorted limbs and a longer torso would stay more upright and probably just need to keep a neutral spine.
2. Arms shouldn't break until full extension. Mine usually break a little early in the snatch.
3. On the snatch and clean my feet go outside shoulder width in the catch. It's more suited for me since my hip mobility is better than my ankle mobility. I can also achieve full depth, so it isn't an issue.
4. I stay in the same position (hopefully) when I catch the bar. Jumping back just adds another variable in making a successful lift. I can only image that a coach would teach that because he/she feels it helps in getting a better extention.
5. This question is probably just "sweating the details". Over thinking such a small and quick part of the movement will slow your down. As long as they are extending, then you are fine.
Your Korean guy doesn't look like he is moving his feet excessively wide in the catch. If you feel more comfortable and confident, then go for it.
I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her. - Rodney Dangerfield
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #4 on:
May 15, 2008, 01:32 PM »
I've posted some videos on my youtube account. Some are in slow motion for technique analysis. Most of the videos are quite ugly in terms of technique, but the above one is the best I've got so far. My biggest problem right now in the clean is keeping tight once receiving the bar. I'm pretty sure I can rack 110, I've front squatted 130, but there is no way I can keep tight at anything above maybe 90 right now. I've heard of powering the weight and riding it down then increasing the weight until you squat clean it. I'm not sure what will work, but I'm experimenting right now.
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #5 on:
May 15, 2008, 01:58 PM »
it seems like were kind of in the same boat here, I guess you don't have a coach either? Your form looks better than mine, the powercleans look pretty darn good but I think you are cutting your pull at the top, which in turn makes you catch it forward and altogether not get as much force on the bar, im not sure just my observation, judging from your other videos you might want to work on your pull because it seems to be lacking as you get to heavier weights, the 105 kg clean was a slow pull, too slow for you man, you are too strong to be pulling it that slow, also you cut your pull, which i seem to do a lot as well..
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #6 on:
May 15, 2008, 02:15 PM »
I'm not cutting the pull short in the above video I've posted. I have cut the pull short at higher (95%+) weights in the clean and snatch. But that's not the main reason I lose the bar in the clean.
Re: Technique Questions
Reply #7 on:
May 15, 2008, 07:32 PM »
You extend your knees way too far back. That's why I hate when people try to teach knee extension, it ends up like that and the bar swings. There's no way you can stay tight on heavy weights like you said because the bar is taking the wrong path to your shoulders. You need to use your legs off the floor and keep your weight on your legs the entire time. You have nothing left at the end to extend forcefully with the full musculature of your legs.
Edit:I went to click modify and clicked notify by accident, wasn't paying attention. Don't really know what it does either as I skipped through the popup.
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