Sport of Positions

Olympic lifting is a sport of positions, the success of each position is determined by the position before it. As such, the starting position of the lift is extremely crucial and critical to the success of the rest of the lift.

So here are some tips for the starting position for the snatch or the clean.

  • It's important to have the head and the eyes looking at a point straight ahead (best case scenario is a point parallel to the eyes at the starting position) - this stabilizes the head and therefore the rest of the lift.
  • You want a tight back and a tight core because this allows the full transfer of power from the athlete's feet to the rest of their body.
  • Shoulders over the bar, not behind the bar. In terms of vertical alignment, from top to bottom it's shoulders, hips, and then knees. So for example if vertically it's shoulders, knees, then hips (the athlete is sitting in the starting position with butt down), that's not a good starting position, or a strong starting position.
  • You...
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Mindset as you approach your lift

clean lift mindset snatch May 29, 2020
 

Mindset as you approach your lift is so important.

As a coach what I hear most often from lifters when I ask to see their life (either via video or as they're actually about to lift) is that they premise the lift by telling themselves, or me, how much they "suck", or how terrible they are, or how they're not good at lifting.

Please know that if you're showing me the lift, that:

#1 that's not what I'm thinking at all (I'm just looking forward to watching the lift to see what can be done to help the athlete improve) but

#2 that just by saying those things it greatly hinders your ability to lift well. What you tell yourself, or what you say to yourself, will determine how the lift goes.

This simple exercise in the video shows this - how is it possible to at the same time raise and lower your hand? It's not.

The same goes when you tell yourself you "suck" at lifting but then you go to the lift wanting to lift well. Instead, as you approach the barbell (or the wod), take a breath and...

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Partner with your Athlete

 

partner with the athlete to get them where they want to go. that's my coaching philosophy anyway....

in this 30 sec -ish clip with Cheryl we worked on the basics of the high hang snatch - positioning and then jump up and back into the bottom of the overhead squat.

Cheryl is a fantastic athlete - former Masters Crossfit Games competitor and to be honest, i was having a little trouble with her jump. i mean she was jumping, and backwards, but the jump seemed and felt muted. overly controlled. not powerful and forced almost.

being that she is such a great athlete, my suspicion is that this movement, while cue-ed and encouraged in different ways, was a result of over-thinking, and then performing what she though the movement should be versus what i was asking for.

so i looked around and thought, i want to see if she can jump. no pvc pipe in hand, i just want to see if she can do it. because if she can do it, then my suspicions are correct - she is over thinking it, also we can bring this...

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Snatch Deadlift Postioning

 

whatchu doing there coach wu?

i'm showing silver proper snatch deadlift positioning. the snatch deadlift is the hardest part of the lift, hands down.

there are so many things going on from a technical positioning standpoint that it's important to understand and execute it correctly in order to get PRs and lift maximal weight.

as you pick the bar up off the ground to above the knee, weight starts ball of foot or midfoot and travels back toward the heel. as it does that, the back angle stays the same.

two common faults when athletes do this is that they off load the legs by either raising the butt up, or by going around the knees.

coaching tip: there are many things going on here that i want silver to see and understand.

so as i demo for her, i ask her to only look at one specific part of the lift - for example weight transfer on the foot, then on the next rep i ask her to look at another part - the back angle remaining the same.

try this with your athletes. break things down into...

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why did i miss my lift behind me?⁠

analysis clean lift snatch May 28, 2020
 

could be many things but here are the two that i see most often.

  • 1) the lats are loose so that bar is in front of the athlete, throwing off the balance and center of gravity of the unit which is the athlete + the barbell, causing the athlete to extend early and thereby hip-checking the bar, instead of jumping up and back with the bar.
  • 2) an intentional hip check of the bar to get the bar moving. instead, try to keep the lats tight and jump up and back versus hip checking the bar out .

#getliftinggetlifted #reachyourpotential

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Intentional Lifting

 

be intentional before you start the lift.

know what it needs to feel like and how to get tight before you lift the bar.

in this short clip with beast Chelsey Grigsby notice the difference in the before and after.

in the before video - it's decent form, but it's not ideal. she starts off loose and with the weight on her heels more than i would like. this is actually very common because getting tight requires energy and sitting on the heels is more passive - it's easier than being on the balls of the feet, or midfoot and engaged.

in the after notice how she makes these corrections, how much more explosive the lift is, how it flies more, with the same or less effort than before.... #loveit #beautiful #getliftinggetlifted #reachyourpotential

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Let Go and Allow

 

i don't know who's more excited when it happens right, me or the athlete  - in this case Val Voboril.

lol love this moment with val when it just happened. it just clicked for her. the moment she learned to dip and drive, to bring the bar with you when you dip, and to use her legs to power the lift versus muscling it up.

it's a dip and drive, a jump up and back, followed by a receive in the bottom of the overhead squat.

let go of what you have been told is or isn't right, that you should or shouldn't jump or how it should or shouldn't look.

give it a shot and see for yourself.

  • does the bar fly all of a sudden?
  • is the movement more powerful and easier all of a sudden?
  • can you lift more doing it this way?

well, that's all the answer you need.

#getityougotit #getliftinggetlifted #reachyourpotential

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Get Strong on the Bar

 

you tell the bar what's going on, not the other way around...

most athletes do the "pull and pray". they pull on the bar with all they got, then drop, and then pray everything will work out and the barbell will gently drop on top of them in the perfect position and all they have to do is wait there....

i wince when i hear athletes say things like "dropping" or "catching" the bar. Because it isn't a drop or a catch. And because both words imply passivity - a point in the lift where the lifter is passive in respect to him versus the barbell.

after you triple extend / after you jump up and back, you continue pulling on the barbell as you pull yourself down and around the barbell. That split second you go from going around the barbell to under the barbell, you now need to press up and against the barbell with strength and conviction!!!

you tell the barbell what is going on and what to do! you are actioning on the barbell! not the other way around! pull yourself down and around the...

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JUMP!!! MOVE YOUR FEET!!!

clean feet jump snatch May 28, 2020
 

JUMP!!!! MOVE YOUR FEET!!!

TripLe extension - so important with the olympic lifts and with explosive movement.

Because of this, this is one of the first places I start from when I'm working with athlete (regardless of how long they've been lifting or what they're lifting) - making sure that I can see that the athlete can establish and perform triple extension.

The easiest way to get an athlete to triple extend, in my opinion and in my experience, is to simply ask them to jump. Just jump. It overrides the overthinking and is a natural movement.

However, many athletes - especially ones that have been around the sports for awhile - hesitate and stop themselves because of the rumor going around that jumping shouldn't be in olympic lifting and because they don't see their idols jumping.

Well here's the thing, we're working with light/no weight, and we're working on fundamentals - so right now, yeah, jump. give me some air. Because once we add some weight - empty barbell, 65lbs, 95lbs,...

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Overhead Positioning

clean overhead position snatch May 28, 2020
 

Here's a video explaining in a little more depth and more clearly what I mean about positioning over head.  Here I am with Cary and you can see that from the side, we want to position the barbell so that it is lined up with pretty much the back of her head, over her shoulders, over her hips, knees, and ankles.  When I bring the barbell a little further back and a little further forward of this ideal position and provide some resistance, you can see that that position is not very strong and does not provide much stability.  (note that if you are going to do this with an athlete or a friend, you only need to provide a little bit of gentle resistance for them to feel that this is not the optimal position (aka don't yank on the barbell! lol)). 

Reminder from yesterday, that in this optimal overhead position, to cock the wrists back slightly so that the weight of the bar is resting more on your palm and wrist versus the metacarpal of your thumb (your thumb bones)....

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