“The Approach”

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Warm up
3 minutes of z1 work
+
3-5 minutes of movement prep
*ankles, hips, t-spine
+
3-5 minutes of work out prep
-Trainers Choice

Then

FITNESS-
A. Push press x 3 x 4
B. RDL x 5 x 3 sets
+
15 minutes
5 db press
10 kb swings
15 box/plate jumps
20 sec plank hold
40 sec jump rope

PERFORMANCE-
A. Power clean & Jerk skillwork, building – 10 min
+
15 minutes on the clock
15 C&J @ 95/65
400 run
15 C&J @ 135/95
400m run
15 C&J @ 155/105
400m run

“The Approach”
by Coach Ryan CFM

A lot of times when I see something off with an athlete’s Olympic lift I look to their setup. More often than not, fixing something in their setup position can correct the path of the barbell and the end result.

There are two “pulls” in both the Snatch and the Clean. The first pull is where the bar comes off the ground to the mid-thigh area. The second one is explosive as the bar passes close by the hip crease up through its vertical path. Today I will discuss the first pull.

The First Pull

The angle in which our back is placed depends on the individual lift. Regardless of the Snatch or Clean Grip, there are certain elements that a lifter should feel for when getting into their setup:

1) Upright Posture. The initial first pull should utilize more power from the legs and hips almost as if they were “squatting” it off the ground. Keeping the body as upright as possible allows this to happen. The spine and lower back (lumbar) flexors should remain rigid and used less during this part of the pull because they can fatigue easily. These muscles must remain rigid during the second pull in order for power to translate into the upper body.

2) Hamstring Tension. Every lifter’s body is different as far as body type and flexibility. This is where the coach’s eye can come in. A lifter should feel their entire posterior chain engaged before initiating the lift. This most likely can be felt in the hamstrings. If the tension is not there then they are not ready to lift.

3) Eyes set forward. Different coaches may say different things, but I have found in coaching all types of athletes that finding a horizon or a focal point helps focus the lift and also minimizes and straining of the neck.

4) Patience. Yanking that bar off the ground won’t make it move faster. I often say the word “deadlift” in my head when coming off the ground. This allows me to build for what my body thinks is a heavier lift so that when I do reach the second pull, I can utilize more muscle fibers that are ready to fire.

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I am not getting into the individual lifts here because both have similarities yet have unique cues that define them. During the approach and setup to the bar, the cues are very much the same. What I am more interested in is what is going through a lifter’s mind and feeling how their body performs these movements. Look back for information on the First Pull.

The Second Pull

1) Power. Because our First pull creates less rotation in the hips when set up more vertically, the hips can more easily extend. The explosive part of the movement happens here in the hip crease. This is sometimes innate in peoples but can also be trained and developed. Paused Cleans and Snatches or lifts off the blocks help build this sort of power. Other movements more commonly found in “WODs” or warm-ups such as kettle bell swings, box jumps, broad jumps, can help teach your body to extend explosively and repeatedly.

2) Balance. Catching the bar too far back or in front is caused by indirect bar bath most of the time. Again, going back to the start position, if the athlete is crowding the bar or have more pressure in the ball of the foot then that bar more than likely will come forward. That mid line balance established in the setup carries throughout the entire movement from start to finish.

3) Mentality. There is a bit of “fear” that has to be overcome while lifting. Be it that there is something very enthralling about moving a lot of weight quickly. Trusting your body to move correctly and keeping that solid starting position is essential in maximizing your lifts. This comes with practice and literally tens of thousands of reps. Take note that skill sessions with just the barbell are sometimes the best opportunities to become more successful in the Olympic lifts.




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