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View Full Version : Clean critique needed


Emily Mattes
06-23-2011, 02:51 PM
I was wondering if someone could look at my clean and tell me how it is. Last fall I changed my pull to use my hips and hams and since have slowly been working my way back up to my former strength.

Here is a video of a successful 78kg clean and a common miss at 84kg (would be a 1kg all-time PR): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHBD3W59xFk

These are things I'm seeing:
- I'm still slow in the hips
- I have really slow elbows
- Bar is crashing--I think I'm not actively doing a third pull, I'm just shrugging and sort of letting my elbows fly under. I also think I focus too much on dropping under rather than meeting the bar.

Does anyone else have any thoughts (Greg pretty pretty please)? What should I do to work on this? Lots of power cleans and muscle cleans? My max power clean is 80kg compared to my all-time full clean max of 83kg, which is why I'm a bit loathe to practice it.

Greg Everett
06-23-2011, 09:34 PM
How could I deny such a polite request...

First, these are really good lifts. You do a great job with your pulling posture, balance and bar proximity on the way up. Extension speed at the top is very good actually - if it looks slow to you it's probably the slow (relatively) change of direction, not the extension itself.

So you could get moving down under the bar slightly sooner - not too much, but you're definitely continuing to pull the bar up after you're legs and hips are done. Feel that snap at the top and immediately get your feet moving and pull with your arms, not with a shrug, under the bar. Your elbows come back a little sooner than I would prefer on the way down; that is, I'd like to see them come up and out a little more before you bring them down and around the bar. So again, don't pull the bar up or shrug yourself under - pull your elbows up and out to accelerate yourself down to the bar. Only after you've done that, bring the elbows back and around the bar.

The bar definitely crashes a bit, obviously more on the second than the first lift. It looks like you're releasing your grip a bit sooner on the 84, which will make you lose connection to the bar and allow you to drop out from under it instead of meeting it tightly. As part of the turnover effort, think of driving your shoulders up into the bar as if you were going to put the brakes on as you would for a power clean.

You also throw your feet out a bit wider on the last lift and try to readjust before you stand up - pretty common as the weight goes up for this to happen, but force yourself, and practice, to punch the feet flat back to the floor as quickly as possible to re-establish your connection to the floor and your stability/position - the idea is to turn it into a perfect front squat.

Speaking of front squats, sit in all the way at the bottom instead of trying to stop short. Notice your bottom position on the first clean - you cut the depth off and grind back up. On the second, you're forced into the actual bottom position and aren't prepared for it. This is why it's so important to always front squat and clean to the absolute bottom - eventually the weight will put you there whether you want to be there or not, so prepare for it.

Also, I would want to push your front squat up as well. That 84 crashed a bit and the feet weren't perfect, but it wasn't so far off that you shouldn't have been able to stand up with it. Push the FS, always hit the bottom, and work on timing the bounce, and even when you clean less than perfectly, you'll recover.

Good work and good luck.

Shane Skowron
06-24-2011, 06:29 AM
Has the guy on the left ever hit himself in the head with that med ball?

Bee Brian
06-24-2011, 11:43 AM
Wow. That actually looked great.

Emily Mattes
06-24-2011, 08:26 PM
Thank you for the great advice, Greg! I'm glad to know I'm maybe not that slow, when I started Olympic lifting my coaches joked that I lifted like they were watching me in slow-motion so I've always tried to work at that. Do you have any good drills or exercises I can think about to work on the turnover? I can see what you're saying about pulling my elbows out, but I guess having trouble visualizing what might help that--maybe back to scarecrows during warm-ups?

Also, I definitely have to work on my front squat. It used to be one of my strongest lifts, but since I switched to a more strongman-focused program a year ago and sort of left the front squatting out for a while I figured out a week or so I've stopped hitting full depth. I'll make sure I'm hitting it during all of my lifts now.

Shane, I don't regularly see that guy, I imagine he's doing some sort of Crossfit thing. :D

Bee Brian
06-24-2011, 11:30 PM
Thank you for the great advice, Greg! I'm glad to know I'm maybe not that slow, when I started Olympic lifting my coaches joked that I lifted like they were watching me in slow-motion so I've always tried to work at that. Do you have any good drills or exercises I can think about to work on the turnover? I can see what you're saying about pulling my elbows out, but I guess having trouble visualizing what might help that--maybe back to scarecrows during warm-ups?

Also, I definitely have to work on my front squat. It used to be one of my strongest lifts, but since I switched to a more strongman-focused program a year ago and sort of left the front squatting out for a while I figured out a week or so I've stopped hitting full depth. I'll make sure I'm hitting it during all of my lifts now.

Shane, I don't regularly see that guy, I imagine he's doing some sort of Crossfit thing. :D

Don't ignore me please. I said the technique looked great!

Greg Everett
06-27-2011, 10:16 AM
Do you have any good drills or exercises I can think about to work on the turnover? I can see what you're saying about pulling my elbows out, but I guess having trouble visualizing what might help that--maybe back to scarecrows during warm-ups?

Try muscle cleans and tall cleans, focusing on perfect arm mechanics and speed every time. You can also try combining one of those with a high-hang clean.