View Full Version : New to Oly lifting

Alain Davidson
11-14-2011, 03:54 AM
Hey guys, I've been following the site for a couple of months and love it!

I've done basic weightlifting for a few years and crossfit for a couple but I just started training olympic style lifts very recently because 2 years ago had a ACL surgery that until a few months ago, after a second surgery healed properly!

Because of that, legs are not yet as strong as they used to be... right now my max on back squat is 255 pounds.

Here is a video of a Clean with 185 pounds, would appreciate some pointers on what should I change or fix on my lift!


Greg Everett
11-15-2011, 11:51 AM
First and foremost - weightlifting shoes. You need a more stable platform.

Start position isn't too bad, but before the bar moves, you extend the knees and bring the hips up until your back is almost horizontal. Work on breaking the bar from the floor with the same posture you appear to intend to start with.

Because of this position so far over the bar, you don't get your weight back over the feet as you lift it, so you end up not only too far over the bar, but with your weight too far forward on your feet. Along with maintaining that more upright posture as you break the bar, you need to focus on immediately shifting your weight back over your feet so you're a little heavier on the heels than the balls of the feet.

Likely because of this, you start rowing the bar up with the arms while it's still at your knees (this is a natural reaction to being out of balance forward). When you get your balance right, you'll be able to keep your arms relaxed all the way up.

Along those lines, you need to be more patient and wait until the bar is around the middle /upper-middle thigh to explode. You're trying to really accelerate all the way from the knees. This not only further messes with your balance, further encourages rowing the bar with arms, but ultimately slows you down.

The final extension needs to be explosive and abrupt - right now you're doing a calf raise and row, but with soft knees, which makes it even less effective. Push against the floor with your legs as you punch your hips open and immediately pick the feet up to move them into your squat position - and get them back down flat to the floor immediately.

Turnover isn't bad and you do a good job keep yourself and the bar very close to each other, but your rack position could be better. Keep forcing the shoulders forward and slightly up (it gets better as you stand up) and keep stretching until you can get a complete secure rack position in the bottom of the squat right away.

Also looks like your eyes are going all over the place - mostly down toward the floor. Find a point in front of you to keep your focus on - definitely don't look down at any point. This will help your balance and even your speed because you won't be busy trying to re-orient yourself during the lift.

All that being said, you look to be a strong guy with plenty of potential for some big lifts. What I would suggest aside from doing whatever you find works to correct the above:

Lots of squats and whatever you need to get your legs strong again. Weak legs will force you into that high-hip pulling posture and forward balance. When they're stronger, you'll be able to maintain that upright posture better.

Pulls and DLs specifically to work on position and timing. That is, not maximal weights, but weights that allow you to do the lifts correctly. Halting DLs, segment pulls, etc will be helpful.

High-hang lifts to work on your speed at the top. Don't think so much of up and then down, but as exploding up so you can get under; that is, make it a single effort rather than two separate things. You can also do segment cleans that would combine the segment pull/halting DL with a high-hang clean. So for example, controlled posture/balance-emphasis clean DL to upper thigh, 1-2 sec pause, then clean from there. Don't get rid of regular cleans entirely to help avoid developing a habit of pausing in a real clean.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.

Alain Davidson
11-20-2011, 03:01 PM
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the reply!

Which lifting shoes would you recommend?

Tried to work this weekend on the mistakes you pointed out, first thing was trying to keep my weight back and moving up instead of going forward and then up... also trying to avoid rowing with my arms! Not easy to get rid of it, but I think I managed to get it a little better.

I will need to work harder on the explosion part, I feel I keep hitting the bar way too low... I practiced with the bar alone but can't get the hang of it, not sure what I'm doing wrong but when I try to hit it higher than usual, I don't get it right!

By soft knees do you mean that I do not extend them when I'm exploding?

Once again , thanks a lot for the help! I really appreciate that you are taking the time to help me.

Do not have a real video but here is a picture sequence of a 195 lbs clean:


Greg Everett
11-21-2011, 09:04 AM
Any shoes that fit you well will be fine - personally i prefer adidas.

Yes on the soft knees - if you extend your hips without pushing against the ground, your knees will not extend and just slide forward, which means you're not putting as much force into the bar. Imagine trying to jump without pushing against the ground and only extending the hips - you'll probably go up somewhat, but not as much as you could.

As far as waiting for the explosion goes, have a friend watch you lift - DL very slowly and have him/her tell you to clean when the bar gets to the upper thigh. That will force you to wait longer than you want to - it will feel too late, but when you're used to going to early, that's fine.