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View Full Version : Concerning the General Cycle. . .


Elliott Denney
06-17-2013, 08:44 PM
As I said in one of my other posts, I am in the middle of the 8-week general cycle, and I have some questions. If some of my weaknesses persist or start to become more obvious as other areas improve, are there areas of flexibility in the cycle to allow for substitutions to hit weaknesses harder? Specifically, my main problem is with the jerk: my footwork is not consistent, and I am slow getting driving under the bar. I am also slow pulling under in the snatch and clean, but I know that the 3-pos. lifts are aiding in that. Are there exercises/drills I should be doing in place of others in the cycle to help with this problem? Would it be as simple as just swapping the power jerks for more split jerk practice? Any suggestions are appreciated.

Javier Sanjuan
06-18-2013, 04:20 AM
Elliott,

I think something that would help you is adjusting your warmup.

My suggestion soul be working on those things while your warming up. If you have a snatch day, do some tall snatches to work on that speed (same thing with cleans). There are a couple of drills for the jerk that may help you, such as jerk balances or drops (the names of the exercises differ from region to region, but I'll explain).

The first drill you can do is with either a PVC pipe or the bar. Simply press the weight to a height a little higher than you'd normally find it after you finish your jerk drive. Ensure it's not forward of you and in the right position (using a bar would work well because you're shoulders will fatigue rapidly if the bar is too forward). From there, you're going to push yourself under the bar like you would in a jerk. You should foucs on powerfully pushing yourself under and your feet work during this time. As you feel more comfortable, decrease the starting height of the bar. Often times, I find myself starting with the bar on my shoulders and finishing in a jerk, almost like a snatch drop. It helps me get solid feet positioning and work on dipping my back knee to get lower in a jerk.

The other exercise you can do begins with you in a little less than normal split position with the bar on your shoulders. Dip the back knee while ensuring your torso remains upright. Move the head out of the way and drive back up, simulating a jerk drive. The bar will leave your shoulders and give you an opportunity to push under the bar and extend that lead foot a little more out. This helps you feel out proper positioning as well.

I hope those make sense. There are others involving bands and such, but I think you should give those a shot before you go that route. These exercises work very well. The band drills are a little cumbersome to get ready and you need some heavy fixture to tie them down to; on top of the fact that you might be a lone lifter, it can get a little dicey if you don't have someone there with you.

Best,
Javi

Tamara Reynolds
06-18-2013, 04:34 AM
Javi's suggestions are really great ones. The good thing is that you can work foot positioning on the jerk a LOT with an empty bar. You can even work it without a bar, so if you are so inclined, you can throw some split jerks in throughout the day wherever you are. Nothing better than scaring the crap out of strangers with random invisible bar split jerks...

Elliott Denney
06-18-2013, 08:12 AM
Thanks for the responses. I understand the second drill you are talking about, but I am having trouble visualizing the first drill. Could you describe it some more?

Javier Sanjuan
06-18-2013, 09:32 AM
Elliott,

I'll try to expand on it a little more.

You should press the bar up to a certain height. My progression usually starts with the bar roughly three inches above my head, then to the top of my head, then to about eye level, then from resting on my shoulders. Your feet will be positioned like they are during the jerk drive; you can even get on your toes to simulate actual extension.

From those different heights, you're going to push yourself underneath the bar and get into a split position; that is, you're NOT driving the bar up any further. When I see people do this drill, they tend to push the bar upward, which defeats the purpose of the drill. Your goal is to push yourself DOWN. The height the bar starts is supposed to simulate the height the bar traveled up from your jerk drive. The depth of your jerk will depend on the bar's starting height.

Remember that we want to beat the bar down and have it in a position overhead where we're most stable and able to support the weight. We want to receive the bar (the same applies for the snatch and clean) at that moment of weightlessness; any downward force (damn gravity) when you're receiving other than when it's in the proper receiving position (cradled overhead in the snatch and jerk, or on the shoulders in the clean) is going to either a) throw you off balance and make your recovery harder, or b) cause you to miss the lift.

I hope that helps you understand the drill a little better.

Best,
Javi

Elliott Denney
06-18-2013, 09:48 AM
It absolutely did. This is kind of what I was imagining, but I wanted to make sure, and this clarification helped. I'd say this will help me a whole lot because with my jerks it's a combo my feet not splitting as wide as they should, me trying to get the bar higher than I should have to, and me not getting down. It all results in a slow dip and drive with a very abrupt catch. I can't stand watching it haha.

Should I do anything as far as tweaking actual exercises? Adding jerks to the end of my power cleans or something along these lines?

Javier Sanjuan
06-18-2013, 10:05 AM
Elliott,

I'm not there to watch you, but if you're having a slow dip AND drive, then leg strength might be something to work on as well.

There are certain factors to keep in mind (back and stomach tight/locked down, short yet controlled dip, explosive drive and change of direction, aiming the bar towards the back of your neck), but if you feel you're slow, your squatting will help, in addition to maybe some jerk dip and drives with some heavier weights, jumping back squats, and heavy 1/4 squats.

The addition of those movements is getting into different philosophies and approaches (purists vs. others that prefer strengthening/auxiliary movements, Bulgarian vs. Russian/Chinese). In addition, you may end up loading yourself with way too much work and not allow yourself to recover properly. If you're on the 8-week general cycle because you're new to the sport and its movements, I wouldn't worry about altering your program; keep the course and see how things turn out after the eight weeks, then make adjustments off of that.

Hope that helps,
Javi

Elliott Denney
06-18-2013, 10:18 AM
To clarify, it's moreso that the dip is slow, but the drive is faster. I've tried speeding the dip up, but it takes me a bit out of position. I'm hoping this is just something that will speed up with time. After watching my jerk, it looks like the dip/drive is alright (nothing great), but my feet just hit the ground too soon and too narrow. This keeps me from getting the bar back. I'll have to post a video later today when I can.

I think it's a good idea for me to just stay the course like you said. I can make changes later on after I have a better picture of what I need to focus some increased efforts towards.

Javier Sanjuan
06-18-2013, 11:23 AM
Elliott,

You want to keep your dip controlled, not necessarily slow. I have (had?) an issue where I was way too fast to dip. The bar would leave my shoulders as I descended, only to crash back onto them as I drove upward. It definitely caused me to lose tension in my upper back and shifted the bar's path forward. I think you're going in the right direction, both with respect to the jerk and staying the course with your program.

When you get a chance, post a video and I/we can give you a little more insight.

Best,
Javi

Elliott Denney
06-18-2013, 12:21 PM
Ok, so there may be a lot more problems than what I can see/feel, so just let me know. The main thing I know is they just donʻt look right for what that is worth. All of these were done on Saturday following cleans. Dropping weight in there is frowned upon, and thatʻs why I only did when it got heavier and I was tired of smacking my thighs.

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Javier Sanjuan
06-18-2013, 01:14 PM
Elliott,

It says the video is unavailable.

Elliott Denney
06-18-2013, 01:16 PM
Does it say it's private? I'm able to see it in my browser and on my phone. Did you try refreshing the page?

Elliott Denney
06-19-2013, 06:59 AM
Any luck seeing it?

Javier Sanjuan
06-19-2013, 03:22 PM
Elliott,

Yes, I saw it. Thanks for posting it up.

I don't see anything too wrong. In general, you have the right motions and it seems like you're focusing on doing things correctly. If there's ONE thing I could suggest, it's staying back on your heels a little more. It looks like you're spring forward doing your drive up rather than going straight up. Focus on keeping that pressure point through the front of the heel cup for as long as you possibly can before you get onto your toes to finish the drive. Your 175-lb jerk was your best one, in my humble opinion. I would say that's a good "working weight" for you to use to beat mechanics in and still feel the need to execute each part of the jerk correctly.

Keep up the good work!

Best,
Javi

Elliott Denney
06-20-2013, 05:58 AM
Javier,

I used your drills last night, and I have to say they worked wonders. I wish my phone had not died because I would have been able to film them. I'm sure I could have noticed a few flaws if I could have seen the lifts, but every single jerk felt picture perfect. I was getting much lower by just driving under, I definitely had increased flexion of my back knee, and my front shin was vertical. I didn't even feel like I was pushing the bar up at all. They were all done after 3-position cleans. The working weight was 155, but it said to go up if you feel good, so I followed these sets up with a 170, which also felt great. Thanks for the drills! I'll definitely be implementing them from now on.

Elliott

Javier Sanjuan
06-20-2013, 08:56 AM
Elliott,

I'm very glad they're working to make you more confident in your jerk. You have the bar in the right place overhead, it's just a matter of getting your footwork down. From the looks of the last training session, it looks like you're on track.

Keep on doing them -- the problem won't be fixed in a day or week, but with consistent focus on correcting your movement, you'll be good in "no time."

All the best,
Javi

Elliott Denney
06-20-2013, 10:06 AM
Oh I'm definitely going to keep working on it. I was just amazed at how much better it did get. I was really excited. Hopefully I'll be able to really try it out when doing my singles on Saturday.