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View Full Version : Hip cleaning (yep I went there) - critique please


Andrew Kerwin
10-21-2013, 10:55 AM
For the last three weeks or so I have been experimenting with hip cleaning.

To make a long story short, while I know this isn't the most conventional way to clean, I feel like weightlifting is similar to poetry or music..you learn the rules first so you can break them later.

Anyway, this c&j is from a warm up during my last session. As far as lifts were concerned this was the first time I felt comfortable with hip cleaning and while I unfortunately didn't get it on video, my working sets went well and I finally heard the "crack" of the bar hitting my hips.

If anyone needs a point of reference I included a video from cal strength on hip cleaning. My arm bend may be a little early (like a bent over row clean :/ ), but I do have to admit cleans have never felt more effortless though I am still working on the dynamic start, and re-sequencing timing with getting under the bar has bit of a pain in the butt (the bar gets so high that I was initially getting under it too quick, allowing the bar to crash down on to my throat during the turn over, not fun).

What interests me in addition to anyone's thoughts on sequencing is in regards to the foot work. If you watch closely you'll see that I only move my right foot to get to the catch. I've seen plenty of lifters do this with power snatches or power cleans but I am wondering if this more efficient (since it is technically less movement) or less efficient because it is "one sided" ..any thoughts?

I know Greg's wife Aimee cleans very similarly in addition to many other lifters, and she is a phenomenal lifter. Any thoughts, critiques, comparisons are welcomed. Please let me know what you think.

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Blake Barnes
10-21-2013, 03:45 PM
I'm not completely against an intentional, early arm bend in the clean. You have long arms too so it may work out for you. People that are successful using this method have to have some strong arms though. As that weight get's heavier and heavier, it's going to be harder and harder to maintain this technique.

I wouldn't recommend only moving one foot as you transition to receive the bar. That's more than likely to cause a lateral shift. You may not notice it with the lighter weights but I feel like this would cause problems at higher percentages. I feel like everything should be symmetrical (excluding the split style variations).

On the dynamic start, I would recommend starting with your arms straight before using your legs to push through the floor to lift the weight. Seems like you're jerking the weight up off of the floor because of the slack in your arm. It's just very easy to throw off your body position and weight distribution when doing that.

Andrew Kerwin
10-21-2013, 04:49 PM
Thanks Blake. Those are all really solid points. It has been an adjustment to say the least. And there was a point where I was questioning it because of the arm /back strength required for it but after the session this video is from I am confident in my ability to refine it more, even with heavier weights.

I totally understand what you're saying about the footwork and will do my best to fix it. I have some drills in mind that I can use to ram it into my head, but anything you can recommend I will definitely give a shot.

The dynamic start is definitely going to take the longest for me to refine. I've tried many times to find a position to keep my arms straight in before I pop out of the gate so to speak. The only thing that came close was not actually doing it at all be consequently I couldn't find the right hip placement in relation to the shoulders over the bar and I never felt as explosive lifting that way. Really gonna scratch my head on this one for awhile.

Blake Barnes
10-21-2013, 10:21 PM
It will take some time to find a comfortable technique that ends up working the best for you. I wouldn't get hung up on over-analyzing the minor details.

Keep training hard! And feel free to come back for any more questions.

Andrew Kerwin
10-22-2013, 02:49 AM
:) :d

Tamara Reynolds
10-23-2013, 03:15 AM
I have no experience with lifters hip cleaning like this, but one of our superheavy lifters is 6'6 and uses an arm bend off the floor in order to get the bar to his hip. It works really well for him, and I think he added 19 kg to his snatch this summer by working on that technique. He spent a lot of time pulling super slow off the floor to drill the positions with the arm bend.

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Andrew Kerwin
10-24-2013, 08:17 AM
That's interesting. From the floor is going to take a lot of time for me to figure out. Is it weird that my arms feel like they are the longest when I am setting up? haha.

Unfortunately because of my schedule I kind of have to address one thing at a time (which I picked as refining my pull and foot work since they go hand in hand), but the start isn't hindering me too much at the moment and my weights haven't gone down as a result of the switch so I am at least stepping in the right direction, though it may be slowly.

It is very hard to find anything on dynamic starting out there though, I think it really may just be a personal thing but who knows?

Andrew Kerwin
10-30-2013, 10:49 AM
UPDATE**

In the interest of consistency, unless you are genetically built for it (long torso, short arms - the later of which I do not have...at all) it's probably not a good idea. You really need a strong upper back to do perform well with it. I kept finding that I was getting impingement of the delts and rhomboids. Which in turn severely effected my jerk and even achieveing a good front rack. During high volume reps (I.E. Max c&j) it is easy to exhaust those muscles quickly. I Returned to conventional style cleaning for the "drop" portion of my workout and I did actually see a slight improvement in getting the bar more toward the hips anyway instead of high thigh. So I think it helped a little in some ways to learn it but I wouldn't use it unless I felt strong with it during a session in only going for a pr clean. Conventional cleaning was like returning home after a long vacation and I'm happy to be back.

Blake Barnes
10-30-2013, 02:52 PM
That sounds like a perfect example of someone experimenting with different things and finding out what suits them the best.

I've seen a video or two on dynamic starts but it's definitely more of a personal preference.

Andrew Kerwin
10-31-2013, 12:57 PM
Thanks man, I may get shunned from the site for saying this but low bar squatting for an entire cycle taught me to actually use my ass when I squat..kind of another example of that.

Someone should write a book about dynamic starting.. haha

Tamara Reynolds
11-02-2013, 07:54 PM
So far, for me and my lifters, a dynamic start is a personal preference AND I only let people experiment with it once they are solid with the basics.

In reality, this means that I only have a few lifters who do it at all. I've never actually suggested it to anyone. A few of my more advanced lifters have adopted a dynamic start as part of their personal routine. I just switched my snatch to a dynamic start because I completely changed my start position, but working with a dynamic start on the clean feels screwed up.

In my experience, one of the most common problems that beginners have is letting the bar get too far away from them. I want people to get very good at pulling super slow off the floor, and adding a dynamic start just incorporates one more element that they can screw up - and it probably adds ZERO kilos or confidence to the lifts of a beginner.

Andrew Kerwin
11-20-2013, 12:37 PM
I can agree with that.

For awhile on my cleans at least I would just set my shoulder blades back and down and then go.

Snatching I was always kind of a dynamic starter (I've never had a coach), so I just kept with it. However, how I do it has changed a few times over the course of my lifting.

True to fashion in regards to experimenting and learning I now set up from the top down for a clean instead of the bottom up, though I am still incorporating a dynamic start (I'll eventually post more videos). It has been helping me to engage my hams and by putting my shoulder blades back and down (like I used to) I can keep my arms straight for the entire start. I like where it's going though I think it needs a little tweaking yet.

As far as kilos I don't think it will do much either, however if an athlete is drawn to it and is capable of doing it on either lift I wouldn't see a problem with it. From my experience it gives me tons more confidence then just sitting in a static start position and at this point I would probably feel almost lost without doing it. Don't hold me to that though because that could always change haha.