View Full Version : Beginner looking for technique tips

Hans Kristoffer A. Graff
12-12-2013, 02:14 AM
I started strength training (doing Starting Strength) in February, and picked up olympic weightlifting late in August. I'm adding kilos to my lifts every week, but my technique still needs a lot of work, which I guess is to be expected. I have a coach, but I can only see him about once a week because he and his gym is in another town about an hour away from where I live.

I'm currently at about 115 kg bodyweight, hoping to get down to 105 in a couple of months. I think my strength is pretty decent given the amount of time I've trained, even relative to my bodyweight, my technique is what brings me down.

Here's a video from a max out session two weeks ago:

(I have some more videos to post, with different angles, if that'd help, I just didn't want to post a lot of videos in one post)

I have problems with not reaching full extension before my hips/thighs hit the bar, and banging the bar out in front when I do, this goes for both cleans and snatches. I sometimes jump forward, but this has improved a lot in the past month or so.

If relevant, here are my lifts:
Snatch 87,5 kg
Clean and jerk 108 kg
Back squat 188 kg
Front squat 165 kg

Thanks in advance for any help.

Blake Barnes
12-12-2013, 07:46 AM
Snatch - The main problem I see is just to keep your head up in the bottom position. It looks like the bar is in the right spot overhead but you're just reaching your head through so much that you eventually shift your weight forward making it extremely difficult to stand up. You mentioned you've been doing Starting Strength so if you've also been doing low-bar back squats (which may be the cause), I would immediately stop that. It causes improper posture in the bottom position. Also try doing some Overhead Squats and Snatch Balances and hold the bottom position for 2-3 seconds. The second issue I notice is the bar path from the floor to the knee is too vertical. The bar should be making an angle back towards your body.

Clean - The cleans looks good. It just looks like the bar is making contact pretty low on the thigh. It looks like you're just initiating the 2nd pull a little too soon. Think about keeping your feet flat longer as this will help bring the bar up a little higher and make you wait longer before you accelerate upwards into the extension.

Jerk - You have a good "dip" and "drive", you're just over-reaching the back foot. Step out further with the front foot and don't reach so far with the back foot. In other words, try to keep your weight distributed more evenly between the front and back. You can do footwork drills without weight: just stand flat-footed or on your toes and quickly split like in the jerk, stand in the split and make sure your weight is about even between the front and the back, and also make sure your back knee is not locked out. You're going to want to keep the back knee soft to allow yourself to absorb the weight with your hips straight down.

Hans Kristoffer A. Graff
12-12-2013, 10:17 AM
Thank you for your (very) detailed response, I really appreciate it.

Snatch: The head thing is true. I stick my head forward to achieve a better lockout, but my mobility limits me, so I tilt forward instead. I don't low bar back squat, I did a weird hybrid thing until mid-July when I switched to high bar squats. Here's some videos from my max out on Monday if relevant:

The bar path is something I've struggled with since I first started deadlifting and went around my knees, which I still struggle with on pulls. Any cues on how to deal with that? More lats?

Cleans: True. I maxed out my clean today, and I reach full extension a considerable amount of time after the bar has left my body.

Jerk: Getting my front foot forward is something that for whatever reason is very hard for me, especially as the weights go up. I'm trying to better it by doing footwork drills in between every set, there's some improvement, but I've really only been truly aware of it for the past couple of days.

Blake Barnes
12-16-2013, 07:04 AM
Squats look fine. I wouldn't consider those low-bar.

Jerk: Jerk Balances may be beneficial for you - http://www.catalystathletics.com/exercises/exercise.php?exerciseID=193

Hans Kristoffer A. Graff
12-16-2013, 01:11 PM
Those do seem like they might work. Even with no weights, when I do footwork drills I tend to not get my front foot far enough ahead, seems like jerk balances might work for fixing that. Will try tomorrow.