Olympic lifting newbie's technique to criticise
Greg, or other coaches, I'd really like your opinion;
Just recently started doing the olympic lifts properly in training (turned from powerlifting training to pretty much only doing mid hang snatches, mid hang cleans, behind the neck jerks and pulls.. and it's awesome!)
And I really want to get decent, or dare I say it, even good at them.
So any comments on my my technical flaws so that I can improve would be hugely appreciated.
First proper set of clean training (anything other than working with the bar), but still only 60kg;
My 'light' weight attempts of 40kg snatches (with my pb only being a mere 57.5kg so far);
And on a side-note, I really don't believe that I can extend or layback any more than I am in the videos... I literally will fall backwards
As always, thanks in advance
Not a bad start. Here are some things that will help make it even better:
First on both the snatch and clean, don't start so far back on your heels that your toes are lifting from the floor - keep your feet flat. Definitely more weight on the heels than on the balls of the feet, but you don't want to be waterskiing. When you lift the toes like that, more often than not you end up rocking forward farther than you would have been otherwise. You can see in the slow mo sections that during the entire pull, you're rocking forward on your feet. You should be flat-footed for the first portion of that movement.
Also on both lifts, you need to either move the bar into a higher starting position, or you need to learn to wait longer to extend the hips (I recommend the former for now). The bar is nearly at the top of your knee - it should be much higher on the thigh. You start both lifts with immediate hip extension, but it's too early for that, which is why you shift forward like you do and don't get as good of a snap with the hips. If you want to start at the knee, your first movement needs to be pushing against the floor with the legs to extend the knees more with about the same back angle; once the bar reaches upper thigh, you can explode with the hips and legs together. The idea behind the mid-hang position is that you're putting the bar at about the position in which you would initiate this final hip+knee explosion - but if you want to practice this, you have to make sure the bar is in the right position or you're just practicing exploding too soon.
With regard to layback, you don't necessarily need to. What's happening is that because you're opening your hips too soon, you're having to finish the extension with leg drive almost exclusively. This means that you can't generate as much speed, but also that you're leaning back for longer, meaning you will end up out of balance. If you stay over the bar longer, i.e. extend the knees more before you extend the hips, you'll be able to snap the hips open more quickly and achieve more opening with the hips without falling backward.
Snatch - In your effort to turn your elbows out, you've protracted your shoulder blades dramatically. You need to keep your shoulder blades about neutral in terms of retraction/protraction and slightly depressed with the effort to arch the back with the aid of the lats. From that position, internally rotate the arms to point the elbows to the sides.
Tough to see in those videos, but it looks like you're actively extending your elbows during the pull as well. Your arms should be straight not because you're straightening them, but because you're not bending them. That is, their extension should be passive and a result of the weight stretching them long without any resistance by you to bend the elbow. Locking them will make the bar swing away from you as you try to transition under it as well as slow that transition.
Overhead, don't shrug your shoulders up. Retract your shoulder blades completely - think of pinching the top inside edges together and you'll get proper retraction with some upward rotation. This is your foundation - if this isn't tight and solid, you will have trouble stabilizing the bar.
Finally, when you transition your feet, try to punch them back down against the ground flat. Right now you're dragging your toes a bit and ending up in a marginal position with the weight on the inside edges. Part of that is flexibility, which will improve, but you need to be more aggressive with the feet and re-establish your base immediately.
I'm sure I left a few things out, but that should be more than enough to work on for now. Good luck.
Thanks a lot Greg. I can't explain enough how grateful I am that you'd take the time to respond in such great detail to my post.
I am currently working on everything that you've said. And the shoulder protraction issue should not be an issue any more. But the others are on my mind each rep, and I'm trying to address them one at a time. Hopefully I'll get there soon.
I'll post a video or two when I feel I've corrected these issues mentioned, and hopefully some attempts from the floor also. And then I'd love to get my technique ripped apart again.
Thanks a lot again for your time.
I have been practicing on your suggestions each attempt. And I hope I've improved my technique. Predominantly attempting to not start the pull too early, but starting with the bar higher on the thighs.
I even have began to try to pull from the floor (which I was not doing at the time of the last video).
The first video of the post is a 60kg clean, this new one is 90kg (a new PR).
Here is the video;
I'd love to get more criticism of my clean, so that I know how I can progress and improve.
Any help on the first pull would be hugely appreciated too (though I can see already that I scoop waaaaaaaaay to early!). Didn't put 100% effort in past the scoop as I was more concerned about getting the clean.
As always, much appreciated.
Number one problem is those pulls you start with - watch what the bar is doing - it gets inches in front of you. You're just hipping through it with locked elbows. The extension could work, but you have to relax those arms, actively push the bar into yourself the whole time, and then pull the elbows up and out a bit at the top - not a full high-pull, but if you don't give the bar somewhere to go, it has to go forward, especially with that hip extension.
On the clean, same deal with the arms - you are way too stiff. The first thing you do is move your legs forward toward the bar. Punch the legs up, open the hips a bit behind the legs, and push the bar BACK into your lap. Even if you don't see how you're moving forward into the bar, you can see that you're jumping forward slightly. If you have trouble figuring out how to stay back, simplify and put a line on the floor, and move your feet 1/4" backward when you clean.
Last thing to work on is changing directions faster. You definitely hang out at the top of the pull too long. Punch the legs and hips up and into the bar, and immediately pull down by moving the feet and pulling the elbows up and out, always pushing the bar back in toward yourself.
I would say #1 thing here is to relax a bit - you look like you're thinking way too much and that's making you stiff and mechanical.
I know I'm pretty slow at changing directions, I'm not blessed with the gift of speed. I know that most advocate hang cleans for increasing speed in changing direction, but as I'm already doing those and still slow, is there anything else that will work well? Or is it just my technical flaws and stiffness that are slowing me down?
I hope I won't have to think about it as much when I get more lifts under my belt, and then can be less stiff also.
I hope as you didn't bring them up again, then my previous issues are not so much of a problem any more?
I seriously appreciate the feedback as always. Hopefully will be able to post another video when I feel I've improved, and get another beat down :D
It's not so much an issue of speed, more of timing - if you were slow extending your hips, for example, I would call that a speed issue. But the problem is that there is a delay between your explosion w the legs/hips and your pull under - you just have to make the pull under happen sooner, and relaxing your arms will help that.
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