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Anthony Walling 10-09-2012 08:59 PM

Problems Changing Direction
I'm new to the lifts and live pretty remote so choaches are hard to come by. I have gotten some help fixing small issues, but I find myself yet again stuck. In both the CJ and the Snatch, I find my self hesitating at the top of the second pull. Which leads to me be being slow in changing directions/third pull and I usually end up missing the lift. I get extension just fine, I feel the weight "float" for second, but then my butt doesn't want to get back down under the bar. I believe it's a mental issue, but was wondering if there are exercises or movements I can do to over come it? Would starting from the hang or doing segmented lifts help?

I've done some research but couldn't find any posts on the subject. I have some books and DVDs but again nothing specifically talking about, unless I missed something.

I will try to take some videos of myself and post it later this week.

Javier Sanjuan 10-10-2012 03:09 AM


Yes, there are.

First, have you had this issue before? Does this issue occur only when you start to reach a weight that you need to receive the bar in a full squat? On top of speed, it could also be a confidence issue. I speak from experience when I first started. These few exercises/drills should help:

1. Scarecrow snatches and cleans. I'm not sure if this website has those as demonstration videos, but Greg Everett's book does and the exercises (along with the book) will help you start with becoming more confident in the third pull. To do it, simply grab your bar in your snatch/clean grip and bring your elbows up and outside until your elbow is making roughly a 90-degree angle while you're standing completely erect (as if you were finishing your second pull) with the bar as close to you as possible. This position is obviously a very high position, but it helps simulate where you'll be after the second pull and the path your elbows should travel as you actively reposition yourself under the bar. You can receive the bar in the overhead or rack position and ride it down into a firm squat if you wish to further build that confidence of being in a squatted position.

2. You will get the bar lower as you continue to make progress and build the technique in order to pull yourself quickly under the bar and remain in constant control. Eventually, you'll get down to the tall snatches/cleans, where the bar will rest in your "pockets" (hips in the snatch, upper thigh for the clean) and you'll do the same thing: pull yourself under the bar. At this point, you'll have a clear understanding of where the bar should be and how the rest of your body should react simply because because you've progressed from higher points. This exercise, in my opinion, is the best way to help build your speed under the bar. As the weight becomes heavier, you won't be able to remain as tall, so go to hang positions as needed (a bend at the hips, the slighter the bend the better if you're working speed under the bar)

Be prepared to struggle with stability and receiving the bar, especially in the snatch. The trick is to not get frustrated and don't rush your progression down to the tall position. Give it the time and focus and you'll reap big rewards.

I hope this helps you.


Anthony Walling 10-16-2012 04:56 AM

Thanks for the advice. I've added scarecrow snatches and cleans to my program.

Also, I videoed myself for the first time today. I was using light weight just trying to get down technique. I noticed my hips don't open up all the way, I guess I wasn't getting full extension after all. Is there a flow chart or order on what problems to fix first? Anyways, if you could critique my clean and give me any pointers I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm sure I have a lot of things I need to work on.


Javier Sanjuan 10-16-2012 11:44 PM

I'm not able to look at the video yet because I'm on a government computer. Once I get back to my room for a bit, I'll have to take a look at the video.

However, in my humble opinion, you can partition the lifts during your training sessions in order to continue to get stronger in the entire movement while training different pieces. If you know you have issues changing directions, work the scarecrow snatch/clean during your warmup and do tall/hang/block work in order to teach you the need for an explosive second pull and an active and violent third pull (changing directions). Then, you can work on heavy pulls emphasizing proper bar path and getting to that scarecrow position (elbows high and outside). In my eyes, there's no sense in being able to pull all that weight if you can't get under it fast enough, especially if you plan on competing in the sport. That's not to say that working on pull strength and all other strength exercises (like squatting) isn't important -- they must still be done so that when it all starts coming together, your progress can really start to take off. Every week, depending on your schedule, put the lifts together at least once a week.

Your day might look like this:

- Warmup (including scarecrow position work with just the bar)
- Tall/hang/block snatch or clean (this block is directly focused on your weakness)
- Heavy pulls
- Squats
- Whatever assistance/supplemental exercise you see fit

I hope this helps you in some way. I'll watch the video when I get to my room and comment again after I see it.


Blair Lowe 10-22-2012 12:37 AM

Go back to 2nd pull and eventually work the first pull. Fix 2nd pull first and don't worry about 1st pull.

1. you are bending your arms too much as you try to pull the bar back to your thigh for the clean. Slow it down and take it back to formula. Unless you want to be an arm puller for life.

2. play around with that 2nd pull like this. notice that as your torso becomes upright your knees go forward. Now do this with straight arms. I see a lot of people try to bend their arms and jump too soon before bringing the bar to their hip or thigh. Well, a lot of the newbies at the gym (bare in mind so am I).

3. I already sort of said it that you are jumping too early. this is because you aren't upright in the jump/hang position and are leaning forward. You have brought the bar to your thigh by bending your arms not transitioning your torso. So torso is still leaning forward with the bar at your thigh. So when you jump, you go forward.

4. Think about leaning back into the heels after you start the first pull. We could go into where the bodyweight actually is, but for now it's just a verbal cue. We don't want the weight forward to the ball of the foot.

5. Is there much Olympic Lifting in Japan?

Anthony Walling 10-22-2012 05:25 AM

Wow, I never noticed those things before. Thank you! I guess I need to go back and start progression work again. I think I will use video camera more too. Since I train on my own mostly; my only feedback has been feel and the occasional tips from others who have some knowledge of the lifts. I Would love to live near a good coach.

As for lifting in Japan, I'm sure it is bigger down south. I live way up north in the country/mountains so I haven't seen any advertising for it.

Blair Lowe 10-22-2012 12:03 PM

Hmm, a google showed me that there is Olympic Lifting in Japan since they medalled in the Olympics and went to the Pan Asia games. Some clubs are apparently set up at Universities.

Anthony Walling 10-22-2012 01:46 PM

Yeah, I received a list from the Japan Weightlifting Association of coaches. However, the 2 clubs in close proximity to where I live have since went away. I did find another coach about 2 hours drive from me, I haven't had a chance to go meet him yet. There is also a couple of Crossfit instructors on our military base, but after talking with them they didn't seem very knowledgeable or motivated to just train Weightlifting.

You are right though, most of the clubs/coaches are tied to the universities. From what I've been told; the government gives the universities money for sports clubs.

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