Join Date: Jan 2007
ok, you dragged me into this one!:-)
yes i wrote that a while ago and its true. im lifting 28 years now and i believe this strongly, pun intended, that it is usually best to learn the sqaut versions first, for a few reasons. well really first, proper sqaut and pull positions should be learned first, then you can do whatever you want. tho you will fiind that the sqaut versions will have you handling 20-30% more than power versions, and are much more exercise in a shorter period of time - something most athletes that are training for another sport should welcome. i think of the full OL's as an acid test for the athletes squat and pull form, so if they cant sqaut clean, it tells me that something is wrong with either or both of those, and that is never desired.
thats really the key. proper sqaut and pull positions first. the overwhelmingly common problem is that either
a)people are unaware of proper positions when beginning to train, or
b) they are not flexible enough to get to those positions and if so are not strong enough in those positions to use them dynamically.
as to (a), as with myself when i started, i just grabbed it and hauled it up. having done heavy deadlifts with no training and being used to lifting with a rounded back, i just continued that into the clean. that was very dangerous, and as with any inneficient movement biomechanically, it reached a dead end as to the weight i could lift. fortunately, joe mills saw me in my first year and said "you keep doing that Valentino and you'll kill yourself. come to the club and i'll teach you how to lift". well i did. and come to think of it, last week, at 50 years old, i clean and jerked 156 kg, about 20 kg more than he saw me struggling to clean and missing the jerk with when i was 23.
as to b), this is very intersting. lack of flexiblitiy and the presence of muscular imbalances impedes proper form. in the last 10 years almost every lifter that has come to me has had the ridiculous "dont let the knees pass the toes while sqautting" garbage foul up their sqaut mechanics and ruin their flexibility. they quickly learn how tight they are, and that strength is joint angle specific, meaning they arent strong past the lowest point they were used to (above parralel), and are starting over again since they never worked that part of the muscle. many do not want to start over, and will claim that they "don't need" to learn those versions, or some other rationalization for poor biomechanics. struggling against yourself in poor biomechanical positions is very difficult, but that is not strength. that feels like your doing a lot, and yes the rpms are high and the wheels are spinning, but the car is not moving.
it doest matter what version you do, sqaut or power, the pull is exactly the same. but its not a power clean if you haul it up with your back in poor form. thats called hauling it up with your back in poor form. same for the lower back . they didnt get the strength from holding a neutral spine at the bottom of a sqaut, or the start position in the pull, since they were not sqautting full, or they were starting with a rounded back. so these muscles are not strong. simplyt film form the side and pause the camera clip in the critical position of the bar at the knees. if back is rounded and arms are bent there its over. now you can haul it up this way, but you likely cant sqaut clean it. thats why the sqaut clean is an acid test for a good pull. most see it backward and say they just dont need to sqaut clean. arrrgh. this together with poor posture that is common today, and muscular inbalances created form popular weight training programs that emphasize "mirror muscles". the partial movement of a barbell bench press, espescially when bounced off the chest , makes the already stronger internal rotators way out of balance with the external rotators - some of the muscles that keep you in position to pull and squat properly. that and lack of work for the external rotators makes for poor joint integrity, lower power output, and higher chance for injury. the answer is to forget the old positions as soon as possible, and gain the flexibiltiy and stength in the positions that are safest, develop the muscles and joints properly, and therefore give the highest results in power output over time - whatever sport you do. does anyone want to do that, once theyve spent lots of time working in another direction? unfortunately, not usually.
i really disagree with the statements that the lifts take too long to learn. ive never had an athlete take more than 5 workouts to learn both OL's fully from the ground and start progressing in weight. thats if he or she is a beginner with no preset motor patterns. the only time it takes longer if the athlete has to unlearn first. that can take months or years. doesnt matter tho. probly more important in that case, since the consequences of not learning the right form are more severe. and its going in the right direction that counts anyway.-g