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Old 12-15-2009, 01:36 PM   #1
Zach Mitchell
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Default Opening the hips.

I am a newbie coach. In some regard I don't even think I should even be teaching some of these movements, but it's part of CrossFit programming so I do the best I can. I follow Coach B and Greg and other resources within this community.

My current project is getting a particular athlete to fully open the hips. What kind of drills can beat him to death with? Should I just be relentless with standing up with a dowel/bar? The Burgener Warm-up?

Thanks everyone.

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Old 12-15-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
Brian DeGennaro
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I like this drill:

Sn/Cln Pullx2-3 + Sn/Cln - here you want to focus on standing up nice and tall on each pull, but immediately relaxing as soon as you extend (no hanging out at the top). A good idea is to perform the first one slow, the second faster, and third the fastest. Take your time in this drill, do not rush each movement. Make sure the athletes get a feel for the movements and standing tall.

The only issue you may run into after teaching your athlete to fully open up the hips is he may start hanging out at the top of the pull instead of immediately changing directions.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:21 PM   #3
Alex Bond
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Could be the guy doesn't know how to fully activate his glutes, which is why he isn't opening his hips all the way. There are tons of glute activation drills out there, doing hip thrusts is a good start.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:41 PM   #4
Yuen Sohn
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You can also try jumping drills if the lifter is having particular difficulty responding to the usual cues.

One variation I've seen being coached at LBH from time-to-time:
-Position the lifter facing towards an elevated platform, a foot or two away (we don't have any plyo boxes, so we use a boxing ring)
-While holding a broomstick with a snatch grip, have them assume the hang position, just above the knees
-Then just have them jump onto the platform...they don't need to bring the stick to the overhead position or anything like that...just tell them to focus on the jump.

Of course, during the actual lifts they will not be "jumping forward," but this drill does seem to help people (who are have difficulty with conventional learning progressions) get a better grasp of what it feels like to go from the hang position to a nice, open full extension.

Now by this point, you might be wondering: Why not just have them jump straight up?
The answer: I don't know. I still get yelled at when I ask questions.

Last edited by Yuen Sohn; 12-15-2009 at 06:55 PM. Reason: long day=bad grammar x 4
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
Greg Everett
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sn/cln dl. hold at top. open hips slightly beyond 0 degrees. lean back on heels as far as possible without falling. feel that position - this is what he/she is shooting for at the top.

dl from hang position and find this finish position again, nice and slow, then a bit quicker. then snatch/clean from hang trying to replicate that finish position.

this works very well for most people. potential problem with jumping or pulls is that most people will extend too vertical and/or get stuck on the idea of shrugging, which will prevent that hip opening you're after.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:55 AM   #6
Michael McKenna
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I agree with Greg about keeping flatfooted during the pulls, it's essential to a good, strong lift. I tell my athletes to drive their heels into the ground at the top of the pull; I usually have them try to jump to get used to the exploding, then have them drive their heels into the ground right at the point where they would jump up. It's working so far. The younger kids get used to it quickly.

Like Brian, I'll have them sometimes do a pull then a clean. This works for older people who have inhibitions from bad technique or other sports and always go to their toes. The pulls that seem to work best are from the hang position (no blocks). I will, myself, do three stage pulls: from the floor, from below the knee, then from the hang, then clean. Doing these once in a while really helps me more with the back position/ angle than hip extension, but in my training, if I get the back position right, the hip extension comes naturally.

I just looked back at Gregg's post. I think, on occasion, squat cleans/ snatches from a dead hang work well with the finishing position, as the athlete only has that position to accelerate the bar and actively use their body to get under the weight. But these are always light (no more than 60 kilos fo rme, which is about 30%), and I use them mainly on off days.
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:56 PM   #7
Leslie Poole
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I use a bunch of different cues for opening hips- reference to a KB swing, jumping off your heels, clenching butt cheeks, tucking your imaginary tail, etc.

I'm also a huge fan of tall cleans and tall snatches. I don't coach jumping, because I see a lot of people donkey kicking. I tell them they leave the earth as a result of explosive hip drive. If that's not getting anywhere, I tell them to jump, I tell them to imagine their foot just got cut in half and to jump off the back half of the foot, rather than drive off the toes.

What do you all these of these strategies? Am I misleading people?

Last edited by Leslie Poole; 12-19-2009 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Thought of something to add and to improve grammar
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Old 12-24-2009, 12:24 PM   #8
Andrew Meador
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Get them to do some snatch grip deadlifts while standing on risers, as that will help strengthen the specific areas that are responsible for the opening of the hips. That's my opinion, at least for the very tall. Keep that torso relatively vertical.
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