Olympic lifting is one of the best sporting activities you can do. No other type of lifting requires the same level of coordination, concentration and attention to detail as heavy cleaning and jerking or snapping.
Olympic lifts require coaching tips to develop the right motor patterns
In my coaching career, I was incredibly lucky to have been brought up by some true masters of the game. About two months after my coaching career, I attended the NSCA sports-specific training conference in Anaheim in January 2000 and listened to Mike Burgener teaching the elevators. I was intrigued by him and fell in love with every word that came out of his mouth (and his unique ability to kill us all with a PVC pipe in two short hours). I immediately went to see him and he opened his home and infinite knowledge to me. I spent the next three years visiting and assisting him with USAW certificates.
Mike not only has decades of wisdom to share, but also The cueing he uses can somehow get a room full of beginners on the same side. It is powerful. You may or may not have heard the following advice while teaching Olympic lifting. I created many of them out of necessity. They are my contact point for almost everyone and I have had tremendous success with each of them.
Keyword # 1: ice water in your veins
Olympic lifting is both psychological and physical. Anyone familiar with the Olympic lifts will agree that maximum attempts can be incredibly stressful and cause a great deal of fear. Therefore, many lifters want to foam up before a difficult attempt. This usually involves screaming and shouting, jumping around and trying to fire the attempts with aggressiveness.
I have bad news for those of you who do. Realistically, you want to do the opposite. Watch how senior weightlifters work out. They all have emotionless access to the bar. They have mastered a view of a thousand miles. Overexcitability interferes with the running of the motor program. I tell my athletes that they don't have to have an emotional connection to the attempt. When you have successfully completed the lift, you will get angry, but not a moment earlier.
Ice water in your veins.
Keyword # 2: commit to shooting your elbows
This keyword is worth its weight in gold if you are working with a lifter whose elbows do not run the entire distance when caught. I see it fifty times a day. Lifters must make a formal decision that no matter what happens, they will shoot their elbows as quickly as possible over the entire distance.
On some attempts you will see that lifters do the opposite. They have almost resigned themselves to the fact that they cannot get the weight and that the arms never snap into place. If this is the case with one of your athletes, you must convince them that the elbows are not negotiable. The elbows must be automatic and end at speed. Pull your athletes aside and convince them that before they even touch the crossbar they have to do a deal with themselves that they will shoot their elbows. It works out.
Undertake to shoot your elbows.
Keyword # 3: knuckles down
The feeling of losing your grip leads to a guaranteed failure, especially for young lifters. Grip problems are some of the first mistakes coaches encounter with someone just starting out. This is with or without the use of a hook.
In my experience with the thousands of lifters I've worked with, almost everyone naturally stretched their wrists slightly when they grab the bar. If you look at the position of the bar in your hand while the wrists are at any stretch, the pressure of the bar will move to your fingertips. Remember to pull your fingertip up. It's ten times more difficult than a full grip pull-up. If you haven't pressed your ankles, use your fingertip to pull hundreds of pounds off the floor. Knuckles Down does three important things:
Now that you have to bend your wrist slightly, the bar rests in the flesh of your hands instead of your fingertips. Through the gate you are in a stronger position thanks to a more secure grip. Using a hook handle (as most experienced lifters do) moves a lot of the pressure off the thumb. The intention to keep the ankles straight down keeps the elbows straight for longer.
Left: Right, ankle down; Right wrong. Ankle out.
Keyword # 4: Drive off the floor on the first train
The first move can be difficult for young lifters because they want to clear their knees for the pole path. If we don't teach this piece properly, beginners will either grind the shins with the bar or push the knees back without lifting the hips. Although we go through an entire section that helps these athletes recognize the need to clean their knees, in many cases it still gets muddy.
If you think about pushing the floor while standing with the bar, not only will the muscle coordination be organized that suits the task, but also the knees will be freed from the bar. Lifters have a great position and can switch effectively.
Drive the floor off on the first train.
Keyword # 5: shrug
It took me several years to finally teach the third train. I have noticed that the moment you tell them to pull themselves under the bar, your athletes will inevitably start pulling on the second move. And as Trainer B says: "When the elbow bends, the strength ends."
Until that cue came, I had come to the conclusion that if I only worked with beginners to advanced, I would not teach the third move. We used to teach the kids that shrugging was the last attempt to lift the bar vertically. Although we understand that shrugging helps raise the bar and gives us a fraction of a second more time to descend, we teach that shrugging is where the drop to catch begins. If you have a lifter who is ready and able to shrug your shoulders – as it should be – you probably have an athlete who is ready and able to fall into his catch quickly. Win win.
Keyword # 6: Throw your bridge in the corner
I studied Baguazhang for many years and was an offensive lineman for thirteen years. The "bridge" (or what we call the rear bridge pole) is this imaginary pole that covers the athlete's back from shoulder to shoulder. If you try to leverage an opponent in a confined space, you have a significant advantage if you can manipulate their bridge by pushing and pulling to gain control of their torso. Wrestlers, Linemen and BJJ fighters will know what I'm talking about, even if our terminology is different.
Know the bridge, throw the bridge to get better hip extension
To have a lifter finish his hips, we explain the bridge and instruct him to throw the bridge into the corner of the room where the wall and roof meet. For your information, the platforms in my facility are on the wall near the corner of the room. You could use a lamp or something similar if your setup is dramatically different. If you don't get this bridge idea, we can all understand the base of the neck. In any case, for a successful catch, we would like the hips to be ready and fully expanded to a slight stretch to deliver the rod.
Throw your bridge in the corner.
Keyword # 7: catch like a mountain
How many times have you caught a clean one just to be strapped down by weight when you and the bar meet? A lot happens, especially with beginners. They spend all their energy pulling so that they soften and collapse at the bottom of the closure.
I tell lifters who have this problem that they have to be a mountain on the ground. The structure can withstand the stress due to the full tension in the whole body. The image of a mountain gives them the feeling of something big and solid. Most beginners think they have a technical hiccup when in reality they just have to think hard. I get almost perfect results with this keyword.
Catch like a mountain.
Keyword # 8: feel your slants crouched
This impressed me a few months ago when I tried to generate more tension when pressing vertically. I have had several back injuries in the past. Much of the crafting that I do with techniques is based on the need to create structure and stability for my back. The more you obliquely compress the same side to create a pillar of stability, the stronger the overall movement feels.
Ascending from the bottom of the squat, most of us have to chase our center and strength from ass to grass through a very deep squat. Then come to this point, feel for your slants. Draw your attention to and lock your slants to create a pillar of structure for your midline. If you focus your attention on your slopes, the feeling of stability when standing up increases.
Feel your slants crouch.
We all have some bizarre clues to get what we need from our athletes. These are just a few of me.
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