Category Archives: Quick Tips

Tip: “Jump!”

In the snatch, a cue that has really helped me is to think “Jump!” as soon as the bar passes my knees. I’m learning to completely ‘let go’ and succumb to the bar by actually jumping*. When I think and execute the lift by actually jumping (rather than perhaps focusing on the arms drawing the bar close), my legs automatically end up doing the work. When you jump, your glutes and quads contract (which is what you want) and your body goes straight up (and so does the bar – which is what you want!).

Don’t be afraid – actually jump* and see what happens!

I also find this cue useful when I’m driving on the jerk.

*you won’t actually ‘take off’ when there is a heavy weight on you but you can still mimic the movement

Tip: Smile before you lift

I thought this was a nice tip to give! Sometimes we go into the gym feeling demotivated, weak, and not really wanting to do our lifting. I have days like this. I have found that consciously making myself smile just before I begin my set of squats, makes me feel better, more confident and more energised.

Try it and see!

Tip: Jerk using a power rack

Not many people have the luxury of jerk blocks. You can use a power or squat rack as an alternative.

Some things to be aware of:

  • Rack height – if you are tall the bar may hit the top of the power rack when the bar is overhead
  • Noise – the sound of the bar dropping on to safety bars might be uncomfortably loud. You could put barbell cushion pads on the safety bars to dampen the noise
  • If you don’t use safety bars, be aware of what happens if you fail a lift – what is the floor underneath? Is there a platform? Are you using bumper plates?
  • ‘Confined sense of space’ – inside a power rack you may feel aware of all the bars around you and experience feelings of confinement or a lack of space, which can affect your lifting psychologically (and therefore technically)

Be aware of general safety. If you miss a lift inside a power rack, it could be dangerous. Proceed with caution.

Tip: Use smaller weight plates for RDLs and SLDLs

You can use the prescribed weight but make it up using smaller diameter weight plates in order to get a bigger range of motion and bigger hamstring stretch!

For example, 25kg weight plates tend to be bigger than 20kg, 15kg and 10kg plates. So if you are wanting to do an RDL/ SLDL with a 25kg weight plate on each side of the bar, the ROM will be smaller than if you used a 15kg weight plate and 10kg weight plate instead, for example: Continue reading

Tip: Lunge with your front foot on a weight plate

One of my favourite exercises is the barbell front racked reverse lunge. Now, one cool thing you can do with this exercise is to elevate your front foot. Don’t make the mistake of elevating the front foot too high though – just 2-4 inches is enough.

I use a 25kg weight plate as my elevator but most people use one of those plastic exercise steps. (I have a garage gym so I have to be creative with the equipment and space I have!)

Why this elevation is so good? The hamstrings and glutes are stretched even more (between reps as well as during reps). This is an excellent simple modification therefore for working the posterior chain even more than when the front foot is flat.

Tip: Change your gaze

Ever thought much about where exactly you look at the beginning of your Snatch and your Clean? I actually never thought about this until I was asked by a coach, “Just out of interest, where do you look?”

So, where do you look? You can experiment with your gaze and see if it improves your lift at all. I’d recommend for your gaze to be at a fixed point, straight ahead or slightly down. (Some people point their head and gaze up but generally this isn’t recommended due to straining the neck.)

Experiment with any or all of these and see if your technique improves!!

N.B. ‘Position of head’ is different to ‘gaze’, in this tip we’re referring to gaze not head position.

Tip: Point your toes out in the starting position

You might find it more effective to begin your snatch or your clean with your toes pointing slightly out instead of straight ahead. The positioning of your toes will change the positioning of your hips and shoulders.

(Apparently), many lifters see quick technique improvements when they point their toes out in the starting position of their snatch and clean. Continue reading

Tip: Try 1.5 reps to break strict press plateaus

For me, the strict press is always one of the hardest exercises to get stronger at. I like to do 1.5 reps for these.

If you are stuck on your strict presses too, you could try lifting 1 and a half reps to help you move up in weight.

How to do it:

  • perform half a rep of the press (pressing bar from shoulders to half of full arm extension)
  • bring the bar back down to your shoulders
  • perform a full rep through the entire range of motion

This is “1.5” reps and counts as ‘one’ full rep. Perform these at the weight you are currently stuck at for the desired rep/set scheme. Check progress in a couple of weeks. See if it has helped you successfully break your strict press plateau.