Tag Archives: clean

How close should my bar be in the starting position?

When I first started Olympic lifting I was taught that the barbell should start approximately over the balls of the feet. If you read around on the internet, you’ll see that this is the preferred position for most people.

For some reason, I got into a different habit. You know sometimes how we might slightly change our technique without realising? This is what happened to me. At one point I was doing my snatches (and probably my cleans – but the effect wasn’t as bad!) with the bar over my toes. Of course, in Olympic lifting – especially snatches – a change even as small as that can have enormous consequences on the rest of the lift!

I will say though, that I’m glad this happened as it led me to quite a positive outcome in the end. Read on.

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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.

The effect of ‘toes out’ on knees during the Olympic lifts

I was always taught that my toes should be straight forward in the snatch and clean starting positions. I recently had a one-off coaching session with a coach because I was a bit concerned with the movement of my knees during the snatch and the clean. I wanted someone to check that my technique was OK.

The coach made an interesting comment. He said that many people find it beneficial to start their lifts with their toes pointing outwards rather than straight forward (the degree to which they point outward dependent on the individual’s body structure, what feels comfortable, and the effect on the lift).

When I snatch and clean, I have what you might call “a very aggressive double knee bend”. How this looks is that my legs almost completely straighten when the bar is at my knees, before my knees re-bend: Continue reading

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

Olympic lift variations when your lower back is tired

If your lower back is tired or if you have lower back pain, there are a couple of Olympic lift variations that might reduce the load on the lower back, if you still want to continue training them. Always check with your doctor however. And remember that sometimes the only remedy is REST.

The variations are: Continue reading

Choose your cues wisely

What cues do you use? What are the best cues to use in Olympic weightlifting?

As I am a consciously competent lifter i have the tendency to give myself many instructions. Is my back aligned correctly? check my feet? have I set my shoulders? have I braced? is the bar over the top lace hole of my shoe? It is endless. And then the coach says, “stop over thinking, just do it.”

So a good cue will clear my head and get me through the part of the lift that I find difficult. It has taken me a while to find the right single words that connect with me visually to elicit the right physical responses. Here are some examples:

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Tip: How to find your landing position

If you’re just starting out with Olympic weightlifting, you’ll still be fiddling around with the foot placement for the Olympic lifts.

There are two feet placements you need to be concerned with – the start position (where you first begin the lift) and the landing position (where you catch the bar in the squat in your clean or snatch). Continue reading

Do you reach the Power Position?

I never knew what the Power Position in weightlifting was. I knew about Power Snatches and Power Cleans, but the Power Position is something different.

As I understand it, lots of people do not reach this position naturally in their lifts and it often needs to be practised. The people who do not reach the power position tend to use their arms too much and bend their arms too early in the second pull.

It might be helpful for you to record one of your snatches or your cleans and play it back in slow motion to see if you actually reach this position or whether you miss it!

What is the Power Position?

The power position is the point in the snatch or the clean, where the bar is at maximum height before the triple extension occurs. In the clean, this will be at the top of the thighs. In the snatch, it will be at the hip crease.

I will describe the power position in four points:

  • The arms are straight
  • The feet are flat on the floor
  • The torso is close to vertical
  • The knees are bent

In a good snatch or clean, this position is reached naturally by the lifter.

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