Archive for “Hang Position” Tag

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 2)

 

Olympic Lifts and Foundatations

Young Athlete hang position olympic lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lifts in their training of athletes. Typically this Olympic lift is a power clean, starting from the floor. While this is appropriate for plenty of athletes, there are multiple variations in the starting position, that it can be hard to determine which is the right place to start.

 

In Part 1 I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the floor start position and the block start position. In Part 2 you will learn about 2 of the more popular hang start positions.

 

So lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of some of the Olympic lifts variations in start position.

 

Hang Start Position (High Thigh)

 

The hang position with the bar on the high thigh is a very popular way to start for both athletes and in training for competition weightlifters. This position is actually the one that is taught in many certification courses as a great way to train beginners on the lifts.

 

The start position is usually ½ way or more up to the top of the thigh but below the hip crease. The start position is nearly at the finish of the 2nd pull and will lead to a very quick and explosive lift.

 

Pros: This start position is excellent for training athletes to become more proficient at the Olympic lifts. The start position is relatively easy to attain because the counter movement is short which makes it hard to miss. Due to the high nature of the start position the speed of the lift is very quick making coaching cues simple, (“explode”, “Drive” etc,). As a technique tool it reinforces the 2nd pull and even assists in making the athlete more efficient at the 3rd pull, more so than any other start position for the Olympic lifts.

 

Cons: This is a great place to start. In my experience though many athletes have a difficult time generating much power from this start position early on. Technical difficulties for novice athletes from this position are usually things like, jerking their head back from the start, or over scooping the knees forward to initiate the movement. The correct start position is fairly quad dominant and doesn’t rely as much on the athlete’s ability to extend the hips as other hang start positions. As with other hang start positions multiple reps are difficult on the grip (not that big of a con, but still needs to be mentioned).

 

Hang Start Position (Above Knee)

 

This is a common position to see athletes do cleans and snatches. In fact, this is the primary position from which I teach my athletes how to clean or snatch. The start position is directly above the knee cap (or 3-4 inches above in the snatch).

 

Pros: This start position is easy to attain for most athletes, it mimics the pattern that they will go through when you ask them to jump as high as possible. The easy to attain start position and similarity to other athletic movement means that athletes will have early success with the lift. In terms of training this usually means that the athlete will be able to lift more weight, correctly, and sooner than with other positions. One big positive with this lift is that athletes are made to assume a more hip dominant position to start, training the posterior chain more effectively than hang start positions higher on the thigh.

 

Cons: Because the position is lower on the thigh, athletes that are extremely quad dominant in their movements have difficulty getting to the start position. Often times they will try to squat, or knee bend their way to the start. Athletes that lack lumbar and core stability will try to achieve the start position through a back bend. The longer counter movement actually makes grip even more of an issue than some shorter hang start positions.

 

Many pros and cons lists end up with a verdict, but with the Olympic lifts I cannot form one. All of the lifts have benefits and drawbacks, and some more so than others. Take the considerations in the last two articles to mind when training with the lifts and test each of them out for yourself and those athletes that are ready.

 

olymic lifts young athletes

 

The IYCA Olympic Lift Instructor Course gives you everything you need to better understand, teach, progress and implement Olympic Lift training with your young athletes. You will gain complete technical instruction and learn necessary skill sets & essential coaching cues.

 

click here

 

 

Missed part 1? Click here

Training for Power: The Top 5 Exercises for Athletes to Dominate the Game

 

Training for Power with Young Athletes

 

Young Athletes hang position

 

By Wil Fleming

 

My young athletes are known for explosive power, from middle school volleyball players to football players preparing for the combine all of them out class the competition when it comes to quick bursts of power.  Recently I put together a presentation outlining my favorite exercises to do just that.  I have shared a brief outline of the topics covered in that seminar in the list below.

 

1. Hang Clean and Snatch-

 

You will notice that I did not say the Power Clean or Power Snatch.  Power cleans are the staple of most training programs, but the key is by doing this movement from the hang position i.e. with the bar just above your knees.  This position is much closer to ones athletes actually use in athetics and athletes have a much greater potential for technically sound lifts.

The snatch must be included because it is such a powerful movement as well and can lend diversity to the program.

 

2. CHAOS agility drills

Much of the need for power in football comes in the reaction to a movement of the ball or of the defensive player, because of this football players must also have the mental awareness to make explosive movements as a reaction. Credit Coach Robert Dos Remedios for this one, but my favorite training tool for this are CHAOS agility drills (it stands for Conscious to unconscious Have unpredictability Active to Reactive Open drills Slow to Fast). The idea behind it is to have athletes mirror one another in specific patterns first and then to open ended drills with many different movement patterns, more closely replicating the actions of actual game play.

 

3. Kettlebell Swings

This is a foundation movement for any athlete looking to develop more power. The action in the kettlebell swing is founded on the idea of a hip hinge, this is important because most athletes need to gain better control of the ability to hinge at the hips.  Most athletes are very much Quad dominant and are losing out on the potential of their backside. The Kettlebell Swing does a great job of teaching these motions effectively.

 

4. MB Throws

Using medicine balls in throwing motions (chest pass, Side throws, Throws for distance) is a great way to develop power in the upperbody for young athletes while incorporating the important parts of hang cleans, hang snatches, and Kettlebell swings (hip hinging).  Delivering a Medicine ball with force is a great way to engage the core in explosive activities as well, generating force with the lower body must require active core control to deliver the ball with the arms, This transfer of power is important to all sports.

 

5. Plyometrics

Athletes need to be adept at accelerating and decelerating their own body at maximum speeds. Plyometrics are the first way that athletes can learn to do so.  Maximal jumps with a stuck landing will help athletes develop resistance to injury and will simulate many movements in sport.

 

 

There is a lot more than just power that goes into becoming athlete. It takes general strength, resistance to injury, proper conditioning and a well prepared mind.

 

Focusing on power will take athletes a long way towards getting to where they want to be.

 

 

 

High School Athletes Olympic Lifting Transition In 4 Steps

 

Transitioning to Power Cleans for High School Athletes in 4 simple Steps

All of my athletes become very efficient at performing the Olympic
lifts from the hang position, and I love that. This comes from a lot of
practice but also from a very specific and well refined process for
teaching and progressing the lifts in the hang position
While I rarely ask my athletes to do Olympic lifts from the floor, I
don’t however work in a vacuum and in many cases my high school
athletes
are training with their high school as well.  This
means that they are asked to do power cleans at the high school level.
Power cleans must travel a large distance from the floor to the
shoulder level and due to this long bar path there is room for a great
amount of variability in the bar path.  A lot of times this
variability manifests itself by very apparent changes in the catch
position, but the root cause started at the floor.
The largest variable that young athletes encounter is in their starting
position and just as we do with the hang clean, we have a specific way
to teach the proper starting position. As with any teaching
progression, it is important to build the movement off of patterns that
the athlete is already comfortable completing.

To get into the proper starting position we have the high school athletes
start in a standing position.

Cover your laces, brace your core
Getting the proper distance from the bar is a big part to getting the
in the correct starting position.  Often times athletes will roll
the bar around on the floor before the lift to “Amp” themselves
up.  We want to eliminate this.
Have the athlete approach the bar to the point that the bow on their
shoelaces is covered from their viewpoint.  From your viewpoint as
a coach this will mean that the bar is directly over their mid-foot.
Olympic lift high school athletes

This distance, is much closer to the bar than most athletes start and
initially may feel slightly uncomfortable to athletes. This position is
still far enough from the bar that it will allow the knees to be just
slightly forward at the bottom position

 

 

RDL to your knees

Young athletes

The next step for athletes and the first step in moving towards the bar
is to have the athlete make an RDL movement to the knee. Slightly
unlock the knees and then push the hips backwards. This gets the hips
back and away from  the bar. This position should look identical
to a hang clean above the knee position.  The core should remain
braced and any movement in the lumbar spine should be avoided.

 

Squat to the bar
The next step will apply another fundamental that all athletes should
be familiar with. From the above knee position, the move should
transition from an RDL to a squat. Rather than pushing the hips back
anymore, the hips must descend straight to the ground. By following an
RDL (Hip Hinge) movement with a squat (knee dominant) the athlete will
be able to keep their shins very close to vertical, but still have the
power of the quadriceps to lean on in their initial movement off the
floor.

Once in the squat position the athlete should be able to comfortably
grip the bar in their normal clean or snatch grip.  The athlete
should apply the hook grip to the bar and continue to brace the core.

 

Back Flat, knees back
Now in contact with the bar, the athlete will need to make a directed
move to bring the bar off the ground.  To do that the athlete
should be directed to drive through their heels and push their knees
back.  The knees back cue should be taken until the bar clears
knee height, at this point the athlete should have their knees slightly
unlocked (but not at full extension).
A common problem with the pull off the floor is a forward motion
of the bar to clear the knees, this alters the straight bar path that
athletes should achieve. By pushing the knees back we can eliminate
that problem completely.

The athlete will find themselves in a very familiar position once the
bar passes their knees: the hang clean/snatch start position.
Once comfortable with this 4 part movement pattern the athlete should
work to speed up the process while still hitting each individual
position.
While hang Olympic lifts should be a staple of the your training
program, there are times that High School Athletes will be required to perform
power cleans/snatches. As coaches guiding their training, it is our job
to equip them with the tools necessary to do those lifts to the best of
their ability.

This 4 step process to get to the bar while on the floor and into the
proper start position will ensure that your athletes are always taking
their best attempt possible on the bar.