Archive for “Knees” Tag

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 1)

 

Athletes Options For Olympic Lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lift 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.

 

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

 

Floor Start Position

 

This is the typical start position and the one used in weightlifting competitions. This position is the one that as coaches we see high school athletes using most often in their high school training program.

 

In this position the athlete starts with the bar at rest on the floor, and the bar should be close (~1-2 inches) from the shins. Athletes starting in this position should slowly, and under control lift the from the floor, ultimately passing the knees.

 

Pros: This position is the position from which the most weight has ever been cleaned or snatched, has been lifted. This is due to the momentum gained from the correct pull off the floor. Using the floor start position requires the athlete to increase hip range of motion due to the low starting position.

 

Cons: This position requires great hip mobility, and therefore, if an athlete is lacking in hip mobility they will typically gain this lower start position through an increase in lumbar flexion. Lumbar flexion with loads in front of the spine have been attributed to greater shear forces on the spine and a corresponding higher incidence of back injury. The typical floor start position also requires athletes to move the bar by the knees. This area of movement is one that requires great technique and for many athletes means that their technical problems occur in this area. More lifts are missed due to the first pull moving around the knee than in any other area of the lift. Poor lifts will have an S pull where the bar will move forward to travel pass the knee.

 

Block Start Position

 

The block start position is used often in the technical training of competition weightlifters.

 

The actual start position can be adjusted in height to meet the goals of the training session, but typically the athlete will start from a static stance somewhere above the knee.

 

Pros: Block starts are a great teaching tool. Coaches can specify the exact starting position that the athlete must achieve. This position is usually close to the 2nd pull (the rapid acceleration of the bar), and requires very little thought from the athlete once the bar is in place. Cueing the pull from a block position is fairly easy for the coach, typically aggressiveness and explosiveness are the only thing needed. The block start position is great for starting strength, no momentum is used and the stretch shortening cycle is eliminated. Starting strength is great quality to develop for nearly any athlete.

 

Cons: Situating the athlete in the correct start position can be hard for the uninitiated coach, differing starting heights require differing positions that are sometimes very dissimilar. Blocks can also be expensive to purchase or difficult to assemble, and therefore many weight rooms or facilities do not allow for the possibility of coaching athletes from a block starting position.

 

There are even more possibilities for Olympic lift start positions stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about 2 of my favorite start positions for young athletes.

 

 

olymic lifts young athletes
Learn More the Olympic Lift Instructor Course Today!

 

http://iyca.org/olympic-lifts/

 

 

Young Athletes: Teaching the Olympic Snatch – Part 2

by Wil Fleming – www.beforcefit.com

 

Young Athletes and Olympic Snatch

Jumping into the second step

The second step in our process is very simple. In order to teach the correct methods of activation at the hips, ask your athletes to jump again. This time with the bar in their hands, in a building block method cue the athlete to the start position and then cue with the simple word “jump”.  Using this simple switch word, the athlete will begin to extend the hips, within  moments of beginning hip extension a slight re-bend of the knees will occur.

 

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Exercise Programs For Kids and The Art Of Teaching Speed

Exercise Programs For Kids Speed Training

One of my favorite things to teach, both to young athletes as well as
Coaches, is the mechanics of speed.

 

Deceleration techniques specifically.

 

And that’s because speed is seldom taught as a skill at all.

 

Usually, the ‘speed work’ of a training session consists of some hurdles,
cones, sprinting and ‘plyo’ exercises with little attention being paid to
form or function.

 

Simply put, we don’t often TEACH speed and respect it in the way we
should.

 

Young athletes can (and should) be taught how to become faster and
more efficient from a movement perspective.

 

And in order to do that correctly, you must have a progressive system
in place that allows them to learn.

 

I always teach speed by instructing on the skill of deceleration first –
and I teach that from both a lateral and linear perspective.

 

Here’s my overview for teaching the skill of lateral deceleration for Exercise Programs For Kids:

 

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Young Athletes & Poor Technique

Correcting Young Athletes Technique

 

With young athletes who exhibit poor technical quality on a particular exercise or group of exercises, the best method of offering correction is often to become less dogmatic or predictable in your teaching method.

 

When teaching the squat for example, most Trainers and Coaches tend to take a ‘top down’ approach to skill execution

 

They teach the young athlete to set their feet and proceed through an eccentric-concentric progression.

 

The nuances as to why a squat may be faulty are many, but very often, it is the inability of the young athlete to get to and summarily regulate the base of the squat phase (the ‘hole’).  When inaccurate applications of force production/absorption are applied to the eccentric and ‘pause’ phase of the eccentric base (no matter how quick or seemingly inconsequential), the ability of the athlete to apply correct force sequences towards the concentric motion will be compromised.

 

In that, it is often the incorrect pattern of eccentric loading and ‘hole’ stabilizing that causes an incorrect pattern of force production through the concentric phase of the lift.

 

Many Trainers and Coaches will visually recognize the poor form during the concentric phase, but fail to recognize that it was due to incorrect loading patterns during the eccentric portion.

 

Having said that, a wonderful way to reform poor squat technique (as an example) is to start the young athletes in the fixed, static ‘hole’ position, and then proceed up through the concentric phase.

 

Have the young athlete assume a quality ‘hole’ position and talk them through what they should be feeling:

  • Weight back on the heels

  • Knees pushing outward

  • Neutral low back

  • Chin up

  • Chest push forward

  • Elbows angled downward

 

Do not be afraid to hold these positions for several second counts.  An increase in the static strength of this position can, and usually does, improve technical patterning of the entire squat.

 

Upon ascending into the concentric phase, be sure that the young athlete understands how to push from their heels, using the large muscles of the hip extensors and drive through the ground.

 

Repeated efforts of this exercise, perhaps over a single training session or for several successive sessions, will have a tremendously positive impact on the technical qualities of a young athletes squat.

 

So, whether it is the squat, lunge, push-press or any other compound exercise, think ‘BOTTOM UP’ when trying to create a positive change in the technique capacity of young athletes.