Archive for “Olympic Lifting” Tag

Power Clean Progression

Power Clean Progression:  Part 3 of 3 in a series of exercise progressions by Tobias Jacobi

In the previous installments of this article series we talked about the importance of progressions and the progressions we utilize with our middle school and high school athletes in the Front Squat and Pause Bench Press.  These can be found at http://iyca.org/front-squat-progression & http://iyca.org/bench-press-progression.  

In this installment we will be discussing our Power Clean Progression.  We will also give you the progression plan we implement with our athlete’s and recommendations for both middle school and high school athletes.  In the last portion of this article we will discuss some issues that may occur when prescribing this exercise and our rationale for using this particular exercise in our program.  

The power clean is one of the most beneficial, and controversial, lifts that a coach can prescribe within their program.  Technical efficiency isPower Clean Progression imperative for the proper execution and continued progress with the power clean, which is the primary reason we utilize the lifting progression we implement.  When learning the power clean, never sacrifice technique for more weight; this is a recipe for disaster and will eventually lead to injury.  Our 7th grade program will typically use 3 weeks for each movement, while the 8th grade program uses 2-week intervals, and our high school program uses 1-week intervals for each progression.

When discussing how to teach the power clean, coaches usually choose either a Top-Down or Bottom-Up teaching progression;  I have found the Bottom-Up approach to be most effective in my program.  The reason we implement the Bottom-Up system is that, in my experience, it does a better job of strengthening not only the primary movers of the exercise, but it also does a tremendous job of developing the stabilizing muscles used when performing the power clean.  An additional benefit to using a Bottom-Up progression is that if a hand or wrist injury occurs with an athlete, they already have experience performing the modified movements like the clean pull or hang high pull.  One unique aspect of our power clean progression is that we use a partial range of motion to full range of motion philosophy when teaching technique.  We have seen substantial success using this model, but I need to reiterate that this is just what works best for me and our program.  

There are a couple of things we must discuss that are uniform across the board when talking about power clean technique:

Grip: When using an Olympic lifting barbell, the athlete grips the bar a thumbs-length from the “power clean ring” on the barbell.  Also make sure the grip is always outside the legs, not inside.  If the athlete has the ability to use the “hook grip” we will allow it, but do not make it mandatory.

Shoulder Position:  The shoulders should always be “covering up” the barbell in the starting position.

Barbell Position:  The barbell should always be pulled as close to the body as possible, and is either touching the thigh when the starting position is inside the rack/blocks, or touching the shin when lifting the barbell off the floor.

Power Clean Progression

RACK PULL

The Rack Pull is the first movement in our power clean progression.  The benefits of using the Rack Pull as the first exercise is that it teaches proper body position for pulling the barbell from a static position.  When performing this exercise, the athlete must focus on keeping the chest out, lower back tight & arched, and lifting with the legs not the back.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 1 – 6 x 5 WK 1 – 6 x 5 WK 1 – 6 x 5

WK 2 – 6 x 4 WK 2 – 6 x 4

WK 3 – 6 x 3

DEADLIFT

We cue our athletes to perform the Deadlift movement exactly as they did with the Rack Pull, with the only difference being pulling from the floor instead of the rack.  One important coaching point  when the athlete lifts the barbell off the floor is to cue everything rising together;  the athlete wants to avoid the hips rising too quickly.  If the hips rise too fast, the athlete will then lift with their back instead of their legs, which is not what we want when performing this exercise.  We want to focus on lifting with our legs not our back.  

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 4 – 6 x 5 WK 3 – 6 x 5 WK 2 – 6 x 5

WK 5 – 6 x 5 WK 4 – 6 x 4

WK 6 – 6 x 3

RACK CLEAN PULL (Jump Shrug)

The Rack Clean Pull is the first movement where we add the explosive aspect to our power clean progression.  We teach the Rack Clean Pull by telling the athlete to perform the Rack Pull, but we jump through the roof and shrug the barbell at the top of the jump.  The arms should stay straight and cannot bend while executing the lift.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 7 – 6 x 5 WK 5 – 6 x 5 WK 3 – 6 x 5

WK 8 – 6 x 4 WK 6 – 6 x 4

WK 9 – 6 x 3

CLEAN PULL (Jump Shrug from Floor)

The Clean Pull is the first explosive pull from the ground in our power clean progression and is coached by telling the athlete to perform the Rack Clean Pull starting from the floor instead of the rack.  This exercise can also be used for athletes who have wrist/hand injuries that preclude them from performing a full clean.  The Clean Pull also is used for a regression for those athlete’s who bend the arms too early when performing the Power or Hang Clean.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 10 – 6 x 5 WK 7 – 6 x 4 WK 4 – 6 x 4

WK 11 – 6 x 4 WK 8 – 6 x 3

WK 12 – 6 x 3

HANG HIGH PULL

The Hang High Pull is our first movement where we bend at the elbow and hips to complete the exercise.  This is a great exercise to develop explosiveness for an athlete who has a wrist/hand issue but cannot perform a clean catch.  The cue we use for teaching the Hang High Pull is to jump & shrug into an upright wow (which would have already been taught) while pulling yourself under the barbell at the apex of the movement.  We teach athletes to pound the heels through the ground, which ensures the athlete is bending at the hips to get under the barbell and bending into a quarter-squat position.  Another added benefit of teaching the pounding of the heels is that it gives the athlete an audible cue to use.  9 times out of 10, if they do that correctly, everything else works properly as well.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 13 – 6 x 5 WK 9 – 6 x 4 WK 5 – 6 x 4

WK 14 – 6 x 4 WK 10 – 6 x 3

WK 15 – 6 x 3

RACK / BLOCK CLEAN

The Rack Clean or Block Clean are the same movements, the difference between the two is one is done out of a half- or power-rack while the other is performed off technique blocks.  The preferred method would be to use blocks if they are available, but if they are not then using the safety bars of a rack will suffice.  This is the first movement in our power clean progression where we will now catch the barbell at the top of the movement.  When catching the barbell, the athlete wants it to land on the natural shelf of the shoulders in the “rack” position.  This position is the exact same position an athlete uses when performing the front squat, which we would have already taught in great detail beforehand – see http://iyca.org/front-squat-progression.  When teaching this exercise, we tell the athlete to perform the Hang High Pull from the rack, but we add the catch in the rack position.  The jump & shrug into an upright row and pounding of the heels remain the same, and give the athlete points to return to if necessary.  Make sure the athlete allows the barbell to come to complete rest in the rack/blocks in between repetitions;  do not allow a bounce at the bottom of the movement because it will cause improper execution.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 16 – 6 x 5 WK 11 – 6 x 4 WK 6 – 6 x 4

WK 17 – 6 x 4 WK 12 – 6 x 3

WK 18 – 6 x 3

HANG CLEAN

The Hang Clean is just like previous exercise, but now the athlete is standing free on the platform and not inside a rack or using blocks.  Do not allow athletes to rock back & forth to generate momentum before performing the exercise.  This is not proper execution.  Focus on controlling the barbell at the start of the movement as opposed to using momentum to complete the lift.  The Hang Clean is where we will stop our 7th graders progression for the year.  Once they learn this movement we will focus on perfecting their technique for the rest of the year.

7th Grade 8th Grade High School

WK 19 – 6 x 4 WK 13 – 6 x 3 WK 7 – 6 x 3

WK 20 – 6 x 3 WK 14 – 6 x 2

WK 21+ – 6 x 2

HANG SQUAT CLEAN

The Hang Squat Clean is the exact same as the Hang Clean, except for the position of the catch.  When catching the barbell of the Hang Clean we are in the quarter squat position, but the catch in the Hang Squat Clean occurs at the bottom of the front squat position.  Performing this movement allows us to focus on getting the athlete under the barbell and adds some “athletic development” to the action.  To be able to perform this movement correctly, the athlete must be able to perform all of the previous progressions (as well as the front squat) efficiently.  Again our 7th graders do not perform this exercise, but our 8th graders and high school age athletes do.

8th Grade High School

WK 15 – 6 x 4 WK 8 – 6 x 3

WK 16 – 6 x 3

POWER CLEAN

The full Power Clean is the final movement in our power clean progression, and is what we have been working towards with this technical progression.  When teaching the Power Clean as before we just have the athlete’s put the Clean Pull & Hang Clean movements together.  Saying it in this manner gives the athlete something they can relate to since they have already worked through the progression, and can now perform those exercises proficiently.  When we catch the barbell in the Power Clean, we teach catching in the quarter squat position.  For our purposes, catching in the low front squat position constitutes a different exercise, and we wait to add that in later in training.  

8th Grade High School

WK 17 – 6 x 4 WK 9 – 6 x 3

WK 18+ – 6 x 3

Because of the high degree of technique required, many issues can arise during the power clean progression.  One of the most common we see involves athletes lifting with their arms or back instead of their legs.  Lifting with the back puts unwanted stress and strain on the lower back area, which can commonly lead to muscle strains and back issues, even with a relatively light load.  Using the arms creates different issues and will limit the amount of weight that can ultimately be lifted.  In some cases, the athlete may not be able to get into a proper starting position, which leads to lifting with the back as opposed to with the legs.   If that is case, and flexibility or mobility is the issue, then performing movements to increase an athlete’s flexibility & mobility is highly recommended, along with only having them pull from a position high enough to achieve the proper starting position.

Another issue that was mentioned earlier is athletes pulling with their arms too early.  The second an athlete bends the elbows, the ability of the hips to produce force is gone.  To steal from the great Gayle Hatch, “the elbow bends, the power ends.”  This is where having a qualified coach is really important.  Being able to dissect the issue and give appropriate feedback and instruction is critical, and is often a problem for under-qualified coaches.  When this issue occurs, we typically have the athlete regress to the Clean Pull for 1-2 weeks and pay special attention to keeping the elbows straight.  Using this regression has provided positive results in getting kids to bend the elbows at the correct time.

The power clean progression closes this series on exercises progressions, and I want to thank Jim Kielbaso and the IYCA for allowing me to share our progressions with you.  As always I look forward to feedback about this article or anything else that you may want to discuss.  I can be reached at tjacobi@strong-rock.com

Tobias Jacobi

Tobias  Jacobi has been a strength & conditioning coach at Strong Rock Christian School for 4 years and spent 15 years as a college S & C coach before that.  He spent time at East Carolina University, Charleston Southern University, Kent State University, Western Carolina University, Elon University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Cumberland University.  He holds multiple certifications, has worked with thousands of athletes at every level, and has spoken at clinics all over the country.

 

 

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Teaching Olympic Lifts To A Large Group

by Wil Fleming

If I presented most people with the following list, the likely response would be "Psssshhhht, impossible"

  • Actually finding a real live bigfoot.
  • Water skiing with no boat.
  • Climbing Mt. Everest with no ropes.
  • Developing a cold fusion machine.
  • Teaching Olympic lifts the right way to large groups of athletes.

Like the guys on Monster Hunters, the mythbusters, and Bear Grylls I beg to differ (at least on the last point). No, like a mad scientist hard at work on a world changing project, I am here to present to you how to approach teaching Olympic Lifts to large groups with no problems.

1) Have a way to determine if someone is ready.

Just putting any John or Jane Doe on the platform is a bad idea. Actually, it is worse than a bad idea, it’s a horrible idea. Aside from the technical know how that is required (which we will cover in a moment) there are so many physical requirements that putting a newbie on the platform without knowledge of their ability is absolute craziness.

To really teach large groups how to Olympic lift it is important to determine their readiness through your assessment process. The FMS gives us some important information about the movement patterns that new trainees posses but there are a couple OL specific ideas that are important to wrap your head around as well.

Expanding on the FMS and the deep squat test, I find that having an individual perform a full front squat with a barbell is perfect to determine their physical ability to achieve and maintain the racked position of the clean and its variations.

Standing tall have the potential Olympic lifter rack a barbell at the shoulder level with their upper arm parallel to the floor. This position itself requires great thoracic extension, and shoulder external rotation, and those that do not posses the right amount will find this position uncomfortable and difficult to achieve. Descending into the full squat position will give you back up data to support conclusions you make in the deep squat about thoracic extension, hip and ankle mobility.

With that information and the appropriate corrective exercises in place, 3 sets of movements should be practiced in a group setting to prepare individuals for the platform.

The hinge
The squat
Plyometrics

The hinge will form the basis for the starting position in terms of weight distribution, and foot placement, and the movement pattern will be used to accelerate the bar in the hang position, or above the knee in the traditional clean or snatch.

The squat will then form the basis of the receiving position, and the pattern of knees out will be mechanically identical to what happens at the catch. Have your group prepare by practicing both goblet squats, and overhead squats.

Finally, plyometrics are an important class of movements to prepare for Olympic lifting. The take off position teaches individuals how to produce force, while the landing position informs the group on how to receive the bar with proper patterns.

2) Have a ready made set of progressions.

Technical knowledge in the Olympic lifts is one of the biggest problems that most coaches see with implementing the movements in a large group setting.

While there is no doubt that technique makes the lifts successful or not, a simple set of progressions to take a newbie to a seasoned lifter is not a pipe dream.

The key in teaching Olympic lifts is to teach from a position that allows for early success, doesn’t require extreme mobility, and is easily relatable for most individuals. I am talking about using the "hang" start position for the Olympic lifts.

The hang start position for the clean and the snatch will be a much easier task for most clients than using the floor start position. The floor start, in the traditional power clean or power snatch, is one that requires mobility and technical knowledge that most do not posses early on.

Instead we use the following progressions of movements, each with their own individual teaching progression to use Olympic lifts effectively with new lifters.

Hang Clean –>Power Jerk–>Power Clean–>Split Jerk–>Hang Snatch–>Power Snatch–>Full Clean–>Full Snatch

Your clients can get great benefits of the Olympic lifts by just performing the first 2 movements. Progressing to the latter stages of these movements is not necessary unless you have great confidence in the abilities of the individuals you are coaching.

3) Know the corrections to make for common mistakes.

As technical lifts there are many things that can occur during the completion of the movements that can make the lift go wrong. If your qualification process and progressions are together there are not many mistakes that are outright dangerous, but rather are just impediments to maximizing the benefits of using the Olympic lifts.

Knowing common corrections to common mistakes will allow your clients to unlock the full potential of the Olympic lifts.

One common mistake that has an easy correction is jumping forward when receiving the bar. This is often a result of incomplete hip extension in the second (fast) pull above the knee. In turn the typical reason for this mistake is the athlete being too far forward over their toes in the pulling position.

When on the toes the individual is unable to get their hips to the bar and complete hip extension. This causes the individual to jump forward when receiving the bar.

While there are many other mistakes that can be made in the lifts, you can have confidence that qualifying the individuals before beginning lifting will remove much of the chance that the movements can be dangerous.

Conclusion

The Olympic lifts can hold a lot of benefit to your clients. Unlike many might suggest there is an easy and effective way to teach the lifts to large groups so that they all can become stronger and more powerful.

 

 

Fix your program: 7 movements you can coach better

Be A Better Coach:
7 Improvements For Coaching Strength Exercises For Athletes

 

BLOOMINGTON

 

In the history of man, and of training there have been more than a few training programs that have been passed off as the best thing since sliced bread, and a lot of them have been exposed as bunch of junk as we (coaches and fitness pros) have gotten smarter.

 

Training programs are starting to include better and better movements. The general public and athletes alike are shying away from the use of machines and moving towards training on their feet, with free weights, and tons of other awesome tools. Unfortunately some great strength exercises for athletes are often being done poorly.

 

When your training program has bad movements in it, your program is broken. When your training program has good movements that are being done poorly, your program is busted. To be a great coach and have a great program you have to know how to coach and implement the right strength exercises for athletes.

 

Even in my gym we have had to break down some of the movements we train regularly and figure out better ways to coach them and teach them. In some situations we have developed a keener eye for the movement itself and in some situations we have taken the advice of smart people and made some corrections to the movements we do.

 

Lets fix those busted programs. The next 7 strength exercises for athletes are awesome to do, but not when they are done poorly.

 

strength exercises for athletes 1

 

Hang Snatches

 

Lets just get this straight first. There is no inherent problem with the movement itself. Hang snatches rock. The biggest problems I see with athletes doing the hang snatch is in the initiation and completion of the lift.

 

Athletes that need to fix the initiation of their hang snatch slide their knees forward immediately when starting the lift above their knees. This forward weight shift will lead to an incomplete extension of the hips and typically mean a missed lift at higher weights or a forward jump to receive the bar at lower weights.

 

At the moment of the catch the athlete needs to work on a timely and powerful punch overhead. Catching the bar with poor timing, arms unlocked with a press out following, is going to lead to a ton of missed lifts.

 

Box Jumps

 

As a movement in and of itself the box jump is pretty awesome. It gives athletes a target by which they can measure progress and reduces the impact of landing from a jump. That being said there are TWO big problems that need to be fixed when athletes are doing box jumps.

 

Problem 1: Jumping down from the top of the box. When we get down to it one of our benefits of using a box jump is the reduction of the impact of landing from a maximal effort jump. Why then, may I ask you, does it make any sense to jump down from the box? The answer is it doesn’t. Make your athletes create a path down from the box and step down.

 

Problem 2: Jumping on a box that is too high. Our goal while training athletes should be to provide them with opportunities to safely improve techniques that are applicable in the field of play. Jumping on boxes that require the athlete to pull their knees to their chest does not accomplish this task. Instead it creates an unsafe movement patterns, and will eventually ruin the athlete’s chances of becoming a shin model in the future.

 

Rotational MB Throws

 

For the most part I think that many programs are seriously lacking in work in the transverse plane, there is so much work done in the sagittal plane that athletes are hampered in their ability to move rotationally. There is much to be said about mastering the sagital plane first but for athletes that compete in rotational sports, learning the right way to deliver power rotationally is very important

 

The problem that I see all too often is rotational power being produced through movement in the lumbar spine. Regardless of what your opinion is about how much movement should come in the lumbar region, it definitely isn’t a region that is made for producing power. Rotational medicine ball throws need to occur through movement that originates in the lower body, and is expressed through the upper body, a stable lumbar region is key to making sure that the most power is transferred. Pay attention to the back foot on rotational movements to ensure that the movement is starting with the lower body.

 

strength exercises for athletes 2

 

Chin Ups

 

Lets all get together and say what we are thinking right now. Chin ups should never again be denoted as “chest to bar chin ups” because really, what’s the point in pulling only your chin past the bar? Chest to bar needs to be the standard from now on.

 

Doing chin ups, and pull ups for that matter, that go only to chin above the bar miss out on much of the great functional portion of the movement. When doing the partial movement there is little low trap involvement. Going a little functional anatomy on you, low traps are largely responsible for scapular depression, going only to the chin above the bar is primarily a movement dominated by the lats.

 

strength exercises for athletes 3

 

Trap Bar Deadlift

 

The trap bar deadlift is a great movement, but it doesn’t readily fit into the categories of movement that we like to use to create our training programs. Is it a squat pattern or is it a hinge pattern?

 

My personal preference is to make it a hinging pattern. Quite simply most athletes get plenty of squatting patterns in their training without our assistance. Making the trap bar a hinge pattern can alleviate this issue.

 

Teach athletes to do the trap bar deadlift just as you would teach them to go to the ground in the power clean. Hinge first (RDL) then squat until their hands are on the handles. Drive through the heels, keeping the knees back on initiation and then finish with hip extension.

 

Split Squats

 

Split squats are good right?

 

To me it all really depends on how you do them. As I have done coached this movement more and more I have realized that the tendency of most athletes while training is to let the knee slide forward very quickly after the getting them set up in the start position.

 

Cueing athletes out of this movement can correct the problem for many athletes, but we have adopted a solution that can fix this problem for EVERY athlete.

 

The concept of blocking a movement to prevent the incorrect pattern can be adopted for most any movement, while I was a thrower we would do this to prevent unwanted technical problems in the shot put and hammer throw by placing a physical barrier between myself and the bad pattern.

 

With the split squat we use a bench or a band stretched across a rack to prevent the knee from moving forward. In the bottom, 90-90 position the athlete’s front knee should be in contact with the bench. Push up and down from that position.

 

Power Clean starts

 

The start on the power clean is one of the most commonly butchered movements in the weightroom. Among many pre-lift rituals that can put athletes in terrible positions, the lift-off from the floor is often misunderstood.

 

While the bar is on the floor it is a distinct unit from the body, meaning that both the body and the bar have their own center of gravity. The bar’s center of gravity is always in front of the lifter’s while the bar is on the floor. The goal when lifting the bar off the ground is to link those two centers of gravity. This means that upon lift-off the bar must move back and up toward the athlete and not vertically (and definitely not forward).

 

Many athletes don’t get this right and always pull the bar in front of the body, and are unable to reach full hip extension in the final portion of the lift.

 

Fix these problems and your program might not be perfect but you are on your way to getting the most out of some awesome movements.

 

If you are interested in how to program these strength exercises for athletes into your programs I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Complete Athletic Development. This best-selling IYCA product will breakdown everything you need to know about training athletes and preparing to be their best.

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Should Your Young Athletes Be Doing Power Cleans?

 

Young Athletes: Are Power Cleans with an Efficient Use of Our Time?

 

Young Athletes

 

By Jim Kielbaso

 

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence and personal experience that comes into play when strength and conditioning coaches select strength training exercises, speed drills or conditioning routines for young athletes. The risk vs. reward scale is a great place to start, but not the only factor that should be considered. As a professional, I believe it is my ethical responsibility to prescribe safe exercises. But, according to the thought processes I’ve been hearing lately, it seems like a lot of people believe there are no bad exercises, just bad implementation. I understand the point to a degree, but I disagree. Risk vs. reward is one reason I feel this way, but there is another factor I weigh when making decisions.

 

Another ethical responsibility I think we all have is to implement “efficient” programs, and that is something I see missing more often than not. What I mean by that is that I think a lot of trainers waste time and energy doing things that won’t necessarily elicit the response with the young athletes that they’re after. I can see where someone may think “well, it might help, so I’ll implement it a little.” I can see that, but I hate to see coaches spending an inordinate amount of time on things that we’re not sure work better than other alternatives.

 

Let’s take the Power Clean as an example. Olympic lifting is a sport. There is a governing body and athletes compete against one another in the lifts. It’s possible that the lifts develop power, but it has never been shown that they develop power better than other alternatives. In my opinion, some of the alternatives such as dumbbell/trap bar squat jumps, pulls, DB pulls, and plyometrics are also much easier to teach and are much safer to implement and will elicit the same result. I’ve heard many coaches talk about how the catch is the most critical part of the clean to work on because that’s where the problems will be seen. The catch is also completely unnecessary, from a physiological standpoint, for developing power. Yet, as strength coaches, our romantic enchantment with the exercise keeps us doing it.

 

You’d think that if the exercise was SO great for young athletes that the rewards completely outweighed the risks, we’d have plenty of research showing just that. We don’t. We don’t have anything. It’s simply not out there.

 

Now, it might develop power. Let’s put that aside and think about whether or not it is efficient? How long does it take to get an athlete good enough at the lifts that they can actually derive the benefits? How much coaching and supervision does it take compared to, say, a squat jump? How safely will it be done when we’re not around or another coach is supervising? How many sets and reps are required to 1. Become proficient and 2. Get more powerful? We don’t know. And, is moving a bar with heavier weight even going to transfer to sport?

 

Hmmm. Again, we have no idea. What I do know are many professional strength coaches who tell me it takes them months to get their young athletes proficient enough at the clean that they no longer require daily instruction.

 

The principle of specificity states that in order for one skill to transfer to another, they need to be kinetically and kinematically the same for transfer to occur. The clean has been shown by Canavan to be dissimilar to a vertical jump, which is what is commonly argued as the movement it is most like. If it’s not like a VJ, then it’s nowhere near any other sport movement. So, is the transfer gone? I don’t know, but this principle seems to point in that direction. The principle also states that if x gets you better at y, then y should get you better at x. Playing a sport or practicing jumping does not make you better at the clean, so why do we expect the clean to get us better at a sport?

 

So, if we have no idea if it’s going to help us in sport, it takes a lot of time and energy to coach and implement, and it can be dangerous if done with slightly poor technique, is it an efficient way to spend our young athlete’s time? I have an opinion, but I don’t know the answer. I can kind of understand the argument that it helps prepare for sport, but is it efficient?

 

What I do know, is that gymnasts are incredibly powerful, flexible, and have great core strength and balance. So, should we all go through certifications for gymnastics and start implementing them with other young athletes because we want them to have all of those things? I would say that would be a poor use of our time. I know that jugglers have amazing hand-eye coordination. Should we implement juggling into our programs because we want our athletes to have that kind of coordination? Again, probably a waste of our time. So, why do we train for one sport to get better at another?

 

So, forget about whether the clean is safe or not. There are plenty of arguments either way. But, is it efficient?

Is it the best use of our time with young athletes?

Do we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is the best use of our time? In my opinion, if we can get the same result in half the time, why not use that option? I use the same thought process when determining workout volume. If I can get the same results in 45 minutes, 3 days a week, why would I ask my young athletes to train 2 hours a day, 4 days a week? But, many coaches do. I think it’s our responsibility to figure out how to maximize results in minimal time. Most young athletes are not professional strength athletes. They want to play their sport and should spend their time doing so. We should be with them the minimum amount of time possible and still get results. It’s like a prescription drug. A doctor is supposed to find the lowest dosage possible to get the desired response. As strength and conditioning professionals, I believe we should take the same approach when determining which exercises to include in our programs.

 

 

 

Training Olympic Lifting in Younger Populations

Training Olympic Lifting

by Wil Fleming – www.beforcefit.com

 

How soon should you start training Olympic lifting technique in young athletes?

My answer? As soon as the athlete walks in your door. 

olympic lifts

As soon as a young athlete starts training at my facility we are either doing the Olympic lifts or preparing them to eventually perform the lifts.

 

I do not advocate loading up a bar and telling younger athletes to start cleaning and snatching immediately, but I do advocate training the technique and qualities that produce great Olympic lifts later in training. Athletes at any age must learn how to properly create and absorb force. Teaching the young athlete how to produce force from the ground up is not only important to their athletic endeavors later in life, but also serves the purpose of learning the basics of the pull in both the clean and the snatch.

 

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Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes: Hang Cleans for Dramatic Athletic Improvement

 

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

I was speaking yesterday to a fellow strength and conditioning professional and the question came up “Do you like to do cleans from the floor or from the hang?”

 

Considering that my first experiences with training came at the age of 15 in an Olympic lifting club where we competed regularly in the sport of Olympic lifting, you might just assume that my answer is from the floor. It was what I was first introduced to and where I cut my teeth in training. It turns out though that the answer is not in line with traditional thinking. I choose the hang clean for all of my athletes (For the most part).

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

I choose the hang clean because for nearly all Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes it is the position from which they will complete most of their athletic skills. The start position from the floor is essentially a rolling start and the last time I checked linemen in football don’t get to take a running start to the line.. The response to this line of thought mostly comes in the form of, “Well I don’t ever get in a full squat position while pole vaulting/playing tennis, etc etc, So are you suggesting that I don’t ever squat?” The answer is emphatically, undeniably that……

 

Well they are missing the point. What we train by doing Olympic lifts from a hang starting position is the quality that often makes athletes successful not the specific movement pattern.

 

Olympic Lifting from the floor is a sport, and good Olympic lifters are built for and made up to be good at that sport. You probably wouldn’t make a 5’10” Olympic Lifter a basketball player to improve their Olympic lifting, so why make a 6’6″ basketball player an Olympic lifter to improve their sport?

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

All this said, I do have my athletes train movements from the floor for increased hip mobility and for some variation in their training program over the course of a typical program, but for the most part the focus is on developing the hang clean and hang snatch to the fullest.

 

The hang clean is a perfect way to overcome the difficulties in teaching and the physical limitations of many athletes. By starting from the above knee position the athlete can take advantage of the strong stretch shortening cycle and maximize their potential pulling power. I believe that the ability to move a load quickly and explosively is absolutely essential to being a good athlete. The hang clean is by far the best way to learn and develop this skill.

 

Where do you have your athletes start their cleans? I want to know…

 

You absolutely need to have progressive training systems in place for all areas of your programs. Speed, strength, power and especially if you are using Olympic Lifting with young athletes!

 

If you want to know how to start using Olympic lifting with young athletes in your program check out the Olympic lifting instructors course.

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

 

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