Did You Read It? The Last Blog?

Did you read the article?  Yesterday’s blog. The attached link. It broke down “the clean” in tremendous detail. Nine pages worth the be exact.  That’s a lot of information.  A lot of very good information.  As I mentioned, turns out todays WOD just so happens so have cleans in it.  I know, I know; you’re welcome! Ha

As the article pointed out and we mentioned yesterday, “the clean” is the king of barbell movements.  The article expands on why it is titled as such so I won’t go in to that here.  I am going to throw out some highlights in an attempt to summarize the lift into “coachable” segments.  I’ll try and keep it simple, short and sweet.

First, let’s look at our set up. Feet are going to be underneath the hips.  I refer to this quite a bit while coaching and say “if I was to ask to set up for a max height vertical jump test; that’s where I want your feet.”  Once we transition to the catching position, we essentially want to the inside of our foot to where the outside of our foot was and our toe back to where our arch was. A foot width out on each side and a third to half a foot length back.  Our hands are going to be on the bar an inch or so wider per side than where they naturally hang.  This will differ between person to person based on anatomy but there’s a good simple rule of thumb (pun intended).  

The lift off looks much like a deadlift.  We want the bar in tight to our shins with shoulders over top or ever so slightly in front of the bar when viewed from side profile.  “There is nothing relaxed about the start position” the article mentions.  How true it is.  Another thing you will often hear me say is that the start position should not be comfortable.  If it is, we aren’t under enough tension.  Hamstrings and glutes should be wound right up. If I walked by and poked your hamstrings, they should be hard and flexed. Shoulders should be engaged back and down and your wings (or your lats as people who are less awesome call them) should be spread and flexed. Back should be nice and flat, core engaged. Head in a neutral position to the spine with natural gaze looking just in front of you. 

Once the bar is two-thirds of the way up the thigh we have our “explosion point”. Grip width determines exactly where this hits. We want to think about sending the upwards as we make a violent hip hyperextension squeezing the glutes to finish. We then need to shrug the bar as high as we can.  The bar has reached maximum velocity. The arms have done nothing!  To this point in the lift, we could have replaced our arms with straps. We can deadlift a lot of weight. We can shrug a lot of weight. We can not do a trap raise with even close to the same amount (trust me, I was a meathead!). The ability to move that weight comes from the power we put in to the “deadlift” and the “shrug” portion of the lift.  Once we are fully extended and shrugged, only then do the arms do work.  As we suddenly drop in to a squat, the arms help pull us down and around the bar to receive it. 

Receiving or catching the bar is when we need a really solid front rack.  The word “rack” is used because we are creating a shelf with our shoulders and chest.  The weight is not supported in our hands and wrists.  They are there to “babysit” the bar on our shoulders and chest.  Think about pushing the shoulders and chest up and making them full to create this shelf. This obviously requires good flexibility and mobility to achieve and is something easily worked on and improved on with consistency.  This bottom receiving position should be tightest point of the whole movement. Meaning our body should have super high internal pressure bracing and being in that bottom position. From there we initiate a front squat to stand the weight up.  Weight is in the heels (or our tri-pod foot), we need to fight hard to keep our elbows high, driving hard through the floor with our feet to utilize the hamstrings and glutes again. 

Stand tall. Drop the bar. Relax. Do the floss. Welcome to PR-Town. Population: you.