olympic weightlifting

3 Tips for Better Oly Lifts

At this point, most coaches, trainers, and athletes inherently know that if you want to get bigger, fast, and stronger, Olympic weightlifting exercises are a great one-stop shopping source. That said, if you’re going to implement a great tool into your program, you might as well get the most out of it that you can.

Here are 3 tips to get better leverage out of your Snatch and Clean:
1. Drive through the entire foot.
An error I often see in athletes new to the Oly Lifts is the inability to stably put force into the ground. This usually comes in the form of driving through the balls of the feet with the heels elevated. While triple-extension IS the name of the game, driving through the ball of your foot early:
A) Shifts the load from an even displacement towards the knees.
B) Reduces leverage by moving the bar away from your center of mass.
B) Forces unwanted backward torso swing as a result of B)
C) Reduces potential force production via less stable ground connection.
Push through your whole foot and get a better drive on the bar.

2. Close the triangle/ brush the thigh.
Whether you’re pulling from the floor, the blocks, or pulling from a hang position below the knee, there’s going to be a transitional phase that essentially takes you from a hinge pattern to a more athletic position in order to keep the bar near the center of mass and moving vertically. In this transition, the knees slide under the bar and the torso orients itself in an upright posture.
Once the bar sits just above the knees, there is a “triangle” that forms with the corners being at the hips, armpit, and where the bar meets the knees. You’re going to want to “brush the thigh” with the bar or “close the triangle”. Sweep with your lats rather than by flexing your elbows. This draws the bar closer to your center of mass, creating better leverage. Sweeping the with straight arms as close as possible to the crease of your hip sets you up for what comes next…

3. The bar wants to hang/ make it weightless.
The bar needs to be driven by the legs. At FSP, we call it big guns vs little guns. Because the closest attached joint to the bar is the shoulder, new lifters tend to want to pull with their arms early, effectively limiting lower body power output. Pull out those big guns and drive the bar with your legs. The idea here is to make the bar weightless with your legs so the rest of your body can finish the job by driving under the bar at its peak height (where it’s technically weightless), rather than try to pull it higher.

Put these three tips into action and improve your Oly Lifts today.

Coach Runner is the Owner and Director of Sports Performance at Full-Stride Performance. Prior to founding FSP, Runner was formerly the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League, a minor league affiliate of the NHL's Boston Bruins. Coach Runner was also the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Husson University Eagles, Graduate Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Maine, and a former collegiate hockey player for Plymouth State University. He earned his Master of Science degree in Kinesiology & Exercise Science from the University of Maine and is recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength & Conditioning Association in addition to numerous other certifications.

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