One of my biggest pet peeve, in weightlifting, is missed jerks. According to Russian literature and coaches experience, the jerk is the competitive lift that is the most often missed. According to what I have seen around (in NA), it is also the least actively coached lift and the least trained lift. Now everybody will miss lifts – that’s part of weightlifting and we should all learn from that. However, some missed jerk attempts are so far from being save-able, let alone made, it needs to be addressed.
Many things in life are done out of tradition. What used to work in the past should work in the present. Only a change technical rules of the sport could influence majorly how you would want to lift a barbell overhead . In other words, although the general concepts of weightlifting don’t change much, the best technique will change – or evolve – according to the rules of competition. Over the years, weightlifting has evolved in many ways and the best methods are the one that match the current situation and rules.
This is the final part of my essay on the second pull where I ultimately challenge some of the conventional thoughts on pulling mechanics. In part one, I explained the relations between the second and third pull and I explained the muscle sequencing of the extension during the second pull in part 2. It would be a complete mistake to go over the pulling mechanics of the second pull without at least touching on the famous double knee bend. The double knee bend is the flexion of the knees in the second pull after they have straightened in the first pull. Thus, it is a pattern of knee action that we see in various degree in lifters. Should it be coached? Should this double knee bend be intentional? We shall explore this further. I want to give credit to Bruce Klemens for I used many of his pictures in this post.
A few months ago, I wrote about the speed and mechanical characteristics of the First Pull. Since then, I have wanted to tackle a few technicalities about the second pull. By most standards, the second pull is defined as the pull from the knees to the hip. In my article about the First Pull, I made the claim that the First Pull is a moment of ”force” whose purpose is to set up for the 2nd pull, whereas the Second pull is more about velocity. This is a series where I will describe the second pull as per the concepts of the third pull, biomechanics, muscle sequencing, morphology and double knee bends. Part 1 is about the relation between the second and third pull.
Every now and then, there is an article that gets published on weightlifting which argues that knowledge or characterization fine points of weightlifting technique don’t matter for most trainees. Ironically, these articles often conclude that technique is what matters the most and that it should be a priority. Different from what I usually post, this piece looks into why the fine points of technique matter for all level, and to a certain extent, it makes the case that discussion of technique with as many people that are certified, qualified, with experience, with diplomas, or not!- as possible is healthy, necessary and the best way to improve your ability as a coach or athlete.
I first wrote about the jerk last September. In that article, I reviewed basic concepts of the jerk such as the how the potential for stability varies with the base of support and the differential recruitment of the lower limbs during the catch or recovery. However, for some unknown reason, it seems that in general the snatch and the clean always get all the attention and the jerk is barely ever discussed. I am guilty of this too, since most of the technique articles I write cover mostly the snatch. I shall make wrong right.
Straight bar paths are not the norm nor needed for success in weightlifting : Review of the scientific litterature
Perhaps it is just semantics or it’s the popular obsession with bar paths that led me to write this article. Anyhow, If you are a weightlifter, then you live and die by the principle that at all time the barbell should be close to your body. For one, the closer it is, the more mechanical leverage you have : You and the barbell become what we call the barbell-lifter complex. The barbell-lifter complex has a center of gravity of its own, meaning that the heavy barbell pulls the lifter forward and the lifter is exerting tremendous force to not let it happen.
From time to time, I get e-mails asking me what assistance exercises I use, like or value in my programming. Assistance exercises should reinforce technique, correct muscular imbalances, create symmetry between the limbs, develop strength and develop muscle mass in key areas. Assistance exercises should not tire you to the point where you can’t put your energy where it matters (the lifts) unless you are in a training phase where it is acceptable (General phase). All my replies to those e-mails have included the following 6 exercises. I thought I would share it with all of you.
Weightlifting is a sport where your best performance has to happen on a very specific date – the competition day. On that day, the lifter has three attempts in each movement (The snatch and the Clean and jerk). This make it similar to other event-type sports, like boxing, where proper strategies have to be used so that the sportmen is in top shape on that given date. Simply put, the lifter cannot/should not put in a bad performance because competitions dates are limited. A specific approach has to be used to peak at the right moment. However, specific training comes with drawback – such as increased risks of injuries.
The popularity of Crossfit, as a mean of general training and fitness, has created (at least momentarily) interest for the sport of weightlifting. Whether I/we like crossfit or not, the fact of the matter is that a lot of crossfiters are seeking weightlifting coaching or looking to make the switch to the ”dark side”. As a matter of fact, most lifters I’m involved with at the moment come from a crossfit background. Coming from such a ”general” background to such a specialized training comes with a need to adapt. Here are some of the considerations for coaching weightlifting to crossfiters. These considerations are based on my experience and may not be reflective of the majority of crossfiters, but there are still lessons to take from this.