The Art of Weightlifting

Olympic Weightlifting has been around for a  long time. It was introduced to the Olympics in 1896. At that time they had not only the traditional lifts that we have today, they also had single arm lifts. This is the only type of weightlifting that has ever been a part of the Summer Olympic Games.

Many of you stay far away from the gym on days that you see: “Work up to a 1 RM Snatch.” We get it, this lift is very humbling because it does require flexibility, balance, speed, and a hell of a lot of coordination. I used to feel the same way; every time I would complete the Snatch I would feel like it was an attack on all of my inefficiencies: “You are pulling to early with your arms”, “The bar is drifting too far away from your body”, “Your hips are shooting up too early”. I felt like I was never going to get it right. In the last year it all has started to really click. I will tell you why…

I started practicing a lot with a light barbell and no weight. The repetition over and over helped tremendously. When there is no weight it is really easy to see your flaws because the weight is light enough that you can slow down the movement. Instead of just going through the motions while you are drilling in classes, really think about making the movement as perfect as possible. I realize for some of you this is overwhelming because there are so many things to remember in the Snatch and Clean it’s hard to keep it all in check. Let’s break it down.

oly progressions

1. Starting position: If your starting position is off, then the lift is going to be off. Whether it be pulling early, jumping forward, swinging the bar in front, or loss of power all can be attributed to a poor set up. Here are some key points:
a. Weight in the heals and mid-foot
b. Feet shoulder width apart, slightly turned out
c. Shoulders positioned slightly in front of the bar
d. Bar 1 inch from shins over your laces
e. Shoulders pulled back, chest and eyes forward
f. Tighten the body as much as possible (tension on the bar)

2. Pick-up: This is your first pull. From below the knee to mid-thigh.
a. Hips and shoulders rise together
a. Back angle should remain the same until mid-thigh
b. Weight in heals and mid-foot
c. Hamstrings remain loaded
d. Shoulders remain over the bar
e. Arms remain straight

3. Second Pull: This above the knee to the hip.
a. This is when you want to pick up speed and start to pull the body in an upright position
b. The hamstrings should be turned on, ready to launch

3. Triple Extension: This is where we jump- the jump should start in the mid-foot and travel into the toes. If you start too far forward you will be chasing the bar out in front.
a. Hip contact does matter. If you are cleaning the contact should be at the upper thigh. If you are snatching it is at the crease of the hip.
b. When making contact you should be shrugging straight up. If you lean too far back the bar will travel out in front.
c. At the same time as the hip contact the body hits 3 points of extension of the lower body- ankles, knees, and hips.
d. Along with the lower body extension, the arms should still be straight as you aggressively shrug immediately after the dip/drive of the jump.

4. The Catch: The shrug is not to get the bar going up, it is to initiate the pull UNDER the bar.
a. This is where we change direction
b. In the catch the feet should move from the jump position (under hips) to the land position (shoulder width). If you do not move your feet you are shorting the power in your extension significantly.
c. In the snatch the arms should be locked out and your head should come through before the feet hit the floor. On the clean the elbows should come through before the feet hit the floor.
d. On the snatch your wrists should be cocked back in the finish position. This allows for more lat activation and shoulder stability.

Clean and Jerk

Open WOD 13.5/12.5
Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes following the rep scheme below:
100 pound Thruster, 3 reps
3 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 6 reps
6 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 9 reps
9 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 12 reps
12 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 15 reps
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 18 reps
18 Chest to bar Pull-ups
100 pound Thruster, 21 reps
21 Chest to bar Pull-ups…

Level 2 (75,55)
Level 1 (65,35)

Or ( for those that have done 13.5 AND expect to get past the 4 minutes)

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 4 minutes of:
100 pound Thruster, 15 reps
15 Chest to bar Pull-ups
If 90 reps (3 rounds) are completed in under 4 minutes, time extends to 8 minutes.
If 180 reps (6 rounds) are completed in under 8 minutes, time extends to 12 minutes.
If 270 reps (9 rounds) are completed in under 12 minutes, time extends to 16 minutes. Etc.

Partner up and have one athlete judge the other athletes repetitions