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The Clean

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Guest ExperimentB76z

Excellent, thanks for your help DonkeyKong. I fully intend to move on to the squat clean next and then the power snatch and the variant of the snatch where you catch it with the weight in a overhead squat, all in good time. I'll post a video of my power clean in a couple of weeks for a form check, once I've had chance to practice these elements.

Thanks again!

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Guest ExperimentB76z

Sorry... had a play with this tonight and have a couple of questions, if you don't mine....

When I push my hips in and shrug up, am I coming up on my heels with a slight lean back? Occassionally I was coming up on my toes, and this felt wrong.

Also, when I was slamming my thighs into the bar, sometimes they weren't really slamming, my thighs were touching the bar and then the bar was off and up into the catch postition before I could get a decent enough whack to merit a bruise. Just wondering if a decent thwack is required and perhaps I am shrugging too early? I was only using the bar and the bar with 20K on (so 40k max), as it was a rest day.

I appreicate a video is the best way to get help, but I'm a way of troubling anyone with that with these new additions!

Thanks for any help.

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The "bang" against the legs is more important with the addition of weight. The clean and power clean is probably best learned starting at the rack position. If you are doing the PC, don't add the front squat when you rack the bar.

The key to the PC is where you are generating your power to move the bar up. Power cleans (and cleans by extension) are not an arm/shoulder exercise. The only thing your arms are used for is to keep the bar close to your body. The power is generated by your hips.

I've found this instructional video the most helpful to me: http://californiastrength.com/videos/viewvideo/44/clean/clean-how-to-video-part-one

There's some assistance exercises that they have videos for at the same site for helping with the second pull technique called "Dirty Dancing" and "Rock and Roll" respectively. Start with the "Dirty Dancing" drill to get the feel for the "bang" movement and foot position.

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It takes a LOT of reps before you can get the form right - I think John Broz advises people do thousands of reps with just a broomstick just to get the feeling right. The thwack will come with time.

If anything I come up on my toes after hitting the bar, but I also tend to "stomp" the bar too - so my feet momentarily leave the floor as I drop into the squat catch position.

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I'm trying to get the hang of that hip extension/pelvic thrust. Does anyone else have the problem of the bar slamming into their crotch or is it just me? Is this technique related or leverage related?

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Guest ExperimentB76z

I'm trying to get the hang of that hip extension/pelvic thrust. Does anyone else have the problem of the bar slamming into their crotch or is it just me? Is this technique related or leverage related?

<<puts hand up>>

Yeah, I do. My power cleans, much as I love them - and I do - are hit and miss, and I've found at the weights I'm throwing about (10k either side of 70 kilos) that trying to slam the bar on my thighs is more detrimental than beneficial.

Anyway, this is the best free resource (literature) I have found on the Power Clean and will answer your question better than I can. http://www.ons4u.net/SSC/w-PCtechniqueteaching.pdf

I'm just waiting on a book (which will hopefully arrive tonight) which is supposed to be good. Once I;ve read through that, I'm hopinh to put together some helpful pointers.

On thing I;ve done recently I buy a boom handle, so I can practice my technique a lot.

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So, when doing PCs the other night, I finally shrugged WHILST pushing my hips forward, as up until now I've always thought it had to be 'hips up, get in the air, shrug.' This new method felt a lot better, and actually had the bar staying hella close to me as well. Think I may have 'got' it, but we'll see.

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I'm not crazy about the idea of slamming the hips with the bar to learn the clean, because it just tends to make the bar loop away and come back and smash you.

I like the "jump backward" cue, because it gets torso lean/shrug into the movement and it really makes you open up the hips.

And Alex you're correct ^ all of that happens at once. If the traps don't shrug while the hips extend, the bar gets out in front, as the trap pull helps provide upward motion to the bar.

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Must admit I agree with Mike with respect to slamming the bar with the legs.

I have been 'taught' olympic cleans twice, once by Mike Burgener (Crossfit Oly lifting Workshop) and once by Giles from Bethnal Green Weighlifting Club (Crossfit London Oly workshop) and the latter one was where we were told to slam the bar. I really didn't get along with that, and I think it was down to a mental hangup about the bar path having a horizontal element in the general direction of my face/neck.

Mind you to put things into perspective I am totally crap at Oly cleans whichever way I try to do them.

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Nice.

lu_xiaojun.jpg

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Is that 190?! All the chinese are ripped to damn pieces...

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Is that 190?! All the chinese are ripped to damn pieces...

Looks like 210. Each of the red plates should be 25kg, and the green should be 20kg (if I have the colors right), and don't forget the bar at 20kg.

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Thanks for the clarification. Still getting used to the color coding.

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All of the chinese lifters are stupidly jacked, in contrast to some of the european or american lifters (even in the lighter classes). 190 isn't even close to lu's best clean and jerk of around 205.

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After watching this great video that someone else posted somewhere, I think I've got the 'points' of Pyros' clean

1 - Low hips, high chest. Very high.

2 - Keeping the back angle constant, begin to straighten out

3 - As soon as the bar passes the knees, dip the knees forward slightly

4 - Simultaneously shrug as the knees go forward and pop the hips forward as you jump and lean back

5 - Catch the bar

Does that all sound about right?

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Guest ExperimentB76z

Alex, after my considerable research and by relative inexperience, this is what I would say...

  1. There are lot of opinionated people arguing over semantics.
  2. Your stance should be approximately hip width apart.
  3. You should grip the bar approximately shoulder width apart. Or as a gauge, your thumbs when extended should touch your shins.
  4. The bar should be lined up over your toes
  5. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar.
  6. You should rotate your elbows out. This will help ensure you do not lift with your arms.
  7. Your hips should be higher than your knees.
  8. Your hips should otherwise be low.
  9. Your chest should be high and your arms should be straight (elbows turned out - above)
  10. The First Pull should be slow and controlled (otherwise you will stand to slow down your second pull).
  11. The First Pull is achieved by extending the knees.
  12. The weight should be on the heels.
  13. At knee height the Second Pull begins.
  14. The bar should travel close to the thigh.
  15. When the bar scrapes the thigh (should be near the top, but not fully extended) extend hips explosively and simultaneously shrug the bar. This is where the arguments come in about what type of power clean you are supposedly doing.
  16. If you jump / extend / whatever, too early, you will lose power / opportunity to get under the bar.
  17. Your body should make a reverse banana shape (so your body is leaning back slightly).
  18. When you're in the air you may want to slightly adjust the width of your stance to enable a deep squat.
  19. The bar should be caught on the deltoids with the elbows up high.
  20. Stand up.

I've probably missed something or said something that's not quite right - which someone else more experienced can point out - , but that's a basic clean.

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Is that 190?! All the chinese are ripped to damn pieces...

Lu Yong is pretty jacked too if you have time to youtube him. He's the guy sitting in the background of that picture of Lu Xiaojin cleaning.

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Nice.

lu_xiaojun.jpg

Is there a good cue for getting into the position shown in the top right picture?

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I guess don't "jump" too early...

I think it's hard to hit that position if you look at the lift as a dead lift with a jump at the top. There are positions you're supposed to hit as the bar is raised, and that's the last one where you explode from.

Glenn Pendlay outlines the positions well in his instructive videos.

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Guest ExperimentB76z

Is there a good cue for getting into the position shown in the top right picture?

The top right to me looks like the part of the lift when you should explode. Mostly I see people "jumping" at picture 2 or sometimes 3 (from the left on the top) which is not so good.

That's a good photo for showing the positions.

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