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Most Common Weightlifting Mistakes & How to Fix Part 2
Last time we talked about the biggest mistake in weightlifting, “reaching with hips”. This time we are going to talk about “bar crashing” and “pushing jerks in front”. So often in today’s world of weightlifting, you will find an athlete that has all the strength, mobility, and quickness in the world. Unfortunately their timing is terrible. Amazing strength athletes will commonly get spit out of the bottom of a clean or snatch like a cannon ball.
I visited Muscle Driver USA on Saturday of this week, and Don McCauley said it best, “It’s easy to get someone strong, but teaching timing, balance, body awareness, and technique is the real challenge. James Tatum is a great example of timing, balance, and body awareness. James was an average powerlifter, but he is a world class weightlifter. He knows exactly how high to peak the bar, and then he is ripping under the bar meeting it nicely in the hole.
The biggest cause of the bar crashing is over pulling. If you perform the pull like we discussed last time, then the hips will peak the bar, Not The Arms. The bar only has to make it to the belly button region in the clean, and rib cage area with the snatch. Anything extra is delaying you getting under the bar. Even worse than that is pulling the bar too high, so that it drops on you like a nuclear bomb.
The key is to simply peak the bar, and then rip under it. Some great drills that will help with this flaw are: positions 1 hang clean and snatch, snatch and clean off position 1 high boxes and Angel drops. Position 1 is the power position that we talked about last time. The Position 1 work will only allow you to follow through with the hips, and then rip under. There will not be enough momentum from the pull to elevate the bar very much at all. This will teach the athlete that the third pull under the bar is the most important pull.
Here is a pic of position 1:
Here is a pic of the height of High Blocks:
Angel Drops are another drill invented by the black sheep himself, Jon North. The athlete simply assumes the finish position on the toes, and then rips under. Not a lot of weight can be used. Here is a video of Jon teaching:
“Pushing Jerks in Front” is probably the saddest flaw in weightlifting because the athlete has already completed the grueling clean portion. Performed correctly, the jerk is the easiest portion of the competition. The bar travels less distance, and the movement requires the least amount of mobility and coordination. Here are a few ways to ensure a proper bar path on the jerk.
1. Feel a shift onto the heels. Don McCauley will actually push people in the chest before they dip and drive, so they feel the shift. A lot of people think that they are on their heels, but in actuality their weight is distributed forward. This flaw will propel the bar out in front of the body.
2. Shoulders protracted and elevated! The launching pad should be the shoulders. All to often athletes retract their shoulders making the launching pad the sternum and clavicle.
3. Keep the elbows in place! This is the most common flaw on the jerk. As long as the shoulders are out and up, the elbows can be pointed slightly down. However, where the elbows are placed is where they need to stay. Rookie athletes will drop their elbows during the dip phase. Dropping the elbows will inevitably lead to a forward projection of the bar.
4. Keep the bar in the sweet spot! The sweet spot is as close to the throat as possible. Weightlifting is a sport of maximizing the use of center of gravity. The closer the bar is to the center of the body, the lighter it is.
A great way to practice all of these techniques is jerk squats. Here is a video:
I hope this helps! I want to see you all PRing next week!