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Clean Critique
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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Weightlifting Forum Forum Index -> Coaching, Technique & Training Programs
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Weights_Admin
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Joined: 01 Jan 1970
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Location: N. Ireland or Arkansas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a tough question in various ways. Not many people are particularly content in spending a large number of months doing technique work when being introduced to the sport and therefore drop out or move away.

I think there should be a happy medium where there is a large emphasis on technique at the beginning but you also can work up to sub maximal weights where the technique is not being affected.

You will meet many strong guys around but due to poor technique they cannot complete lifts that a weaker guy with better technique can lift. For example we have a visiting lifter in the gym this week who has come from a powerlifting background and has good flexibility. Leg and lower back strength would be similar to me and I would say his technique is average but he is lifting significantly less than me. In addition my snatch technique was not brilliant and it was frustrating losing lifts due to technique rather than strength even after lifting for a number of years so having a well honed technique is something that may seem to take months to master but I think you will reap the benefits later on when you will progress quicker as technique will be great and only strength will need to be improved upon.

Quote from one younger lifter last night after trying to power clean a weight and I asked him why he did not squat clean it 'It was too heavy to go down low'
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the tricky questions!! It's something to think about if nothing else.

I think where my raw squat, deadlift and shoulder strength is at now is probably more than enough to put up a 140 clean and jerk, and get close to a 100kg snatch (a guy posted a 95 sn on fortfied iron today and his best squat's 136kg, I've squatted 160x6, pressed 75x5 and deadlift 230 conventional stance as points of reference). But as you said, technique is what is going to be my limiting factor for now. It's annoying knowing that I'll have to work on it and not spend time getting stronger but higher volume with lower percentages is probably good for the stage I'm at now.

Although.... assuming the majority of training lifts are done at a manageable %, then does working up every so often to the point where form breaks down (but you're still capable of completeing the lift) seem like such a bad idea? To me it would seem like a good measure of progress. If I can clean 130kg with decent technique, and form breaks down on 132.5 then that's pretty much my limit. In a few weeks if I can do 132.5 without form breaking down I'm progressing no?

Again... all this is based purely on my thought process from other lifting endeavours so I could well be wrong. It all seems to be stuff that would make sense tho. More awkward questions to try and answer tho I guess!!

Finally, for a 140 clean and jerk, what should the front squat be so it's not a limiting factor? I'm guessing 150-160kg?
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. It depends on your lifting. Someone may think they have performed a good power clean but yet their coach may think it is poor and therefore want to work on technique. For example I ask all the American high school athletes can they power clean and if so what can they power clean when they first arrive in the gym (often the answer is 'yes' and they give some rather high amount) only to find when they do the lift in the gym you are left wincing at the technique they use. In my opinion you will not have great form at 130 and a complete breakdown of form at 132.5, there will be a range where you can see the bad technique beginning to become more evident due to the increasing weight. I often picked a weight that was 60-80% of my max for technique work as it was a weight that you could confidently get but still tested whether you had proper technique.

2. Different people have different capabilities. This was recently discussed on another forum where a good American lifter was shown to have a squat close to his max clean and was termed efficient. My front squat is very close to what I clean (think my max was 165 for fronts and 150 for cleans). Other people have large differences between their max for clean and front squat.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see...

So 60-80% would be a good training range? I'd probably benefit from 50-60% more now I suppose. I was working today with 60kg on the dead hang cleans and I could feel things coming together a bit more. I was able to really feel the weight just jumping up to where it needed to be when I popped my hips thru and extended well. I was also able to start spliting my feet out a bit as per your suggestion.

I think the time spend in the 50-60% range will be of benefit since limit strength probably won't hold me back for a good while. I powercleaned 100kg x3 comfortably today and probably coulda gone to 105 or 110 x3.

Would it be fair to say that the more efficent lifters are the ones with the best technique so? And lifters who haven't got as good a level of technique are more inefficent? Even tho they may be stronger than the efficent ones?
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Kevin Darcy
Kolecki's Understudy


Joined: 08 May 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Efficency is a strnge thing to discuss, it is pecular term regarding weightlifting. For example one can be very very fast at getting under a bar, this guy will not be efficient in relation to his speed. Another may have a huge front squat, he will not be efficient in relation to front squat. Another guy may have a disproportionatly strong pull, etc.

Thus what does one measure their efficiency against?

I think that the best thing is to have no weak points.EG I first cleaned 120 with a 117 front squat. Now I have 152 clean and 180 front squat. Does this mean my technique has gotten worse. No. Now that I hae improved on my weak front squat I have a new weak link.
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James Hanley



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm fair points there Kevin.

How does one recover from a clean with more than they front squat? Is it because they catch a bounce at the bottom?

Also, what do you think is your weak point now Kevin if your front squat is strong enoguh for it not to be your legs?
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was on weightlifting exchange and was in relation to Oscar Chaplin (I think).

I think it makes sense. They were stating that Oscar had a very efficient clean with regard to his front squat max. His front squat was not that much more than what he could clean so the leg strength he developed from front squatting was being very well applied to the clean.

Like I said though everyone has different capabilites (or put another way limiting factors). Pull and speed under bar may be considered.
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cathal byrd
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Joined: 04 Jan 2007
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Location: Limerick

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some tough questions James! But as the lads say every lifter is different. For example my front squat is 175 and clean 134. Compared with Kevin who has a similar front squat but a much higher clean you could say that my clean is weak in relation to my front squat. This begs the question why?? I don't think my speed under the bar is a weakness, nor is my pull, although there is still room for improvement as always! Recovery out of a clean is never an issue. If i could get under 140-145 i would be confident of coming out of it. But Kevin can rack a clean much lower than me due to superior flexibility. So maybe flexibility is a further aspect that needs to be considered...Kevin is also heavier than me, could this higher absolute body mass result in bigger cleans irrespective of front squat ability?? I don't know, but they are all aspects that need to be considered...
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha the hard questions are the most fun, Cathal!!

Just to throw another spanner in the works, 2 lifters of equal height, one has long legs and a short body, the other short legs and a long body. Assuming both have the exact same strength levels, which one is gonna clean more??

I'd go with the guy with the long legs since he can get lower. This is really such a horrible topic to try and discus. It'd be easier just to get my front squat up than to try and figure out a definate answer. probably be quicker too!!
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Kev said everyone will have strengths and weaknesses and should focus on weaknesses.

I am going to stick my neck out and say I think short stockier guys are better at cleans and long legged type lifters are better at the snatch. No scientific basis but just something I think is the case from observing various folk.

My shoulder is getting a little better........... Smile

Maxed out on front squat on Wednesday at 161 kg (355lbs). Failed 365lbs twice.

Maxed out on clean on Thursday at 147.5 (325lbs), missed 330lbs twice as pull was not high enough and slipped off shoulder.

Power jerked 60kg for ten singles last night to start trying to see if it could cope with some abuse.

Power snatched 40kg, still cannot get into a squat snatch without shoulder pain even with brush shaft. Still cannot take brush shaft in snatch grip and lower bar to behind head for a press.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here's a new update. Once again, critique greatly appreciated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFuWKzamTT8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl_2JxCb4FE
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James Hanley



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And another update... Clean PR this time. 120kg Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-9L3Irb4d0
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garrettstack



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 26
Location: Hercules, Dublin

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fair play james !!
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are coming on well.

Like your youtube description says you are catching high which suggests there is more there.

When you get into the full squat position try not to pause but use the bounce at the bottom to begin the drive out of the squat, it will make the weight feel lighter.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May as well resurrect this old dog....

Hang Power Cleans - 90kg x3 - First time doing these bad boys (or anything oly related tbh) in like 8-12 months. I think everything looked fairly decent, but well I'm not a weightlifter so I don't know!!

Set one; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1m0xC1DsjA
Set two; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR66d7u0u2E

Comments, feedback and critique appreciated!!
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