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Clean Critique
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: Clean Critique Reply with quote

I had a while to spare in the gym tonight while waiting on my girlfriend so I figured I should finally try to learn how to properly clean. (if you can call Total Fitness a real gym, the bar actually fell apart on one of the sets, and as you can see I was being gentle with it!!). I started off just trying to catch power cleans a bit lower. I used dead hang cleans (ie a quick shrug and pull under, no triple extenstion) and as the sets progressed I got a lot more comfortable with them.

I'll contiune to work on them over the next few weeks and start to work up after the powerlifting nationals. I'm really happy with them considering I pulled 245x2 yesterday and am still really tight, oh and I had untied cons on, not very weightlifitng friendly!!

Next step is snatches and jerks....

Pointers are VERY MUCH appreciated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnMIvj8LA0U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq1jQ2Viu1k
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Eamonn Flanagan
85kg lifter


Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject: dead hang cleans Reply with quote

In these dead hang cleans your speed underneath and your flexibility look good.

The only bit of advice I would say is regarding your foot placement. I think your starting foot position with these is good, I would just recommend that at the top of the pull you shift you feet out slightly as you pull yourself under the bar. This can help with power at the top of the pull and make the receiving squat position more comfortable. So your feet actually finish a fraction wider than the position they start in
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Eamonn. I'll take that on board. I didn't want to try and do TOO many new things yesterday 'cos it woulda been pointless I think. The main goal was to just have the balls to jump under the bar.

Now a few general questions to anyone...

It seems that the highest any of the top guys are pulling the bar is about elbow height (well the height their elbow would be if they were standing up straight) and just dive under it from there. Is that about right?

I figure the hardest part for me is gonna be getting under the bar, so it's what I should be devoting the most work to at the moment. My pulls are alright from the powercleans, but could obviously be improved upon. I think the number one priority for now is getting under the bar, and work on pull technique and linking it all together from there. How would that sound?

And the best way to learn snatches... Snatches from dead hang and drop snatches?
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Weights_Admin
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Joined: 01 Jan 1970
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should not require to pull as high as elbow. Go to a wall and get into squat position and mark on the wall where your shoulder is and theoretically this is roughly where you need to pull the bar to.

Dead cleans are good but make sure in coming weeks to do cleans from floor which you receive in low position so you learn timing of when pull is finished that only then you begin to go under the bar. I know some people here that are now very good with dead cleans but when they pull from floor they are not comfortable with racking the bar at the height they pulled it, particularly as the weight gets heavier. I would recommend (to supplement dead cleans) with a weight that can be power cleaned to try racking the bar at high, medium and low position to develop good timing. Make sure on low position, bar is only being pulled to just above hip height and that it is not a power clean you are racking high and then riding down to low position or a high pull with you in the low position and then the weight comes crashing on to your shoulder.

Cannot view videos in work so will look later. Hope this ramble makes sense!
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Kevin Darcy
Kolecki's Understudy


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 256
Location: galway

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer snatchs and cleans from above the knees. I dont like them from dead hang. This is for a variety of resons that I dont have time to write now. Trust me theyre better.
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Kevin Darcy
Kolecki's Understudy


Joined: 08 May 2007
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Location: galway

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, videos

Notice that before you drop under the arm flexers need to contract to hold the bar from dropping under the influence of gravity while you are dropping under. This is a bad habit that can be avoided by having some momentum on the bar. This can be achieved by doing this exercise from above the knees. RE; My last comment.

I agree with Eamonn about moving your feet out as you drop under.

The positioning underneath looks very good and comfortable. Im impressed.
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think to become a fully developed lifter all these exercises are important to some degree. Each exercise has its pro's and con's and therefore depending on what the strengths and weaknesses of the lifter are then different exercises can be used to focus on their weaknesses.

I think the hang movements are very good for developing a strong second pull and to some extent to get better speed under the bar. I do not think there is anything wrong with the dead clean and I use this exercise fairly regularly especially on days where I am tired and it is affecting my pull.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin Darcy wrote:
James, videos

Notice that before you drop under the arm flexers need to contract to hold the bar from dropping under the influence of gravity while you are dropping under. This is a bad habit that can be avoided by having some momentum on the bar. This can be achieved by doing this exercise from above the knees. RE; My last comment.

I agree with Eamonn about moving your feet out as you drop under.

The positioning underneath looks very good and comfortable. Im impressed.


Haha score. Looks like you were right. I could become a lifter...

I don't really get what you mean about my arms flexing...

My second pull (I think that's what it's called) has always been pretty bad. Alot of the force I tend to generate is from shrugging rather than the jump and extenstion at the hip. So for this purpose hangs from above the knee would probably work well?

Here's some old vids of some hang power cleans so hopefully you can see what I mean;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iHNl5QMy3U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-KkyeRknXA
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weights_Admin wrote:
Should not require to pull as high as elbow. Go to a wall and get into squat position and mark on the wall where your shoulder is and theoretically this is roughly where you need to pull the bar to.

Dead cleans are good but make sure in coming weeks to do cleans from floor which you receive in low position so you learn timing of when pull is finished that only then you begin to go under the bar. I know some people here that are now very good with dead cleans but when they pull from floor they are not comfortable with racking the bar at the height they pulled it, particularly as the weight gets heavier. I would recommend (to supplement dead cleans) with a weight that can be power cleaned to try racking the bar at high, medium and low position to develop good timing. Make sure on low position, bar is only being pulled to just above hip height and that it is not a power clean you are racking high and then riding down to low position or a high pull with you in the low position and then the weight comes crashing on to your shoulder.

Cannot view videos in work so will look later. Hope this ramble makes sense!


That all makes sense, thanks!!

I'm used to extending cleans and just waiting for the bar to come up to shoudler height from all the power cleans I've done, so stopping that tendancy is very much a priority!!

I'm not sure whether this makes sense, but should I be just putting enough force in to lift the bar to above hip height on ALL my attempts, even with lower weights. So I can get used to finishing the pull and just snapping straight under the bar?
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm back with some more training.... Today was my last squat workotu before the national powerlifting champs so I decided to just do some lighter oly stuff after my main movement and not push too hard.

100kg x1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zbug6KxfeM

Here's 90kg x3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8NtaxvmtBg

And finally I tried out some drop snatches tonight... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVYXbDFZHWg

I don't really know if I was doing anything right there, so critique would again be appreciated!!
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Kevin Darcy
Kolecki's Understudy


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 256
Location: galway

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

looks like we can another to the list for the absolute clean comp shortly? what you think Pete?

James the cleans look very easy an I reckon you will clean at least 140 in april. Two things I would like to see. 1shrug and up on toes 2 bounce out of bottom- this looked great on ninety but on 100 it looked like you caught it a little forward- I think this was cos of lack of shrug-shrug helps prevent bar from being driven forward-it does this by channelling the power vertically.

the drop snatch looks great-very solid. I personally like to start with my feet a little narrower(like they would be for the pull) then split a little wider. This is one things the blocks are very good for teaching. It can be done without blocks too. I think is helps make the movement more dynamic and specific.

All in all things look great, im just being a critical pr*ck
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Weights_Admin
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More noticeable in the 100 but when receiving the clean try not to collapse forward which is demonstrated by the shoulders rounding and the elbows dipping. Try to stay nice and erect and this will also allow you to do what Kevin says and to get the bounce out.

I would maybe be inclined to have a slightly wider receiving position, to me you look a little cramped when down in full squat.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kev, a bit (well alot) of criticism is exactly what I need so fire away!!!!

I think you're right about the 100kg vid, I swing the bar out a bit in it. I'm getting alot more comfortable dropping under the bar now so I think I might start to do hang cleans from above my knee with full extenstion. One question on them tho, how do I stop the bar being pulled too high?? Go heavier...?

140kg is certainly a tall order. I wouldn't be so arrogant to assume I'd hit it so early in my training but I think I'm well capable of it. Jerking it would be another story tho. That said I tried out some split jerks (that is to say real jerks) today for the first time and they weren't as bad as I was expecting. I worked up from 60-90kg in 5kg jumps with 3 rep sets and followed up with singles on 95 and 100. I was in a commercial gym so I stopped there since dropping the bar wasn't an option. Honestly, I reckon that I could have put up at least another 15kg today. So hopefully with some practice I'll soon be able to jerk whatever I clean.

Another quick queston actually... How important is shoulder strength in weightlifting? It's not something I've ever really trained hard, but it's something tha holds back my powerlifting too. I pressed 75kg x5 tonight with no leg drive, just wondering how it would compare to some of the more experienced lifters?

Pete, thanks again. Spreading the feet out a bit is the next step now when I start doing the hang cleans so you can expect to see some updated vids sometime soon with me trying that out!!
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Eamonn Flanagan
85kg lifter


Joined: 10 Jan 2007
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject: shoulder strength Reply with quote

You certainly have plenty of raw shoulder strength if you can strict press 75x5. I have jerked 140kg, and I wouldnt be able to do that. I would say I would just about manage 70kg for a set of 5.

But in weightlifting the important issue it the relationship between this raw strength, flexibility and speed of movement.

In my opinion this raw strength is very important, it is the first building block. The foundation. But without appropriate flexibility in the shoulders, and without the ability to express the strength rapidly, it is largely useless (in a weightlifting context).

Are you pressing from the front or behind the neck? I think presses behind the neck are a little more relevant as the tax shoulder flexibility more and encourage the lifter to press the bar up over the back of the head (ears) as in the final receiving position in the jerk.

Also to develop shoulder flexibility/stability and strength in the same exercise you may wish to try presses from a deep lunge position.
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James Hanley



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The presses were done from the front. Started from a racked clean position.

My flexability is decent enough, but I probably don't quite have enough in my shoulders to do clean grip o/h squats, or behind the neck snatch grip presses starting from the bottom position.... yet!

Here's a question tho... Is there not enough focus put on strength in Ireland? My only exp. with formal coaching is in Hercs, and it seems that months upon months are spend learning the lifts on boxes, and after that it's al weightlifting movements and nothing else.

Would it not make more sense to learn a decent level of proficiency form wise and then concentrate on getting strong all over and refine technique as you go? Maybe I just have a different view on this because I'm coming from a powerlifting back round, but any time I've ever had a problem in training, the key has been to just get stronger.

Assuming a decent level of technique is present does this hold true for weightlifting? Or would time be better spend going from decent to good, and good to great technique?
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