Devil's In The Details

Today's topic will be similar to a previous post. One Saturday, a new guy named Ben came into my Olympic lifting class. Ben had a powerlifting background with some pretty goddamn impressive numbers i.e. 460lbs squat, 300lbs bench, and a 5something deadlift. Bear in mind, he was also 5'7" and weighed around 185lbs.

Now, provided he had ample joint mobility, with that kind of strength base, Ben could be a monster O-lifter. Nevertheless, like everyone new to a sport, he had some kinks we needed to iron out. Ben normally trained with a solid coach in Maryland, but his first pull irked me a bit.

Note how drastically the bar is traveling around his knees. Part of this is due to how low his hips are in his start position. From there, without driving his knees back, the bar has no option other than to move around the knees. An excellent quote I once heard: "We move around the barbell, the barbell does not move around us." As many of you will remember from this post, the job of the first pull is to put us into an optimal position for the second pull. This requires us to push our knees back off the floor, while the hips and chest rise together. After tweaking Ben's positions and drilling some of the movements, here's the result:

Looks much better to me. Right now, Ben is still relatively new to the sport so he has a little ways to go, but with his strength, mobility, and willingness to learn, well... I'm just glad he doesn't compete in my weight class.

Again, the purpose here is to highlight the very technical nature of the Olympic lifts. An early arm bend, a short hip extension, weight shifting forward, the bar swinging out in front, whipping the bar backwards - all of these minor mistakes can be the difference between a PR and a failed lift.

On another note, Sai set a PR snatch that very same day...

Look for both Sai and Ben at the Capital City Open on April 9th at Kalorama!

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