Happy Birthday Chad Vaughn
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It Can Be Technique Tuesday Everyday
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Cam Newton's Rowing Technique Needs Work
Feb 3, 2016Cam Newton gets a lot of flak for his touchdown celebrations, his play style, and his pants, but really none of those things matter. The most important thing Cam Newton needs to improve is his rowing technique.
Retaining Balance In The Lift When Increasing Weight
Jan 24, 2015Greg Everett is the coach of the Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team and author of the most popular book on weightlifting, Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches. In this week's technique focus, Everett talks about the importance of focusing on balance in the first part of the lift, when working up to those heavy weights. A common complaint is that a lifter’s weight feels too far forward in the snatch or clean, but only at heavier weights. Often the balance during the lift is forward at all weights and you simply aren’t aware of it when the weights are light because they’re not heavy enough to influence your position and balance further. That is, with 50% of your bodyweight, you can do just about anything and get away with it—an errant bar is easy to pull back to you later in the lift because your own bodyweight is enough to remain the anchor in the system. As the bar approaches your own weight, it has just as much control over you as you do over it. In this case, the errant bar pulls you out of position and you’re unable to simply muscle it back into place as needed later. Another possibility (which could be occurring together with the previous) is that your mechanics are in fact changing as the weight increases. Most likely, this would be your hips moving up faster than your shoulders as you lift the bar from the floor. This is natural for most people, but in particular those with longer legs or who are posterior-chain dominate—both of these will mean that it will be hard for you to open your knee joint from a small angle because your quads are relatively weak and/or the lever arm is so long. The body will shift the work to whatever is strongest, and in such a case, it does this by opening the knee without opening the hip to create a larger knee angle without moving the weight very much. This then puts the knee at a larger angle that the quads can continue opening under the full load and transfers more of the weight to the stronger hip extensors. This can have two effects that will cause you a lot of trouble and certainly change the feel of the lift: shift your weight forward farther over your feet, and increase the moment arm on the hip. The first makes it impossible to finish your pull properly and forces you to chase the bar forward rather than being able to move it up and yourself down. The second makes the extension of the hips more difficult and consequently slower, making it tougher to get the quick explosion at the top of the pull that you need to have a chance to get under the bar. Perform snatch and clean deadlifts and halting deadlifts with no more weight than what allows you to keep the proper upright posture. Focus on pushing with the legs to move the bar up to the thighs and shifting back to center your weight over the front edge of your heels and staying there all the way to the top. This will not only train you in terms of skill to pull correctly, but will begin to strengthen you in the proper posture. Remember that as the weight increases, your body will always revert to the positions in which it’s strongest. You can also combine halting deadlifts with snatches and cleans in a number of ways. The simplest is to perform 1-3 halting deadlifts followed by a snatch or clean. Another is to perform the halting deadlift and rather than returning to the floor, performing the snatch or clean straight from the paused position. This can work really well, but I will usually have a lifter follow a rep like this with a normal rep from the floor to help prevent them from developing a habit of pausing during a lift or hitching. Finally, more front squats for the clean and overhead squats for the snatch will strengthen the positions and boost your confidence. Related Articles: The First Pull: Make Or Break The Lift Control Dip For Max Power Output Executing The Proper Overhead Snatch Correcting Overextension Of The Hips In Your Snatch Fixing A Slow Turnover In The Snatch And Clean
Focus On Flexibility To Improve Your Lifts
Jan 24, 2015Greg Everett is the coach of the Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team and author of the most popular book on weightlifting, Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches. In this week's technique focus, Everett emphasizes the importance of joint flexibility in the rack position, so as to ensure a successful, and safe, lift. If you have trouble with the clean or front squat rack position, first play with your hand spacing on the bar and find the position that gets you the closest with your current flexibility. Often this is wider than you feel like you should be gripping. I generally prefer a wider clean grip for a number of reasons, such as a quicker turnover and better positioning during the pull under, but a wider grip also often makes the rack position easier for people. Improving flexibility for the rack position is fairly straightforward, but like any other flexibility limitations, it requires consistency and patience. As a start, front squat a lot and consider the exercise a stretch. Emphasize pushing the shoulders forward and up, the elbows up and the palms up above the fingers. Wrist flexibility is pretty simple: Find ways to push your hand back and hold it. Probably the easiest way to do this is to press your palm against a wall with your arm perpendicular to the wall. Do this both with the fingers pointing up and down. As you loosen up, you can move your arm past perpendicular to close the angle between the hand and forearm further. You can also do this stretch against the floor while in a squat position to combine the two stretches/warm-ups and save time. All the grip work in lifting can make for very tight wrist and finger flexors, so stretch them frequently throughout the day. The elbows really shouldn’t be stretched per se—they primarily just need to become conditioned to the stress of lifting. Spend time warming them up before training by doing elbow circles both directions while rotating your hand to get the ulna and radius moving as much as possible at the elbow. You can also place a bar on your back as you would for a back squat with your hands close to you shoulders, then lift your elbows high in front of you. Gradually move your grip wider as you loose up. Bend at the elbow, raise your arm, and press the underside of your upper arm (near the elbow) against a rack or doorframe. Keeping your trunk tight, lean forward to push the elbow back over the shoulder. This will stretch the muscles that attach under the arm and allow. Finally, you can try loading up a bar in a squat rack a bit lower than what you would use to actually squat from. Get your hands on the bar in the position you would grip for a front squat, walk yourself under the bar in a partial squat position, and pushing your shoulders forward and up and your elbows as high as possible, squat yourself up into the bar. If you have a partner, he or she can assist and lift your elbows further than you can do on your own. Related Articles: The First Pull: Make Or Break The Lift Control Dip For Max Power Output Executing The Proper Overhead Snatch Correcting Overextension Of The Hips In Your Snatch Fixing A Slow Turnover In The Snatch And Clean