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View Full Version : World's Ugliest Clean and Jerk? Maybe :D


Brandon Oto
07-24-2007, 08:57 PM
So at the end of the push jerk workout today, I'd pushed 175, and I managed to hang clean 175 a couple days ago (both PRs), so I thought I'd go for a cohesive record and try a 175 clean and jerk.

Failed the first, but that's because I was in the habit of push jerking after the workout and tried to do that. Got a split jerk up fine on the second one.

http://degreesofclarity.com/misc/cleanandjerk72407.mov

Now, this is super ugly... problems I see:

- Start out a little forward on the toes. It's actually not as far as it looks -- weight's about at the middle of the foot -- but it could be farther back.

- Start out a little loose in the back, you can see the arms retract as I rise.

- Butt rises before back, same thing I do on deadlifts, bleh... very hard for me to avoid at significant weight.

- I muscle it somewhat, that's why it gets so high.

- Float a bit at the top -- NOT a fast transition to the catch.

- Land with my feet too splayed out, weight on toes, everything too far forward. That's why I almost lose it forward. Check out that front squat! Where you going, Roger Rabbit?

- This one baffles me -- rather than rounding my lower back at the bottom of the squat, which I generally do in all squats, it's actually significantly arched. What the heck? Look, that's a big ol' arch.

- Press the bar a little at the end of the jerk -- not so much up as pushing myself under it and settling.

- Back foot lands badly in the jerk, skewed rather than on the toes.

- Bar's a little far forward when I catch?


Anyway, that's my critique. What I wanted was: First, anything I've missed (or arguments with what I mentioned), and second, what's up with that lower back?

Joe Cavazos
07-24-2007, 10:33 PM
Now, I'm not a doctor, but I think the stuttering forward during the front squat could be because you jumped a little backward during the drive while the weight stayed on the same vertical line. Of course since I'm a complete newbie to the O-lifts, that could be proper technique and I wouldn't even know.

Regardless, that's the only thing I noticed.

Brandon Oto
07-25-2007, 01:04 AM
Forgot about the backwards hop -- that's another thing I almost always do when I clean.

I think the lost balance is just because my weight was on my toes, though, and I couldn't bring it back. (Well, I guess I could have paused in the squat to adjust before coming up, but I'm not sure I'd ever have gotten out...)

Joe Cavazos
07-25-2007, 07:05 AM
That's what I'm suggesting, that hopping backwards shifted the weight forward relative to your body and forced you to keep on your toes to support it.

George Mounce
07-25-2007, 07:13 AM
When you talk about your arch, look at your upper back, those shoulders are very much forward. That correlates with you seeing the bar forward in the catch.

I think most of that could be fixed by lowering your butt a lot. I would work on positioning on the deadlift if your butt starts that high there as well.

On the first pull your butt is starting well above your knees.

Check out the thread http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/3499/44814.html
with the C&J by Casey Burgener. Though it is quick, because of the amount of momentum and power he's putting on the bar (thats a ton of weight!), look how low his butt gets compared to yours.

Brandon Oto
07-25-2007, 03:23 PM
George, are you saying that my butt being high on the deadlift is affecting my upper back's position in the catch?

Chris Hitzroth
07-25-2007, 06:01 PM
Brandon,

You did start the bar out past your toes. It only looked like it was over mid-foot to you because you were bent over forward when you looked down at it. If you have any doubts, rewatch your video with the edge of a piece of paper in line with your forearms as you start the lift. When you stand up straight and look down at the bar, it should be over the middle of your foot.

Your chest caved in and your upper back rounded as soon as you started the lift. With this and the bar too far forward, your hips rose much faster than your shoulders. Keep your chest up, your weight on your heels, and your shoulders a bit in front of the bar. Drag the bar up your legs.

You didn't really have a transition from first to second pull since you just ripped the bar from the ground. The purpose of the first pull is to get the bar in position for the second pull. The second pull starts from about mid-thigh with the bar against the thighs and knees extended. From there it's just like a hang clean, except the bar's already moving.

You didn't get a full extension in your hips at the top of the second pull and your torso was still forward of vertical when it should be a bit past vertical. I think this is why you jumped back: not enough hip drive to balance the leg drive. You did re-bend your knees though, which is good.

I can't see your arms well enough to say if you muscled the bar up, but I suspect you saw it because you watched yourself in the mirror. If you were paying attention to your reflection, you weren't concentrating on your lift.

Your chest caved in even more at the bottom of the squat and stayed that way until you locked out the bar overhead. The more you keep your chest up, the easier it will be to get your elbows up, and the more secure the bar will be across your shoulders. Your butt did tuck under you a bit at the very bottom of the squat, but you kept your low back arch, which is good.

With the jerk, it looks like you regripped the bar and dropped your elbows at the bottom of the dip rather than before beginning the dip. Very good shoulder flexibility at the top of the jerk, by the way.

Overall: more patience with the first pull, keep your chest up and weight on your heels, keep the bar close to your body, finish the second pull, and set up your grip before starting the jerk.


George,

Butt height is a function of leg and torso lengths. If Brandon's weight is on his heels with the bar over mid-foot, his chest up, and shoulders in front of the bar then his butt is as high or low as it needs to be. Brandon has long legs and a short torso so his butt's going to be higher than most.

Besides, take a closer look at the video in the thread you posted. Burgener squats down for stretch reflex, his butt pops up well above his knees, and then he starts the lift. The bar comes up off the floor and he maintains his butt-high back angle.

(Message edited by hitzroth on July 25, 2007)

Brandon Oto
07-26-2007, 05:34 PM
"You did start the bar out past your toes. It only looked like it was over mid-foot to you because you were bent over forward when you looked down at it. If you have any doubts, rewatch your video with the edge of a piece of paper in line with your forearms as you start the lift. When you stand up straight and look down at the bar, it should be over the middle of your foot."

Sorry -- I meant that my weight was a bit forward, but not quite on my toes. The actual bar is touching my shins; there's no getting it farther back unless I make them more vertical.


"You didn't really have a transition from first to second pull since you just ripped the bar from the ground."

I always have trouble with this. When I learned to break the lift down into the separate pulls, I tried to do it this way -- a slow deadlift into position, then a blast from the hang. However, it always screws me up. I suspect I find the transition confusing. On the other hand, I always figured there's nothing WRONG with lifting hard from the first pull -- it's just not necessary. Is that incorrect?


"You didn't get a full extension in your hips at the top of the second pull and your torso was still forward of vertical when it should be a bit past vertical. I think this is why you jumped back: not enough hip drive to balance the leg drive."

That's an interesting assessment. I'll try to maximize my hip extension and see if that balances out my backward motion (and as Joe mentioned, perhaps that will help keep me under the weight).


"I can't see your arms well enough to say if you muscled the bar up, but I suspect you saw it because you watched yourself in the mirror. If you were paying attention to your reflection, you weren't concentrating on your lift."

Nah -- that's from feeling the lift, and from watching the video and noticing how high the bar got. (I don't watch the mirror during Oly lifts; that's why the video's nice to have.) My current thought is not to worry too much about getting some arm pull in there, as long as I'm also developing the proper drive from the knee and hip extensions -- since presumably, if I reach weights where I can't muscle it, I'll stop automatically :-)


"Your chest caved in even more at the bottom of the squat and stayed that way until you locked out the bar overhead. The more you keep your chest up, the easier it will be to get your elbows up, and the more secure the bar will be across your shoulders. Your butt did tuck under you a bit at the very bottom of the squat, but you kept your low back arch, which is good."

I'll work on keeping my upper back strong and upright. It's not something I think about as much, since I'm usually worried about my lower back, which is often a weak link.


"With the jerk, it looks like you regripped the bar and dropped your elbows at the bottom of the dip rather than before beginning the dip."

What do you mean by that?


Thanks for the help, guys...

Lincoln Brigham
07-26-2007, 10:12 PM
Brandon,

You don't get the bar into the thighs for the second pull. You're right - you're having significant trouble with the transition. Can the bar be pulled off the ground too fast? Yep; the video is proof positive.

The reason why your upper back rounds out on the squat is because the bar is so far out in front. It's out in front because you never brought the bar in for the jump phase (second pull) AND you jumped backwards.

You bent your elbows WAY early. In your head you are trying to execute the second pull with your arms instead of your legs; that's a big part of the problem with the transition. ARMS ARE WEAK; LEGS ARE STRONG. WHEN THE ARMS BEND THE POWER ENDS. You need to remind yourself of this over and over.

I'd be willing to bet that when you squat, you squat with knees forward instead of sitting back. That's how you started the clean. Instead you should be sitting back with shins nearly vertical and the bar right up against the shins.
Clean & jerk sequence (http://www.peaksweightliftingclub.org/images/CleanJerkSequence.jpg)

Brandon Oto
07-27-2007, 12:36 AM
I'm going to try things out with these two thngs in mind: try to differentiate the first two pulls, and try to begin with the shins more vertical (I'll have to experiment to see whether this brings my torso more upright -- as in George's example -- or more horizontal -- as in Lincoln's). I agree that this would seem to let me get the bar closer to me, and along with a better extension perhaps that'll help keep the weight from getting forward.

Brandon Oto
07-27-2007, 08:04 PM
Good news -- played with the bar some today, and I seem to be able to achieve both of the above goals :-) Turns out I can get my position more correct by EITHER sticking my butt up or down; it seems to perform a little better down (torso very vertical), so I'll try that for size. This in turn makes it easier to transition, which in turn makes my hip extension more powerful. Good stuff! No big weight yet, but I'll try it when I get a chance, and see if I can get some more video.

Kevin McMillan
08-04-2007, 02:34 PM
hey brandon, its not overly that bad, try to kep that bar closer to your midline and observe yourself over film keepin in a straight line, no jumping backwards, jump up if you must :P.

now i think the biggest issue here isnt just form, but i think you can some hip stability issues. you can see yourself 'wavering' a lil at the catch in both the c and j. when you do your clean workouts finish up with some KB swings, wable board excersises, and running on your hands and feet (butt up in the air, run like a dog, actually works real well)

Brandon Oto
08-06-2007, 12:27 PM
What do you mean by "wavering," Kevin? Sideways twisting? "Flimsiness" vertically?

Brandon Oto
09-12-2007, 01:35 PM
Just wanted to share my progress...

http://degreesofclarity.com/misc/crossfit/cleanandjerk91207.mov

Did this after I made up the 10x1 front squat workout today. 176lb or so, about the same as before.

Much better pulls, I think. Ugly on the squat, but give me a break, I'd just done ten max-weight front squats, and this is actually MORE than I was squatting there :) (was doing 173). And the jerk fails, it's just bad, didn't get low enough into it, bad leg placement, meh.

The biggest remaining problem I see is that the bar is pretty far out in front of me. It starts out touching, but in the second pull it loses contact and ends up a few inches forward. Also, I don't quite get full extension in the hips.

But, progress marches on. I'm probably going to need to work on my front squat if I want to go much heavier than this.

Lincoln Brigham
09-12-2007, 02:07 PM
The bar goes out in front because you kick it out there. The bar bangs off your thighs.

Keep your center of gravity on your heels longer. In the video the weight shifts to your toes right before you launch the bar forward off your thighs.

Brandon Oto
09-12-2007, 02:19 PM
Aren't you supposed to shift your weight forward when you jump?

Lincoln Brigham
09-12-2007, 04:28 PM
Not in Olympic lifting...

John Maloney
09-23-2007, 11:54 PM
Brandon

Just got back from the cert ...:kicking0:

You want to basically deadlift slowly until the bar reaches mid-thigh. At this point move your knees forward and straighten your torso. This is the transition. Now jump.

I had to really focus on the feet and shifting the weight. During the deadlift, the weight should be mainly carried on the heels, during the transition shift the weight more toward the balls of your feet. That is where you will jump from. It was helpful to me as an exercise to move b/w the high hang position (where you'd jump from) & then lower the bar to mid-thigh (top of the deadlift) and just go back & forth, feeling the weight shift in the feet. The bar is only moving 3-4 inches throughout. HTH

Brandon Oto
09-24-2007, 07:59 AM
Well, that's the problem. When I transition and jump, I pop the bar with my thighs as they come forward, and it gets knocked out in front of me. I don't know how to think about "jumping" explosively without bringing my hips forward fast, and I don't know how to do that without shoving the bar which is attached to them.

Lincoln Brigham
09-24-2007, 04:03 PM
It's a jump, not a disco pelvis thrust.

Practice a lot from the hang position. Think about jumping your hips UP, not forward. Keep your weight on your heels as long as you can. Jump UP and bring the bar with you.

Adam Noble
09-24-2007, 05:14 PM
[QUOTE=Lincoln Brigham;197279]It's a jump, not a disco pelvis thrust.

I'm gonna use that description if you don't mind.:rofl:

Lincoln Brigham
09-25-2007, 10:07 AM
Memorable, ain't it?

You'd be amazed at how people can be motivated to fix their technique by targeting their inner fear of John Travolta...

Brandon Oto
09-25-2007, 11:03 AM
Great... now I'm gonna be thinking of Grease during my second pull.

Brandon Oto
04-03-2008, 08:31 AM
These old threads are funny because you get to watch how stuff changes...

Anyway, is there anything wrong with my clean at this juncture, or am I just, as I suspect, deficient on strength out of the hole? (My FS 1RM is 243, so I wouldn't think that this would be a problem, but I'm sure I catch my cleans lower than I front squat, so it's possible that I'm just weak at the very bottom.) This is 226; current best 220.

http://degreesofclarity.com/misc/crossfit/clean_226_failed_3-19-08.mov wfs

Oliver Gould
04-03-2008, 12:58 PM
Think about doing a front squat. Do you unrack the bar and then drop straight down into the hole? No, when you front squat, you pull yourself down past parallel in a controlled movement so that you are in an active squat at the bottom of the lift. It looks to me like you're actually catching the clean quite high and letting the weight drive you down to the bottom of the squat. When you're in the hole, you aren't in an active squat and far fewer muscle fibers are engaged in the attempt to drive the bar back up. What you need to do is put on the brakes immediately when you make the catch so that you stay active. Don't drop into the hole just to get full depth, catch the bar where you catch it.

By the way, the first and second pulls look really nice in stop motion. Also, hi!

Jake Oleander
04-03-2008, 03:31 PM
By the way, the first and second pulls look really nice in stop motion. Also, hi!

+1, your timing improved a lot. looks like had you gotten under it more aggressively you could have cleaned it for sure.

Veronica Carpenter
04-03-2008, 05:06 PM
These old threads are funny because you get to watch how stuff changes...

Anyway, is there anything wrong with my clean at this juncture, or am I just, as I suspect, deficient on strength out of the hole? (My FS 1RM is 243, so I wouldn't think that this would be a problem, but I'm sure I catch my cleans lower than I front squat, so it's possible that I'm just weak at the very bottom.) This is 226; current best 220.

http://degreesofclarity.com/misc/crossfit/clean_226_failed_3-19-08.mov wfs

Your hips are too high in the start position. Other than that, more front squats!