View Full Version : Check my Clean please!

John P. S Shopa Jr
05-19-2007, 01:27 PM
Well I finally admitted to myself that i must one day do something other than power cleans...
Here is one of my first attempts with 95 pounds.
Any suggestions?


this is my first time with youtube so let me know if it doesnt work.

Scott Parker
05-20-2007, 11:40 AM
you are keeping your back rounded on the DL, which is a big no-no. maintain the lumbar curve, and you are "donkey-kicking" on the clean. also not sure, but are you doing a hang clean or a regular clean? if it's a hang clean looks like you are starting too low, if it's a regular clean from the ground link it up with the DL.

Scott Parker
05-20-2007, 11:44 AM
ok, watched it again. hang clean is what you are doing, just looks like you are dipping down kind of far. definately donkey-kicking, and when you are pulling it looks like the weight is far out in front of you because you aren't opening up your hips. open them up more when you pull.

John P. S Shopa Jr
05-20-2007, 12:02 PM
Okay, good advice. a couple of questions though for you if you will... I started "donkey kicking" after watching the video demonstrations with the coaches daughter. She seemed to have a very pronounced kick as she brought her stance wider to recieve the weight.
Am I coming up to high?
the rounded back on the deadlift is just my laziness. I was working with 95 pounds which is about a quarter of my max effort. I was just standing up with it, which is a bad habit, I know.
Lastly, by opening up my hips you mean pop them forward as my shoulders shrug up right?
I appreciate you time and advice.

Carrie Klumpar
05-20-2007, 12:20 PM
Instead of starting from below the knees, start from the explosion point above the knees, with the shoulders out over the bar (chest up, back held tight). This is the point you want to begin the upward drive from every time, even when you are eventually starting from the floor (in which case you will do a relatively slow, controlled "deadlift" until you reach this position). So it makes sense to ingrain the habit of exploding up from this point now. Plus, the way you're doing it now, your knees are in the way, and it's screwing up the bar trajectory.

Then, from that above-the-knee/mid-thigh position, as you jump-and-shrug the bar up, pull it in toward your hips and keep it close to your torso for the remainder of the lift. Right now you're just ripping it straight up from a starting position below your knees that's necessarily way the heck out in front of your body. You gotta pull it in as you drive upward. If you pause the video at about 00:17 (hmm, imprecise timer--what I mean is when the bar is accelerating past your hips/waist), you can see that the bar is about 10-12 inches away from your hips. It should be more like 1 inch away.

(And, yeah, you're donkey kicking, but you can fix that later. Fry the bigger fish first.)

The totally wonderful, awesome thing you're doing that a lot of new lifters don't (esp. big strong guys, who almost always revert to ugly--and inefficient--early arm bend) is keeping your arms straight as long as possible and really using the hips and shoulders to move the bar. Well done. You're also doing a good job getting your elbows through and up in the front in the receiving position. (Now, don't let the tension go at the bottom of that squat.)

(Message edited by Carrie on May 20, 2007)

John P. S Shopa Jr
05-20-2007, 01:17 PM
Wow, I just looked at that point in the video and paused it. I had no idea that i was out that far. I really am just pulling it straight up. I would never have seen that if you hadnt pontied it out.
I will will work on my weak points and post back when I improve.
And thanks for the encouragement Carrie.

Scott Parker
05-20-2007, 03:39 PM
just to clarify, my words weren't meant to criticize, just trying to help! i suck at cleans too! i do a lot of the stuff you are doing!

one thing you will notice with donkey kicking is that it slows you down. you want to get under the bar as fast as you can. with 95lbs it isnt an issue, but you will definately notice it with heavier loads!

the one move that really got my feet to move quicker were push jerks. once you start going heavey you have to move fast to get under the bar!

Lincoln Brigham
05-20-2007, 04:34 PM
The donkey kick is what I call "commotion without motion." It is the illusion of movement, but it is not the movement we seek. This sort of false movement can be seen in other exercises like pushups, where the head sinks down to the floor, the hips bob up and down and yet the arms hardly do any actual pushup motion at all. So too with the donkey kick - it creates an illusion of explosive jumping.

Yes, we want the lifters to move their feet. But it is speed of foot movement we seek, not distance. Does anybody remember Muhamed Ali's "Phantom Punch" that knocked out Sonny Liston? The most perfect knockout punch would have lightning speed, almost too quick too see. A haymaker with a huge windup is not a perfect punch. In weightlifting, footwork is fast not big.

Jerry Berg
05-21-2007, 05:47 AM
john, i too had a pronounced donkey kick. i couldn't get rid of it, no matter what i did.

finally i was just messing around one day doing some full cleans and i was barefoot on concrete. and i realized i didn't kick my feet back at all because it would have been painful to forcefully slam them into the concrete floor without shoes.

i also discovered I could do more weight this way as there wasn't the inefficient movement of kicking my feet back and then down, more of the power transfered directly into getting the bar up and then myself underneath it. getting rid of the kick allowed me more time to drop under the bar.

For what it's worth, try doing some full cleans from the floor without shoes on a hard surface..it worked for me.

Arden Cogar Jr.
05-24-2007, 12:30 PM
I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I'm curious about something. I have a hard time getting my feet to leave the floor with the jump/shrug part of the movement.

What exactly are you trying to do with your feet?

I understand the "donkey kick" in John's movement. Basically, he's created the illusion of a jump by moving his feet backwards.

I'm simply trying to figure out for myself what my feet need to do. Anytime I get some decent weight on the bar, this is the first thing that goes.

Don't know if I'm making sense?

I'd like to see John doing some more weight on the video to see if the Donkey Kick is as pronouced the closer he gets to ME.

All the best,

Scott Parker
05-24-2007, 05:57 PM
i may not be the best one to try and explain this arden, since i am not a OL'er, but you are trying to basically get under the bar and widen your stance to a position where you can "catch" the weight. you are transitioning from the jumping position to the receiving position. when i put more weight on the bar my donkey kick goes away. i think i mentioned it before, but what really caused it to make sense to me was doing push jerks. once the weight gets heavy you kind of figure out what you need to do with your feet. you want to get under that bar as fast as possible because with a heavy weight you wont be able to just use upper body strength to raise the bar, and when you donkey kick with heavier loads you are going to be a lot slower and wont be able to receive or catch the load fast enough. for what it's worth the bergener warm-up is something that is good to incorporate into your warm-up. kind of prepares you (or at least me) for the movements, and if you do it everyday it will hopefully become routine. hope at least some of this helps!

John P. S Shopa Jr
05-24-2007, 06:02 PM
Well, I've been studying up on the "clean drops" demo on the excercise page. I think that video shows me exactly what to do with my feet.
The kick was something new that I thought was the right form. Luckily,it's not habit yet. I was actually consciously kicking my feet back.
I've worked on opening my hips now for a couple workouts and can REALLY feel the difference. When I pull the bar straight past my pelvis, the weight seems to float up to my shoulders. I had to stop and actually think about whether or not I had even used my traps. it was that much easier. There is a big difference when I concentrate on popping my hips out. My best attempted power clean thus far was 215, but with more practice I think I'll be pushing past that now. Now that I've been polishing up a bit I see how sloppy I was on some points. I'll work up the weights on some full cleans next week and post it. Arden, you may be right about my weight being to light. I have a tendency to throw 95 pounds up too high towards my throat. Next time a bit more weight may not give me the luxury of excessive movements.
I really appreciate all the advice... just one more reason I love crossfit!

Veronica Carpenter
05-25-2007, 10:02 AM
Regarding the "donkey kick", some coaches preach it other don't, but just about everyone stresses "moving" your feet. I personally think teaching the donkey kick is overkill.

You basically want to be able to move your feet and displace outward just a bit to get from you pulling/jumping stance to your wider squat stance.

It's kind of like the debate of whether or not to extend the ankles on the second pull. You can emphasize both (donkey kick and ankle extension) in lighter training weights, but with near max attempts neither are very pronounced.

Arden Cogar Jr.
05-30-2007, 10:14 AM
thanks Scott, John, and Veronica.

making sense to me. now time to implement.

All the best,

Keith Wittenstein
05-30-2007, 04:29 PM
Sorry to hijack this thread, but here's my take on the Donkey Kick. I think it's a horrible habit. In the lifts (clean, snatch or jerk) the legs should be pushing forcefully down into the floor for as long as possible. Period. That's the only way to lift a heavy weight. The very fact that the feet are coming off the floor that dramatically is a sign that the lifter has ceased pushing down into the floor but has decided instead to dramatically pull his feet up in the opposite direction. Muscularly the lifter has started using the hamstrings as a knee flexor instead of a hip extensor. Thus robbing the hips of power. Not only does that reduce the force production, but it's dangerous. Under heavy loads the safest place for the feet is under the center of mass. Lifting the feet up and back leaves the lifter exposed to a dangerous fall should the lifter not be able to return the feet to ground in time.

Unfortunately, these problems don't resolve themselves under heavier loads. Weight simply masks the problems. It's best to relearn the down and up motion of the lift and the clean drops to fix it up.

Good luck.