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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 01-16-2006, 07:42 AM   #1
Allen Yeh
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CrossFit DC was lucky enough to have Coach Dan John come down while he was in town for the T-Nation seminar to give us a 2 hour Olympic lifting seminar I'm going to put below what he imparted upon us (and it was a lot) in chronological order and as concisely as possible.

1. "Break the finger" - This means keeping that bodybuilder chest, if someone attempts to put their finger between your arm and your lets you should be squeezing hard enough to have it be called "breaking the finger" In effect this is trying to maintain the "tri-lat tuck" but like he says "simple is better" and hey simple works for me.

2. Stretching into the squat position and goblet squats- Before you can o-lift you need to learn how to squat. As children we knew how to squat and then we beat it out of ourselves through "training." Squat down into a Goblet Squat:
a. Hold your arms close to your body with your palms facing up your forearms don’t need to be touching, the bottom of your palms should be touching, so you look like if you are holding up a large goblet/bowl.
b. Now sink into your squat position, your elbows should be on the inside of your knees, not on top of your knees or on the outside of your knees. This is a goblet squat, now insert a dumbbell between your hands (you hold the dumbbell on the inside, the handle should be parallel to your body).

After teaching us what a goblet squat is, he then showed us how to get a person into the correct squat position by demonstrating Buddha belly and big chest. This is a partner assisted exercise:
a. Squat down into a goblet squat, have your partner stand right behind you, your body should be leaning on their legs somewhat.
b. Raise your arms above your head as if you were holding a pvc pipe in the snatch position, your partner will now pull your arms back a little bit (partners hands should be on your inside of your elbows.
c. Now, assume a big bodybuilder chest, now sag into a Buddha belly (meaning you push your stomach out as if imitating the Buddha), big chest, Buddha belly, big chest, Buddha belly, and one last time big chest, Buddha belly. Your partner now pulls you out of the hole because you will need the help.

At this point everyone grabs a DB for some weighted goblet squats, after fixing a few squats we proceed to do goblet squats for time, 10 seconds. He explains he prefers for time rather than for repetition because for time you will just go and stop when the time is done, rather than slowing down when you near the end of your repetitions. We do starting from the top goblet squats and then starting from the bottom also. After doing this a few times we get out the PVC and attempt to do an overhead squat, it seems that a few if not all the people have reverted to squatting badly. To remedy this, we sink down into the squat with the PVC, and pick up the DB in front of us. 10 seconds of goblet squats, and hold in the bottom position, now set the DB down and grab the PVC pipe. There is a noticeable difference in form this time around. He recommends this exercise as a way of getting the athlete/client to remember how to squat correctly. Make sure when you squat your weight must be on your HEELS! If you can wiggle your toes then you are on your heels enough. HEELS, HEELS, HEELS!

3. Romanian Deadlifts – Romanian deadlifts are NOT the same thing as stiff legged deadlifts as I found out. I volunteered to help demonstrate this and I’m glad I volunteered. To perform the Romanian Deadlift:
a. Hold the bar with a snatch grip, utilizing the “breaking the finger method” and your chin should be out like you are holding it there for someone to slug you.
b. Now have your partner place a PVC pipe, a few inches behind you. You should stick your *** out until you hit the PVC. Good, now move the PVC a little bit farther away and repeat. At any step you should be able to wiggle your toes because you should be on your HEELS!

You will feel these in your hamstrings, I have done this exercise before and I had always concentrated on lowering the bar, rather than having the bar being lowered as a result of working my hamstrings. Between Romanian deadlifts and goblet squats these will keep you occupied for a bit.

4. Snatch – First thing is first with snatching, you must learn how to address the bar. Walk up to the bar and crowd the bar, crowd the bar, meaning touch your shins to the bar and then grab the bar with a snatch grip. Big chest, breaking the finger and chin is out for someone to punch your. Drive your HEELS into the ground like your trying to drive them through the earth to China. Pull the bar up an inch, then another inch until your reach the “heels position” which is where the bar should be right on your patella tendon. Bring the bar into the up and over position, which is above your knee. Now 1, 2, 3, and JUMP straight up! Repeat this drill a couple of times:
a. Address the bar, big chest and breaking the finger. Chin out like you want someone to slug you.
b. Inch the bar up into the heels position.
c. Up and over
d. 1, 2 ,3 JUMP!

At this point he had me come out and demonstrate the power snatch + overhead squat. At this point the most I have snatched was 85. I started out with 65, felt pretty good, then 85, 95, 115 and I hit 135! I was able to power snatch 135 and then OHS. 135 is my PR for OHS so I was pretty happy about it, the entire time I just used that drill outlined above. Now he had a couple of different bars setup and everyone to the opportunity to snatch.

5. Cleans and front squats – Coach Dan John believes that if you can snatch well then you can clean well. The largest difference between the 2 is hand positioning, from a wide grip in the snatch to a closer grip with the clean. Stand up with your PVC using a snatch grip in the up and over position (the bar should be right above your knee) now slide your hands in to a ‘clean’ grip, notice the bar is now in the “heels” position with a closer grip. Now on to the front squat, when you front squat there is not need to have a death grip on the bar it is ok for the bar to be on your finger tips. Being able to hold the bar there is NOT a matter of wrist flexibility. Hold the bar in the top position and now squeeze your glutes. You will actually see the bar rise up a bit. Weird huh? At this point we broke off into groups to do some front squats sets of 5. If you feel you have wrist pain then stretch your wrist by doing almost like a wrist lock with your arm in front of you. Its hard to explain. Do this stretch rather than the stretch where you push your fingertips back. If you have wrist pain from front squats then front squat 5 sets of 5 for the next 3-5 days and it should go away.

6. Jerk – Dip slow rather than dipping down fast, if you dip down too fast your chin may end up meeting the bar. To find out which foot you will step with…stand balanced on your 2 feet and have your partner push you, whichever foot you step with to catch yourself is the foot you want to extend in the split jerk. When you do the split jerk you should try to SLAM your ‘front’ foot into the ground. We then broke off into groups to practice.

All in all a great 2 hours that were well spent and I ended up getting a Dan John DVD on O-lifting. In all we spent 30 minutes on squat form, an hour and 15 minutes on snatching and maybe 15-30 minutes on clean and jerks.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:40 AM   #2
Curt Garner
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Great stuff, Allen. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:43 AM   #3
Tom Brose
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Excellent right up Allen. Great job as a demo model, way better than the guy in mens journal (and thanks for not oiling up first).

How nice is Dan for coming out for that? Just another reminder of how great a community we have. Everyone at CrossFit DC, be ready for the tabata goblet fun.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:24 AM   #4
Jared Waltz
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> Everyone at CrossFit DC, be ready for the tabata goblet fun.

We need a smiley of an evil genius in a black hat and cape, rubbing his hands together and laughing maniacally to go along with quotes like that ............. :-)
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:35 AM   #5
Allen Yeh
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Along with a smiley (or frowney) that is groaning in agony....
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:03 AM   #6
Russ Greene
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Thanks a lot Allen for the notes. This is what I learned:
1. I'm not activating my hammies enough on the olympic pulls
2. I'm not sitting between my legs when I squat; I'm sitting on top of them, and I need to fix that.
3. Dan John teaches the lifts very differently from Burgener, he does them the Bulgarian way. Less jump and land and more bow and arrow.
4. My elbows should be facing in towards me in an overhead squat, just as they are in a strict press or jerk.
5. I need to practice keeping a big chest in all my squats and pulls until I do it without thinking.
6. When training somebody, there is a big difference between what you want them to do and what you tell them in order to enact that change. You could say, engage the posterior chain maintaining a proper lumbar curve, or you could just say Heels! and Big chest! Hint: the latter way works better.
7. I should practice the exact positioning I want in the olympic pulls by moving slowly at first.
8. I desperately need to practice the lifts more.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:21 PM   #7
Brian Sullivan
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Thanks Allen - Excellent post and summary of Dan's seminar. I've been trying to learn to snatch for a few weeks, reading, watching and listening Dan John and the Burgeners and after reading your post, I did some more practicing and hit a new PR for me in power snatch (95 lbs-previously 65 lbs was the most I felt comfortable lifting). This is the first time I've felt good in the snatch. I'm pretty sure I can lift more, but I don't want to risk dropping the bar in my basement. The thing that helped me most today was locking my lats before touching the bar, and keeping them there. This seemed to get everything more in sync tonight; prior to this I used to start the lift with my shoulders shrugged forward, and my lift always felt shakey.

Please post a review of the DVD if you wouldn't mind.
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:08 PM   #8
Jamila Bey
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Hey ladies in DC- you missed it! I was the only belle at this ball, and boy are my hammies HURTIN!

If I keep up at this pace, I'm gonna have to enter some kind of contest, because I am addicted to O-lifting now!

And folks, PLEASE order Dan's DVD! First off, it's great to support such a good guy. But as a cheap SOB, take it from me that you're not gonna get nearly as good a product for your hard earned dollars on any other DVD!

I'm glued to the set with a broomstick practicing the positions and I'm bathed in sweat! Dan is so good at teaching you to hit the right muscles at the right time...

(hearts) I'm such a Dan John groupie! (hearts)
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:25 PM   #9
Sheila Gruenwald
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Where can we order Dan's DVD from?/

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Old 01-17-2006, 12:15 AM   #10
Dan Freda
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CrossFit NorCal
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