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Lincoln Brigham 11-30-2003 01:34 PM


Here's my opinion in the form of two comments. One, often a lift will look like the bar is hitting the hips hard when it is really not. Two, I would recommend having someone stand to the side to watch the bar path and the feet. If the bar takes a big loop on the top of the "S" - especially if the "S" is tilted forward causing the lifter to jump forward to get under the bar - then the the bar is being pushed forward too hard and the technique should be corrected.

The bar path should always be some variation of an "S" curve. Off the floor the bar is coming back to the lifter, with the curve facing out. During the second pull, the curve of the bar path reverses and the bar tends to go forward a bit. Now I think it's important to understand that the "S" shape can vary from somewhat flat to very curvy; it can be tilted forward, or straight up and down, or tilted back. I don't like to say that any particular shape or tilt of the "S" is 'wrong' - although some coaches will disagree - but clearly certain shapes of the bar bar can be less efficient pulling paths and/or make it harder to achieve consistency in the lifts. An exaggerated tilt means the landing spot is very different than the pulling spot, requiring a big jump back or forward that is hard to keep consistent. An exaggerated "S" curve, especially on the top, means that the bar has developed some horizontal movement that will make the catch position more difficult to stabilize, especially in the snatch lift but also in the clean. The bar will be pushing the lifter back, meaning the athlete has to stop the bar's horizontal AND vertical movement.

Coach 11-30-2003 04:47 PM

Great discussion!

Sean Harrison 12-01-2003 07:51 AM

^^^ Nicholas Nibler:
DId you see the guy who dislocated his elbow?
I saw a picture of that and I'm scared to clean and jerk now...if that's what he was doing...I couldn't tell from the picture.

Lincoln Brigham 12-01-2003 09:34 AM

A couple of guys dislocated their elbows during the snatch part of the competition. These types of injuries seem to be mostly limited to high-level competitions.

Robert Wolf 12-01-2003 07:59 PM

Thanks everyone! I still want to video my technique and use the overhead sheet to track the bar trajectory. I know I get some serious impact on my hips but I am also landing backwards to my starting position....good stuff.

Barry Cooper 12-02-2003 03:02 PM

As I've mentioned in other posts, the whole bump/2nd pull thing is something I struggle with. I was looking at this site--,2711,1215-197744-1-95052,00.htm l , and particularly the 3rd Wave, and thought about this whole rebending of the knees thing.

Basically, it seems like you are pulling the first part largely with your back and hams (which is why Romanian Deadlifts are so good), then--just as the bar passes the knees, you sort of slide them under while straightening your back. Roughly, it seems like you keep about the same bend, but move your hips forward so you have a straight back and bent knees. I have a picture of a Chinese guy on my workstation wall at exactly this moment of the pull, and I have another picture of a Bulgarian at the end of the second pull. The Chinese guy has a military straight back, and his knees are bent about as far forward as most of us can get without putting a stretch on our calves. The bar looks like it is resting on his upper thigh, and you can see chalk on his singlet where the bar must have touched.

Especially as it touches the Weight for Height, I'm going to have to experiment with this whole knee rebending thing.

Lincoln Brigham 12-02-2003 11:14 PM

The first pull is taught as a positioning lift for the second pull. The goal of the first pull is to get into good position for the second pull. To this end, the back angle relative to the floor should not change at all during the first pull. If you are pulling off the ground with mostly back and hams, then it is likely that the most common error of the first pull is happening - the hips are rising faster than the shoulders. Often this happens because the legs are weak relative to the back. It's easier to bend the knees when the hips rise so fast that the bar doesn't move much. (More deep front squats are prescribed!) Romanian deadlifts may be more relevant to the second pull than the first pull. The range of motion of the RDL - from just below the knees to standing - covers roughly the same ROM as the second pull.

The knee rebend is something that is discussed online and in class, etc. but is not recommended to be taught on the platform. Thinking about the knee rebend slows down the lift! By the time the lifter deliberately thinks about moving the knees forward, it's too late. It's considered better to imagine getting into a jumping position, a jumping position with a barbell in your hands. The end result is the same, but the thought process is more instinctive and automatic. The less thinking done during the lift, the faster you will be.

Check out this picture of Alexeev finishing the first pull:,2306,CA-60239,00.jpg
NOW that he has finished the first pull, all that he has LEFT is back and hamstrings. To get to that position, he had to straighten his knees - that took leg power.

My coach, Mike Burgener, would vehemently disagree with MySchoolOnline's philosophy that the lifter should "Drive your hips forward or THROUGH the bar." He would say that doing so will cause the bar to swing out. He would say that the hip action should be directed UP, not forward. Yes, a violent, full extension of the hips, knees and ankles is required at the end of the second pull, but timed and directed such that the hips don't bash into the bar.

Barry Cooper 12-03-2003 02:55 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what it looks like he's getting ready to do is push his knees under the bar while pushing his hips forward. As he stands right now, he has zero bounce left in his legs for the second pull. His legs are almost completely straight. I may not have described what I'm thinking very well--no doubt in part b/c I still don't have a completely clear picture--but it seems like where he is is what I'm thinking.

In the Romanian Deadlift, as I understand it, you keep your shins vertical, and basically sit your butt back. Obviously, you can't bring your hips in until the bar clears your knees. Of course, it uses your quads too, but there is a lot of hamstring involvement.

I don't think Coach Mac is saying to slam the bar with your hips--that would hurt--but to develop a feeling of humping the bar (that's the non-PG version). I can feel that very clearly with the kettlebell swings we do. Coach also talks about what he calls Muted Hip Function in one of the CrossFit Journals, which is basically not pushing your hips all the way forward.

I think this thrust is very compatible with an upward trend of the bar. I don't think there is any way to bend your knees without pushing your hips back. Likewise, pushing your hips in will always be accompanied by a straightening of the legs, unless you "rebend" them.

It may appear there should be a force vector forward, but the actual force is only transmitted to the bar through the arms, which go up as the legs go up, and the movement of the hips is actually secondary to the straightening of the legs, which creates an upward vector. The hips just help the legs straighten, if that makes sense.

Lincoln Brigham 12-03-2003 07:20 PM

I think everyone agrees that the hip extension needs to be fast and complete. The "muted hip function" you are talking about is simply a failure to extend the hip joint. The question here is whether or not the hips should travel forward, into the bar, during this extension and what causes that forward movement.

I think it's a matter of timing and coordination of joint movement. Let's assume the knees have already rebent and the bar is approaching the top of the second pull. That's around mid-thigh in the clean, aka The Jump Position. In order to push the bar forward with the thighs, the knees must extend such that the knees are a pivot point. In other words, the knees are kept from traveling back towards the lifter. This will cause the thighs and hips to come forward into the bar.

Here is the important concept: Hip extension does not cause the thighs to hit the bar! Pure hip extension causes the legs to move back and the back to move back, relative to the hips. Nothing is moving forward, if all other joints stay the same. It is knee extension that moves the hips forward into the bar!

So what error of timing can cause the thighs to bang into the bar? Well, one error could be a delayed or muted ankle extension. From a ready-jump position, if the knees extend but the ankle angle stays the same, the thighs will move forward into the bar. If the ankle extends at the same time as the knees extend however, the knees will move BACK, taking the thighs with them. The bar will not hit the thighs.

In the Romanian Deadlift as I have been taught, the knees are slightly unlocked but do not move. With no changes in knee angle, there is little-to-no quad action. The butt moves back by extending the ankles and flexing the hips.

Barry Cooper 12-04-2003 06:35 AM

Let's forget the whole Romanian Deadlift thing, especially since I don't do them anyway.

My big AHA here is the rebend. What I've always done is extend my legs in one direction only, with the result that I'm doing a second pull starting from where Alexeev is, and generating power only from my back (a little), a VERY slight push of the legs, and my traps and calves. It's always seemed to me something is missing.

What I now think has been missing is the knee rebend. If Alexeev slides his knees under the bar, he will be in a position of having knees flexed at roughly the same angle as the bottom of a Jerk, and he will then be in a great position to push his legs UP, while also shrugging his shoulders, and standing on his tiptoes (although not everyone does that, apparently). The key issue is he will be standing in roughly the bottom of a Hang Clean position, but will have enough momentum that if he times it right, he can really accelerate the bar. That exact time is the genius of great lifters.

Where I am now thinking what I am now going to call the "thigh slide" comes in is in the process of getting the knees under the bar to get the back straight so the second pull will be maximally powerful. A slight touch allows you to know you're in position, but won't cause the bar to bounce out. In fact, you are setting up a straight upward vector. Getting your knees under allows you a powerful leg extension.

I'm not sure if I'm describing this very well, but I think this is the missing link for me. I will have to practice it, but I at last have a picture in my mind that seems to make sense.

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