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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 01-06-2006, 06:37 AM   #1
Keith Norris
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Long time listener, first time caller here ~

I apologize in advance if this subject has already been covered; I'm sure it has, but I can't seem to find it.

When receiving the bar in the above mentioned exercises -- or when performing front squats, push-press, push-jerk, etc. . . -- I can't seem to get the bar to rest comfortably across my shoulders. Makes my wrists hurt like hell, too. I know flexbility is one part of the answer (along with sub-par technique), but I can't help but to think that my forearm-to-upper arm ratio must be freekishly high. And, too, it's difficult to generate any power out of the "catch" position when, by neccessity, the bar is so far toward my fingertips. Short of hacking a few inches off my forearms, what can I do to fix this situation? Any and all advice would be most appreciated!
Thanks,
Keith
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:45 AM   #2
Andy Shirley
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Keith,
you are definitely not alone here. Its a flexibility issue.

Shoulder dislocates. Wrist stretches. Handstands/HSPU. My current favorite: put a bunch of weight on the bar on the power rack and try to stretch into the proper racked position.

I switch my grip to a supinated grip on front squats, until I can rack the bar properly. This is because I think I get more posterior-chain benefit with a heavier weight on my shoulders, vs. a lighter weight out in front of me.

I am making progress, slowly but surely.

Also, I really have to focus on moving my shoulders forward, which in effect lengthens the lever of your humerus vs your forearm, allowing the elbows to come up and put the humerus closer to parallel to the ground. I think I'm saying that right. If not, someone correct me(not like I need to ask).
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:52 AM   #3
James Falkner
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Keith,

I was in the same boat as you. IMO it's mainly a flexibility issue. You CAN be comfortable in the catch position without a lot of work. Basically, do a lot of things to stretch the wrist:

- Front Squat (with elbows up) with not a lot of weight (I started with around 50 lbs) concentrating on position of hands/fingers. Yeah this will be difficult/hurt at first. keep at it. Do NOT overload the bar. You don't need to tear anything.

- Handstands (and HSPUs if you can) - start with a set of parallettes to ease the load on the wrist. Then graduate to floor. I find doing these before cleans helps stretch stuff out.

I then attempted to do cleans after a few weeks of the above and felt more comfortable. There is also a period of adjustment with your upper pecs/front delts to literally shoulder the load comfortably and take a beating when you start out. This hurt me for a week or two but now I feel more confident and it doesn't hurt anymore, mainly because I am gently catching the bar, instead of slamming it onto my shoulders.

Once you make progress you'll feel so good that any lingering pain/uneasiness from any inflexibility or apprehension will go away 'cause you'll be doing those lifts you saw on TV and you'll be doing them with skill you never knew you had.
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
James Falkner
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And BTW, from what I have read, the power generated during a jerk movement is from the core, and your arms do little work other than catch the bar at the top of the jerk. Most of the force is transmitted through your shoulders to the bar.
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Old 01-06-2006, 08:56 AM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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Watch videos of Olympic lifters. You'll see the correct rack position AND you'll see that most of them use a different grip for the jerk than they do for the front squat/clean.

Clean:
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/17964.jpg

Jerk:
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/17965.jpg

Notice how the second lifter has dropped his elbows and he has more of the bar in his hands. The bar is still resting mostly on his shoulders, however.
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Old 01-06-2006, 10:07 AM   #6
Keith Norris
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I think a lot more beef in the pecs front delts wouldn't hurt either. I always thought I was pretty well put together, and in good shape to boot ~ until, that is, I stumbled upon this site. Best thing that ever could've happened to me. Humbling, oh so humbling.

Thanks for the help/insight y'all.
K
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Old 01-06-2006, 11:40 AM   #7
Mike Sasin
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If you're like I am and are just too impatient to gain the wrist flexibility, there's always the split clean, which allows you to maintain a hand position like in the second picture. The split was used pretty much up until the 1960s when the squat became popular. I've seen it written that the squat style doesn't necessarily offer that many advantages over the split and that it became popular simply because "everyone else was doing it." I don't necessarily think that's completely true -- for instance, I think it's easier to recover from two legs than one and you can get lower in the squat -- but an interesting statement nonetheless.
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Old 01-06-2006, 12:29 PM   #8
Robert Wolf
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Keep in mind that one should not death grip the bar in the receiving position. The hands are open, the bar rests on the shoulders with just fingertips on the bar.
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Old 01-06-2006, 01:36 PM   #9
James Falkner
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All,

I watched one of coach's 'sage' videos recently, and after cleaning, sage adjusted the bar somewhat, and it appeared as though she went from a mostly fingertip-grip to a whole-hand grip. Coach commented at that moment that she was "preparing for the jerk". So should the jerk be done with a full hand grip? a full-hand grip, with bar resting on shoulders, is a bit painful for me.
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Old 01-06-2006, 04:48 PM   #10
Mike Sasin
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So should the jerk be done with a full hand grip? a full-hand grip, with bar resting on shoulders, is a bit painful for me.

Yes, because you'll need a full hand grip to control the bar on the way up and overhead. However, once you are ready to jerk, the bar can be positioned like the lifter has in the second photo. Notice it's not really on his shoulders anymore, but resting more on the clavicles and upper chest. His elbows are no longer pointing forward but down. It's important that you let the bar rest on the clavicles to provide a sufficient base so that your leg power will launch the weight up. Holding the bar in the arms only will not result in efficient power transfer.

This is one of those situations where using heavier weight makes it easier, at least for me. When the bar is heavy it'll actually sink into that area like in that photo. Sounds painful but it's not. Also, keep in mind that you can widen and adjust your grip as much as you want prior to the jerk. Not the most efficient thing to do if doing a WOD that calls for high reps of C&J, but it's okay if going for a heavy max attempt.
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