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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 09-23-2007, 11:42 AM   #1
Skylar Cook
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Clean form

So I just watched the Elizabeth WOD demo (Greg/Annie) and was thoroughly amazed. Aside from that, it led me to question my thoughts on cleans...

I'm trying to think how to phrase this question- it's one that's really been bothering me (sorry if repetitive, ambiguous, etc.).
Squat cleans and power cleans. I get those. In a squat clean, the bar comes from the ground, to your shoulder level at full leg extension for a split second before dropping into a FS, correct?


About these "cleans." There are only squat cleans and power cleans, correct? (If the WOD calls for "cleans," should I just pick between power cleans and squat cleans? There is no other type of clean, correct (barring the "psuedo-squat clean")? )

If so, I've been thinking about these all wrong. I was under the impression that, at heavy weights, it becomes necessary to not lift the bar all the way up to your shoulder level (as in a squat clean), but, to sort of "stall" the bar in mid-air (little higher than waist level) while you drop under it (ideally stalling it at your shoulder level while bottomed out in a squat). What would that be called? Or is that illegal? It can't be a squat clean because the video specifically critiques Greg for not coming to full extension, and it's definitely not a power clean, as you're dropping into a full squat...

I am very confused.
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Last edited by Skylar Cook : 09-23-2007 at 11:43 AM. Reason: rephrase
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:53 AM   #2
Brandon Oto
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Re: Clean form

Greg is shorting the movement by lowering the bar from the rack before he stands fully from the front squat.

The second way you described is correct; the bar only needs to come up far enough to get under it. If you stand at full extension it will be near your waist, but if it's not extremely heavy (and especially if you put some arm into it) it'll probably get a little higher than that by momentum. But you don't need to pull it higher and if you're trying you're probably muscling it with your arms.

You don't pick it up and then do a front squat. That's a power clean... with a front squat. You launch it into the air, get into the bottom of a squat, let it land on you, then stand up. More or less.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:58 AM   #3
Dale F. Saran
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Re: Clean form

Skylar - the difference has to do with the catch height of the weight. If you catch high enough (without bending knees more than half-way, IIRC) then it's a power clean, if you catch low - below parallel, then it's a squat clean. Now, in Oly lifting, if you're strong enough to jump the weight higher, great, power clean it, but the reality is that as you reach max lifts, it's not a matter of stalling the bar, it simply won't go any higher. You have to go down and get it. Squat cleans are the default clean for CF, by the way, which I believe is in the FAQ. So, if it says "clean", then it's an FSC - full squat clean.

It does appear from what you write that you have been thinking abut cleans all wrong. You don't "drop" under the bar at high weights, you actually pull yourself down under the bar.

Where it can be confusing is with sub-maximal weights that call for a FSC. I can clean a lot more than 135, so on occasion I will jump the weight up too high and catch above parallel and have to then execute a front squat. That's probably what is confusing you.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
Skylar Cook
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Re: Clean form

Brandon- Oh, I read that wrong then. I was seriously confused; I thought Coach (assuming he put in the commentary) was saying that Greg needed to catch the bar higher, not hold release it from the rack higher. Then the only reason he catches the bar so high in the video is because he's a beast? He's actually doing some hybrid type clean, then (he catches it high, then he carries the bar down along with his body during the pull). Gotcha. Thanks. So a "perfect" squat clean, then, would have you pulling (Dale) yourself under the bar when it is exactly at your full squat rack height, with no downwards movement following the catch. Cool.

Dale- By "drop" I was just referring to the fact that you bend your knees and end up in a squat; semantics, is all.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:40 PM   #5
Brandon Oto
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Re: Clean form

The lighter the weight relative to your ability, the higher it's probably going to get... either you meet it higher and go down with it, or you go down and let it crash on you, which is less pleasant.

You probably don't get what you call a "perfect" clean -- meeting it exactly at the bottom of the squat -- unless you're a pro lifter at a max weight. And even then you probably catch it a LITTLE higher and sink down with it for the shock absorption. But that's the general idea.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:48 PM   #6
Skylar Cook
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Re: Clean form

Ok, a perfect squat clean (incorporating no extraneous effort) not taking into account the limitations of the human body (such as pain, strength limitations- who can catch a heavy clean without moving slightly downwards from the momentum?)... would have you catching it perfectly at the full squat rack height.
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:36 PM   #7
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Re: Clean form

Just jump and catch the thing
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:53 PM   #8
Dale F. Saran
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Re: Clean form

Skylar, here's pretty darn close to a perfect FSC. (W/F S).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBUP3NGYAXU&NR=1

FWIW, I think Casey has 220 kg on that bar (that's 484 lb. for you and me). If you poke around a bit, there are a few vidclips that actually analyze his clean and snatch in slow motion. I can't find it right now.
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