Following last week's post, we will have a closer look at power clean. Out of all oly lifts - power clean is probably the exercise I use most with my athletes. There are many ways to teach power clean. It happens that I have to change the approach and teach it differently to different people. Here - I will go over the phases that PC consists of and look at the mistakes and limitations that may show up during performing 1st pull or even getting your athlete into a correct starting position.
Bar is pulled close to your shins and held with a hook grip
Shoulders are positioned in front of the bar (this is very important as it helps to keep the barbell close to your body when pulling from the floor)
Now that we’ve reviewed good starting position lets go over the “first pull" of the power clean. The initial pull from the floor is done controlled without jerking. Hips and shoulders rise together as the athlete pulls the weight from the floor.
Torso is rigid and arched, chest "proud"
One of the mistakes you will see most often is when an athlete leads with the hips. If that happens, the hips are taken completely out of the movement with nearly all the stress being placed on the lower back. If your aim is to develop power and explosion in the hips - the above is not a very good idea at all, it also may cause lower back injury. Remember -, push feet through the floor, hips and shoulders raise at the same time
Some (or most) of the mistakes may actually be a result of poor flexibility. Lets look at the flexibility requirements for the 1st pull.
Hamstrings - If tight can be improved by i.e stiff legged deadlifts, general hamstring stretches
Chest and shoulders flexibility (affecting the back position) - ways to improve - shoulder dislocates (like in the pic below), wall squats & sots, specific shoulder stretch (more covered in the Dinosaur Training and Beyond seminar manual)
Back (back mobility should increase with improvement if hamstrings, shoulders and chest flexibility improves, however there are some supporting exercises that can be used to better it) - i.e wall squats (squats performed facing a wall with toes touching the wall like in the pic below), SOTS, bridges (or modified bridges)
Learning olympic lifts is a complex process and flexibility is often an issue that tends to be overlooked. However, if you have time to perfect the techinique - practice, fix what is limiting you and be honest with yourself about it (if it is flexibility - spend more time improving it, if it is strenght - train to get stronger) and I can assure you - it will be a time well spent. Overlooking or ignoring limitations will sooner or later result in an injury. Only well executed lift will have a positive impact on improving your athletic performance.
Till next week.