Fubarbell is a blog I like to follow on a regular basis. Diane Fu is an Olympic lifting coach and her posts are always quick and to the point. One of her recent posts is titled “position is king.” As many of you have experienced, if your body is out of position at any point during the lift, you’ll likely fail the lift (or it’ll be pretty ugly). What is Diane’s tip for newbies learning to navigate the positions of the oly lifts? 100 PVC reps, until your form is so consistent, it’s robotic.
The three points she focuses on are:
Also check out her post for great images of each of those positions.
Her advice is very consistent with what we teach in class and what I experienced at my USAW Olympic weightlifting cert. While you may never see “100 PVC snatches not for time” posted on the board, you’ve probably noticed that every time an Olympic lift is programmed as the lift or in the WOD, we do muscle cleans or snatches followed by hang cleans or snatches as a part of our warm up. It is usually completed with a PVC pipe or light bar so that you’re not focused on the weight of what you’re moving, but only on navigating to the key positions of the lift. Now this won’t have the same effect as 100 reps, but it ensures you’re on the right track. At my USAW cert, we used a bar and navigated each position over and over again until we couldn’t hang onto the bar anymore. After two days of this, I don’t think my form had ever been cleaner.
I purchased my own PVC pipe and often go through the motions at home when I have some free time or when I am just watching tv. When I can’t seem to make contact with my hip during my snatch pull, you can bet I will be at home practicing until I end up in the correct position. It is a fairly cheap training tool and doubles as mobility tool.
So if you find you are struggling with one or both of your only lifts, maybe choose one day to opt for a PVC pipe or an empty bar until you hit each position on EVERY rep. Also consider checking out barbell class if you haven’t already.
Mobility: Scap Pull Ups
Skill: Kipping and Muscle Ups