T Nation

Are Olympic Lifts Really That Complicated?

Why in the world do people consider it a six phase lift? Seriously, the instructions are simple:

-your entire back should be arched throughout the entire lift.

-Keep the bar as close to your body as possible.

-the barbell, your hips, and your shoulders should go up at the same rate (this is BEFORE the explosion phase).

-once the bar passes the knees, “jump up!”.

-right after the explosion phase, switch your focus from “pulling” to “ducking under”.

-once you catch the bar, stand up.

(instructions both apply to the snatch and the clean.)

Ok… I really don’t even know where to start. All I have to say is, find a qualified coach and start competing, and you’ll soon find out how complicated Oly lifts are.

post videos of your lifts so we can see if they are that complicated or not

-nothing is complicated if you are satisfied with mediocrity

Seriously, are you taking the piss?

I knew the Olympic lifting was very technical, and I watched some of the people on a team do it and it still seemed pretty straightforward.
Then, I joined that Olympic lifting team and started reading a lot about it and soon realized that it is ridiculously complex, as you mind and body have to process so many demands within such a short period of time.

Yes, it really is that complicated…

As the others have said, if you want to learn how to do the lifts properly, I suggest you find a qualified coach to teach you. I’ve been competing in OL for 7 years and the lifts still frustrate the hell out of me every training session.

If you think the lifts aren’t complicated, you haven’t put enough weight on the bar. With more kilos on the bar, technique flaws are exaggerated even more and even minor miscalculations result in missed or more difficult lifts. Any lift that technical deserves to be called ‘complicated’ in my book.

They are more complicated than other “traditional” lifts, but not as much as some people believe. Dan John has always done a good job of simplifying the lifts and his video here does just that:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

Glenn Pendlay also does a very good job of simplifying the performance of the lifts. For example his take on the double knee bend:

The best way to teach the double knee bend is to never say “double knee bend” and never ever let the athlete know that anything like that is supposed to happen. As soon as they know they are supposed to do it, half the battle is lost.

You teach the position of the top pull or second pull first, get comfortable with that, then teach going from that position to below the knees via ONLY hip flexion, then teach lowering the bar from the patellar ligament region to the floor via ONLY knee flexion. You encourage the athlete to raise the bar in the same manner as he is lowering it, and it is almost impossible to NOT do right. The only people who have trouble with it are those with an extensive history of doing things WRONG, or, maybe ex powerlifters who have been pulling off the floor differently for years and have trouble not relapsing into old habits.

It is really impossible to push the legs off the floor, go from the knee to a proper second pull position, then jump, without executing a double knee bend. So you emphasize the positions and let the knee bend happen all by itself.

Now if you want to become a high level competitive lifter, then you will need coaching for all the little nuances, but just to use them in a strength program, it probably isn’t necessary.

They are complex. No doubt there.

I was coached by Jim Schmitz. 3 time U.S. Weightlifting coach and a legend in the game.
He said to me " I can teach you the lifts in an hour but, It’ll take you a lifetime to learn them". It’s an old line but I think an appropriate one for here.

I remember when I thought they weren’t that technical… then I got coached. Try doing the same lift for about 2 hours the first day and only getting about 3 reps done to an “ok” standard, then you might see how complex they really are.

[quote]TYPE2B wrote:
Why in the world do people consider it a six phase lift? Seriously, the instructions are simple:

-your entire back should be arched throughout the entire lift.

-Keep the bar as close to your body as possible.

-the barbell, your hips, and your shoulders should go up at the same rate (this is BEFORE the explosion phase).

-once the bar passes the knees, “jump up!”.

-right after the explosion phase, switch your focus from “pulling” to “ducking under”.

-once you catch the bar, stand up.

(instructions both apply to the snatch and the clean.)[/quote]

What’s really funny is that you are wrong about a few of these things, and simplified some of the others:

  1. How do you keep the bar close? Its not as easy as thinking about it. If the bar gets away, its probably because you are out of position because you are both not strong enough to hit the proper positions and you are not patient enough to get into them.

  2. You DO NOT jump after the bar passes the knees. That is too early.

  3. The explosion phase happens in less than a tenth of a second… switching effectively takes years of practice.

  4. How do you pull under the bar? With your hips? With your arms? Its not about free falling, and…

  5. You do not duck under the bar! That is a failed lift waiting to happen. You have to pull yourself under the bar as you push against the bar… ducking will make you not tight.

  6. How do you stand up? What if the weight is too heavy to pause front squat it? How do you catch the bounce while trying to transition from the… oh, you get the point.

The olympic lifts are far more technical than a golf swing. Sure, anyone can go out to a range and hit a few balls… but to be any good, you spend years practicing.

and you can add the "hips shoulders go up at the same rate before the explosion phase "
if you set up right at the start you will certainly have the bar travelling close, and you will have bruised and bloody shins.

but having said that I remember a top junior shotputter went in the US jrs in early 70’s and killed them, powersnatched and power cleaned push jerk much more than the polished kids from the “national training camps could handle”

technique is not everything, but …

personally I think we will have more technique problems with the plethora of certified wling coaches (who have never competed but have a pretty mean fran) who despite their best intentions will stuff up the system,

Oh come on. The olympic lifts are very technical movements but more technical than a golf swing? That’s ridiculous.

If we’re talking about competing in Olympic Weightlifting…then yes the lifts become incredibly complicated. The the goal is to find every possible technical enhancement to lift more weight explosively.

On the other hand, if your goal is to incorporate the lifts into the complete training program for an athlete in another sport, then how complicated do the lifts have to be? I agree that before you can get the benefits of these movements a person’s form needs to be very good, but does it have to be flawless? Many trainers and strength coaches make the argument that the lifts are less applicable than jumps/plyos, etc or that they are very difficult to teach. I feel that for most, the trade off is using the time they have with their athletes OPTIMALLY. If you have more time and more contact with the athletes (such as a collegiate S&C setting or high performance program), teaching the lifts can be of great benefit and they don’t have to be absolutely perfect.

Just my two cents…

I don’t think they are that complicated if you get taught by a competent coach.

I can’t imagine reading online/ from a book about how to learn the lifts as I never did that.

I was coached from 16 and that was 8yrs ago. My lifts are pretty good but I have issues with limit weights that’ll take some further time to iron out. The Jerk is THE MOTHER of all lifts to do well in a comp (you’ve done 3 heavy Snatchs, you’ve done a Clean, you’ve had to cut weight) and then YOU get to Jerk it! Not easy on limit weight. A WHOLE LOT easier at 95-98% but when it gets to 100% and beyond they beat the hell out of you.

It’s easy in ‘theory’ but a whole lot harder to do at heavy weights, read at least 1.5x bw Snatch and beyond…

I’m confident that you can get to 80% of the technique if you train 3x a week with a coach for about a year. The extra 20% will take forever if never to get done correctly.

You see it with a lot of Pros that have lifted for over 7000hrs from the ages of 8 and onwards! Not perfect technique but they shift a ridiculous ammount of weight.

Koing

Going to be honest here.

I actually think squats are complicated. I’m completely serious, one of the most technical lifts that exists and I’m still working on perfecting my form. You can imagine how I feel about the classical lifts

[quote]Invictica wrote:
Going to be honest here.

I actually think squats are complicated. I’m completely serious, one of the most technical lifts that exists and I’m still working on perfecting my form. You can imagine how I feel about the classical lifts[/quote]

Mate, your asian! It should be natural for you!

It’s easy with light/ moderate weight but when it’s heavy it’s a different game unless all your weak links are strong!

I have a funky tendency to raise my hips backwards when coming out of the hole. This is because of 2 things:

  1. weak legs, if I was stronger I come up bolt straight
  2. I squat down very very vertically, if I sat back a bit it would look less noticeable

I just live with it and just squat. It’s nothing major.

Koing

[quote]ConorM wrote:

The olympic lifts are far more technical than a golf swing. Sure, anyone can go out to a range and hit a few balls… but to be any good, you spend years practicing.

Oh come on. The olympic lifts are very technical movements but more technical than a golf swing? That’s ridiculous.[/quote]

Why is that ridiculous? There’s less room for error and more things that go into it.

[quote]Dr. Manhattan wrote:
ConorM wrote:

The olympic lifts are far more technical than a golf swing. Sure, anyone can go out to a range and hit a few balls… but to be any good, you spend years practicing.

Oh come on. The olympic lifts are very technical movements but more technical than a golf swing? That’s ridiculous.

Why is that ridiculous? There’s less room for error and more things that go into it.[/quote]

I disagree as well. I think they are equally complicated, but with golf you have things that are beyond your control that can affect the outcome (weather, surface conditions, etc). I think golf is more difficult for that reason.

But I suck at both so what the hell do I know.

I suppose powerlifting is perceived as non-technical as well?

‘What? You put the bar on your shoulders and squat down and stand up. What’s difficult about that? You just bend over and pick the bar up. You just lay down and push the weight off of your chest.’

Right.