T Nation

Gotta Get Rid of Bad Habits


SO this is my first post. I've been a reader on T-Nation for a long time and ever since reading some of Thibs stuff and then especially after reading the Broz recent article I've been perhaps what you would call "obsessed" or enamored with olympic lifting. Perhaps not obsessed because I haven't gone to a typical Oly split but I've had some olympic lifting everyday. So to get to my questions. I really don't know where to start. I try not to post questions that have already been answered. I check out the Cal strength website everyday and have checked some of the coach mcCauley (i think it is) videos. But first question/comment.

I played football and baseball in high school, actually just graduated after playing college baseball so now I've got to find a new sport aka olympic lifting or perhaps powerlifting (I've got long limbs, short torso so my deadlift is near 500 while my squat is more like 350 lbs). But I've got all of my bad habits as far as cleaning goes to where I can power clean 102 kgs (I'm going to try to start using kilos) with pretty atrocious form (legs split, elbows vertical, holding the bar on my chest) while I can only clean about 93 kgs (205 lbs). My max front squat is 120 kgs (260 lbs). Does it seem likely that the reason my full clean is less because my front squat isn't strong enough (obviously not a lot of stretch reflex catching the bar low) or is it all in my head that I just don't pull myself under? I think its a combination of both but is there a good estimate of how much you should be able to front squat compared to how much you can clean?

Second question, I've been really trying to work on getting my hips into "launching" the bar. I seem to cut myself short when I know I have to get under the bar and I don't get enough extension but its coming along but it seems much easier for me to bump it with my hips on the snatch compared to the clean. Do yall consciously think about hitting the bar with your hips or is there anything to think about it my head that might help me get full extension? Or perhaps I just need to continue to correct bad habits and work on technique. Although I do get the full extension when I power snatch/clean since I know I don't have to get fully under it.

Third question (sorry for so many, they've been building up), my best C&J is 95 kgs (210 lbs) (this is with the awful power clean form from high school). With my jerk though, I have longer arms but I think the problem is flexibility, I can't really rest the bar on my shoulders while keeping my wrist somewhat under the bar. I can only keep it on my shoulders with the bar in my finger tips like in my catch. So in yalls opinion, is this a flexibility thing or is it possible to have a loner radius and ulna compared to my humerus? I'm thinking flexibility issue but just wanted to ask (still pounding flexibility).

Last question, i always start with technique work (pauses i.e. the pendlay videos, only with the bar though) and then usually progress to hang variations up to 61 kgs (135 lbs) in the hang snatch and 88 kgs (195 lbs) in the clean and then move on to power variations (only up 5 kgs after that because of lack of strenght in OH squat and front squat). Is this the best way that I should progress in my workouts? Or should I go high bar hang snatches/cleans to try to get my hips in? My hang lifts are from just above the knees.

Also just so you know my program (I haven't deadlifted 500 lbs yet and that is my first goal before I start pushing harder on the oly lifts, I'm around 485-495) is:
Day 1 - "Legs" - Deadlift, OH squat or front squat
Day 2 - Ch/Sh/Tri - Only presses and bench etc... because my back is usually shot from deads
day 3 - Back/Bi - Snatches then typically back/bi day, mostly compound and a few curls
day 4 - legs - Cleans, back squat or front squat, SL deadlift if time allows
day 5 - ch/sh/tri - Jerks, then presses, bench, etc...
day 6 - back/bi - same as above

I did jerks on day 2 for the last workout and it wasn't too bad so perhaps I'll make that consistent. I know its not ideal for oly lifting but I've been getting better. OH squat went from barely able to do 95 lbs for 4 reps to 135 lbs for 6 reps fairly easy in one week.

Lastly, I'm sorry for the length but my questions have been building up, hopefully theyre not answered throughout this site. I've looked in the archives of this forum and have looked around a answered a lot of questions already. And I'm still working on getting used to using kilos however all the weights in my gym is in lbs. Also, getting a coach isn't an option. I start physical therapy school next monday and already have $40,000 in debt with an additional $50 - 60 to come from Pt school so the extra cash isn't there. I'm getting some weightlifting shoes soon. Also I'm going to hopefully post some videos here when I'm not as stressed for time with lifting and work. And absolute lastly, I just want to say that I really respect all of you who olympic lift. After reading a recent article about powerlifting squatting I just have so much more respect for a full ATG squat oly style with even 200 lbs less. Launching stuff over your head just looks so BA so I'm hoping to be able to get some decent (not necessarily competition wise but just on this site) numbers up there in the next year or so. Thanks for your input


Dang that post is extremely long, sorry about that but I also have one more question. What are the best value shoes to purchase? I've looked at the Pendlay ones. Any others? A site where to get some for the best price if you have it would be greatly appreciated to.


Usually your clean is about 90% of your FS.


Dude break down that wall of text, no one is going to read that. As for shoes there are great reviews on http://buyweightliftingshoes.com/ for almost every brand of shoe out there.


post a vid of your lifting if you can. people like to watch videos and you can get some good feedback that way.

  • yes get your front squat stronger. also work on your clean form, though. get rid of powercleans done with bad form. they won't help you oly lift any better. throw out those old meaningless numbers. you will exceed them eventually.

  • a lot of people find it hard to finish the pull on cleans when they can powerclean more than they can squat. you CAN do it - but it requires a lot from motor control to finish the pull with reduced force.

  • i think you are allowed to drop your elbows down before jerking. would that help the bar stay in the rack for you?

  • don't do power versions of the lifts (maybe later you will need them if you have trouble finishing the pull). they won't help you get under the bar, though, and without someone strictly keeping an eye on what needs to happen with them for the full lifts they will only hurt you.

  • don't worry about overhead squats UNLESS you need to work on getting a nice bottom position for snatches.


Don't do power cleans or power snatches.

Experiment to find a position in the jerk where you can get your palms under the bar. If you can't at all, then yes its a flexibility issue.(you can try widening the grip or shortening it and/or dropping your elbows lower or putting them higher and/or pushing your elbows to the side or inwards towards the chest)

I've no idea what good shoes are. I've only had one pair for 3 years now.

I suggest you do the videos from pendlay but not just with the bar. I've found that nothing teaches me better how to get under the bar than doing some snatches or cleans from the "power" position with heavier weights. I think I've done up to 70% of my best from there and I'm sure I could do more if I tried. You will have to start with less though but the more you can do from that position the better you drop under the bar IMO. You simply NEED to be fast under the bar because you simply CAN'T put enough speed into the bar or muscle it up with upper body strength. Just be careful with them, push yourself a bit, not a lot. In olympic lifting it takes a long time before you really know when its a mental or a physical barrier holding you back. and underestimating one or the other can either hold you back or get you injured.


Thanks for all the comments. I've pretty much cut out power versions of the lifts for now. I'm pretty sure its all a flexibility issue as far as the jerk goes. I know most people have their elbows vertical but its still on their shoulders, I can't get it above my upper chest cuz then its on my clavicle only while not touching my shoulders at all. thanks for the website with the shoes. I'll try to post a video as soon as I can. Also I have had some issues with the bottom position of the snatch so once my overhead stability gets better in the bottom position I'll completely cut them out


Hard to tell for sure what the issue is without a video, but if you FS 120 kg, your clean should be higher than 93 kg. Definitely a technique issue.

The bar hits lower in the clean but I don't think about. I used to, but that would result in me not keeping bar close and then pulling it in hard to hit, causing it to loop out again.

I think this McCauley video is very good for correcting this problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FozKb9IndCM (you extend fully and immediately retreat)

I've never had this problem, but you could try this:


Seems uber f0cking high to be 90% mate...usually it's C&J your 3-5RM FS. But obviously the stronger you are the less likely are are going to do that at the extreme end e.g. when you can start squating 2x your bw for 5reps+.

Forget ratios and % for now. Just continue working your flexibility and get your FS up.

Your FS is low due weaknesses in your quads and general lack of training that specific exercise. Once you start hammering the FS more your mobility and numbers will improve. DO NOT ADD MORE WEIGHT AND FORSAKE SQUAT DEPTH! Go to your usual depth.

FORGET DEADLIFTING 500Lbs, it literally means jack sh!t for you. You can pull 485lbs+ and can only CJ 95kg. You are vastly technique bound. Crack on with the Oly bar work every session. You may not lift every session because you want to work on other stuff, fair enough, but you won't get to learn the OLifts any faster by not practicing them. Spend 10-15mins each day doing the bar work.

The lifts are a learnt skill. Once you clock in say 100hrs of bar work and 500hrs of OLifting your technique will be THAT MUCH BETTER. If you only lift 2x a week, up it to at least 3x a week and do the bar work on the other days.

It seems like your in two minds in what you want to do.

If anything put the OLift and squats at the start of your session. Do the other stuff at the end of your sessions.

Work hard on your flexibility. It will improve but only if you do it 1-2x a day everyday.

Your OHS should be stable and deep. You won't be able to Sn well if your mobility is f0cked.

Post videos. That is the single best way for people to see what your doing right and wrong. Look at my littel bros video. His technique is very classical and pretty much perfect.



Sorry about the absence for a while. A bad storm hit and we haven't had internet for a while. I have some videos to post. I'm switching up my routine to include the lifts 3 times a week using an upper, lower, upper, lower, upper, lower split doing tecnique work on the upper days and doing the actual lifts on the lower days followed by squats/front squats. Anyways, here are the videos. Hopefully I can get them on here alright since this is my first time doing it.

Some notes on the videos. On the snatch, it seems I don't catch it behind me enough. I think it can be a mobility issue and just trusting myself letting the weight get behind me like that. The only time I ever miss snatches is in front.


I'm trying to put the videos on but its not working for me. Here's a second shot.


Here we go here is the second snatch and also 185 lbs clean which obviously I can power clean it easy but when I try to take it down in a squat i drop it. I think thats simply a mobility issue and strength issue, keeping my shoulders up.


Alright, sorry for the 4 straight post, I didn't know how to post multiple videos and its still not showing so I'm not 100 percent if I did it right. I think what I've really gotta work on is getting the hip catapult going and then also pulling the bar back into me instead of letting it stay out in front of me in both the clean and the snatch. I plan to get another video up soon of the issue I'm having with my jerk positioning. IF i keep it on my clavicle and shoulders its still having to sit with my wrist bent back pretty far to where I can't get under it until of course after I start driving it up. It seems that Jon North of Cal strength kind of does this and I feel like I've seen some other people who have their wrist bent back pretty far in the start of the jerk so I'll just have to start working it like that instead of letting it sit on my lower chest while having to hold it like in the bottom of a overhead press.

I have so many other questions/comments but I'll save those until I'm actually back on my own computer where I can fully search the forums and read the replies so that I don't repost anything.


Here's the second snatch video. Same day as the previous snatch.


You are Power Snatching (PS) and not full Sn.

Get a video of you doing an OHS with just the bar. Pause at the bottom for 3seconds. You need to be able to do this exercise effortlessly. Once you can do this you are in a MUCH better position to Sn. OHS with a bit more weight say 30-40kg and then you'll be much better.

Your main issue is your mobility not letting you full Sn and lack of bar work. But this will come.

Get another video of you Sn just with the bar then add 5's on each end and progress to 10's and we can see how your technique holds up.

Videos are good for analysis.



You're setup reminds me of a deadlift, not oly. Squat down, set your grip, pull the bar to your shins, pull your shoulders back and force your chest out. Now pull the slack out of your arms by pushing with your legs (keep your torso in the same vertical position). That's a good starting position.

Also: drill, drill, drill the catch. I lost grip on the bar the other day. Wasn't used to the bar rotating so freely, and my hands just popped right out from under it and shot out in front of me. I finished the lift anyway. If you have a good catch, you don't even need your hands


I definitely agree with Koing the first position to learn in weightlifting is the squat. As a beginner I would suggest working the squat hard and keeping the weights for the lifts lighter than you're used to and focus on riding them down to the bottom. I'm a fan of goblet squats, front squats, and overhead squats to get you where you need to be if you must back squat add it in later otherwise its just a distraction if the form isn't perfect .


Hammer the OHS and Front Squats. When you can do them perfectly without any mobility issues with just the bar and a bit of weight say 40-50kg you will not have flexiblity as an issue for when you do the Sn or Cleans.

If you struggle with doing an OHS or Front Squat you will struggle to do the lifts properly because your mobility is stopping you get in to the correct positions.



Alright, I'm going to attempt to load some videos from my phone since my internet is still down. These are from my snatch workout today. This is every set I did except for I did do an extra set 2 arts with the bar and an extra set with the ten lbs on each side. I think my biggest issue is trusting myself to thrust into the bar when it is moving full speed up. Also for the last video, 135 lbs I think I was just tired and I let my form break down so that I didnt squat under it.



Your video's are excellent. This will really let the guys with experience like Koing give you good advice (thats not me, i'm new like you to Oly lifting and too old to really do much with it but i'm gonna try).

I will say that i do just like you, when the weight gets heavy my instinct tells me to Power Snatch and to Power Clean. Just like you did in your video. And while initially that feels great cause you get the weight up, in the long run you limit how high you can go.

Do as i say, not as i do :o)

I think Koing's response is: put some really heavy weight on the bar and try it and you quickly realize PS or PC limits you. And he's RIGHT.

You, (and i) have to learn to get down under the bar better and their advice to learn to do it with the bar alone, and light weight first is good, then IT becomes instinctive when the weight goes up..

But your one up on me cause your alot younger.

From your videos i see some excellent natural bar speed and coordination.
I think if you work at it, you can be a really good O-lifter.
Keep it up!