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Noob's Depression

I’ve been having some serious depression lately. I want to do explosive strength training so I have these main compound exercises: squats, deadlift, power clean, bench press, and shoulder press/military press. I can do everything right except power cleans and squats. I just can’t get the technqiue right for power cleans. It’s killing me because I have wanted to gain power for jumping my hole life and if I never do, it would be just horrible.

There’s something wrong with me because I watch videos a thousand times but I can’t get the hand of it. I practise with 95 pounds for power cleans and 135 for back squats. With the power cleans, it feels like I can’t learn to clean pull because I use my arms too much. When I go for the shoulder rack, I can do it but it feels like I hold the bar as in a shoulder press. If I try adding more weight to force myself to try and learn technique, the bar just falls infront of me and I fail miserably.

For back squats, the bar is very painful on my back and I can’t get used to it so I end up using a thick padding but it has to rest on my neck to balance. If I try a lower bar rest, it just falls behind me. For front squats my arms and wrists aren’t strong enough and I don’t know how the hell people squat with 300 pounds infront of them because my max for front squat is about 120 pounds before my arms and wrists start to hurt like a b**ch. I’m stuck in this phase and it’s driving me crazy watching strong people lift hundreds of pounds while I have such low maxes that can’t even get into the 200 poundage area.

Depression. Right.

On-Topic. How long have you been lifting?

Learn with the bar first. You don’t know how because you push yourself more then your technique and strength can handle. Sloppiness comes from lack of focus, experience, or strength.

Hell, I never start with weights. When trying to get something down, visualize. Then practice with nothing, then begin.

Get it down first with nothing.

Everyone starts from somewhere.

Wise Iron Monk sayeth, Learn to walk before you run. Before walk learn to crawl. After run, then you sprint.

Doing deadlifts with just the bar (granted you can do it in a rack that will position the bar correctly without plates on it), does not necessarily work. What if his problem is lack of flexibility? Then you might wanna work on other things as well. Could you film your technique?

I don’t have a camera sorry. I’m trying to look for a trainer but none have a clue what I’m talking about when it comes to power, explosive strength, or even olympic lifts.

[quote]sphaw wrote:
Doing deadlifts with just the bar (granted you can do it in a rack that will position the bar correctly without plates on it), does not necessarily work. What if his problem is lack of flexibility? Then you might wanna work on other things as well. Could you film your technique? [/quote]

Good followup ~ that is quite possible.

What’s that?

The most prevalant problem I’ve seen with people who can’t clean properly is trying to reverse-curl the bar. If you’re doing that, focus on bringing the bar up parallel and close to your body, and when you reach your chest area, snap your elbows underneath.

Also, make sure you jump, and stamp your heels into the ground. You should start the jump as you start moving the bar up, and land on the ground as your snapping your elbows out.

Like kinein said, try it without any weight at all until you’re form is good, because in the words of Mike Robertson, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” If all else fails, switch from power clean to hang clean. It’s a little easier since you don’t have to worry about starting from the floor.

As for squats, just read this article and you should never have any more problems.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459389
Also, make sure you’re placing the bar correctly. It should be resting just below your neck, on the “muscle shelf”

If you can’t do front squats, don’t worry about it. If you’re already doing back squats and cleans, the front squat is more of a supplementing addition rather than a necessity. Work on your wrist and forearm strength and then come back to it if you’re so inclined.

Do you train by yourself? If you do, find some people that know what they’re doing and train with them.

[quote]conorh wrote:
Do you train by yourself? If you do, find some people that know what they’re doing and train with them.

[/quote]

best.advice.ever.

  1. Definitely try to find a training partner, one that is knowledgeable with these lifts.

  2. For the cleans, try practicing jump shrugs, they are essentially the first half of a clean. It is the less coordinated, but power generating half of the lift. Once you have gotten used to that motion, start doing some hang cleans if you can, then progress onto power cleans.

  3. For front squats, many people do hold the bar, but I actually rest it across my shoulders, cross my arms across my chest, and hold it in place. For back squats, try just using a thinner, longer pad on the bar, or look into something like the Manta Ray (www.bodybuilding.com/fun/betteru50.htm). Personally, I find it (manta ray) uncomfortable, and “cheating,” but I am one of those guys that likes the bar and nothing else across my shoulders.