T Nation

olympic clean

hi, im about to start an olympic clean ‘progression’, where i learn the lifts in parts for a while to get technique down… ok one of the parts of course is the front squat:

when i do a front squat they say ‘elbows up’ (i havnt even done a front squat yet, tomorrow i do), does this mean for a front squat my upper arm (bicep area)should become parallel with the ground… if so my fingers almost go beyond my shoulder area, i have a definite wrist flexibility problem in that position :slight_smile:

and erm, how do olympic lifters get the bar down safely if its wresting on the very ends of their fingertips and their shoulders, semes awkward to me, just curious… i’m going to be psyched to watch the olympic this year! never even watched the weightlifting events… hheeh

ok bye!

Yes, your upper arm should be as close to parallel to the ground as possible. The bar sits on you finger tips, you dont grip the bar as you would for say a military press. The load should be taken across the front delt/clavicle groove that is present when you have your arms raised in this manner.
keep your elbows up throughout the movt, as alot of people tend to drop ther elbows nearer the end on the movt causing them to come on to their toes. If you keep your elbows up and keep the weight on your heels this wont be a problem, assuming you dont have a (overly) raised heel shoe.
Generally i would recommend (for a beginner) doing the lighter warmup set using a Olympic type grip, and as the load becomes to uncomfortable in heavier set switch to a bodybuilding type grip. The wrist flexiblit will come, dont worry too much about it.
As for lowering the weights… drop the the fucker!
Thats why they use rubber plates!
If you dont have rubber plates… well you are in the same boat as me, and it sucks!

I try to keep/push my elbows as high as possible, and I usually start the lift off of a rack rather than clean it…you may want to check out CT’s Black Book if you have access to it as it has a good oly progression…

When you do front squats, do them from a rack. This exercise is to build strength in the legs, you will be limited by the amount of weight you can clean if you try to get the weight from the floor. This defeats the purpose. Elbows should be as high as possible, parallel with the ground is actually not high enough to support big weights for most people. You must keep a good arch in the lower back. When holding the weight, get used to holding the bar in the palm of your grip, not your fingertips as others have said. That is bullshit! On your highest weight set you might want to let the bar roll out to the fingertips until you become more accustomed to it, but get used to holding the bar in your grip on most of your sets. Why? How else are you going to press or jerk the weight up overhead if you have the bar at your fingertips. If you are going to do the lifts, do them correctly! Don’t build up bad habits. One more thing: olympic lifters simply drop the weights to get the weight down as Whetu already mentioned. Don’t do this unless you have bumper plates and a platform, otherwise with iron, you are going to have to control the weight down. This can be hard on the joints/tendons but the eccentric action can build hypertrophy. My best advice: don’t try this on your own. Put a couple hundred bucks aside to get some good coaching.

Also, don’t wear soft, running shoes for these lifts. Use a hard sole shoe and make sure they are not flat, you want at least a 1inch heel. Many people who don’t want to invest in oly shoes wear workboots. They work but I think they look stupid. You can always put a piece of wood or a couple 10lb plates under your heel, but this wont work for the dynamic lifts. Keep this in mind. Don’t wear Chuck Taylors, this is not powerlifting.