T Nation

Power Clean and Jerk Form Critique


#1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nva_hmEasMQ This is actually my ORM, embarrassingly low, just wondering if there are any glaring problems with the form, more so with the power clean.
The jerk looked like i didn’t dip down enough at all and lock it out fast enough. Thank you for you help CT, or any1 else willing to help :).


#2

Okay, I’ll start with an analysis of the key positions in the clean then will give comments about the movement flow. I’ll address the power jerk later.


#3

This is your starting position.

First, how tall are you? 6’5". You either are very tall or have very long limbs for your height.

Long limbed people (or tall people) will have more trouble getting into an optimal starting position.

Some issues that I see:

  1. Your lower back is not set (arched)
  2. Your hips are a bit too high
  3. Your shoulders are too much in front of the bar. They can be slightly in front or above, but not that far forward.
  4. Your center of gravity seems too far forward (weight is on your toes instead of the back/mid portion of the foot)

Obviously when you have long limbs you can’t use a super low hips position like some elite lifters do, but I would still have them a bit lower while shifting your weight more toward the middle portion of your feet or even the heels. By doing that your shoulders will be better aligned.

That set-up will keep your weight too far forward which will decrease the power of the second pull/explosion and will force you to jump forward to catch the bar since it will be pulled too far forward.


#4

This is the end of your first pull.

The biggest issue is with the tempo, which I will address at the end of the key positions analysis.

Position-wise I like the action of the legs. You pushed the knees back to clear the knees (at the end of the first pull the tibias need to be perpendicular to the floor and you are doing that). The bar also seems to be at the right distance from the body.

I don’t like the back angle, it should be a bit more upright that that and the chest should be pointing more forward than down. The fact that your lower isn’t arched is not helping in that regard. Your shoulders are way too far forward. At the most they should be above your toes otherwise it will just shift all the weight forward, which we don’t want.


#5

This is the highest explosion point you reach. As you can see you are nowhere near using your full leg extension to produce upward momentum.

In fact you don’t have much of an explosion. I’ll explain more in the movement analysis but it looks like you are exploding more from the floor and maintaining speed when you pass the knees then wedge your hips under the catch the bar. Essentially you are producing most of the acceleration below the knees whereas it should be produced from mid-thigh.

But to get back to our position analysis you are not using your legs at all to drive the weight up. In that position the legs should be fully extended and your should be either on your toes or at least with the heels slightly off the floor.


#6

This is your catch position.

IMHO this is your worst position so far.

  1. Knees should not travel that far forward
  2. Hips should not be pushed forward, they should be pushed back slightly
  3. Your shoulders are behind the hips, they should be in front.
  4. Your elbow are too low.
  5. You jumped forward to catch the bar
  6. You are catching the bar too high. In a power clean I teach people to catch in a half squat position.

All of this makes for a very weak catch position but it will also make it impossible to go down lower to catch the bar (impossible to squat from that position).

Here is a video of a drill to work on the catch position. I do not want you to do this drill, I just want you to focus on the movement of the hips when receiving the barbell: they are moving back, not forward. Compare Felix’s knee, hip and shoulder position to yours in the catch.


#7

For the movement itself the feeling I get is that there is no explosion with the lower body. You produce some speed at first, then you produce a bit more speed by extending the back. This produces a certain height but the barbell is in front, as a result you jump forward, hips first to move under the barbell.

This is obviously an inefficient action.

The two biggest issues IMHO are:

  1. Weight too much on the front of your feet
  2. Not extending the legs in the explosion

The first pull (from floor to just above knees) is just to get you in a good position to explode vertically. In a way when doing the explosion phase think about doing a vertical jump. That’s not exactly what happens but if that cue helps you extend your legs VIOLENTLY UPWARD it will have worked.

The main problem is that at the end of the first pull you are too far forward and your torso is leaning forward too much, it should be a bit more upright. Because from the position you are in the reflex is to whip your back up to produce height and it works to some extent, to initiate the movement up. But it’s the legs that must create the most important upward acceleration.

Extend your legs… think about bringing your head violently to the ceiling.

Then the next issue is moving under the barbell. You are in fact doing in every regard the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

As soon as you finish your violent extension up you should punch your hips back to move under the barbell. Do not weight for the bar to have finished moving up, initiate the “move under” while the bar is still going up.

Right now I would focus on cleans from the hang (from above the knees) to work on finishing your extension then moving under the right way.


#8

For the “jerk” here is my analysis. Before getting into a position analysis, what you are trying to do is a power jerk, not a “jerk” (a jerk normally refers to a split jerk). And even then it wouldn’t even qualify as a jerk since you are finishing the lift as a press (in a jerk you must catch the bar with locked elbows, or as locked as your physiognomy allows).


#9

Your stating position is fine, I’d like the elbows a bit higher but it’s not an issue. So we moved on straight to the dip (picture).

The big issue (and it’s a huge one) is that your knees are travelling WAAAAAAAY too much. In a jerk the weight/balance point should be on your heels (we even tell lifters to raise their toes in the set-up and dip to keep the weight on the toes). If the knees travel that far forward it’s impossible to keep the weight on the toes.

Since your are tall/have long limbs you should push your knees out during the dip and bring your hips a bit further back (as if you were gonna do a fr9nt squat). Keep your weight on our heels.

If your weight/balance point shifts forward the bar will be lifted forward and it will be impossible to catch in a locked position with any decent weight, you’ll have to finish it as a press (which you are doing).


#10

The position of the drive itself is fine. It is what happened before (weight shifting forward) that transferred everything forward. So just by analysing this frame it looks fine but that’s because everything is just a tad too much forward.


#11

Ok, the catch…

The bar is way to far forward. When you jerk (power or split) the barbell should be behind your ears. Not only are you in front of your ears, you are in front of your whole head! When the barbell is held in front like that it’s the muscles of the deltoid and triceps that are holding the weight. When the barbell is aligned properly and caught with locked elbows your whole body absorbs the force.

And a power jerk, just like a power clean, should be caught lower than that. What you are doing just looks like a push press that you caught with a slight knee bend.

In a well executed jerk you only have to push the barbell slightly above your head to be able to lift it (maybe 4" above the head for a power jerk). Because just like I told you about the power clean, you should not weight until the bar reaches it’s highest point to move under. As soon as you finish the upward explosion your should jump DOWN into a half squat position.

This is one of my lifters with 370.

He is doing a split jerk, but the power jerk is exactly the same. You have to move under a power jerk just like you do a split jerk.

Jason also has long limbs, look at how his legs are moving during the dips an where his hips go. And see how he doesn’t wait for the bar to be at the highest point to move under.

Just think “drive the bar above my head and jump into a half squat”. And I do mean ABOVE the head, not just up. The bar has to go up and backward in a slight arc. Notice how Jason’s jerk is behind his head not in front of him.


#12

I just wanted to say I can’t believe you do this for free. I realize this is incredibly time-consuming. This was not even my question, but thank you for the detailed answers and insights you provide.


#13

Wow, this absolutely unreal! I was not expecting anything to this effect, this is basically an articles worth. Really, truly grateful for this, I will take more from this than all things I have read this past year put together. Thank you so much for this CT, respect!


#14

[quote]Charged wrote:
Wow, this absolutely unreal! I was not expecting anything to this effect, this is basically an articles worth. Really, truly grateful for this, I will take more from this than all things I have read this past year put together. Thank you so much for this CT, respect![/quote]

Dude, you took the time to film a video and post it here asking for help. This tells me that you are serious about making progress and I’m always glad to help those who are serious since these are the people I KNOW will make the most out of my advice and will eventually make me look smart:)


#15

Lol, thats true, I’ll always keep chipping away :). Also remarkable that you guessed my height exactly just by the angles. I’m heavily enjoying the look of the Olympic lifts, can you recommend a specific programme for me or shall I just practice the form every day and try and get it down before continuing any specific training. Just finished the last week of the power look programme and had amazing strength gains specifically so on the bench press. Great programme, really appreciate it.
My main goal now is to get really good at the Olympic lifts and I enjoy doing crossfit WOD’s. Any ideas would be extremeley helpful, thanks again CT ! :slight_smile:


#16

[quote]Charged wrote:
Lol, thats true, I’ll always keep chipping away :). Also remarkable that you guessed my height exactly just by the angles. I’m heavily enjoying the look of the Olympic lifts, can you recommend a specific programme for me or shall I just practice the form every day and try and get it down before continuing any specific training. Just finished the last week of the power look programme and had amazing strength gains specifically so on the bench press. Great programme, really appreciate it.
My main goal now is to get really good at the Olympic lifts and I enjoy doing crossfit WOD’s. Any ideas would be extremeley helpful, thanks again CT ! :)[/quote]

When you’ve coached WELL over 800 people (I have no idea of the exact number) it’s pretty easy to deduct someone’s height and body type by looking at how he looks in the set up of a lift.

Now, right now I would not recommend a specific Olympic lifting program. Not until you are technically efficient at all the lifts. Right now it’s all about technical mastery. For that it is best to practice variations of the clean & jerk as often as possible. This means not going heavy, focusing on perfect positions and speed.

See the Olympic lifts like you would see shooting a basketball or hitting a golf ball: an athletic event. An athlete TRAINS with weights (trying to get stronger, doing more reps, etc.) but he PRACTICES his sport (work on technique, precision of execution, timing, etc.). A football player might go all out in the gym 4 days a week but he does not play a full-on football game 5 times a week!

The problem with Olympic lifting is that it is a sport performed with the same object as weight training (barbell). So it is much harder for our brain to separate Olympic lifting and strength training.

PRACTICE the Olympic lifts to become better technically, improve timing and speed.

TRAIN on the big basic lifts (squats, front squats, push press, military press, etc.) to get the strength required to perform in the Olympic lifts.

Then do assistance/isolation work to build more muscle to get stronger faster on the big basic lifts.

Only when you reach a high level of technical mastery should you think about “training” on the Olympic lifts.

A good basic set-up could look like this:

DAY 1
Front squat with a 2 sec pause at 90 degrees on the way down (this is where you want to catch your power clean, focus on getting the feel for the position)

Power clean from the hang (above knees)

Clean deadlift to mid-thigh (deadlift the barbell from the floor to the mid portion of your thigh using the same technique as you would for a clean, focus on keeping your chest facing forward as much as possible)

Bulgarian split squat

DAY 2
Behind the neck push press (focus on pushing the bar in a straight line so it stays aligned behind your ears when you are at the top, focus on getting the feel for that position so that you can try to duplicate it when you power jerk). ON THE LAST REP OF EACH SET. While the bar is held overhead, squat down as low as you can while staying in control (don’t go lower than 90 degrees), then hold that position 10 seconds (to work on the catch position of the power jerk)

Power clean from hang & power jerk (stay light, focus on catching the bar behind your ears and in a half squat position… if you don’t catch it in the right position keep the bar overhead, get into the right position to get a feel for it… tell your brain “this is where I want to go”)

Military press (focus on pushing straight up from the start but as soon as you reach your forehead push in a backward arc to bring it behind your ears)

DB bench press

DAY 3
Complex: power clean from the hang + PAUSED power clean from floor (bring the bar to mid-thigh, PAUSE, and the explode upward into the clean from that position… NO POSITION ADJUSTMENT ALLOWED…, the weight must be on your heels during the pause)

Back squat

Complex: power clean from the hang + front squat (1 power clean + maximum GOOD front squats)… try not to have to readjust between the catch of the clean and the front squat.

Beach work (biceps, abs, etc.)

DAY 4
Power clean from hang + military press (something like 3 reps)

PAUSED Power clean from floor (like above) + push press (finish behind your ears, also something like 3 reps)

Power clean from floor + power jerk

Shoulders and triceps isolation work

And on a 5th day you can do upper back work and touch ups


#17

Tried my best to put it in to practice today. Just gonna constantly drill it everyday I think. still jumping forward and cant seem to arch my back enough despite doing thoracic extensions on the foam roller. My goal is 100kg clean before easter! :smiley:
60kg : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deGeCbAv_1w
70kg : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-IwerNJCeg
80kg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2EQCd0B4jk


#18

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Charged wrote:
Lol, thats true, I’ll always keep chipping away :). Also remarkable that you guessed my height exactly just by the angles. I’m heavily enjoying the look of the Olympic lifts, can you recommend a specific programme for me or shall I just practice the form every day and try and get it down before continuing any specific training. Just finished the last week of the power look programme and had amazing strength gains specifically so on the bench press. Great programme, really appreciate it.
My main goal now is to get really good at the Olympic lifts and I enjoy doing crossfit WOD’s. Any ideas would be extremeley helpful, thanks again CT ! :)[/quote]

When you’ve coached WELL over 800 people (I have no idea of the exact number) it’s pretty easy to deduct someone’s height and body type by looking at how he looks in the set up of a lift.

Now, right now I would not recommend a specific Olympic lifting program. Not until you are technically efficient at all the lifts. Right now it’s all about technical mastery. For that it is best to practice variations of the clean & jerk as often as possible. This means not going heavy, focusing on perfect positions and speed.

See the Olympic lifts like you would see shooting a basketball or hitting a golf ball: an athletic event. An athlete TRAINS with weights (trying to get stronger, doing more reps, etc.) but he PRACTICES his sport (work on technique, precision of execution, timing, etc.). A football player might go all out in the gym 4 days a week but he does not play a full-on football game 5 times a week!

The problem with Olympic lifting is that it is a sport performed with the same object as weight training (barbell). So it is much harder for our brain to separate Olympic lifting and strength training.

PRACTICE the Olympic lifts to become better technically, improve timing and speed.

TRAIN on the big basic lifts (squats, front squats, push press, military press, etc.) to get the strength required to perform in the Olympic lifts.

Then do assistance/isolation work to build more muscle to get stronger faster on the big basic lifts.

Only when you reach a high level of technical mastery should you think about “training” on the Olympic lifts.

A good basic set-up could look like this:

DAY 1
Front squat with a 2 sec pause at 90 degrees on the way down (this is where you want to catch your power clean, focus on getting the feel for the position)

Power clean from the hang (above knees)

Clean deadlift to mid-thigh (deadlift the barbell from the floor to the mid portion of your thigh using the same technique as you would for a clean, focus on keeping your chest facing forward as much as possible)

Bulgarian split squat

DAY 2
Behind the neck push press (focus on pushing the bar in a straight line so it stays aligned behind your ears when you are at the top, focus on getting the feel for that position so that you can try to duplicate it when you power jerk). ON THE LAST REP OF EACH SET. While the bar is held overhead, squat down as low as you can while staying in control (don’t go lower than 90 degrees), then hold that position 10 seconds (to work on the catch position of the power jerk)

Power clean from hang & power jerk (stay light, focus on catching the bar behind your ears and in a half squat position… if you don’t catch it in the right position keep the bar overhead, get into the right position to get a feel for it… tell your brain “this is where I want to go”)

Military press (focus on pushing straight up from the start but as soon as you reach your forehead push in a backward arc to bring it behind your ears)

DB bench press

DAY 3
Complex: power clean from the hang + PAUSED power clean from floor (bring the bar to mid-thigh, PAUSE, and the explode upward into the clean from that position… NO POSITION ADJUSTMENT ALLOWED…, the weight must be on your heels during the pause)

Back squat

Complex: power clean from the hang + front squat (1 power clean + maximum GOOD front squats)… try not to have to readjust between the catch of the clean and the front squat.

Beach work (biceps, abs, etc.)

DAY 4
Power clean from hang + military press (something like 3 reps)

PAUSED Power clean from floor (like above) + push press (finish behind your ears, also something like 3 reps)

Power clean from floor + power jerk

Shoulders and triceps isolation work

And on a 5th day you can do upper back work and touch ups[/quote]

WOW Amazing!! I sent my post before I saw this message, so disregard the last post. If you don’t mind tomorrow before I go out I will get a video of me cleaning from the hang, just so my technique is ok? Thanks again CT this is epic!!!


#19

[quote]Charged wrote:WOW Amazing!! I sent my post before I saw this message, so disregard the last post. If you don’t mind tomorrow before I go out I will get a video of me cleaning from the hang, just so my technique is ok? Thanks again CT this is epic!!!
[/quote]

It looks “less bad” already. With 80kg you are starting to get back to your bad habits but overall it looks a bit better. You seem more vertical and your catch position is better. I’d like you to punch your hips back even more when you catch the barbell which will help you go a bit lower. Also try to move your feet out a bit when you catch (in other word your feet should be wider in the catch then in the pull, not too wide though, but wide enough to be able to squat down).

At 70kg you are more vertical, extend your legs more when you explode and your back is in a better position when you pass the knees. But with 80kg you look a bit more like “usual”.

I’ll wait for your hang clean video to make more specific comments.


#20

Here you can see the different between the 1st pull at 70kg and 80kg. The difference is quite drastic.