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Some Olympic Lifting Questions

Well, im not really into olympic lifting, but I am currently working in some similar exercises to help with power and conditioning. I have a few questions.

1.) Are the bars that they use thinner. I try to do the hook grip with the bars at my gym, but cant seem to get it to work?

2.) When doing deadlifts, and explosive lifts like cleans or snatches, do you need to have your shoulders down AND back, or just down? I mainly ask this because ive been doing DB snatches, and am always sore in my AC joint after doing them. I know im pulling too much with my upper body, and am going to focus more on hip drive to propel the bar. Also, im strongly thinking of switching from db snatch to power cleans, and eventually power snatches.

3.)when i watch someone perform a barbell o-lift, it seems that the bar “takes flight” after bouncing off the thighs. Im not sure what this is called, but Im seeing this as a major disadvantage to DB lifts. Any thoughts?

  1. Proper Oly bars are exactly 28mm. Most standard gym bars are all over the place thickness wise, sometimes being up to 32mm. I train on a shitty bar that’s too thick to hook properly too, so I don’t hook.

  2. For Oly lifts your upper back should be tight, shoulders back but down, lats flexed, arms loose.

  3. That’s “the scoop”. As the bar passes the knees the lifter uses their lats to draw the bar in towards themselves, their knees re-bend and move under the bar, and then the hips are driven up and through hard. In cleans it will contact from mid to upper thigh, and upper thigh to hips in the snatch. Some lifters will just brush their thighs, some will hit the bar pretty hard - the important thing is that when the bar contacts the thighs/hips that it isn’t smashed forwards. Usually when it moves overly forwards it’s the result of the hips being driven forwards and not upwards, rather than the contact itself. Get the contact right though and it makes a hell of a difference.

I can’t really tell you much about the oly lifts since they are very complicated, but I’ve used hook grip for deadlifts fine on almost any bar other then fat bars which I have bit of trouble. It just takings some getting used to make sure to have chalk though also it helps quite a bit. Yet then again I have large hands so might be different for you.

hook gripping is key for the initial pull in my opinion. I sometimes get stuck with the far bar at my gym and hook it anyways. It’s something that just has to be gotten used to in my opinion. it was really uncomfortable for me when i first started doing that.
now when im doing cleans, hang cleans, things like that for multiple reps i dont hook grip. i dont know it thats just a preference b ut i feel like i start to lose the bar around the third or fourth rep, so i just use a standard grip.

your question about the “pop” off the hips or thighs is a good one. a lot of people dont notice that until they are coached. i don’t have a world class coach or anything but at my high school i learned a proper clean and jerk and the basics of a snatch. what ninearms said is correct. the bar is drawn towards the hips and then exploded straight up rather than out from the midthighs on the clean to the hip for snatches. where you explode from is more based on preference and length of arms vs legs. you will find it.