Training: Basics always work!!!

As technical as Olympic Weightlifting can be we can get caught up with the fine details of lifting. Technique is very important but we can’t forget the basics of lifting a bar and then situating ourselves under it. We are talking about the snatch and clean and jerk which are the Olympic lifts contested in Weightlifting every 4 years at the summer games. These lifts are very special because the rules state you must lift the bar from the ground to the overhead position in one movement for the snatch and two movements for the clean and jerk.

What are the basics?

Snatch basics:

  1. Keep the bar close. How close? So close that the knurling is practically brushing along your body.
  2. Accelerate the bar. Bar needs to move at least 1.8m/s off the explosion phase in order to create the vertical height the bar needs to travel to give you time to move under the bar and receive it.
  3. Receive the bar. Bar is now over your head and you’re situated in a low overhead squat position.

Clean basics:

  1. Keep the bar close, pull off the floor
  2. Accelerate bar. Pull the bar vertically to create maximum height.
  3. Receive bar in the front squat position. This should be practically the same as when you front squat.

Jerk basics:

  1. Dip legs. This creates the oscillation in the bar so that the counter force creates upward momentum.
  2. STAY VERTICAL!!!!! You want the forces of the bar to remain vertical so that you are not traveling horizontally which can cause you to miss making the lift less efficient.
  3. Receive the bar. Fix your body under the bar by either splitting your legs, power jerking, or squat jerking. Avoid horizontal momentum to minimize unnecessary bar movement that can cause you to miss.

Why does it get complicated?

In theory, the snatch and clean and jerk are easy in concept. Lift the bar off the floor and situate overhead. But there are limiting factors that prevent the lifts from taking place

  1. Motor pattern development. The Olympic lifts require technical motor pattern development to properly lift the bar in the most efficient and most effective manner possible. This takes years to master and relatively short amount of time to get a basic understanding with proper guidance.
  2. Mobility. You must be flexible in the appropriate joints and limbs so that you can receive the bar. You must have great mobility from the ankles, hips, knees, and especially the shoulders. Otherwise, your ability to execute these lifts will be severely limited.
  3. Strength. Olympic lifting is a strength sport. It’s judged on strength and not on technique. That means that the lifter who lifts the highest total in the weight class wins.

In conclusion, executing basics in Olympic weightlifting always works. The basics can never be underestimated. Keep it as basic as possible.


Josue Cano aka “Captain”



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