We had a great Olift seminar with John Kaupp (email@example.com) this weekend. Quite a few athletes and coaches attended to learn, fine-tune and get tips for coaching the Olifts. John is extremely knowledgeable, a great instructor and very patient. He has an extensive background as a 7-year collegiate lifting coach. He has worked with athletes in many sports, including football, baseball, basketball, softball, soccer, track & field, rowing, golf, tennis, wrestling and swimming. In addition to his strength and conditioning certifications, John is also holds a Level I cert in CrossFit. He assists CrossFit’s own Coach Burgener with CF Olift and USAW certs.
At noon on Sunday we got started with a group warmup, including some squat drills. We spent 3 hours on Sunday reviewing the snatch, clean and jerk. The Burgener warm-up was a key in learning the details of the snatch and the clean. John summed up the “what and why” of each part of the Burgener warm-up:
1. Down and Up or Jump and Shrug….Momentum and Elevation
2. Elbows High and Outside….Bar Path
3. Muscle Snatch….Turnover and Upper Body Strengthening
4. 2”, 4”, 6” Lands….Footwork/Receiving
6. Hang Snatch….Putting it All Together
The snatch is more difficult than the clean, so we attacked it first. Once you figure out the snatch, the clean comes relatively easy. I noticed that timing was a tough lesson, but just like anything else comes with practice. Catching the weight at the bottom of the squat was also difficult for many. The remedy is also a lot of practice, but strengthening the overhead squat is also a necessity. Shoulder and hip flexibility limited some as well. Time for mobility!!
The clean, while a bit easier than the snatch, had its own problems. Whipping the elbows around as fast as possible to catch the weight was very tough for some. Catching the weight at the bottom of the squat was a bit easier when cleaning, but still an occasional struggle. Its about catching the bar on your shoulders, getting your elbows up quickly, and being comfortable at the bottom of your front squat.
For both lifts athletes struggled with keeping their arms straight through the shrug. Also, deadlifting to the hang position instead of cleaning or snatching from the ground was a habit that was hard to break. All of these details add up to make or break your lift. Everyone who needed it left with homework to focus on their weaknesses, and develop stronger lifts. Turn your weaknesses into strengths!
The jerk was taught as both the push jerk and the split jerk. Some were catching the bar, but instead of nailing the catch they continued to descend into their split. Other had trouble with the pulling the front foot back out of the split before bringing the back foot up. It’s all just practice to correct and perfect.
All three lifts pose the challenge of driving the body under the bar. Once you reach heavier weights, you can only jump the bar up so high. After that it’s all about driving the body down – FAST!!! Another challenge for all three lifts was fully extending the hips. Open up those hips to get max power. Don’t shortchange yourself. In this case 2 inches makes a huge difference.
John also spent some time on the transition between the clean and jerk. He explained about resetting the feet from the squat back to the jump position. He also showed us how to reset our grip from catching the clean (fingertips) to the proper starting position for the jerk (bar back in the hand). You will notice your coaches spending a little more time teaching this transition to you during the technique portion of classes.
We all had a great time and learned a lot of great information. Everyone walked away Sunday with a better understanding and demonstration of the Olifts. I bet we’re going to see a few PRs in the very near future! Thanks, John!
Workout of the Day 11/8/2011
5 Power Cleans
15 Wall Balls
Increase weight each setB. 3 rounds for time
20 Wall Balls
40 Ball Slams