Seriously, people, it isn't rocket science

Originally Posted on Monday, June 04, 2012 10:43 AM
I've seen and heard so many stupid things about weightlifting in the last month that i don't know where to begin today's rant.  

But why not begin with Mike Boyle's explanation of the clean technique he advocates:  yes, dude, you are wrong.  

This is about the stupidest crap I've ever heard in my life.  Almost as stupid as the thought that I should be able to do a one leg squat with half of my back squat max. To tell the truth, I wouldn't know, as I wouldn't ever load up 300+ pounds on my back and try to do a one leg squat with it.  The injury potential is tremendous.  

This explanation proves to me the following:

*300 pounds in a hang clean isn't heavy for a professional or college athlete
*famous strength coaches aren't necessarily good strength coaches
*never use your own kid in a video to prove your point

The scoop is NOT an intentional action caused by forcing the knees out under the bar. It is an unintentional reaction caused by extending the hips powerfully.  Purposefully throwing the bar in a horizontal plane is counter productive and WILL lead to injury.  

The scoop, people, happens by keeping the bar close and extending the hips violently.  Even in the vertical jump, used as an example in the article, the hips extend and knees extend then the ankles.  Doing some intentional rocking or shuffling is poor form and potentially dangerous.  

I also spoke to the owner of a new local(ish) gym few months ago about lifting.  He talked about how to really drive to the toes and then jump up with the lifts.  Okay, yeah, whatever. Good luck, Dude. Again, more proof that strength training is so good for athletes that even stupid strength training gives you benefits.  

Many people choose to O lift as an intellectual pursuit.  Seriously people, just because you're smart doesn't mean you can't train heavy.  You must train HEAVY to get better and to improve technique. Never challenging your strength will NOT make you a better lifter. I want to hit you with a 25 kilo plate, but they're all getting used by people who want to be good rather than snotty about their lifts.  It's time you looked at yourself and realized you don't know how to be hard.  Now, shut up and just start lifting more.  Stop talking about knee angles and hip placement and triple extension and lift.  Once you lift heavy- and 110 kilos is NOT HEAVY in either lift if you weigh more than 165 pounds- then come back and talk about lifting. 

The Olympic lifts are simple.  I can teach almost anyone to do them competently in one session.  They'll do them from the hang, but they'll do them.  And they'll get better and stronger and move to the floor and to full versions.  If they can't learn how to do them, then they have a physical problem which prevents them from doing them properly.  I won't try to teach these people the lifts in any form.  Why?  because I'm a trainer,and it's my job to assess the people who come to me and make them better. 

Here's the simple way to do the clean:
Hold the bar about shoulder width apart (double overhand grip.  No one has ever grabbed the bar in an underhand grip, but hey, someone might)
Stand up as tall as you can while staying on your heels.  Squeeze your legs and butt and hips into the bar.
Relax that position, then push your knees out and then drive your legs straight as fast as you can and pull the bar up as high as you can.  Do it faster.
Now, punch your elbows through when the bar gets high.  Move your arms around the bar.
 Once you've done that a few times, simply shuffle your feet out and down when you pull the bar from your hips. 
Now, go back to step 4 and push your butt back before you drive your legs.  Follow the above steps.

Now you can clean the bar.  This explanation isn't in depth, I have no pictures, and I really add much more to it when I teach it in person.  But anyone can do it.  Really, they can.  


Michael McKennaComment