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Olympic weightlifting - CrossFit London

The free shoulder flexibility course

Are you worried about your shoulder flexibility? Well, you are in good company! Many people are in the same boat. Too much hunching over computers and way, way too much texting means your chest is tight, your back is weak and your shoulder “don’t look pretty”.

At Crossfit London, we have years of teaching the Olympic Lifts and Adult Gymnastics to normal members of  the public, so we have developed  (and , to be frank, stolen) all the tricks to help you get a better shoulder position.

Whilst we cannot reproduce, in a single blog post, all of our sneaky shoulder flexibility developing drills and skills ( you have to jump into our classes or get a fabulous personal training session) here are some great drills to begin with.

Its our gift to you

Enjoy

Shoulder warm up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jP02Bf7WBU&t=54s

Dislocations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si9uzGEiCic&t=18s

Shoulder stretch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yLWpWSgAaE

Strength

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REjV2alcRcY

If you find your progress isn’t as great as you had hoped for, or you want help before you start, and on going support,  do book in for a PT, get  a session with one of our therapists or check out our mobility and flexibility classes

Crossfit London is based in Bethnal Green London E2. It was the first ever Crossfit facility in the UK, and remains the biggest Crossfit Gym in London, Its facilities are both gorgeous and stunning

Some Olympic weightlifting science

Over the next year I want to try and consolidate all of the present research on the Olympic lifts on the CFLDN blog, so all those Olympic Lifters at Crossfit London in  Bethnal Green E2  can benefit. As reports surface (or I find old ones) I’ll post the title here along with a review of the conclusion.

Whilst reading any articles I write on the olympic lifts, do try and sink into a deep overhead squat.

Just for the novelty.

A fair warning though. I’ll be sharing the ideas of others. Some may be  accurate, others not so. The hope is that it will begin to inform your thinking and get you to critically reflect on your performance. It is , in reality, all about you.

I’ll reference, but I’ll probably not go the full Harvard route ( I’m getting lazy as I age)

So, let’s start with: The Snatch Technique of World Class Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championships. Baumann, et al.

This study used 3D  film ( ah, the time before mobile phones)  and measured ground reaction forces in the 1985 world championships in Sweden. The most interesting discovery was that knee joint movements are fairly small (1/3rd of the hip joint moments ) and do not correlate well with the total load. Better lifts actively control their knee movements.

The report identifies the point at which the lifter drops under the bar to be the most important and technically most difficult . It’s interesting to note that the trajectory of the bar  comes in towards the lifter. Many coaches emphasise bringing the hips to the bar.

It was noted that the movement ends with a jump backwards under the barbell. This has been noted by Garhammer(1985) and Vorobyev(1978) who thought it was  a fault. It was also noted that the pull brought the bar to approx 60% of the lifters stature.

Catalyst athletics offers these pointers about a possible back jump:

“My rules for whether or not a backward jump is acceptable are pretty simple:

  • The body, feet and barbell must all travel backward equally.
  • The body and bar must remain in close proximity during the backward movement.
  • The lifter must receive the lift in a solid, balanced position without a need for compensation or adjustment
  • It must be something the lifter has arrived at naturally, i.e. it’s not an intentional technical style”

Interesting!!

So check out some Garhammer thoughts  in Weightlifting and Training(chapter 5) in Biomechanics of Sport

This is quite a comprehensive (review) chapter and  he identifies  these  three characteristics in better lifters

1 ) faster movements

2)  body extension during the pull

3)  lower peak bar height relative to body size

But enough of talking about pulls and snatches  and what goes where. Below is an extract from Tommy Kono’s book showing successful and unsuccessful pull heights and the trajectory of the bar during the snatch. Notice the S pull!

We will talk S pulls in other articles!

 

 

A final word from Garhammer in .Barbell Trajectory, velocity and power changes and four world records

This study took place at the 1999 junior world weightlifting championships). The aim was to support the concept of using sub-maximal training lifts to increase power output. The paper concludes that 75% -85% of 1 RM is best to produce maximal power output.

Don’t dismiss the split

By Andrew Stemler
To be  the best Olympic weightlifter you can be, you need to understand one crucial thing.
What the rules  of Olympic lifting actually  are.

Not the rules made up by the coach or some internet commentator, but what the rules really are. Many  organisations and coaches, in  the search for  that new world champion,  simply want to impose a particular type of lifting style on anyone who walks in through the door. If you don’t have the natural attributes of their ideal lifter,  they ignore you.

In this imposition of a style, many coaches seek to exclude, rather than welcome people. No where is this clearer than in the snatch, often totally wrongly , defined as the squat snatch.
Rather than  encouraging pointless online debate  about the snatch performance, read the  actual rules that govern the performance of the snatch  according to  the IWF
“The barbell is placed horizontally in front of the lifter’s legs. It is gripped, palms downwards and pulled in a single movement from the platform to the full extent of both arms above the head, while either splitting or bending the legs. During this continuous movement, the barbell may slide along the thighs and the lap. No part of the body other than the feet may touch the platform during the execution of the lift. The weight, which has been lifted, must be maintained in the final motionless position, arms and legs extended, the feet on the same line, until the Referees give the signal to replace the barbell on the platform. The lifter may recover in his or her own time, either from a split or a squat position, and finish with the feet on the same line, parallel to the plane of the trunk and the barbell. The Referees give the signal to lower the barbell as soon as the lifter becomes motionless in all parts of the body.”
You’ll notice that in receiving the bar,  the words are “splitting or bending the legs”.
The fantastically lovely deep squat snatch, is a thing of beauty, It’s where strength, mobility, flexibility, agility, and let’s face it, awesomeness  blend.  It is, however a specific method used by  strong, mobile, flexible, agile and awesome people . As many people will tell you, if you don’t have mobility and flexibility, as far as the squat snatch goes, you are screwed. Even if you are awesome.
What  the rules mean is you can also  power and  split snatch. The split and power snatch are available to all (well, OK, 95% of people).
So my advice is this.
Focus on the actual message of the Olympic lifts first. Get judged on how much you can lift over your head, not on the method you use. Splitting and power snatches are safe and can be used by awesome strong people who maybe are a teeny weeny bit challenged in the mobility, flexibility and agility department.
Vorobyev states in ” A text book on weightlifting”,  “depending  on the makeup of  anatomico-physiological  and psychological features the  lifter adopts… split or squat and other technical elements”
This doesn’t mean that you cannot have a go, and practice the squat snatch. Maybe it will encourage you to actually do some mobility and flexibility, Maybe you’ll actually try and nail your  over heads squat,  but why not, in the meantime,  make sure you have a great power and split snatch too.