Anvil or Hammer


Posted in Gym Strength by Mike on January 29, 2007

I got today off to a good start with some jump rope and then ten or fifteen front squats. I moved into Full Extension Hang cleans. These felt pretty good, I did about ten at 40 K and then started moving up 2.5 K at  time.
40K X 10
42.5K X 5
45K X 5
47.5K X 5
50K X 5
52.5K X 5
 55K X 5
I continued to push on with 57.5K but I think I was pulling more from a flat footed hang clean and getting that little cheater explosion in. I moved on to a flat footed, standing tall type hang for 57.5, 60 and 62.5. At which point I got some pointers. They were all very good, or at least I think they were. 

  1. Open my hands when I catch the bar
  2. Narrow my grip
  3. Catch the bar on the downward motion
  4. Flaring the toes is ok
  5.  Try to shoot the elbows through at the same time as or before my heels recontact the ground
  6. Don’t hang from the standing tall position, bend over just enough to get the shoulders past the bar

These are all kinda no brainers but it was nice to have someone there to remind me of some of these things. I think it helped. I got some of my best feeling cleans in tonight. I have no idea how many I did from this point on but it was a half an hour of clean, set it down and critque myself, repeat. I also finally figured out what is wearing holes in the backs of my second knuckle on my thumb, rug burn, from my shirt.

I wrapped up with a 100k 20 rep squat. I paced my breathing a little better and all in all it really wasnt nearly as painful as usual. i blame the tire for this conditioning. Just for that it will get used again tomorrow.

6 Responses to 'Pointers'

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  1. Chris Rice said,

    Actually, what you are now doing is the next progression. You learn to “race” the bar down starting from the extended high hang – it is only a learning tool, not the movement. It’s job is to teach you that it can be done, that you don’t have to pull the bar chest high to get under it. Once you have that, you move into the next phase, which is pretty much right where you went to tonight. You are now doing the pull starting very high – you impart some momentum to the bar and still “pull” yourself under the bar – it’s still about “down” more than up at this point but you are starting to learn the “up” as well. Next you will start lowering the bar a bit at a time and keep the top positions the same and the pull under even faster. You’ll work gradually down until you can do it from the floor – at which time you will have a full squat clean. At that point, you can start doing what you want with it – go to hang squat clean, hang power clean, full squat clean and full power clean. But always with this same exact pull you’re learning now.

  2. Mike said,

    I’m trying to be real patient about working down the progression. I would love to start pulling from the floor just to see what I can do, but I’m restraining.
    The big progressional adjustment this guy made was that I was trying to add a step between the full extension hang and the high hang. I was trying to add a step where I stood up like the top of a deadlift and pulled, he pointed out that oly lifters keep their shoulders over the bar as long as possible and that my extra step was probably not a great idea.
    I’ll try to hold off on doing low hangs until at least a couple weeks from now but we’ll see how long my constitution holds out on that one.

  3. Chris Rice said,

    Take your time – it sounds like this guy knows what he’s talking about (is this the 2x BW clean and jerker you talked about before?). Bad habits are sooooo hard to break – if you can learn this correctly the first time, you’ll have it for the rest of your life. I really wish I had learned it my first time around. It seems you’re doing – (or trying to do) what most do – and that’s combine your dead lift pull with your clean pull form. It’s a common problem that I’m sure you can work thru with patience. All the problems start when you go below your knees – the darn knees get in the way and create all sorts of trouble trying to get them out of the way and then back into pulling position after the bar passes them.

  4. Mike said,

    I’m trying to, patience is a virtue, and I have never been called virtuous. You are probably right about the Deadlift to clean thing. I could easily see that as an issue for me, as I have spent considerably more time with one than the other. I haven’t had to worry about the knees yet though, so maybe that’s the best part about these hang cleans. Fortunately I have stubby legs so there isn’t a whole lot of knee hanging out there to get in the way.
    The guy I was talking to last night was different than the 2X bodyweight guy. The 2X bodyweight guy is a college student or freshly out of college, age. He’s just plain strong but I think he probably compensates for some technical weaknesses by muscling things. The guy I was talking to last night is early-middle-age-ish, forties maybe, I’m a horrible judge of age. He seems to have been doing this a long time. He doesn’t move a ton of weight when I’m in there but he seems real consistent and really works over his technique in a big way.
    I’m lucky to be training Oly lifts at this gym. As Dan said, ” You show up there with your sorry technique and someone will probably have to help you.” He was right, so I exploit that a bit. We are one of two gyms that I am aware of in Baltimore with bumper plates and a platform. The other one is University of Maryland and I think that is actually down by DC. So we have a fair number of Oly folks traveling in and out, probably four really consistent ones. One of them throws together a contest occasionally. I haven’t yet participated but I promised him I would try this year. He tends to schedule them the same weekend I have Strongman or other stuff, by accident of course.

  5. Chris Rice said,

    We’re going to drag you into Olympic Lifting yet – you may be kicking and screaming but we’re gonna get you – haha! Seriously, it’s just one more thing that can have value to your overall abilities. It will certainly help with a log clean and press event or Axle C&P/ jerk. Plus the lifts are challenging and fun to do now and then whether you want to actually be an Oly lifter or not. Can’t wait to hear your stories when you start snatching – I spent much time on my butt when I started. But if you get your pull working – it won’t be that bad for you. You are lucky to find a gym with bumpers and especially lifters who can help you. You’ll do well, grasshopper!

  6. Mike said,

    Thanks 🙂
    I have to admit, very begrudgingly, that I actually seem to enjoy it and find it to be a decent workout. It with great reluctance that I also admit to feeling like it has helped my lower body explosivity.

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