Ben’s Quick Tip #10: Teaching Jake how to start (a clean.)

October 15, 2014

Here’s one way to start off a clean.  I’d recommend it if you like to keep things simple or if you’re not all that flexible.  It might help you to keep your spine braced and neutral better than if you hung out at the bottom for too long.  Also, if I hang out too long in my starting position before I lift, I’ll start thinking.  As far as my own performance goes, the less I think, the better.  Give it a shot if you’re at a loss for how you should start pulling a clean.  If you’re already solid, then disregard this video and keep doing what you’re doing.

4 Responses to “Ben’s Quick Tip #10: Teaching Jake how to start (a clean.)”

  1. Hi Ben,

    first time commenting here. What advice could you give to me in my transition from low bar to high bar squatting? High bar FEELS more natural and healthier for me, but I need help in greasing my groove, if you will. I don’t intend to compete in weightlifting–I am more interested in powerlifting. Currently I am running 5/3/1 and having great success with it in my other lifts (bench, overhead press, deadliest). Thanks!

    • bclaridad said

      Hi Graham,

      I’ve run the 5/3/1 program for both the bench and the overhead press and I’ve also done it for clients who just want to increase general strength and fitness with minimal gym time. I think it’s great for both those two goals.

      You know that I’m already biased towards the high bar squat so I’m glad that you’re giving it a shot. I think it will serve you well unless you do intend in one day competing in powerlifting contests.

      I’ll give you a few general tips about a high bar squat and a few things that have helped me personally. Keep in mind, the olympic lifter uses the squat to improve the contest lifts.

      Hands should be placed as close as is comfortable. This should be done to contract the traps and make placing the bar on your shoulders a little more comfortable. I don’t usually correct elbow position unless I see something wacky. One thing that does drive me crazy is when I see a trainee doing a high bar squat with the bar rolled onto his/her finger tips. That trainee needs to do more mobility work.

      The torso should be as upright as possible and the knees will come forward (especially while wearing olympic lifting shoes. Which I assume you are).

      I’m not even going to touch the whole knees out debacle. I usually look for the knees to track either directly over the toes OR outside of the toes to varying degrees. I’d leave that to whatever feels best. For myself, I keep my toes mostly forward and keep my knees outside of them.

      One thing I recommend is to make sure that you can properly rebound out of a bodyweight squat barefoot BEFORE you throw the shoes on. The shoes are a tool and are meant to assist you in achieving proper positions more easily. If you can already get into good positions before adding the shoes, I guarantee you just added 10kg onto your max. Plus, chances are that your technique will be more mechanically correct. I’ve added bodyweight squats and duck walks into my morning warmup routine to help me with this.

      Hope this helps and good luck.

      • Do you think one day per week of squatting is an adequate amount? Or should I add in a second day of squats as well? (I train 3 days a week and I already do front squats on one of those days).

      • bclaridad said

        If you’re front squatting once a week and back squatting once a week, I’d say that’s adequate. You can make plenty of progress that way. If after a few months, you feel like you can handle more, you can add in a 3rd day. Just pay attention as it might affect everything else and not necessarily in a positive way. I’ve squatted anywhere from once a week to 12 times a week. I’ve found that 3x a week works for me. Right now the team is doing one day a week of front squats and twice a week of back squats.

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