Monday, December 21, 2009

you best get unda that bar nukka!

Oh herow.. today I would like to talk to you about one of the most difficult concepts of the olympic movements: pulling yourself under the bar.  

Generally what happens is we tend to get a great shrug and we reach full extension, and then from there, we disconnect ourselves from the bar and we try to "drop" to get under it. If you think that you may be doing this, stop IMMEDIATELY or you may as well put yourself on Santa's naughty list and expect zero Christmas presents this year. (Except maybe from your aunt Tibby who will always love you no matter what you do in your lifetime.)

So in the picture above, you see me in the "elbows high and outside" position that we teach you in the Burgener Warm-up.  Keep in mind that we are teaching you that movement to drill into your brain that you are keeping the bar close. you are actually never in that position in an actual snatch and clean and jerk. 

Let's play a little game for those of you who learn better by actually doing rather than just reading.  Stand up for me, get up on your toes, shrug,raise your elbows high and outside.  That is the position we put you in for the Burgener Warm up. Now, get up on your toes, shrug, raise your elbows high and outside, and now bend your knees.  That is the actual position that you will be in when snatching or cleaning (after you have fully extended with that shrug) because this signifies that you are pulling your body underneath the weight.  

You just never want to shrug and then feel like "omg i have no idea where that bar is in space right now so I'm just gonna 'drop it like its hot' and try to get underneath it as quickly as possible".  If you get in the habit of doing this with light weight, when you get to heavy weight (lets say 200 kg because that is what you all are capable of doing), the bar WILL beat you down EVERYTIME.  Lets face it, gravity/reality sucks..

So, in conclusion, you are pulling that bar off the ground and then you start your VICIOUS shrug and that bar is traveling upwards weightlessly with TONS of momentum on it. Now, you ask yourself, "Am I going to just drop under this mofo? or am I gonna remember what Sassy Sage's  blog said and start pulling myself down (with those elbows high and outside because we dont want it to be out in front of us) and finish with a GREAT turnover?".........make the right choice.. we all have to live with the consequences of our actions..

Before you leave, go ahead and look at that video of my brother Beau.  For me, I would have liked to see him shrug a little harder at the top, but, nevertheless, his pull under and turnover were so aggressive that it made up for his lack of shrug.  (the only reason it did was because that was light weight for him.  If he puts more weight on, he could NOT get away with a shrug like that).  

Remember, its ok to ask questions.  I dont expect ya'll to get this stuff by just reading it.

ps... just went to Lady Gaga's concert and magically became a better person. She's THAT good

keep it sassy


  1. Sage, Any suggestions on the scoop? I struggle with this.

  2. Nikki.. it would take me 77 years to explain the scoop to you. but the main thing you need to remember is waiting until that bar gets high on your thighs before you go to snatch or clean, and instead of thinking "scoop", alls you need to think is "jump"! they are the exact same thing. when you jump, your knees bend automatically, right? Well that knee bend IS the scoop. thinking scoop gets too confusing. just think jump

  3. Sage-a-licious! When you say on your toes and bend your knees...STILL on toes while knees bend or coming back to heels as knee bends...or is that at the bottom/catch (heels down)? Is this a understandable question? I THINK one is still on toes as knees bend and heels follow with a *smack* in landing position...

  4. How do I know if i'm just dropping or actually pulling under? It feels aggressive, but i've never really given it much thought...

  5. c-line: you are absolutely right. you will still be up on your toes because technically, your feet are getting ready to move into the landing position. aka landing with a smack as you said. good job lady!

    Chris: you know that you are dropping if that bar is crashing on you at the bottom. if you are pulling yourself down, you will meet the bar and be able to be in control of it the whole time. when it crashes on us, we dont have time to tighten up and lose control of the weight.

  6. Great blog, thanks for getting the info out there!


  7. Sage, I often get bruises on my collar bone and shoulders from doing cleans. Is this normal to you? Or I get them b/c of my bad form?

  8. Richard VanmeerbeekDecember 26, 2009 at 2:31 AM

    Real pleasure to follow your blog: informative and damn hilarious!

    Off to work on pulling myself under that mofo instead of just dropping ^^