Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is death?

Dont let your starting position look like this:

There are three questions that every single human being will ask at least once in their lifetime:

#1  Why, when taking a nap, is it more comfortable to sleep on top of a well made bed as opposed to being under the covers?

#2 Why did the oompaloompas change colors from the very first Willy Wonka movie to the more modern one?

#3 What is death? 

Well I'm here to answer question #3.  

Death comes in three forms:

1) Rounding the back when pulling weight off the ground.
 If you do not tighten everything that can possibly be tightened when pulling a barbell off the ground, you. are. going. to. die. What happens is that the bar starts to pull you WAY far forward and when that happens, you've lost control of the weight.  Not being in control of the weight means that you cannot use your great technique to get that barbell over your head.  Instead,the bar will be flying all over the place.  Trust me, that is NOT a pretty sight...  And we're all about being pretty.  So squeeze your back shoulder blades together, get your chest up, shift your weight back onto your heels, AND THEN proceed to lift the bar off the ground.        

2) Not fully extending AKA not finishing
Some people LOVE the feeling of the bar hitting them right in the face, but I personally do not love it.  I don't know why, but I just never wake up in the morning and say,  " You know what I would really love today?  A good smack in the face by a heavy barbell!" Call me crazy, but that's just me.  SO, if you're on the same page as me, take my advice and FINISH your pull.  A good finish ( and by finish i mean the movement, not a Finish person) is with the body fully extended, a big proud chest at the top, and the shoulders slightly behind the barbell. That will allow for a great path for that barbell to travel straight up.  If your finish is with your hips vertical, but your shoulders hunched over the bar, you're inhibiting that bar from taking the path that it wants to take in life, so in turn, it will smack you in the face or be out in front of you in a position where you cannot stand up with it cause its too far forward. (talk about a run on sentence) Anyways,  it's a mutual relationship here people.  Love the bar, let it take it's desired path in life (which is going over your head) by getting your chest and face out of the way, and it will do good things for you.   

3) Not flipping the hook grip out on the turnover on the clean
I've seen broken wrists TOO many times from slow elbows on a clean.  Fred Lowe, a million time Olympian, was helping me at my cert this past weekend in Chicago.  He said the greatest quote EVER... "The turnover is an attitude".  He is totally right.  Turning those elbows around FAST and with a "junk yard dog" (as my dad likes to say) attitude, is the only way you will not die on a clean.  And the only way to get that incredibly ghettofabulous fast turnover, is by flipping your hook grip out and letting that bar land back on your finger tips with your elbows WAY high up.  Keeping the hook grip means low elbows, which means all the weight is on your arms, which means arms hitting the knees at the bottom of the squat, which means broken wrist, which means death.  Got it? Think about turning the elbows ALL the way around (flipping the hook grip out) the same time that the feet hit the ground.  MAKE THE LIFT SNAPPY!

Dont make me post a video of some guy doing a clean with slow elbows and his wrists are flying all over the place hitting people in the audience in the face.  They show those videos enough on the news.  Which pisses me off, btw.  But thats a whole different blog post for a whole different time. 

keep it sassy. 


  1. "finish" = complete
    "Finnish" = from Finland.

  2. Show the video, SHOW THE VIDEO!!!

  3. This is HILARIOUS! Great work, and great insight.

  4. My instinct is to let the hook grip open up, but then I lose control of the bar and it crashes on me. How do I ease my grip without all the crashing?

  5. Lillian I think Sage is going to tell you blazing fast elbows = no crashing.

    Awesome post Sage! As always... but I wanna see the video

  6. Good Optimus!! I'm glad you were paying attention at my cert!

    Lil, the faster the elbows, the less crashing. dont let the elbows loop around and take 7 minutes to get to your shoulders. try to make the bar land softly and perfectly on the shoulers. remember, elbows and feet at the same time.

  7. Great post. Once I got the fast elbows, it improved my cleans about a zillion percent, even though I still don't drop it drop it low girl as fast as I want to.

  8. good info and a laugh... thanks Sage!

  9. word on death, sage; word! i died 4 months ago and am still sitting in purgatory waiting for my bloody scapholunate ligament tear to heal up. how do you ask does a person tear his scapholunate (in the wrist, btw) ligament? SLOW F-ING ELBOWS, that's how!!! death becomes me. don't do it people. if you're lucky you'll break your wrist, if you're not, you rip ligaments to shreds.

  10. I hit myself in the face with a snatch (teehee) the other day, and it totally sucked. I never even imagined that would happen but then a PR to the beak brought me back to earth. Take the advice in #2--I'm just glad I'm hear to talk about it.

  11. I have definitely met death. I totally broke the head off my radius doing a clean at the end of January and still recovering from it! My ROM in my wrist is so crappy. But, I am working back into it. I am a bit hesitant to get back to doing heavy cleans, but you know that I will now have the fastest elbows around because I never want to do that again! Let me tell you! It was the single most painful injury I have ever had, and I have done some stuff!!

  12. Great blog! Been working on my Oly lifts in earnest for the last few months. Entered my first meet 12/18/10. Sucked on the snatch, PR'd on the C&J! Thanks for your helpful tips!