Look Closely, you can see the bend in the barbell
When I was about three years old, I had my first epiphany. I'm certain it had something to do with the olympic lifts because that's about the time I really started to get serious with my training.
Ever since then, I've been having epiphanies about every 4 days. I'd like to share one with ya'll that occurred just the other morning.
I was coaching a young chap who lifts in my oly club. For now, we'll call him Daddy Long Legs because his legs are so long, they literally connect to his armpits.
Daddy Long legs has the weakest legs in the history of ever. Minus Me. I've been forcing him to catch the bounce out of the bottom of every front squat and clean he performs, because if he settles in his receiving position for even a split second, there ain't no way he's standing up.
So, before we get into my epiphany, lets cover what I mean when I say "catch the bounce"...
Ever heard of the term "bend and snap"? Everyone thinks that it originated from the film Legally Blonde. Guess again. Like many terms that you may or may not be aware of, "Bend and Snap" is referring to the olympic lifts. Specifically...catching the bounce.
The beautiful thing about olympic lifting barbells is that they bend. With light weight on the barbell, I'm sure that the bend cannot be seen by the average human eye.. unless you're my father.. he. sees. EVERYTHING. As the bar reaches it's max bend-age, (it's a word. get over it) it then snaps back up!
If an athlete has fast elbows and great timing, they can actually use that "bend and snap", or "bounce" to help them get out of a very heavy clean and very heavy front squat. It's using the momentum, that YOU placed on the barbell with your great amount of explosiveness, to help you basically get half way out of the squat without ever even pushing a little. (Of course then you have your sticking point where I typically hang out at for seven hours before I decide to stand).
Any Questions? Great. Back to Daddy Long Legs.
As the session progressed, DLL really started to feel what it meant to "catch the bounce" and I really started to feel like I could wait a little longer before retiring as a coach. But, as you know, all good olympic lifts must come to an end as we realize that there is a whole nother world out there filled with hurt and bad technique that we have yet to step foot in.
So. New issue. DLL started hanging out in his extension much too long. He became a floater. (floater: someone who moving lackadaisically whilst pulling themselves under the barbell) His bounce out of the bottom was great, but his change of direction at the top was rubbish. (Man! I am REALLY picking on DLL today! He's still a good person..) So, on came the epiphany!
If DLL could understand "catching the bounce" out of the bottom of the squat, why couldn't he understand catching the bounce out of the top of the extension?! Perfect!!
When DLL finally understood that you must bounce down and then bounce up, his timing was much better. He realized that change of direction (change of direction of your hips, that is. They move up as you jump, and then IMMEDIATELY back down) on the lifts is what makes them fluid. They are fluid because your body is constantly maneuvering itself down and around the barbell as the barbell is moving up. IF you pause ANYWHERE!!.. at the top of the pull, at the bottom of the squat, in the middle, you have taken the natural momentum off the bar and you become a muscler (Muscler: one who muscles the bar with their weak arms).
Don't do that.
Folks, that's a lot of information. Re-read it a bunch of times to process what the heck I'm rambling about and then ask me questions. If I'm going to blog, I want some blogger friends. I'll be official.