Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Proper Hip Drive for the Olympic Lifts

Kettlebell swings are sooo much fun, right?! Right! However, they are not the answer to ALL of life’s problems. Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise that we incorporate into many workouts (and are proven to make one’s butt look ghettofabulous), but this doesn’t mean that the mechanics of a kettlebell swing should transfer over to all the other movements we do in the gym . . . especially Olympic lifting.

Lately, I’ve had the sense that many people believe the hip drive on kettlebell swing (which is horizontal) is the same as the hip drive on the snatch and clean and jerk (which is vertical). We know that a horizontal hip thrust with a kettlebell gets momentum moving on the weight, but it doesn’t work that way with the Olympic movements. If you want the bar to travel fast over your head, it needs to move vertically. Why? Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (and that really IS physics) and we want that barbell over our head in the least amount of time possible. Who wants to be lifting a million kilos over their head for 47 hours?! No one!

On the other hand, kicking the hips forward will cause the bar to bang off your body, which then causes it to swing around you and you’ll either miss the bar out in front of you or it will go flying so far back and around your head that you won’t be able to hold onto it anymore.

Our goal is to maintain control of the barbell by keeping it close to our body through the whole entire movement. The only way to accomplish this is by moving the hips straight up and straight down and LIGHTLY brushing the barbell off your hips . . . NOT banging it . . . EVER.

Remember, the bar does what your hips do. Move them vertically so the bar will move vertically. Do it . . . you won’t . . . .

and to see the most perfect video ever that shows exactly what I'm talking about. Watch this...

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Don’t ever let someone tell you that you shouldn’t video your snatch

    Today is the day that I reveal my deepest darkest secret to the world:

    I think I was born with a super power that allows me to view things in slow motion. It is called Slow-Mo Vision. Kind of like x-ray vision, but not really like it at all.

    This extremely rare, seriously cool super power gives me a huge advantage when watching the Olympic lifts. It gives me an advantage because I can watch someone do a lift for the first time and know exactly what he or she needs to do to correct it.

    I wasn’t aware of this super power until just recently when I overheard someone asking for critique on his lifts. His partner’s response was that the movement was too fast and he couldn’t quite catch what he had done incorrectly. I too was watching the lift and could see that the man pulled with his arms too soon.

    Why could I see the technical deficiencies and this man could not? Slow-mo vision was the only logical explanation.

    However, in the extremely unlikely event that I actually do not possess Slow-Mo Vision, I have also decided that I may be able to see things other people can’t because I have watched millions of lifts in my lifetime. Not only have I watched millions of lifts, but I’ve watched millions of videos of people’s lifts and been able to re-watch them over and over again until I figured out what was right and what was wrong about the lift. That very thing is why I have gathered you all here today.


    Not only does it take time to be able to critique other people’s form properly, but it also takes time to feel what you may be doing wrong in your lifts. The one thing that can solve that problem is to bring a camera into the gym and ask your bff (for example, every single one of you asking me) to video your lifts. You don’t have to record every attempt, but just get a few lifts on the camera. After you do that, replay your attempt and set the camera to either play it in slow motion, or play it frame by frame. That way, you can see yourself lift a lot slower and pick out faults a lot easier.


    After you’ve seen yourself lift and assessed your own technique, go on the web and watch other lifters’ technique. Compare what you did the same and what you did differently than that lifter. These visuals will stick in your head for the next time you go to lift, I pinky promise.

    Moral of the story is, if you video your snatch/clean/jerk technique enough and re-watch it enough times, maybe you too can have Slow-Mo Vision like me.