Monday, August 12, 2019

Training on the Olympic Lifts, Part Five- Jim Halliday

Chuck Sipes

Courtesy of Liam Tweed. 

The Clean & Jerk is perhaps the lift that holds most attraction for the newcomer. It is the lift on which the most poundage can be elevated, and it is a natural thing for the would-be lifter to wish to lift the heaviest weight in the shortest possible time, via the easiest way! 

Natural, but not good, especially if the would-be lifter is in his early teens. I feel sure that if such an aspirant spent three months in conditioning work and training on the Press and Snatch, he would then approach the last lift of the three not only with more confidence, but also with more hope of success. Make no mistake, this lift is work; apart from actual performance I mean. The actual training, done correctly, is extremely severe, and in all probability, some lifters I know, who neglect the lift under some pretext or other, only do so because of its severity. 

Then, too, it is usually done in its natural order after the Press and Snatch, when quite a lot of energy has been depleted. It is a mistake to neglect this lift. As I said, you can only succeed through hard work. The Clean & Jerk not only gives you this hard work, but proficiency, and this feat gives you an advantage. You are good on the lift that it is possible to improve on the most. You have the additional advantage of being good on the last competition lift, with the chances of assessing what has occurred on the foregoing lifts, and do not lose sight of the fact that the handling of heavy poundages promotes the confidence which is essential to the newcomer. 

After the suggested period of initiation never neglect this lift again in training. It is the most important power-building movement of any you care to mention. It builds strength, stamina, confidence, and has an all-round effect on building the body. This, apart from the satisfaction of hoisting heavy poundages overhead. 

We proceed now to the point where the preliminaries have been accomplished. Again it is important that you commence training correctly. It is also important that you develop a correct style in the very first instance. I said of the Snatch that the squat style suited very few people. It is even more true of the clean. I do not recommend this style to anyone, and the fact that I have seen Kono, George, and all the other good squatters will not change my opinion, because I have also seen the world's best men on the fore-and-aft. There is a good argument for the Squat Snatch, but absolutely none for the Clean. 

As with all lifts there are again certain basic principles that must apply. The spacing of the grip is your own selection, but one cannot very very much from approximate shoulder width. The wider the grip (within reason) assists in the Jerk, and similarly the narrower aids the Clean.

Bend over and grasp the bar, ensuring an even grip. Some people like the dive, but I would like to say that the set-up style is definitely the best and is used by 98% of the best lifters. Once you grasp the bar you must waste no time over preliminaries. Sit down, lowering the thighs until parallel to the ground. Keep the eyes fixed on a point immediately in front. Do not look down as in the Snatch. Now, the same vicious pull with the legs, and as the bar gets to the waist, the concentration on getting the hips through. When commencing to split do not discontinue to pull, but keep pulling even when the bar has reached maximum height. By doing so you keep the bar from slowing and ensure it feels "light" at the shoulders, thus making the latter parts of the lift easier. Once the bar feels safe at the shoulders do not waste effort in holding the weight in the split position, but recover immediately and adopt the jerking stance. Elbows should already be slightly raised from completing the Clean, the body erect, eyes to the front, and feet about 12-14 inches apart. 

Dip the knees slightly and, without pause, immediately re-straighten them, at the same time thrusting the weight away from the shoulders. This should be a concerted effort. All the body should move in one action to get the bar moving in an upward direction and should be sufficient to carry the weight at least to the top of the head. From here the arms should still continue to push strongly, and the usual split technique employed, although the split itself should not be as deep as the Clean. As the bar reaches its zenith the head should be pushed through to ensure a good lock.

The main points about good performance on this lift are: 

Although the initial pull is vicious it must not be ragged. It is better to commence fairly slow and increase the speed as the pull progresses. It is essential to keep pulling until the weight meets the chest.

Immediate recovery from the split. When dipping to Jerk do not allow the body to lean forward. Keeping the elbows raised offsets this. Timing of the rebound from the dip is most important. Correctly done you can obtain assistance from the bar itself. As the bar is checked at the completion of the dip the bar bends, then straightens. At this stage the weights are actually traveling in an upward direction. By correct timing you can use this to advantage in an even faster start for the commencement of the Jerk. 

As I said previously, the fact that training on this lift is usually done after the Press and Snatch may be responsible for the apparent neglect of this lift. I have adopted a schedule that overcomes this difficulty to some extent. Say you practice, or intend to practice, four evenings a week; as it is agreed you can do, and need to do, more pressing than anything, why not press and snatch one day; press and jerk the next, and so on? By so doing you certainly can concentrate more on each individual feat in turn and also "even" the amount of work out better. 

Before compiling any sort of a schedule on this lift it is essential you find your "strong point." If you can jerk more than you clean you need to practice on the clean, and vice versa. 

To assist in learning correct technique I advise the following schedules: 

For a man who can jerk more than he cleans, whose maximum is 150 pounds: 

 - 4 Cleans with 100 and Jerk the final attempt   
 - 3 Cleans with 110 and Jerk the final attempt
 - 2 Cleans with 120 and 1 Jerk
 - 2 Cleans with 130 and 1 Jerk
 - 2 Cleans with 140 and 1 Jerk
 - 3 single Cleans with 140.  

Each Clean should be lowered to the ground, but the next attempt made without releasing the grip on the bar, until each group has been completed. 

For a man who can clean more than he jerks, whose maximum is 150 pounds: 

 - 3 Cleans and 2 Jerks 100 pounds
 - 2 Cleans and 2 Jerks 110
 - 2 Cleans and 2 Jerks 120
 - 2 Cleans and 2 Jerks 130
 - 2 Cleans and 2 Jerks 140

Then return to 130 pounds and do a few single Jerks, paying attention to technique. In the groups a similar procedure of lowering the bar to the floor must be followed as in the previous schedule.

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