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Other/Mixed Form Check Request

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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Level 4 Valued Member
Good day, Strongfirst men and women!

I am requesting technique review.

In the link below, there are three videos of me doing some exercises. If you are willing, I would appreciate review and feedback.

For context:
I'm 5'8", 145 lbs
The deadlift was conducted at 295 lbs after a few sets of 1 to 4 reps starting light with relatively big jumps in weight. It was a slow start on this deadlift. Honestly, when I started pulling, I wasn't sure she would budge, yet like a space rocket, eventually it started and once it was past maybe half-shin or a bit higher, it went up easy. The lower back did take some of the weight, but not too much I think.
For the Clean and Snatch, The big point I see is the knee doesn't flex much, so the hips don't go back as far as they might with a bit more knee flexion.

Any constructive input is welcome, and thank you for even reading. Stay strong!


PS: I'm thinking of attending an SFGI certification in 2022. I am considering San Diego, Chicago, or Salt Lake City. The continued flow of wonderful information through articles, the newsletter, and this forum have been a huge boon to my strength development and, in turn, my life. Thanks for all you do.

Steve W.

Level 8 Valued Member
For the Clean and Snatch, The big point I see is the knee doesn't flex much, so the hips don't go back as far as they might with a bit more knee flexion.
I agree. You have a very shallow, straight-legged, bend-forward-from-the-waist, "tippy bird" kind of hinge going on. This leave a lot of power unutilized and potentially put a lot of stress on your back.

In the snatch, it doesn't look like you fully lock out your left arm (there is no front view of the right arm, so I can't tell about that). You also have a little bit of rebending the knees on the upswing, which is standard in GS, but considered incorrect in Hard Style (where you want straight flexion on the downswing and extension on the upswing). But I think this is mainly a consequence of such a straight-legged hinge and trying to find some power somewhere. Your bell path on the drop could also be tighter to your body.

To pattern your hinge, spend some time with the touch the wall drill and the KB deadlift:

To get the feel for sitting back into the hinge, use the touch-the-wall drill:
--Stand facing away from a wall with your heels a foot or so from the wall.
--Sit back into your hinge and touch your butt to the wall.
--Move a little further away from the wall and repeat.
As you move away from the wall, if you sink your hips straight down (squat) you won't reach back to the wall. If keep your legs too straight, you also won't reach back to the wall.

To get a feel for coordinating the timing of the hips and shoulders so everything starts and finishes together at the endpoints of the standing plank and full hinge, use the KB DL:

--Do sets of 20. You can use one bell or two, and one or two arms on one bell, but do sets of 20. I found that the second 10 in a 20 rep set is where my brain and body really started to feel things and figure things out, but you have to do the first 10 to get there.

--Start with the bell(s) back between your feet toward your heels, keep the arms in tight to the body and try to lower the weight to the same spot. The bells will want to drift forward, so you will have to really sit back and keep your arms in tight. Avoid any tendency to get squatty to keep the bell back. Do it by sitting back; your hips will move down as well as back, but keep the hips above the knees and the shins relatively vertical.

--Focus on your timing. The tendency is to start lowering the bells by sitting back as far as possible and THEN continue to fold forward and bend the knees to reach the floor. So it ends up being a two-part movement. See if you can adjust your timing so that your hips, knees, shoulders, and the bell all start and finish together. This tends to happen naturally on the positive part of the movement, so see if you can reverse engineer the timing of the positive and apply it to lowering the bell.

--Focus on your rooting. Keep your weight evenly balanced over your whole foot and try to maintain that same weight distribution throughout the range of motion. I visualize the soles of my feet extending straight down into the ground, as if I were wearing tall flat platform shoes that are sunk below the surface of the ground. In the actual ballistic swing, just focusing on maintaining even balance over the whole foot throughout the whole movement can often automatically fix a lot of timing problems.

--Get a feel for the endpoints of the lift (the zipped up standing plank and the deep hinge) and use those as targets in your swing. When I was recovering from a shoulder surgery (rotator cuff repair after injuring it playing basketball), I did a LOT of KB deadlifts because I could do them long before I could do ballistics, and I developed a new appreciation for them. I found that they were actually very valuable in helping refine my hinge pattern, even after deadlifting and doing KB ballistics for decades, and had a lot of carry over to my KB ballistics when I returned to them. By grooving the pattern at slow speed, I could naturally and smoothly transition from plank to hinge and back at ballistic speed, with everything starting and finishing together.

The lower back did take some of the weight
It does appear that you lose your neutral position in your back. Although I'm a decent deadlifter, I pull sumo and I don't think I have a great technical eye for coaching others, so I don't have much else to add.

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
All fairly safe

1. I'd work on a deeper hinge, just let the bell free fall into the hike pass rathern than bumping it with the shoulder

2. Work on a less corkscrew type drop. That's acceptable in GS but for SFG standards you need a more direct drop
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