Olympic Clean ?

Geoff Chafe

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Antti Start doing lots of Front Squats first to get a comfortable front rack.

https://www.amazon.ca/Olympic-Weightlifting-Sports-Greg-Everett/dp/0980011140

Instructional Videos from California Strength - YouTube

Catalyst Athletics

Olympic Weightlifting: Catalyst Athletics

A Power Clean is a Clean received above parallel. The body meets the bar so as weights get heavier you receive the bar lower and lower until speed under the bar and flexibility are limiting factors in the amount of weight you are able to pull under.

@Waffles03 How to get better at Cleans? Time and effort.

-Front Squat
- Snatch
- Hang Cleans from various heights
- Clean
- Clean Pull/High Pull
- Clean Deadlift
- Clean Lift Off
- Clean RDL
- Tall Clean, Drop Clean, Scarecrow Clean

Exercise Library - Clean Exercises - Olympic Weightlifting: Catalyst Athletics
 

Bill Been

More than 500 posts
Nice drive-by: "Rippetoe coaching the clean. So much wrong....". Aaaaand scene!! Nothing else to say really. None of the "best" Oly coaches coach it that way and they have so much success we don't even qualify for the Olympics any more. Here, let me play: "Rippetoe coaching a guy who's never done a clean. It's PERFECT! FLAWLESS!! Took my breath away!!" No actual argument required.

Another drive-by with the worst squats ever passed in PL competition- courtesy of the oft quoted around here Mr. Simmons, by the way. If you think any self-respecting lifter would defend that abomination you might be drunk. Equally so if you think those guys aren't actually "strong" because they're just doing..... whatever it is they're doing there with 1,200lbs.

Also - those Oly lifters doing the butt-to-heels squats with 600+ pounds are hella strong. How many of them are Americans? Are any of them trained by the American coaches who so confidently insist that their lifters would be competitive, but for the doping programs of the successful teams? After everybody and their dog got banned for PEDs last year at Worlds in Anaheim, we got either 7th or 9th among the "unbusted" teams depending upon how you count the medals, getting bested by perennial powerhouses like Chilé and Vietnam. This is like the 2-14 NFL coach insisting his critics are wrong because they've never coached successfully either.

The argument about the clean is about straight bar path vs an intentionally curved bar path. Here's some data directly comparing both approaches:

https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/JEPonlineJUNE2016_Petrizzo.pdf
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Does Louie Simmons shares the same idea as Ripp? I remember watching a video on Louie saying that a lot of weight lifters needs to be doing a lot of eccentric work and a lot of accessories work to build up their strength.
Louie wrote his own book on Olympic lifting. I would have bought it out of sheer curiosity but at a price of $70 (based on an ebay listing WESTSIDE BARBELL Olympic Weightlifting Strength Manual - Louie Simmons | eBay) I'm not that curious.

Ripp and Simmons seem to think that US weightlifting coaches don't care about getting their lifters strong. To prove his point, Ripp posted a training program used by the Olympic Training Center that did, in fact, have very little strength work. However, Ripp cherry-picked his data. The program clearly said it was for a lifter that was a few weeks out from competition. There is going to be less strength emphasis a few weeks out than if the lifter was many weeks out from competition. Ripp himself wrote that the Olympic lifts display strength but don't build strength. That statement was enough for me to ignore completely anything Ripp wrote or would write about training Olympic lifters.

So, I have no idea where they get their opinion that US weightlifting coaches don't care enough about getting their lifters stronger. Looking at what the OTC did (I say "did" because there is no longer a resident program as the OTC for Olympic lifters) is not representative of US weightlifting. To get a better representative sample of how we train our lifters, look at programs from Glenn Pendlay, Travis Mash, Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics, and Wil Fleming. Pendlay was more of a minimalist focusing on the lifts and squats. Wil Fleming, OTOH, programs more accessory lifts. In fact, Wil gives his athletes what he calls a "scratch list." In addition to the main programming he provides, Wil expects his lifters to complete a certain number of exercises from the scratch list each week. The list includes bench press, triceps pushdown, and {GASP} biceps curls. You can see the list here: Weightlifting Scratch List

Greg Everett wrote a really good article criticizing Simmons and others. Strength, Bands & Staying in Your Lane

For me it's simple: I would never try to tell a powerlifter how to train. It's not my sport and I do not have the knowledge or experience to coach a powerlifter. Why, then, are powerlifting coaches trying to tell Olympic lifting coaches how to train their athletes?
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Could a high bar squatter do the same? Could a typical high bar squatter perform a power lifting squat with his/her Max divided by 60%? I have a feeling the answer is "no", but I'm not really sure.
I would agree that the answer is "no" but probably not for the reasons you think. The powerlifters in the video are wearing multi-ply suits, knee wraps, a PL belt (which is thicker than a belt allowed in OL), they place one foot on Hawaii and the other on China, they're taking the bar from a monolift, and they're not coming close to parallel. By contrast, the Olympic lifters in the video are not even wearing a belt. So the 60% figure is not quite accurate if we compare raw OL squat to raw PL squat. I did quick search and it seems, on average, that switching to low bar would allow you to lift about 10-15% more weight. Obviously this depends on other factors, but let's go with this.

Some months ago I briefly played around with trying to low bar squat. I wanted to see what the big deal was. I also believe in basing my opinions on facts and evidence. If I'm going to argue that high bar squats are better for weightlifters than low bar I should at least know what a low bar squat feels like. I found that the low bar position was awkward and caused discomfort in my shoulders and wrists. To be fair, I did not seek advice from a powerlifting coach and it's very possible my bar placement was incorrect. However, in my research I found articles by people who were very pro low bar squats who admitted that during the transition from high bar to low bar, the low bar will feel awkward and it is very likely that the lifter will initially be squatting less than the lifter was squatting high bar. Based on this, I think a lifter, regardless of current strength, who is new to low bar squatting will not see an immediate 10-15% increase in weight lifted and will likely squat less the first few sessions.

For me, I abandoned the low bar squat experiment based on a cost benefit analysis. The cost to me of learning the low bar squat is discomfort in the shoulders and wrists, areas that already take a beating in Olympic lifting, taking the time and effort to learn a new technique, and most likely having to lift less weight than I did high bar as I adjusted to the new technique. All this for the benefit of possibly getting stronger hamstrings and glutes. For that I can do more Romanian deadlifts and good mornings so for me, the benefit of the low bar squat is essentially zero.
 

MikeTheBear

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Do you know of a video in which the power clean is taught well?
The following teaching progression is for the full clean, but that's okay. The mechanics for the power clean should be exactly the same as for the full clean. In fact, once you catch the bar in a power clean you should be able to drop into a front squat no problem. If you need to readjust even a little then your pull is off.

How to Clean Tutorial with Glenn Pendlay - All Things Gym
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
An analogy might be the swing vs snatch (kbell). I would assume that virtually everybody can swing with heavier weights vs snatch (but snatch has higher range of motion). If you had a person who only trained with heavy swings, and another person who only trained with lighter snatches, which is more effective? And by "effective", I mean which one would have better carryover to the opposite lift?
In my experience, the KB snatch improves my swing but the swing does not necessarily improve my snatch.

I have also noticed that my front squat, which is supposedly the "weakest" squat, improves my back squat, but my back squat does not necessarily improve my front squat.
 

MikeTheBear

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This is Part 2 of the high-bar vs. low-bar article by Greg Nuckols. Keep in mind that Greg Nuckols' sport of choice is powerlifting. If anything, he should be part of the pro low bar squat camp. But in Part 2 he clearly states his preference for Olympic lifters to avoid the low bar and stick only with high bar and front squats, and preferably focus more on front squats. As I stated above, in my experience the front squat improves my back squat. In fact, I find that the front squat improves many things.

High Bar and Low Bar Squatting 2.0 - Strengtheory
 

Kettlebelephant

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Just a question, do any of the eastern European countries, chinese or korean programs make use of the low bar squat?
I only see a bit of Klokov (because of his crossfit stuff nowadays, people seem to forget that he's an olympic silver medalist and world champion) and even less from the chinese and none of them seem to incorporate the low bar.
They still dominate the sport and the US teams don't even come anywhere close. If the others really don't use the low bar I don't think it will improve the US team in any way.

I don't think the crisis in US weightlifting has anything to do with the way they train. They are simply lacking the athletes that could make it to the top level. People who are genetically a right fit for weightlifting venture into football or sprinting, both fields with a lot more money and prestige.
 

MikeTheBear

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Just a question, do any of the eastern European countries, chinese or korean programs make use of the low bar squat?
Don't know about the Koreans but I have watched training videos of weightlifters from China, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria (Ironmind filmed lots of videos of the Bulgarians). None of these videos showed any athlete doing a low bar squat. The Chinese, Russians, and Poles tend to use more assistance exercises. The Chinese, for instance, focus on their upper backs using explosive dumbbell rows. The Poles have been known to bench press now and then.

I don't think the crisis in US weightlifting has anything to do with the way they train. They are simply lacking the athletes that could make it to the top level. People who are genetically a right fit for weightlifting venture into football or sprinting, both fields with a lot more money and prestige.
I see this a lot - American football takes all the athletes that would have made great weightlifters. My response is, "But what about the short guys?" I started lifting as a teenager in the 1980s. I gained muscle and size easily, although I wasn't necessarily as strong as I looked because I was following a bodybuilding program, but that's a different debate. My high school had one weight room so I trained the same time as the football players. These guys and even the football coach wanted to recruit me for the team. The position they wanted me to play: lineman. Now, your average NFL lineman is what, 6'3" and 300 lbs? College lineman are not too far behind. I'm 5' 8". What chance did I have of ever advancing beyond high school football? Zero. But I enjoyed lifting and gained muscle and strength fairly easily. Unfortunately, there was no friendly weightlifting coach who could have taken me aside and said, "Look, son, your career as a lineman will end in high school. You're just not big enough. But I see you like to lift, and I see you've gained some size doing some bodybuilding. How about you come to my gym and learn the Olympic lifts?" I would have jumped at this chance. The problem is one of recruitment. Weightlifting is not popular in the US and there are very few high school or even college programs for weightlifters.

Why am I talking about the short guys? Because short guys like myself have extraordinarily limited opportunities in sport. If you look at football, sure, the running backs tend to be less that 6' tall. But there are what, two or three running backs on a team? Maybe there's a punt return guy who is short but superfast? You may have a cornerback who is 5'11"? Maybe a kicker who is under 6'. Just about all the other players are going to be over 6' tall. Other sports also favor the taller player. Baseball and hockey seem to have many athletes over 6'. Basketball is a no brainer, So yes, if you're over 6' tall and strong, you're probably going to focus your attention on a more popular and more lucrative sport. I'm not worried about the tall guys not getting recruited for weightlifting. That's because, as a general rule, if you're a weightlifter over 6' tall, you're likely going to be in the super heavy weight or 105+ kg class. There are exceptions of course. Dmitry Klokov and Szymon Kolecki come to mind. I don't all of the rules of how lifters are selected for international competition, but I've noticed in the Olympics that no nation ever fields a team of all super heavyweight lifters. It seems like each nation gets to send 2 lifters from each weight class to international events. That means that we could be sending several weight lifters in the lighter weight classes but we're not. This is a recruitment problem, not a professional sports problem.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
$70, that's expensive. :eek: LoL, you are better off using that money for eating at a steak house.
Yep. Some good hard. consistent work with the "ineffective" training methods for Olympic lifting plus a good steak dinner will likely lead to more results than buying Louis' book.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Before I go any further, let me say this. I am passionate about the sport of Olympic weightlifting. I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's like that ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend for those of the female persuasion) who is super hot and gives you the best sex you've ever had but is batsh*t crazy. I know I should resist but I can't. I've had several posts where I've mentioned that I would be taking a break from weightlifting and do KB sport just to give my body a break. In January I turned 50, which means I entered the next age bracket in masters lifting. Just "for fun," I looked at what lifters in my age bracket did in the last American masters open and said, "Crap, I can be competitive in this age bracket!" I then emailed my coach and told him that I want to lift in the next American masters which will be held November 2-4 in Salt Lake City. SLC is an easy drive from Denver, I've always wanted to visit SLC, and hey, I can be competitive. I emailed my coach and said "I'm back!" If you asked me what I thought about a middle aged guy with a bad back and a busy, stressful job, who wanted to compete in weightlifting, I'd say that guy was a bit of an idiot. Yet here I am. I'm the idiot. I'm the guy going out with the crazy ex-girlfriend. Why? I don't know. I love the sport.

So, if I criticize someone's opinion about weightlifting, I do so out of love for the sport. It's not about being a hater or any other nonsense. It's about wanting to make sure that whoever wants to try this sport gets the best information possible. Consider this. I tried to teach myself the lifts way back in 2000 or so. Unfortunately, this was an abysmal failure. While there were some Olympic lifting sites back then, these were not nearly the same quality as today. The sites today are way better, and I've had the opportunity to work with a coach. After 18 years, I'm still here. Even though I've worked with a coach, I still study everything I can about the lifts. A coach won't always notice every flaw, so I've tried to educate myself as much as possible. I think I've made every mistake an Olympic lifter can make, and probably some new mistakes that no one thought were possible. I've stepped on the platform and competed. I've had injuries and setbacks. By my own admission, I still think I'm a crappy lifter. But I've studied, walked the walk, and read numerous books and articles. I have become a student of the sport. Just today I've probably spent well over an hour responding to posts on this thread. Why? Because I love the sport. I want to share my experiences and whatever knowledge I've gained. If I think someone is wrong in their recommendations I'm going to call them out on it based on my experiences and my knowledge. If you want to criticize my responses I have no problem with that because I'm always trying to learn. But you better have some damn good facts to prove your case. Otherwise, I will tell you to shut the f*ck up.

As for Mark Rippetoe, if you are a beginning lifter who wants to get strong and needs instruction on the basic barbell lifts, I have no problem recommending his Starting Strength method. If you are about to enter the intermediate level of powerlifting, I have no problem recommending some of Louis Simmons' recommendations. There are some good lessons to be learned from the Westside method. However, if you want to become proficient at the Olympic lifts, avoid Ripp and Simmons. They are not weightlifting coaches and, based on my experience and study of the lifts, they are not competent to express an opinion on the lifts. Do you disagree? Fine. See above: you better have some damn good facts to prove your case. Otherwise, I will tell you to shut the f*ck up.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Now that I've said that I am passionate about Olympic lifting and my goal is to spread knowledge of the Olympic lifts and not "hate," I will respond to Bill's comments.

Nice drive-by: "Rippetoe coaching the clean. So much wrong....". Aaaaand scene!! Nothing else to say really. None of the "best" Oly coaches coach it that way and they have so much success we don't even qualify for the Olympics any more. Here, let me play: "Rippetoe coaching a guy who's never done a clean. It's PERFECT! FLAWLESS!! Took my breath away!!" No actual argument required.
I agree, Bill. This was a cheap shot. In fact, right after I posted this I thought "Crap, this has nothing to do with the debate as to how best to strengthen the clean." So I agree that the way Ripp teaches the power clean is a separate debate from his recommendations of how to strengthen the clean. Mea culpa on this issue.

Another drive-by with the worst squats ever passed in PL competition- courtesy of the oft quoted around here Mr. Simmons, by the way. If you think any self-respecting lifter would defend that abomination you might be drunk. Equally so if you think those guys aren't actually "strong" because they're just doing..... whatever it is they're doing there with 1,200lbs.
Again I agree. I actually said in my initial post that this was an extreme example of PL style squats. I said in a later post that a better comparison would be a PLer doing a raw PL squat vs. an OL squat.

Also - those Oly lifters doing the butt-to-heels squats with 600+ pounds are hella strong. How many of them are Americans? Are any of them trained by the American coaches who so confidently insist that their lifters would be competitive, but for the doping programs of the successful teams? After everybody and their dog got banned for PEDs last year at Worlds in Anaheim, we got either 7th or 9th among the "unbusted" teams depending upon how you count the medals, getting bested by perennial powerhouses like Chilé and Vietnam. This is like the 2-14 NFL coach insisting his critics are wrong because they've never coached successfully either.
None of the lifters in the videos are US lifters and none are trained by US coaches. As someone who loves the sport weightlifting, I am painfully aware of the fact that the US sucks at weightlifting. No argument there. Now let's look at why this is the case. Ripp says that US lifters are weaker than their international counterparts. Let's apply some critical analysis here. This is a prime example of single factor thinking - the idea that the solution to all our problems is X. The reality is more complicated. X may be one of the solutions, but is probably not the only solution. As I mentioned in a post above, I think there is a pool of "strong short guys" who could do quite well in the lower weight classes but who never get noticed because of lack of resources and suboptimal recruiting practices. My problem with Ripp is that he focuses solely on the lack of strength of US lifters. Lack of stength may certainly be one of the factors for the lack of US success in weightlifting but I do not think it is the only factor. Furthermore, he thinks that using his training methods is the best way to get weightlifters stronger. He basically says so here: Is Olympic Weightlifting Strength Training? | Mark Rippetoe I have a problem with that. First, the cynical side of me says he just wants to promote his certification program - take my certification or hire one of my certified coaches and all will be well. But even if he is not solely trying to promote his certified coaches because of financial gain, he is advocating a completely different approach to training our Olympic lifters. He wants a complete change to the way we train our weightlifters, and since we base our training on how other nations train their lifters, he's saying that the current training model for Olympic lifters is wrong. If he wants to implement an entire new way of training weightlifters, the burden of proof is on him to show that his methods are in fact better than current methods. This is hardly the same a losing football coach criticizing another losing football coach. This is more like an armchair quarterback with no coaching experience criticizing a losing football coach.

The argument about the clean is about straight bar path vs an intentionally curved bar path. Here's some data directly comparing both approaches:

https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/JEPonlineJUNE2016_Petrizzo.pdf
I read the article. The article proposes a solution in search of a problem. I realize that in a previous post I made a big deal about the importance of the first pull. That was based on practical considerations. In theory, it does not matter how a lifter executes the first pull. The point of the first pull is to put the lifter in the proper power position for the second pull. That's it. Now, there are the rules to consider. The easiest and most efficient way for a lifter to get into the proper position for the second pull is to lift the bar above the knees in any manner that the lifter wants, then drop into the power position. Unfortunately, this is not allowed by the rules. The rules state that once the bar is lifted from the ground the bar must keep moving upward and cannot move downward. This is why the first pull becomes a bit of a big deal. Now, if I had a freak of a lifter who could take a world record weight and, using straight legs and a rounded back, bring the bar to the correct power position and execute a successful lift in compliance with the rules, I'd say have at it, Hoss! If it ain't broke don't fix it. The reality is that most lifters can't do this, so they'll need to develop a first pull that easily and effectively puts them in the ideal position for the second pull. In this sense, the first pull becomes somewhat of a big deal. A first pull that easily and effectively puts them in the ideal position for the second pull will not necessarily be the most efficient way of pulling the bar, which is what the article discusses. But I don't care about that. For a maximum deadlift, you definitely want all phases of the pull to be efficient. But most lifters can deadlift way more than what they clean, making the first pull relatively light compared to the deadlift. There is no need to make the first pull "efficient" in the sense that "efficient" means the best way to pull a maximal weight simply because a lifter during the first pull will never come near pulling a maximal weight.
 

william bad butt

More than 300 posts
I did quick search and it seems, on average, that switching to low bar would allow you to lift about 10-15% more weight.
Well, I will admit, based on your numbers, I am not sure if I could high bar squat 10-15% less weight than my high bar squat maximum. Maybe if I practiced the high bar squat I could.

In my experience, the KB snatch improves my swing but the swing does not necessarily improve my snatch.
Interesting, because I would have thought the opposite.
 

Waffles03

Triple-Digit Post Count
If you asked me what I thought about a middle aged guy with a bad back and a busy, stressful job, who wanted to compete in weightlifting, I'd say that guy was a bit of an idiot. Yet here I am. I'm the idiot. I'm the guy going out with the crazy ex-girlfriend. Why? I don't know. I love the sport.
I believe it was Dave Tate who said that passion trumps everything. Also, age is just a number you know.

I have a quick question. I recently found a video where Louie Simmons had this one guy perform power cleans with bands. What is your opinion onwhat's your opinion on Louie Simmons on having his athletes performing olympic cleans while using bands? Here's the video.

 

Bill Been

More than 500 posts
You're very passionate about all this, which puts me at a disadvantage because I don't care about it (or powerlifting actually) all that much. Plus, the ongoing requirement for extra scrutiny and editing of my posts because sometimes I bluntly tell people they're wrong puts me at a volume disadvantage.

But, I am pretty good at pointing out when a lot of words have been used to argue not much of anything. Some stuff you said is wrong, like Rippetoe having never coached Oly weightlifting. He has as much success doing it as any other American coach which is to say competitive local and regional level lifters. You seem to have implied Rip's pulling method involves some sort of curved-back, straight-legged activity. You say many words about the first pull without actually saying anything about why starting with the bar forward of its base of support and pulling it back is helpful beyond vague "lifter feels that...." reasoning. I was hoping you'd notice the difference in power production that occurred in the linked study and react to that instead of...... not. And lastly, Rippetoe does not argue that getting them stronger will solve all our problems. He argues that our problems cannot be solved UNLESS our lifters are as strong as possible. If we are at a disadvantage in recruiting and in drug use, the logical response is to do the best possible job AT THE THING YOU CAN CONTROL.

How about I offer this olive branch: I totally agree Oly lifting has a recruiting problem and certainly an assets problem. The US is not one of the countries that views its lifters as national heroes, and we don't have government sponsored development programs that snag kids and make them lifters or weed them out. But we do have a crapload of young men who are 36-inch vertical jump genetic freakbeasts who play their last down of D1 college football and are faced with a very sudden end to a lifelong competitive career. And there are thousands of these guys. They're not hard to find. They're conveniently located in our nation's "universities" and are further pre-packaged in the football programs of these universities. Even a very, very, very low response rate would put high-caliber athletes in front of these coaches and give them excellent opportunities to convert them into lifters. I'm sure it's quite impossible. Phenomenology dictates we assume that if that could work it would've already been tried. What I'm suggesting is we stop complaining that we don't get to scrape the landscape for athletes and start going where the athletes already are and making them into lifters.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Waffles03 The short answer to your question is that bands are not necessary for the Olympic lifts and may be counterproductive in that they change the dynamics of the pull and may mess up your technique.
 
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