The "other" way to do a clean. The "other" way to do a clean.

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Thread: The "other" way to do a clean.

  1. #1
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    Default The "other" way to do a clean.

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    Hi Rip.

    Im hoping you can potentially shed some light on something that has been puzzling me. The subject is the "other" way to do a clean/snatch.

    I know you teach powercleans with the same setup as a deadlift, I assume you also teach full cleans & snatches in the same way. Tommy Kono has done some detailed lectures (available on youtube) explaining how this method (same as yours) is better than the "other method". Largely focusing on the fact it enables the lifter to add the maximum velocity to the bar.

    But I haven't read much about the "other" method, which starts off with hips low, vertical trunk and knees way over the bar. This other method actually seems to be the "more popular" way that most people teach, learn & perform the olympic lifts.

    I was just curious as to what potential benefits there are to this other method? There appears to be something at least, as many lifters seem to have success with it. But I dont really understand what. Something to do with bar path perhaps?



    Here is the very sucessful lifter Taner Sagir who combined this hips low method with huge amounts of layback on the extension.




    Ive asked the guy who makes these bar path videos, but oddly he doesn't really know. Can you shed some light on this matter or point me in the right direction to learn more?

    Ive been on a few olympic lifting websites where members, many of them coaches or competitive lifters dismiss your method (like kono's) immediately in favour of hips low. But none of them seem to offer much explanation of why.
    Last edited by Mark Rippetoe; 11-10-2010 at 10:48 PM.

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    The only thing that makes any sense about this pulling style is that by relaxing the hamstrings into a squat, the low back is easier to get tight since the tension is off the pelvis at the set position. But you pay for this with a lot of bar path inefficiency, as Sagir quite vividly demonstrates as he lays back in attempt to save all of his pulls that go forward due to his floor pull. Many people have become very good at doing things inefficiently, and I'm sure you know of very accomplished athletes who would be even better were they more efficient at their sports. Being elite doesn't automatically make you efficient.

    I spend about 2 hours with many videos explaining this in the seminar, so I can't type it all here, although I think you know that I have discussed it at length previously and elsewhere. It's interesting that the video guy, and most Olympic weightlifting coaches, can't explain what is going on here, but anybody who has been through our seminar -- and Tommy Kono, of course -- can.

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    The argument is that by pulling this way, you're placing the bar in the most ideal place for the strongest second pull, which is where the majority of the power comes from during the lifts. Its not about the efficiency of getting a bar from point A to point B, but rather putting the bar in a position the body can exert the most force on it. Proponents of this method will gladly admit that the starting position is inefficient - clearly a deadlift starting position is the strongest, but thats immaterial being that the purpose of the first pull is to get the bar into the best position it can be for the second pull and that the weights being dealt with are going to be much less than the lifters max deadlift, so an inefficient first pull is a small price to pay.

    I think a logical counter argument is that the increased velocity obtained by pulling from a standard deadlift position could outweigh the benefits of a stronger second pull. But I don't have the experience or knowledge to answer that. I can only say that it seems O lifters across the world don't think so.

    For the record, I don't really take a stand on this issue. I like the O lifts and could clean a slightly respectable amount, but I'm not doing them currently, and don't see how form minutia plays a large role in cleaning for general strength gains.
    Last edited by Mark Rippetoe; 11-11-2010 at 12:32 AM.

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    Then I guess it all depends on where you think the second pull begins. If it begins where the velocity starts to increase in the mid thigh, that position is virtually identical for everybody, no matter how badly they destroy the efficiency of the floor pull. Frame through some cleans -- say a couple of hundred -- and tell me what you see.

    Let me tell you: you'll see the shoulders slightly in front of the bar with a back angle that produces this position with the bar against the thighs. This back angle will depend on anthropometry, but it averages about 27 degrees for most good lifters. This is the same back angle with which the bar comes into equilibrium as it comes back over the mid-foot if you have pushed it forward with your knees trying to get in this "more efficient for the second pull" position -- a position which no one maintains anyway. We teach that you avoid all the preamble and inefficiency inherent in a curved bar path by just setting up like Dimas to pull the bar off the floor in a straight vertical line. Your back is going to be at the same angle when you start the second pull anyway, unless the pull is very light, in which case you can do it as inefficiently as you want to.

    And I'm with you: strength is more important that technique minutia, but good technique allows strength to be displayed more efficiently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoppi View Post
    snip
    I think a logical counter argument is that the increased velocity obtained by pulling from a standard deadlift position could outweigh the benefits of a stronger second pull. But I don't have the experience or knowledge to answer that. I can only say that it seems O lifters across the world don't think so.
    This seems like a really good point to me. Here's why: imagine I try to go really fast around my knees because they are over the bar (the other). Any errors I make early in positioning will only be magnified as I go faster (no proof of this, just some common sense applied - it's hard to fine tune when you do anything faster). Rip's method (I've tried both, so some experience) keeps the path straighter, meaning fewer inherent errors from the start (assuming proper execution, of course). So, as I accelerate, error propogation is minimized and I have less to try to correct at the rack.

    I have a hard time seeing how I can go that much faster at the 2nd pull to over come that mechanical disadvantage (not that I plan to do any calculations, either).

    But then again, some Oly arguments may really just be excuses that are based purely in personal preference and bias (IMAO). Shrug.

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    Looking closely at just those two videos, it is very easy to see in slow motion that the initial back angle for the first pull does not hold, and by the time the second pull comes around the back angle has become more horizontal and the shoulders have moved out over the bar into a position not unlike that of a deadlift. This accounts for the initial movement backwards you can see in the bar path. Given that the bar is going to end up in a deadlift position anyway, why not just deadlift it? Seems simple enough to me. Basically, what Rip said.

    Rip, from what little I've heard, the ideal second position for the second pull is in fact a more vertical back and shoulders not over the bar. Hence starting with a more vertical back. Don't ask me how they expect to pull that off or why that is, I'm just the messenger.

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    In "Science and Practice of Strength Training" (which I only became aware of through this board), Zatsiorsky specifically mentions the fact that elite Olympic lifters do the first pull slowly because you can exert more force on the bar when it is moving slower. This implies that the general assumption in the O-lifting community is that a larger force exerted over a shorter distance is superior to the smaller force that we could exert over a longer distance using a deadlift style pull. From the context of his statements, it appears that he thinks you can start to pull hard just above the knee.

    If we are doing power cleans to train explosiveness, you could make an argument that regardless of whether we pull from the floor deadlift style or oly-style, we should do it very slowly, and only pull hard when past the knees. And if this is the case, perhaps it doesn't matter so much what form we use on the first pull.

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    If we accept the hips higher start, which I do, would not the next logical step tell us the LBBS (more horizontal back angle, hamstring/glute contribution) would be more useful at developing strength for this position than the HBBS? I know this will may spin into a whole other discussion, not my intention, but it seems logical to me.

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    You have stumbled into the Truth. I'll try to send you a prize or something.

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    starting strength coach development program
    From what I know of "the other side," the position you described as the beginning of the second pull is probably very close if not identical to where they would place it. Stand with a barbell in your hands, slightly bend the knees, and lower the bar to mid thigh by closing your hips.

    I guess my only question is, does Dimas clean from the same position he would deadlift from? I searched through a bunch of his cleans and couldn't find a side view one, but his hips look pretty low.

    But it has been some time since I read your chapter on power cleaning. I should probably revisit it if I have any hope of sounding somewhat intelligible.

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