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Elbows!

The man, the myth, the legend: Ilya Ilin. Go YouTube his London performance.

Warm-up

Power Clean + Clean: EMOM for 15 min @ 65%

MetCon – 2 RFT:
5 Burpees
10 HSPU
15 Burpees
20 Toes-to-bar
25 Hand Release Push-ups
30 Squat Jumps w/ PVC
(15 min cap)

Slow elbows are the bane of a lot of mediocre Olympic lifters.  Do you often find yourself catching your clean in your hands and then rolling the bar back on your shoulders as you lift your elbows?  I see it in the gym on occasion.  Not only does it hurt my heart to see such slow elbows, but my wrists feel a pang as well.  What is happening?  Why are the elbows coming around so slow?  There is the possibility of several problems.  Let us start with the easiest to fix: proper cueing.

There are a million things that are running through your mind when you set up for the clean.  Most of them have to do with the first and second pull.  But we cannot forget that so crucial third pull!  The third pull is you pulling against that bar to get yourself down and under it, ready to receive the barbell either in the power position or in a full squat.  This third pull is often the difference between a made clean or a wrist-almost-broke-because-my-elbow-hit-my-knee clean.  Don’t be that second guy.  Whip those elbows around the bar with vigor!  And do not stop them underneath the bar, get those suckers up as high as you can.

Another common fault is trying to increase the bar’s elevation by continuing to pull on it with your arms.  You most often see this on power cleans.  Since the bar has to travel higher in a power clean, athletes tend to pull on the bar with their arms to bring it up to their shoulders.  When this happens, there is very little time for the elbows to then make the trip down, around, and up to a good rack position.  Think about pulling yourself down and around that bar – even on a power clean.  Stop making your power clean look like a muscle clean!

The final ailment we will discuss is mobility.  A lot of us spent our time doing anterior-based body building movements for far too long.  Because of this, we are extremely tight in the shoulders.  The lats, long head of the triceps, and sometimes even the internally rotating muscles of the rotator cuff will prevent us from getting in to a good rack position.  A tight wrist can also be a culprit.  Find out what ails you.  Ask a coach or get in front of a mirror (gasp!).  Attack your mobility problems so you have a better rack position to get those elbows around to.

No, this is not an exhaustive list of conditions keeping you from achieving a perfect rack position with quick, snappy elbows.  There is humerus to radius and ulna length ratio, torso uprightness, and many other problem areas.  Start with the three we have discussed today though.  See what change you can affect.

Now go forth and clean,
Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:29+00:00 September 27th, 2012|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Donnie September 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    What is Pwr Clean + Clean?

    A power clean followed by a full clean?

  2. Rob Plane October 2, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Post something you jerks!

Comments are closed.