Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the sport and the lifts. Football coaches, breaking from the decades of “following the follower” and non-productive training, have embraced the snatch and clean as basic training for their athletes.
Olympic-style weightlifting, or weightlifting, is an athletic discipline in the modern Olympic programme in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates.
The two basic Olympic lifts are the snatch, and the clean and jerk. The snatch is very complex, but basically it involves taking a wide hook grip on a barbell and exploding the bar from the floor to the finish over your head. The clean is a two-part lift. The first part is the power clean, which involves hoisting the bar up quickly and “catching” it on your shoulder girdle. Then, you reset your grip and use your whole body to press it up over your head to lockout. Again, the lifts are much more complex, but this is a basic look at these two lifts. As far as strength-building, they definitely help.
• Always use a weight that you can comfortably lift and control.
• Ensure that you maintain concentration throughout the exercise.
• Maintain strict form throughout the exercise for maximum muscle recruitment and minimal potential of injury.
Exercises for Power Lifting
The snatch is one coordinated, continuous movement executed with speed. The grip should be wide enough to allow for full squat with bar at arms length over head.
• Stand over barbell with balls of feet positioned under bar hip width or slightly wider than hip width apart.
• Squat down and grip bar with very wide overhand grip.
• Position shoulders over bar with back arched tightly. Arms are straight with elbows pointed along bar.
• Pull bar up off floor by extending hips and knees. As bar reaches knees, back stays arched and maintains same angle to floor as in starting position.
• When barbell passes knees, vigorously raise shoulders while keeping bar as close to legs as possible. When bar passes upper thighs, allow it to contact thighs. Jump upward extending body.
• Shrug shoulders and pull barbell upward with arms, allowing elbows to pull up to sides, keeping them over bar as long as possible. Aggressively pull body under bar. Catch bar at arm’s length while moving into squat position.
• As soon as barbell is caught on locked out arms in squat position, squat up into standing position with barbell over head.
• To return, bend knees slightly and lower barbell to mid-thigh position. Slowly lower bar with taut lower back and trunk close to vertical.
• The advanced athlete may unload (drop) bar from completed position. This technique may be practiced to reduce stress or fatigue involved in lowering bar as prescribed. Use rubber weightlifting plates on weightlifting platform if this unloading method is used (unless floor demolition is desired).
Clean & Jerk
The clean and jerk is an advanced Olympic lift and one of the most effective and all encompassing strength and performance exercises available.
• Stand over barbell with balls of feet positioned under bar slightly wider apart than hip width. Squat down and grip bar with overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Position shoulders over bar with back arched tightly. Arms are straight with elbows pointed along bar.
• To execute Clean, Pull bar up off floor by extending hips and knees. As bar reaches knees, vigorously raise shoulders while keeping barbell close to thighs. When barbell passes mid-thigh, allow it to contact thighs. Jump upward extending body.
• Shrug shoulders and pull barbell upward with arms, allowing elbows to flex out to sides, keeping bar close to body. Aggressively pull body under bar, rotating elbows around bar.
• Catch bar on shoulders while moving into squat position. Hitting bottom of squat, stand up immediately.
• To execute Jerk, adjust grip if necessary. Inhale and position chest high with torso tight. Keeping pressure on heels, dip body by bending knees and ankles slightly. Explosively drive upward with legs, driving barbell up off shoulders. Drop body downward and split one foot forward and other backward as fast as possible, while vigorously extending arms over head.
• The split position places front shin vertical to floor with front foot flat on floor. The rear knee is slightly bent with rear foot positioned on toes. The bar should be positioned directly over ears at arm’s length with back straight.
• Push up with both legs. Position feet side by side by bringing front foot back part way and then rear foot forward.
• To return, lower barbell to shoulders, then bend knees slightly and lower barbell to mid-thigh position. Slowly lower bar with taut lower back and trunk close to vertical. This technique may be practiced to reduce stress or fatigue involved in lowering bar as prescribed. Use rubber weightlifting plates on weightlifting platform if this unloading method is used (unless floor demolition is desired).
Note: Due to the complexity of the Clean and Jerk it should only be performed by women with a consistent and thorough weight training background, and using a weight that you can comfortably control.