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White Noise Olympic Weightlifting Club

The olympic weightlifting moves you will be learning are the snatch, and the clean and jerk. Each movement is broken down into key parts and the different parts of the moves and assistance exercises are practised before the complete movement is put into motion.

Olympic Weightlifting is very technical but under the eye of a good coach like Kristian McPhee the olympic weightlifting moves are well broken down and easy to pick up and then piece back together.

The Snatch

The essence of this movement is to lift a barbell from the floor to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement. The barbell is pulled as high as the lifter can manage (typically to mid chest height) at which point the barbell is flipped overhead. With relatively light weights locking of the arms may not require catching the barbell in a squat position and this is referred to as a Power Snatch. If the weight is heavy the lifter usually receives the bar in a squatting position while at the same time flipping the weight so it moves in an arc directly overhead to locked arms.

When the lifter is secure in this squatted position, he or she rises to a standing position completing the snatch. The snatch requires not only great strength, but mastery of technical skills, a high degree of shoulder/back/leg flexibility, excellent balance, and speed. However, power and strength do play an important role in differentiating athletes in competition, particularly at advanced levels, where the majority of competitors have mastered the technical aspects of the lift. This lift requires coordination, core stability, explosive power and tremendous speed; which is transferrable to all sports.

Clean and Jerk

The athlete begins the clean by squatting down to grasp the bar. Hands are positioned approximately a thumb’s distance from hips using what is known as a hook grip. The hook grip requires grasping the bar so that the fingers go over the thumb. This makes it much easier for the lifter to maintain his grip on the bar. The lifter’s arms are relaxed and just outside the legs with the bar up against the shins. The hips are as low as necessary to grasp the bar, with the feet placed approximately at hip width. Toes may be pointed straight ahead or angled out according to the lifters’ preference. The chest is up and the back is neutral to slightly hyper extended. This is the starting position of the “pull” phase of the lift.

The lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (in very quick succession) of the hips, knees and then ankles. When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscle (upper back). This pulls the lifter under the bar and into a deep front squat position. The lifter then stands in preparation for the next phase.

From the standing position, the lifter bends the knees and then straightens them in order to propel the barbell upwards. The lifter pushes slightly with the arms. This pushes the lifter underneath the barbell. A split jerk is most often used, in which one leg lunges forward while the other moves backward. The lifter must hold the barbell overhead, keep the arms locked, and move the legs directly underneath the torso so that the entire body lines up in a single plane. A push jerk can also be used, in which the lifter keeps both legs in position, bends the knees and jumps into lockout position.

Come down, we would love to see you progress with your own Olympic Weightlifting.

Samantha Balchin at British Weightlifting competitionJade Clean & JerkHoward SnatchKristian C&JRussell Clean

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