Monday, January 22, 2007
Pulling Under the Bar
Weightlifting is not just about propelling the bar upward with triple extension of the the lower extremities. One of the more challenging aspects of training an athlete to do the full lifts (especially if s/he has only done the power versions or has done too much upper body rowing stuff), is teaching the athlete to pull against the bar and pull themselves down under the bar before gravity beats her/him to it. When the weight is greater than bodyweight, it becomes essential.
This sequence of photos is less than .50 seconds. See how the athlete literally pulls himself against/around the bar? Actively pulling, not just floating with the bar--usually a losing proposition. This MUST happen when you weigh 77 kg (169 lbs) and the bar is 113 kg (248.6 lbs). It is hard to do when the weight on the bar is less than bodyweight; the athlete usually wants to just power the bar up, up and up and not her/his body down to meet it.
Note: See the wrist flexion? The bar path is virtually straight. The bar MUST rotate smoothly or the athlete will break his wrist trying to reverse curl 250 lbs. Not a good idea.
This CONCEPT is important to ingrain in the athlete from day one. It requires the nervous system to do a complete 180 in a matter of milliseconds. Note this lifter has very little "air time" and does not stomp/donkey kick his feet. Air time is NOT an advantage here; this isn't a jump shot. The idea is to get down and get your body prepared to receive the weight in a strong, safe position. The feet will move out from the pulling position--this lifter is very flexible and moves his out only slightly--but the majority of elite lifters cannot and will not waste time/effort to stomp. A few can do it, but in my opinion, it is a sign of an inefficient lifter who is probably wasting effort that could be applied more effectively.
See the video here.