Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great barbell warm up drills from Greg Everett @ Catalyst Athletics

This warm up series and video is like an early Christmas present! It is so refreshing to see someone else emphasize purposeful, dynamic mobility work and quality bottom position work with the barbell. I love the long pulls for both lifts. Lately I've been emphasizing the muscle snatch and clean with all of my athletes to help develop mobility, proper receiving position and smooth, close turnover for the snatch and clean. I will definitely be incorporating these barbell sequences into my warm ups.

And I could just hug Greg for asking people to maintain grip on the barbell with the clean long pulls into the receiving position on the shoulders! Solid racking of the bar on the shoulders in the bottom position demands a very specific shoulder flexibility. Yes, you need normal wrist and elbow mobility, but the key here is shoulder mobility; specifically BILATERAL shoulder external rotation in the context of BILATERAL shoulder flexion with normal thoracic spine mobility.

If you fail to stay connected to the bar and let the hand open and wrist extend to receive the bar, you will not only unnecessarily beat up your wrists, you will likely have a tenuous bottom position rack on heavier lifts and struggle to stand. If the wrists extend early, the shoulders and t-spine are not required to do their job. Do not let your wrists compensate for poor shoulder mobility; it will come back to haunt you. Trust me on this one. Be kind to your wrists. Help your shoulders and t-spine develop good mobility to do these lifts and force yourself to use a full grip with drills like this and with front squats.

Fast elbows are simply the result of super-aggressive combination of a shrug against and external rotation of the shoulders around the bar. The shoulder, wrist and elbow work together as one smooth unit in order to meet the bar and place it smoothly and precisely in the receiving position. The beginning lifter must first be smooth and then super-fast with light weight--with full ROM--before s/he can be successful with heavy weights. Gotta link and sync the segments. Gotta learn to stay connected to and move aggressively around the barbell.

Do these drills with purpose and you too can develop the mobility to lift precisely and move smoothly with the barbell. Yes, the Sots presses are tough, but use PVC or a 5 kg bar to work into these positions. Modify your squat height if you need to. Play with some extra ankle mobility in the bottom (1/4" heel lift) and see (feel!) what happens. Be patient and don't rush it. It takes time and work for the ankle, hip, spine and shoulder tissue to adapt to these demands.

Thanks for this video and the entire CA exercise video library, Greg. It is one of the finest online weightlifting resources out there.

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