This article is a follow on from Matthew Wells' Technique vs Pure Strength.
To follow on from my previous article about technique vs strength, this time I will be looking at ongoing training. I will specifically be focusing on any trouble areas I have encountered and show ways to make improvements.
My current training schedule is focused on building strength with squats, deadlifts, pulls and overhead work. My coach would say that I don’t really need to work on my technique so much, as all the tools are already there.
However, not to disagree with him, but I would like to think there are always aspects of my technique that can be improved and I’m sure he would agree with me on this. Because, even if you've been lifting for many years and feel like you've mastered the technique, there are always different parts that can be improved.
Weightlifting is not an end in itself. We are constantly trying to improve and get better at what we do. If we didn’t strive to get better, what would be the point in all that training?
As I have been training now for many years the need for spending countless hours on technique is no longer required. That being said there are aspects of the technique, that most, including myself, tend to neglect, for example:
Now, this should be something I’m familiar with and that I use all the time, but up until recently I’ve never really utilised it either in training or on the platform. The odd thing is, that I wouldn’t be without it now. If you don't already, I would highly recommend using a hook grip, as it’s specifically helps to relax the arms in hang lifts, pulls and Cleans. It improves your pull/drive from the floor. This brings me nicely to the ‘pull’ element of Weightlifting.
Again, this should be something I’m very familiar with, if not an expert at, but there is always room for improvement no matter what you're experience is.
The ‘pull’ is the most important aspect of any Snatch or Clean. An attempt can be won or lost at this point. Not only is it about execution, but also an awareness of how the barbell/ dumbbell should be travelling in relation to your body (it’s also worth pointing out that the position of your feet and hips also plays a vital role in the end result). This is a lot to think about in the time it takes to perform a Snatch or a Clean, but it's best to focus on just one aspect e.g. finishing the pull.
Everything else should be on autopilot, position of feet, hips, hand spacing etc. This should leave you with just 'finishing the pull' to think about. It sounds simple, but that’s just the start of it and even though I said an attempt can be won or lost at this point, there are still some bugs that need to be worked out, which brings me nicely onto feet spacing.
There are two aspects of feet spacing to work on.
1. Feet spacing at the bar and
2. Your ‘receiving’ position in either a squat or a split.
I’ll focus on the squat Snatch receiving position, as this unfortunately is a bit of nemesis for me. I tend to squat a bit too narrow, so I’m trying to encourage my feet to move wider for the receive.
Until someone points out what you are doing, you assume all is good and normal. But now it’s been pointed out to me, I can see how my narrow receiving stance is making it a bit more difficult. I’ve tried a few different methods to improve my receiving position, and these are some you might like to try if you suffer from a similar narrow Snatch feet position.
For example, performing Snatches onto plates, making your stance a bit wider at the bar, Snatch balances, and tall Snatches. All one other thing that does seem to be working is forcing myself to move my feet. My feet positions not perfect in any way, but they're improving and that’s what’s important. This brings me nicely back to the point of this article.
As I said at the beginning, weightlifting in itself is not an end. We are constantly trying to improve. Weightlifting is not just a sport or hobby that we do, it becomes a way of life. We eat, sleep and breathe it on a daily basis with the drive and determination to get better and better and better.