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Jessica is our 2016 Olympic Hopeful and Sarah is our 2012 Olympian in Weightlifting. We're setting out to be "Pretty Strong" and we encourage you to do the same.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Front Squats...let your body do the work

It is important to know that you are not holding the bar with your arms in the front squat. Too many people complain of wrist and elbow pain. The main reasons for pain can be flexibility in the wrists and trying to hold the bar with the arms. My best front squat is 175 kgs/385 lbs/ and I sure as heck didn't hold it up with my arms. I let my body to the work.

The arms are simply there to stabilize the bar. In a front squat, the bar is sitting across the clavicles and  the shoulders. The elbows should be facing forward and slightly pointed out. If the elbows are facing down, the wrists and elbows will start feeling pain. Last time I checked your legs are stronger than your arms so, let your body do the work.

This same technique needs to be applied to the clean movement as well. The body catches the bar not the arms.

At the World championships I saw Ele Opeloge, catch over 150 kgs in the clean and her left arm popped off the bar twice. She still stood up with it solidly because she let the bar rest on her body correctly, then she made her corrections and attempted to jerk it.

One of my friends from Florida has some wrist issues and she frequently trains without using her hands. I asked her some questions...

Hannah Crowe (gorgeous, I know)
Team Fl Manatee County
Why do you catch your cleans with no hands?
I clean wth no hands because I have always had wrist problems. I started doing this technique back in high school when i'd sprain my wrists real bad. 6 months into starting my olympic lifting career i severed the tfcc cartilage in my left wrist. I wanted to lift at my first national meet (Juniors 2009) so i insisted on lifting on my wrist. Thankfully i was able to push through the pain and clean with no hands to help with the pain of the clean. It really helps with the pain of bending my wrists backwards (when racking the bar).
Has there been any benefit to it?
The benefit lifting this way is that im actually able to lift when im in that pain. I mean cleaning with no hands doesn't completely take all the pain away but it sure does help.

What are people's initial reaction when they see you clean with no hands?
I remember when i first cleaned with no hands at juniors 09 everyone gasped, i think they thought it was an accident and they applauded really loud when i got my hands back on the bar. People that have never seen me do it tend to have that same reaction the first time around. I've even been at a local meet and the announcer mentioned something about it after my last clean in the effect of " well i guess she meant to do that"

Have you been injured using this technique?
I haven't really been injured using this technique, i mean an occasional bruise from when the bar crashes on my sometimes nothing serious though. I have had teammates attempt it at practice and almost seriously hurt themselves which is somewhat humorous.
Are there any other alterations you need to make for other lifts? like front squats or snatches? 
When i have more than about 1 or 2 reps of front squats i tend to just use no hands as well as back squat i just wrap my arms around the bar instead of hanving my hands on it. With snatch i have to keep my grip somewhat narrow because of the angle and pressure it puts on my wrist. My jerk is also somewhat different, instead of keeping my elbows high/up my elbows point down when i jerk. I have been trying to fix it and hopefully at collegiates i'll have the correct form down.


Anonymous said...

Is there any video of this technique available on YouTube?

Sarah and Jessica said...

Yes. I have two of the many that are on youtube included in this post

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