Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Think of It As Potential Potential
Typically, warming up for the front squat or clean involves the usual lower-body biased movement prep rigmarole (that's abbreviated as LBBMPR). It is rare to see athletes prep for the significant thoracic extension required for success in these movements. We often hear coaches cuing the athlete to have quick elbows in the clean turn-over rack, or to keep the elbows up in the front squat. We do not however often hear coaches go the next step with their athletes and facilitate these trouble positions of emphasis.
You can think about the upper back extension required for a successful rack as increased likely-hood potential of a successful lift. For example, most missed front squats or failed cleans happen as a result of not being able to maintain the upright back during the ascent out of the hole (lots of steps have to happen for that position to even occur in the clean of course...) In an attempt to solve the upright back position/thoracic extension limiting factor, coaches will have their athletes turn out at the set up, pull with a much lower butt position, and coach the athlete to let their knees track out over their feet. These all work. So too does getting the athlete a little more supple in the mid to upper back prior to lifting.
Lost thoracic extension in the hole cannot be reclaimed during the lift. If your elbows drop and your upper back rounds, that will be the position in which you will or will not complete the lift. So starting out with maximal upper-back/thoracic extension is vital. It's potential potential.
Our warm up for the clean/front squat includes the usual LBBMPR AND lots of thoracic extension prep like kipping, cobra press ups, overhead squats, shoulder mobility work, and a little time on the pipes of pain.
It works too. We have to cue elbows up a lot less, and our athletes are able to move weights at the limits of their strength, not the limits of their flexibility.
at 9:53 PM