Don’t make these 5 mistakes in your Olympic Lifts

By Marvin 0

(Anthony Arthur 175kg C&J)

Who is Anthony Arthur?

I started lifting when I was 15 together with my younger brother who was 13 at the time. We both won the British Schoolboy championships in that same year, I snatched 90Kg and clean and jerked 107,5 Kg.

At the age of 15 I had started to compete internationally. I was competing in European and World Championships regularly until my first major games, The Commonwealth Games in 1994. This was my first failure in competition as I failed to register a Clean & Jerk.

1996 was my Olympic Games experience in Atlanta and one of my best achievements, I placed 12th in the World. I competed in 2 further Commonwealth Games 1998 and 2002. I won a Silver medal in the Snatch in 1998.  Silver in the Snatch, Bronze in the Clean & Jerk and Silver overall in 2002.

  • Best Snatch:  160kg
  • Best Clean & Jerk: 195 kg
  • Max Back Squat: 265kg
  • Max Front Squat: 210 kg

What are the 5 most important points of improvement for CF’ers wanting to lift better?

  1. Starting position for each lift.
    This is crucial as it sets up how the lift will go from the very start. Either hips are too high and the lifter uses their back instead of legs and hips, or the hips are too low and the bar drags around the shins and is lifted around the knees.
  2. Bar path in the first pull.
    This is very closely connected to the first point. The ideal path is for the bar to move back over the foot so the shin is perpendicular to the ground. Then the bar can keep moving backwards after passing the knee.
  3. Tense arms.
    Your arms should be ‘relaxed’. Don’t try to control the bar path with your arms. All the power is coming from your legs and hips.
  4. Not keeping shoulders over in 2nd pull.
    CF is already a very quads dominated sport. Because of this al lot of CF’ers have under-developed and under-utilized hamstrings. From there you get a vicious circle: athletes work around their hamstrings and over-utilize their quads. By keeping your shoulders over the bar in the 2nd pull you’re sure that your using your hamstrings.
  5. Confidence getting under the bar.
    A lot of people get fixated on the pull. But there is only so high it will go. Then you’ve got to get under it. The quicker the better as this allows you to lift more weight. Shift your focus from force to speed and you’ll see an immediate improvement in your lifts.

Lifters tend to use their arms during both parts of the pull. The arms are really there just so you can hold onto the bar.  Don’t try to use your arms to control the bar path. As it get heavier they won’t be strong enough too.

Every athlete should first address these 5 points, before adding more weight to their lifts.

Quality over quantity.

And the funny thing is, that by focussing on quality, you’ll notice that evetually you’re a lot quicker when performing a WOD with a lot of volume.

What are the most important exercises for a CF athlete to add to their repertoire?

Like I said CrossFit is a very quads dominated sport. The second thing you’ll notice that there’s little mid-back development. These imbalances can definitely become a limit in your development as an athlete. Every serious CF athlete should integrate exercises that address these imbalances.

You’ll not only become stronger, but are less prone to injury as well.

My favorites:

  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Bent Rows
  • Military press
  • Pull to knee
  • Lifts from blocks

What do you say to yourself after you fail a lift?

So when I fail a lift in training I have to determine if it was a technical fault or if I’m not strong enough yet.

When attempting a PR during training, if the third attempt failed then it stops there, no more attempts allowed after.

In competition it’s usually a technical failure that I will discuss with my coach before the next attempt, and hopefully we agree on the fault before going for the next attempt.

If it feels heavy, it is probably a sign you will not make the attempt, but always review your lifts if you can with video analysis, there are time were you just have to go for it!

What about weightlifting shoes, straps & knee sleeves?

Weightlifting shoes are an essential item. Just look at every weightlifter in the Olympic Games, everyone is wearing them. They keep your foot stable and supported.

Your feet are the main point with the ground so this needs to be kept stable. They also have a slightly raised heel to allow a more comfortable receiving position in the squat part of the lift.

Support devices such as belts and knee sleeves are really a person thing. I tried using a belt when lifting but I used to catch the bar on it so I never used it. I do use it for heavy squatting. I use knee sleeves as these have helped support my knees and they are great for keeping them warm during training.

Straps are a valuable tool for weightlifting training but over use can be detrimental. Straps should mainly be used for pulling exercises. But if your hands are in a poor state then straps can be used then to allow training to continue.

How would a personal training session look like with you?

I would first look at your mobility for both the snatch and clean and jerk.
Most people think they need more strength to develop their Oly lifts while in reality their mobility is the limiting factor.

We will run through a series of drills snatching and clean and jerking to see where the issues are.
We will focus on those issues, and I will give you a plan on how to address those issues, give other exercises to work out imbalances and of course a lot of strength work and drills.

Vragen voor Anthony? Stel ze hieronder. Geïnteresseerd in een 1-op-1 traject met Anthony? Stuur een bericht naar info@hettrainingsplan.nl

Alle HTP leden krijgen elke maand een gratis video analyse van hun lifts van Anthony Arthur.
Klik hier en begin vandaag nog met dit gevorderde protocol geschreven door Anthony Arthur, Erwin van Beek en aangevuld met mobility werk van Volcmar Hellendoorn.


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