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Explosive Strength and Power for All Athletes

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In today’s Q & A one of the themes that I covered was the importance of developing strength in your overall speed development program.

One of the most effective methods for developing this strength and power is with the Olympic Lifts.

Today we will go over how to perform progressions of one of the absolute, most effective lifts that every high level athlete regularly uses in their training program: the Power Clean.

This exercise is fundamental for creating explosive power. It is also an exercise that many athletes do incorrectly so, when performing or teaching this exercise, if athletes are not performing all the actions as they are described, then need to back off the weight and continue to follow the progressions. Here are some great progressions tostart with before you introduce the entire Clean:

Clean RDL:
Stand with barbell in hands, feet at hip width, shoulders back and chest up. Keeping arms straight and eyes fixed straight ahead, lower bar by moving the hips backwards while maintaining a slight but fixed bend in the knees. Stop once the bar reaches the top of the knees or when the flexibility in the hams runs out. Quickly return to startingposition by moving hips forward and standing up straight.

Clean RDL to Power Shrug:
Stand with barbell in hand, feet at hip width, shoulders back and chest up. Keeping arms straight and eyes fixed straight ahead, lower bar by moving the hips backwards while maintaining a slight but fixed bend in the knees. Stop once the bar reaches the top of the knees or when the flexibilityin the hams runs out. Quickly move the hips forward, as the hips extend explosively shrug shoulders and rise on toes.

Clean RDL to High Pull:
Stand with barbell in hands, feet at hip width, shoulders back and chest up. Keeping arms straight and eyes fixed straight ahead, lower bar by moving the hips backwards while maintaining a slight but fixed bend in the knees. Stop once the bar reaches the top of the knees or when the flexibility in the hams runs out. Quickly move the hips forward, as the hips extend explosively shrug shoulders and rise on toes. Continue to elevate the bar to mid-chest height by bending elbows and continuing the upward movement of the bar. Be sure to lift elbows up and keep the bar close to the body.

Muscle Clean:
Standing erect with barbell in hands with a clean grip and feet at hip width, slide bar upwards almost along the body to near shoulder height. Once at shoulder height rotate elbows underneath the bar, releasing the hook grip and letting the bar fall onto the shelf created by the shoulders. Return bar to starting position the same way it got there.

Power Clean:
Stand with barbell in hand, feet at hip width, shoulders back and chest up. Keeping arms straight and eyes fixed straight ahead, lower bar by moving the hips backwards while maintaining a slight but fixed bend in the knees. Stop once the bar reaches the top of the knees or when the flexibility in the hams runs out.

Quickly move the hips forward, as the hips extend explosively shrug shoulders and rise on toes. Continue to elevate the bar to mid-chest height by bending elbows and continuing the upward movement of the bar. Be sure to lift elbows up and keep the bar close to the body. Once at shoulder height simultaneously rotate elbows underneath the bar, releasing the hook grip and letting the bar fall onto the shelf created by the shoulders while falling into a quarter squat. The quarter squat should be reached at the same time the barbell is received on the shoulders.

Teaching Olympic lifitng is much easier if you first break down each of the movements. Once your athlete has perfected each individual movement, they will find performing the whole clean a much simpler task. Also, if you have an athlete struggling with a particular stage of the lift, you can use these exercises to ‘Clean Up’ their form.

For more details on how to incorporate and properly teach the Olympic Lifts with your athletes, visit:

http://www.CompleteOlympicLifting.com

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