On Sunday May 27th, we held our first in-house Olympic Weightlifting Seminar. In this 3.5-hour workshop, coach Cheng covered in-depth the snatch and clean and jerk, breaking down the movements in detail and reinforcing the important positions and patterns.
This workshop saw great turnout, from CrossFitters, to Olympic Weightlifters, and even Powerlifters. Two of our very own coaches, Coach Dave and Coach Benny, attended the seminar in order to increase their own performance in the sport and expand their knowledge bank for future coaching.
The seminar began with the hang power snatch. For Coach Cheng, the hang power snatch is the perfect starting point because a proper hang power position is what enables athletes to build the most amount of power through muscular recruitment and engaging of various stretch reflexes. We started with the snatch because it is the more technical of the movements. Therefore, by mastering the hang power snatch, athletes are well set up for the series of movements that would soon follow. In this portion of the seminar, position and patterns were reinforced with just dowel drills. Athletes soon learned that they can work up a good sweat with no weight, simply by engaging muscle groups for which they have not been accustomed to in the past. Of crucial importance is just getting the technique right, before moving on to adding weight on the bar. After extensive dowel work, we then moved on to putting increasing weight on the bar, where athletes can really test out the new positions and movements and feel the difference that made in their lifting.
The next portion of the seminar continued with pulling from the floor. In this section, athletes learned the challenging nature of maintaining a good start position. Athletes became aware of how active this position is before even moving the bar off the floor. How well an athlete can engage their body in the start position is going to set the tone for the rest of the lift to follow. This will make all the difference between a successful and a failed lift. From the floor, Coach Cheng went on to teach the seminar how to generate power and acceleration through a snatch pull, followed then, by a complete power snatch from the floor. This session of the seminar concluded with Coach Cheng’s favorite snatch drills that really challenge athletes’ balance, mobility, and flexibility, including: snatch balance, snatch grip sots press, and overhead duck walks.
At the end of the snatch sessions, athletes are now well equipped for the clean session. The pattern between the snatch and clean are very similar from the floor to the extension, with the change in grip, nothing changes about the position in terms of how power and acceleration should be generated. Already with lots of practice from the snatch sessions, it became almost second nature for our participants to stay in those positions and get full extension. The most important cue in the clean, according to Coach Cheng, is to crank the elbows around fast in the turnover and receiving of the bar. In this way, athletes not only generate power by turning the elbows over fast, but they also keep their torso in a nice engaged position for the recovery phase of the lift.
The final session of the seminar is the split jerk. In this movement, we learned how to properly engage in the body as if it were a spring. We start in the dip, generate lots of stretch reflex, and then explode up to catch the bar in the split position. To stabilize overhead, we finished with a 3-count drill for proper footwork recovery. The session concluded with athletes performing a front squat, followed by a jerk in order to emulate the feel of a clean and jerk. This way, athletes can learn how to reset their hands, and prep their body for the final phase of moving the barbell overhead in the jerk. After nearly 3 hours of continuous work, Coach Cheng saw that athletes were fatiguing, and the jerk series concluded with only barbell work, for reinforcement of good technique and pattern.
The participants of our seminar showed a great deal of heart, open-mindedness, and outstanding athleticism. Especially given the fact that for many of them, a lot of these positions are new and foreign. Not only were they being challenged physically, they were being challenged mentally as well. Everyone rose to the occasion. Almost everyone was able to match their previous PRs with good consistency, keeping in mind that this is after 3 hours’ worth of work! Many of our athletes even PR’d their lifts! Some highlights include Eddie with a 35lb PR on his clean, Taku with a 20lb PR on his clean, Kendal with a 5lb PR on her clean, and Buck, who PR’d both his snatch and clean! Great work to all who participated in the seminar, and we look forward to seeing all your hard work pay off at our first in house Olympic Weightlifting competition on June 22!