Barbell Olympic Lifting

Thinking through the Thruster

THE THRUSTER

The thruster is an Olympic weight lifting movement that combines a front squat with a push press.  To complete a thruster, the athlete holds the barbell in a front rack position to complete the front squat and then immediately presses the barbell overhead just as with a push press. Thrusters can be performed with not only a barbell, but also with a kettlebell, dumbbells, medicine balls, or anything else that allows the athlete to complete the movement progression with additional weight. Athletes will feel the upper body and lower body activated as they complete the thruster.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Thumbs Width Grip: To find a correct grip, place your hands about thumbs’ width off the smooth part of the knurling, or rougher patterned part, of the bar. Often you’ll see athletes put their hands too close together on the bar, which causes them to set up incorrectly with the athlete’s upper back slightly hunched forward. Keep hands a bit further apart with thumbs’ width from the knurling and you will be able to maintain a better position throughout the movement.

  2. Set up in a Front Rack Position: Whenever you do a push press, you want to start the movement with a front-rack position, meaning the bar is placed on the front of your shoulders. You should have your elbows beneath and slightly in front of the bar to create the best possible pressing position with your arms.

  3. Douchebag Shoulders: Whenever you do a movement with a front-rack position, meaning the bar is placed on the front of your shoulders, you want your shoulders to round forward. This actually creates a shelf on which the barbell can rest without causing pain or strain on the clavicle bones near the neck. Rolling the shoulders forward (douchebag shoulders) also prevents the bar from sliding down the chest altogether while you squat, and relieves strain on the wrists.

  4. Remember the Basics: As you perform the front squat, keep the basics of the air squat in mind: keep your feet about hips’ width apart; ensure toes are straight forward or possibly slightly angled out, depending on your mobility; keep your weight in the heels with your butt back; stay focused on moving the knees directly out over the feet; and maintain an upright chest. All of these are essential to perform the squat without injury.

  5. Look Straight Ahead: As athletes focus on keeping proper form, it’s common to see them look down at their legs or toward the ground. However, this actually pulls you forward and throws you out of position, especially since the weight is in front of your body. Focus on keeping eyes forward to keep the rest of your body in proper alignment.

  6. Keep the Ribcage Down: To prevent your torso from breaking open as you move out of the squat and press upward, focus on tightening your butt and abs. This will help keep your ribcage locked down so that you are in a safe position while pressing upward. If you allow your ribcage to open up and you lean back, the press portion of the movement will not be as efficient nor work the muscle groups as well as it should. Instead, it will look as though you’re doing a standing bench press and risk tweaking your back.

  7. Biceps to Ear: As you press the barbell up, focus on keeping your biceps toward your ears so that the bar is directly overhead. To achieve this, tuck your chin as you push upward, so that the bar can travel in a straight line instead of having to move up and around your head. Once the barbell passes your head on its way to the top, punch your head forward. This will help keep your ribcage locked down and ensures the bar is traveling in a straight line.

Moving into Additional Reps:

  1. Smooth Downward Motion: As you move from your completed thruster into the next rep, you will feel yourself moving downward into the squat at the same time as you lower the bar back into a proper front rack position. This may take coordination and practice to link reps together.

  2. Start and Stop for Beginners: If you’re just starting out with the thruster and cannot make a smooth transition between reps, simply lower the bar back into a front rack position while standing and then move down into your squat to start the next thruster rep. Over time you will improve your rhythm and comfort level with the thruster to be able to move smoothly between reps.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

BARBELL OLYMPIC LIFTING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Developing a Strong Snatch

THE SNATCH

The snatch is an exercise where the athlete lifts a barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. A unique difference between the snatch and other movements where the athlete must bring the barbell overhead, such as the strict press, push press, or push jerk, is that the athlete uses a pulling motion versus a pushing motion to move the barbell overhead. The snatch can be performed in a variety of ways, such as the power snatch or squat snatch, and it is often broken down into three different positions to allow for the athlete to progress into fully completing the movement as he/she gains strength and mobility. Regardless of which position or variation is used, athletes will feel the lower body and upper body activated in unison as they complete the snatch.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/FSKNTnYgjW0[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Hands Wide: To set up for the snatch, place your hands wide on the barbell. If you are a beginner and are unsure of how wide to place your hands, start by holding onto the bar and then bend your leg upward toward your stomach to find the place where the barbell sits nicely in the hip pocket. This is how far up the torso the barbell should be when holding onto it properly with arms wide and without any bend in the elbows.
  2. Feet Beneath Hips: While it may seem logical to place feet a bit wider into a squat stance, you want to keep your feet right below your hips. This is actually where you will generate the most power from the movement to help you get the weight of the barbell overhead. If your feet are wider than hip-width apart, you will actually shorten the range of motion of your hip, and you ultimately will not get as much power from your legs.
  3. Extend Knees and Hips: You will start by pushing your knees forward and slightly outward, keeping your back upright and behind the bar, with heels down on the ground. Often athletes will bend forward over the bar, but this bend at the hip actually causes you to push the bar forward and up overhead in a rainbow motion, versus allowing the bar to travel straight up the torso as it should. To begin to generate momentum to lift the bar, focus on squeezing your butt as you extend your knees and hips. This will start to move the bar upward along the line of your body.
  4. Shrug and High Pull: Just as with the clean, as the bar lifts upward, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, while keeping arms straight. Once you’ve shrugged, complete a high pull by lifting your elbows upward toward your ears. The shrug and high pull will continue to create power to lift the barbell upward above your head.
  5. Get Under the Bar: Finally, as the bar begins to move upward overhead, turn your arms over and drop your body weight underneath the barbell with arms fully locked out at the top. Instead of thinking about pulling the bar up, think about pulling yourself under the bar. That will help you improve the speed and position as you move your body under the bar.
  6. Drop into a Squat: If you are performing a squat snatch versus a power snatch, you will move directly into an overhead squat movement once the barbell has gone above your head with your arms fully locked out. Drop down with the barbell overhead and stand fully upright from the squat to complete the snatch.

Variations:

  1. Position 1 – At the Hips: By far the most important of the three progressions of the snatch, position one has the athlete start the movement with the barbell resting in the crease of the hip. Again, keep the torso behind the bar, the knees slightly forward, and the weight in your heels as you begin to lift upwards and complete the sequence of small movements in the snatch.
  2. Position 2 – Just Above the Knees: The second position for the snatch progression starts with the barbell just above the knees. The position feels similar to a deadlift where in you will feel tight in the backs of the legs, the weight in your heels, and your back flat. From this starting point, pull your torso back behind the bar and let your knees come forward. This will bring you right back into position one where you can complete the rest of the snatch.
  3. Position 3 – From the Ground: The third and most advanced progression of the snatch is starting with the barbell on the floor. Keep the same grip as in other positions, but now drop your butt down to grab the bar while keeping a flat back, your weight in your heels, and your knees over the bar. Your body will be directly over the bar and you should have your shoulders and elbows will be directly in line with the bar. Now, as you lift the bar upward, sweep your knees back and out of the way until you reach position two. From there, move through position two and one to fully complete the snatch movement.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

BARBELL OLYMPIC LIFTING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Down and Dirty with the Clean

THE CLEAN

The clean is a complex full-body movement where the athlete lifts a barbell from the floor to their shoulders in one fluid movement. The clean requires great coordination and practice to effectively move fluidly through the movement while keeping proper form and utilizing the explosive power needed to lift the barbell properly. To help athletes learn proper form, the clean can be performed in three variations that allow the athlete to progress with the technical complexity of the movement over time. When performed correctly, athletes will feel the legs, arms, and core muscles activated as they complete the clean.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/RwqKe9C_Uuk[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Get a Solid Grip: To find a correct grip, place your hands about thumbs’ width off the smooth part of the knurling, or rougher patterned part, of the bar. It is also recommended that you use hook grip, where you wrap your first and second finger around your thumb, allowing you to have a stronger grip throughout the movement.
  2. Feet Beneath Hips: While it may seem logical to place feet a bit wider into a squat stance, you want to keep your feet right below your hips. This is actually where you will generate the most power from the movement to help you get the weight of the barbell up onto your shoulders. If your feet are wider than hip-width apart, you will actually shorten the range of motion of your hip, and you ultimately will not get as much power from your legs.
  3. Extend Knees and Hips: You will start by pushing your knees forward and slightly outward, keeping your back upright and behind the bar, with heels down on the ground. To begin to generate momentum to lift the bar, focus on squeezing your butt as you extend your knees and hips. This will start to move the bar upward along the line of your body.
  4. Shrug and High Pull: As the bar lifts upward, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, while keeping arms straight. Once you’ve shrugged, complete a high pull by lifting your elbows upward toward your ears. The shrug and high pull will continue to create power to lift the barbell upward toward your shoulders.
  5. Finish in a Front Rack: The final component of the clean is to move your elbows down and around the barbell, finishing in a front rack position. As you finish the high pull of the movement, your elbows will be up toward your ears. Think about moving your elbows down and around the barbell in a slingshot motion, helping you quickly achieve a front rack position with the barbell resting properly on the front of the shoulders.

Variations:

  1. Position 1 – At the Hips: By far the most important of the three progressions of the clean, position one has the athlete start the clean movement with the barbell resting in the crease of the hip. Again, keep the torso behind the bar, the knees slightly forward, and the weight in your heels as you begin to lift upwards and complete the sequence of small movements in the clean. As the bar moves up the chest, you can then lift the heels up to generate momentum to complete the lift.
  2. Position 2 – Just Above the Knees: The second position for the clean progression starts with the barbell just above the knees. The position feels similar to a deadlift where in you will feel tight in the backs of the legs, the weight in your heels, and your back flat. From this starting point, pull your torso back behind the bar and let your knees come forward. This will bring you right back into position one where you can complete the rest of the clean.
  3. Position 3 – From the Ground: The third and most advanced progression of the clean is starting with the barbell on the floor. Keep the same grip as in other positions, but now drop your butt down to grab the bar while keeping a flat back, your weight in your heels, and your knees over the bar. Your body will be directly over the bar and you should have your shoulders and elbows will be directly in line with the bar. Now, as you lift the bar upward, sweep your knees back and out of the way until you reach position two. From there, move through position two and one to fully complete the clean movement.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

BARBELL OLYMPIC LIFTING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Proper Technique for the Push Jerk

THE PUSH JERK

The push jerk is an Olympic lifting movement where the athlete holds the barbell in a front-rack position and then pushes the barbell up from the shoulders overhead. Different than a push press or strict press, the push jerk requires an additional bend in the knee while pushing the bar overhead, allowing the athlete to move his/her body quickly below the bar to achieve lock-out of the arms overhead.  Speed is important while performing the push jerk, as this will help the athlete lift more weight. The push jerk is a great movement that works increases strength in the upper body while also increasing coordination between the upper and lower body.  Athletes will feel the shoulders, triceps, back and core muscles activated as they complete the push jerk.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/PjzABC7gwwk[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Set Up at Shoulder Height: Set up the j-hooks and barbell to be just below shoulder height as you stand in front of the rig. This will allow for you to easily get the barbell on and off of your shoulders before and after you perform the movement.
  2. Thumbs Width Grip: To find a correct grip, place your hands about thumbs’ width off the smooth part of the knurling, or rougher patterned part, of the bar. Often you’ll see athletes put their hands too close together on the bar, which causes them to set up incorrectly with the athlete’s upper back slightly hunched forward. Keep hands a bit further apart with thumbs’ width from the knurling and you will be able to maintain a better position throughout the movement.
  3. Adjust the Front Rack: Whenever you do a push jerk, you want to start the movement with a front-rack position, meaning the bar is placed on the front of your shoulders. However, unlike a front-rack that we use for the front squat or other movements, your front rack position for the push jerk should not have your elbows up and forward in front of the bar. Instead, you want your elbows beneath and slightly in front of the bar to create the best possible pressing position with your arms.
  4. Keep the Ribcage Down: Just as with the strict press, to prevent your torso from breaking open as you press upward, focus on tightening your butt and abs. This will help keep your ribcage locked down so that you are in a safe position while pressing upward. If you allow your ribcage to open up and you lean back, the push jerk will not be as efficient nor work the muscle groups as well as it should. Instead, it will look as though you’re doing a standing bench press and risk tweaking your back.
  5. Do a Second Quick Dip: While the push press requires one dip in the knees to help the athlete get the bar overhead, the push jerk requires a second quick dip. This second dip enables you to get your body beneath the bar and achieve lockout faster and actually takes inches off in terms of the distance you need to push the bar upward to achieve lockout. A great way to achieve the coordination for a second knee dip is to think about pressing beneath the bar. Just be sure to be as quick as possible with your dip in the knees so that you don’t stall out and fall forward or lose control of the barbell.
  6. Biceps to Ear: As you press the barbell up, focus on keeping your biceps toward your ears so that the bar is directly overhead. To achieve this, tuck your chin as you push upward, so that the bar can travel in a straight line instead of having to move up and around your head. Once the barbell passes your head on its way to the top, punch your head forward. This will help keep your ribcage locked down and ensures the bar is traveling in a straight line.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

BARBELL OLYMPIC LIFTING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Pumped Up with the Push Press

THE PUSH PRESS

The push press is an upper-body strengthening exercise where the athlete presses a barbell from shoulder-height to a locked-out position above head, and then lowers it back down to the shoulders. Similar to the strict press, the push press is considered a compound movement because it effectively works not only the shoulders, but also arms, back and core muscles as the athlete raises and lowers the barbell. However, unlike the strict press, the body does not remain static while the athlete pushes the barbell overhead. Instead, the push press relies on the athlete’s coordination as he/she bends the knees and then extends at the hip in order to gain momentum and power to push the barbell overhead with greater ease and efficiency. Athletes should feel the shoulders, triceps, back and core muscles activated as they complete the push press.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

[embed]https://youtu.be/8SsEGZDq95c[/embed]

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Set Up at Shoulder Height: Just as with the strict press, set up the j-hooks and barbell to be just below shoulder height as you stand in front of the rig. This will allow for you to easily get the barbell on and off of your shoulders before and after you perform the pressing movement.
  2. Thumbs Width Grip: To find a correct grip, place your hands about thumbs’ width off the smooth part of the knurling, or rougher patterned part, of the bar. Often you’ll see athletes put their hands too close together on the bar, which causes them to set up incorrectly with the athlete’s upper back slightly hunched forward. Keep hands a bit further apart with thumbs’ width from the knurling and you will be able to maintain a better position throughout the movement.
  3. Adjust the Front Rack: Whenever you do a push press, you want to start the movement with a front-rack position, meaning the bar is placed on the front of your shoulders. However, unlike a front-rack that we use for the front squat or other movements, your front rack position for the strict press should not have your elbows up and forward in front of the bar. Instead, just as with the strict press, you want your elbows beneath and slightly in front of the bar to create the best possible pressing position with your arms.
  4. Keep the Ribcage Down: To prevent your torso from breaking open as you press upward, focus on tightening your butt and abs. This will help keep your ribcage locked down so that you are in a safe position while pressing upward. If you allow your ribcage to open up and you lean back, the press will not be as efficient nor work the muscle groups as well as it should. Instead, it will look as though you’re doing a standing bench press and risk tweaking your back.
  5. Dip in the Knees: The push press is almost like the strict press, but requires a dip in the knees and extension of the hips to create more power for you to get the bar overhead. Once set up correctly, make a slight dip in the knees and then immediately extend your hips up and out as you press the bar upward. Think about squeezing your butt to help you open up all the way at the top. Timing is a key component of the movement, as the extension of the hips should move you right into pressing the barbell overhead as normal with a strict press.
  6. Biceps to Ear: As you press the barbell up, focus on keeping your biceps toward your ears so that the bar is directly overhead. To achieve this, tuck your chin as you push upward, so that the bar can travel in a straight line instead of having to move up and around your head. Once the barbell passes your head on its way to the top, punch your head forward. This will help keep your ribcage locked down and ensures the bar is traveling in a straight line.

 

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

BARBELL OLYMPIC LIFTING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.