For those following the strength cycle, watch and study this video closely! This is Lydia Valentine – she’s a -75kg lifter for Spain. She weighs less than 165lbs, and in this video from Worlds, she snatches 118kg (259 lbs), and clean and jerks 145kg (319 lb). She is a great lifter to watch because she has beautiful technique. She is a lifter I like to show people because she consistently demonstrates the points of performance we teach (and these apply to both the snatch and clean and jerk — the positions for both are exactly the same – the difference is your hand placement on the barbell).
Things to watch:
1. She is patient off the ground. Yes, if you blink, you miss her lift because she is so fast under the barbell — that’s speed through the middle!! But she doesn’t yank the barbell off of the ground. She locks in, and is smooth off of the ground.
2. Watch her back angle from the ground to when the barbell gets right above her knee – it does not change. This is crucial to making consistently heavy lifts!! Often, we see people shoot their knees back/hips up right off the ground — aka, the “stripper” move. This move is so detrimental because you lose all of your power. It takes practice to lift with your legs and keep the same back angle from the ground to above the knee (and it’s the same movement for both snatch and clean and jerk).
3. Once Lydia hits the launch position right above her knee, her hamstrings are loaded — this is when it’s time to be a “junkyard dog” as Coach B likes to say!! You’ve got to be patient in letting the barbell sweep back in, JUMP, and AGGRESSIVELY pull your body DOWN under the barbell. Lydia does not pull the barbell up — she pulls her body DOWN. You can see it clearly in the slo-mo: there is a point where the barbell gets as high as it’s going to go and floats for a split second — it’s in that split second that Lydia pulls her body DOWN.
Notice too when the barbell gets to her hips, she shrugs her hips, torso and shoulders VERTICALLY. There is no horizontal movement of her hips or banging the barbell off of her hips. This is HARD to do and takes practice, and lots and lots of patience. Get it in your head what it looks like, and drill it daily. PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT. This is what it looks like:
4. One thing specifically on the clean — watch when she cleans the weight, she “meets the bar”, meaning when she gets under the barbell, she goes to the height of the barbell. The heavier the weight, the lower she has to get. She does not go all the way to the bottom and let the weight come down and crash on her. She meets it where it is pulled. This timing is so important to dial in!! Elite lifters meet the bar and use their legs as “shocks” to absorb the weight, ride it down, and then stand with it. If you go all the way to the very rock bottom position, it’s very jarring on your body, and often times, you will miss the lift.
There’s so much more to see in this lift, but if you over analyze it, you start over thinking it. You cannot come to the gym and attack all of these points at once – you will start over thinking and miss all of your lifts. Weightlifting is about feel and trusting your technique. It takes time, practice and PATIENCE!! Pick one of these points to focus on this week, and focus on that one thing until it’s perfect!
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