Split Decisions


Here’s a recent quote from the blog of Mr. Dos:

so you’re telling me that all these years of me teaching a ‘jumping base’ (narrow, inside hip width) to start and a ‘catching base’ (slightly outside hip width) to finish a power clean or snatch have been a great waste of time?

With requests for an encore, I just couldn’t help myself to address the split catch performed by Dos, as his above quote doesn’t seem to jive with the photo snapshot of the athlete he is promoting. My feelings are that catching wide is common error that requires a good background of landing with various modalities in order to absorb forces correctly. Here are my thoughts on the matter with catching and landing:

The bar is another element into the purpose of the olympic lifts for athletes, meaning we are trying to use the olympic lifts for power in general so keep in mind the olympic lifts are a lowerbody explosive bilateral lift that is similar to a jump. My solution? More jump skill work when doing plyometric exercises. Let’s not forget the purpose of the exercse and the bar is just there to load the body better. While loading is important, mechanics can’t be compromised in any way. The classic medicine ball throws are good starters but the the air time is considerably longer in the sports world and will not transfer all the way. I have found that spit jerks in warm-ups offer that quick landing skill (not lateral obviously) and the hang snatch with light loads for skill work can help the clean in landing correctly, the lift we see this error more often.

Bar speed and finishing the lift must be ingrained. When loads that are too heavy are trained too many times in training cycles, we see the need for the athlete to cut the push and sneak under the bar. While dropping quickly may help the performance of the competitive lift, athletes just want the physiological adaptations and joint skills of the lift. Looking at the percentages, those looking a PRs too much will see a wall early and this lesson I had to learn the hard way when we hit a small barrier last year with the clean with one of my athletes.

Make sure the exercise is done 9 times out of 10 with the load that works the mechanics correctly. So many times we see athletes making errors at heavy loads because most of the time they are not landing properly. It takes 3-6 months to fix an error and about the same time to make sure you spend about the same time or more to exorcise the exercise (more on that later). When you fix the exercise mechanics you must train at a threshold lower than the error but not too light that the athlete is not doing enough to dispel the error.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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