Too many people do the Oly lifts (snatch and clean and jerk) with terrible technique. Often in high-rep workouts where there are lots of reps performed as quickly as possible, it’s bound to pop up more frequently, but if it’s during a standalone Olympic lifting session, it’s less acceptable. In fact, you should never be acceptable to have bad technique. In this feature we cover how to fix bad Oly lifting technique.
First off, everybody should want to perform every single Oly lift with perfect form. It’s not only because it will look good, but you’re less likely to get injured and form always precedes results. The better your form, the better your results and the more you’ll lift. That’s a fact!
Steps on How to Fix Bad Oly Lifting Technique:
#1 Find Good Coach
The number one rule is that you need a good Olympic lifting coach to ensure you’re getting it right and to help correct any flaws that might be present in your technique. Outside of having a coach properly train you, the rest of these steps are for you to apply yourself.
#2 Forget About Heavy Weights
Forget about weight and concentrate on technique. Instead of gunning for bigger weights, start focussing on how well you moved during the lift. Record your lifts and analyse them for poor form or areas of improvement. Work on technique with an easy-to-manage weight, or even no weight, for this. When you can execute perfect form on every rep on a particular weight, then it’s time to move up in weight in small increments.
#3 Don’t Focus on the Shrug
Don’t focus on the shrug during the snatch or clean. It’s a more natural movement than you’d expect and by focussing on other areas, this will come together by itself. Focussing too much on the shrug could ruin the flow of your movement.
Finish your pull. In the snatch or the clean, you have two pulls – the first and second. A slow first pull, the deadlift part, and the second pull when the bar moves past your knees and from a hang position you explode and get under the bar fast. By finishing that second pull with a tall extension you’ll get a larger weight higher with more chance of getting under it. You’ll recognize this position as that classic Olympic lifter photo when the athlete is on their toes, shrugging (naturally), wrists rolled inwards, and shoulders behind the bar.
#4 Don’t Overthink
Don’t overthink things. We previously covered a topic about analysis paralysis in sport, which spoke specifically about overthinking movement and technique. Read the feature to help you in your Oly lifts.
#5 Wear The Correct Oly Shoes
Wear the right shoes! You don’t need Olympic weightlifting shoes as you start learning Olympic lifting, but as you progress it’s a good idea. We reviewed one of the best Oly shoes available and also have a feature on the benefits of Olympic weightlifting shoes.
#6 Hook Grip
Always use a hook grip. The hook grip offers the strongest grip possible, applying more torque to the bar when lifting. A hook grip is when you wrap your fingers around the bar and your thumb is positions underneath your other fingers as much as possible. Apply a hook grip all the time and release it when required in a lift, like with a clean.
#7 Toughen Up
Toughen up your hands. You’ll never see Olympic weightlifters using gloves, and for good reason. Gloves can become an obstruction and injuries could occur as a result. You need as much free and natural motion as possible. Taping your thumbs is ok (helping with the hook grip), but get used to using gym chalk only.