Weight Balanced, Bar Close
Where the bar is in relation to the body plays a big difference in whether a lift is successfully made or failed. We are always looking to have the bar track as close to the body as possible. If it tracks correctly, this means the weight will be balanced right over the middle of the foot or directly over the loops of the laces. There is often a direct relationship between where the bar is and where the weight is balanced in the foot. What is most commonly seen is the bar too far away from the body and the weight towards the toes. It is also possible to have the weight too far back in the heel, often resulting in an awkward receiving position or a failed lift. Looking at an athletes feet during a lift can likely tell you everything you need to know.
Failed Power Clean = Squat Clean
When the barbell gets heavy, the starfishes tend to make their appearance. There is a reason that many athletes have higher power clean numbers than they do squat cleans numbers and that is all related to technique. A failed power clean should occur because the athlete caught it too low, not because their feet jumped too far out and they couldn’t support the weight. Have athletes practice power cleans as if they are going to squat clean the barbell, only to cut it off above parallel. Starting this with light weight will make for good habits when the load increases.
Performed with an empty barbell. Focus points for each position.
5 reps from each position, with a short rest between movements.
High Hang Power Clean
Hang Power Clean
Shoulders Over Bar
Pull Bar Close
Pass Through First Position
Shins & Knees Back
Pass Through First and Second Positions
Tall Chest, Ball High
Maintaining a tall chest throughout the entirety of the Wall Ball accomplishes a few things. When the chest is proud, the ball with most always be in a solid position to be thrown to the target and athletes will be able to control their breathing much better. One of the many downfalls of the chest dropping is the ball prematurely hitting the wall and getting shot back towards where it came.
Relax the arms
At the top of the movement, athletes frequently leave their hands straight overhead after throwing the ball to the target. Leaving the arms in the air over the course of many repetitions increases the time under tension and causes extra fatigue. After launching the ball upward, have athletes relax the arms back down to the front rack position to receiving the medicine ball for the next repetition. This will enable athletes to hold on for larger sets on both the wall balls, and later on the dumbbell and toes to bar.
5 Front Squats
5 Push Press
5 Wall Balls
Zip the Coat
It is common on the dumbbell snatch for the bell to swing out and away from the body, Pretending to zip up the jacket of a coat will help keep the weight close to the body. The closer the weight is to the body is, the lighter it will feel.
Following the “zipping of the coat”, want athletes to punch up hard into the dumbbell. Sometimes the elbows get relaxed and the dumbbell has to be pressed out to end range. An aggressive punch up will ensure the dumbbell is received with a lockout out elbow on each repetition.
Perform with 1-Arm, then switch.
5 Deadlift + Shrug
5 High Pulls
5 Dumbbell Snatches
Toes to Bar
Find Hollow and Arch
The better athletes can find tight hollow and arch positions today on the toes to bar, the more powerful and consistent these reps will be. The arch is typically the harder position to find, with the chest through and heels back with feet tight. Getting to this position creates more tension and better rhythm. Holding these positions of the floor before heading to the bar.
:20 seconds Hollow Hold
:20 seconds Arch Hold
5 Scap Pull-ups
5 Kip Swings
5 Knees to Chest
5 Toes to Bar
Feet to Space
Knees to Chest
Seat Away From Feet
Very often in the catch position, the feet tend to “bounce” off or make contact with the heels. In this position, the shoulders are most likely dumping back too early resulting in a significant amount of lost tension and power. Leaving a gap between the front of the seat and the back of the heels will place athletes in a better position of power. This seat away from the feet position is established when athletes pick up the handle to begin rowing. When reaching for the handle, shoulders are in front of hips and there is about a one foot gap between the seat and the feet. Looking to get back to this position on every stroke.
Keep the Handle Moving
Many times at the finish of the stroke, there is a long pause before the handle returns back towards the monitor. When you relate this to running, it is the equivalent of jogging for a few steps and stopping, and then jogging for a few steps and stopping again. Keeping the handle moving creates a smooth rhythm to the stroke. Just because the handle is traveling back towards the catch doesn’t necessarily mean that we are speeding up strokes per minute. Once the hands clear the knees, the torso will lean forward and the knees will bend as the athletes glide towards the catch. The handle sets the rhythm for the row.
Barbell Facing Burpees
Utilizing step-up burpees today will help athletes find a nice “choreographed” rhythm and keep their heart rates down for when they approach the barbell for max effort push presses. When coming out of the bottom of the burpee, athletes will jump one foot to the outside of their hand and then recover the back foot to the outside of the other hand. This will also minimize the amount of unnecessary steps taken before they jump and land with two feet on the other side of the barbell.
Going along with the theme of no wasted movement again here. When athletes jump over the bar they can step their right foot across the body. Pivoting on the right foot, they will bring the left foot parallel to the right, causing them to face the barbell once more. This cross step is another way to minimize the amount of steps taken, making less “work” for the athletes.
4 Active Spidermans (2/leg)
4 Frog Jumps
2 Barbell Facing Burpees
The dip is arguably the most important part of the lift, as it sets athletes up to press the bar to a good position or a bad position. Focusing on where the forearms are pointed during the lift can be a helpful indicator of where the bar will end up overhead. Positioning the elbows slightly in front of the bar will aim the forearms right over the middle of our body. Often the chest and elbows drop during the dip, causing the bar to travel forwards. Maintaining the original line of action throughout the whole dip will make it more likely that the bar ends up exactly where athletes want it.
Anytime we are going overhead, we want to extend the hips, knees, and ankles hard. This triple extension is what gets the barbell overhead as efficiently as possible. Especially on this two part workout where we are going “heavy” on push press and we are trying to hold on to a moderate barbell for as many reps as we can, the lower body plays a huge role. It is common for athletes to rely on their shoulders early on. However, getting the legs involved from the beginning will save the shoulders for when they are truly needed.
10 Second Dip Hold
5 Dip Drives (no arms)
5 Push Press
Arms = Wings
When you want to fly on box jumps, the arms are the wings. Typically we think of what the hips are doing, but focusing on the arms can lead to proper hip extension. In the box jump, we are looking to reach full hip extension in a vertical direction. Loading the arms back and launching the straight in the arm like in a kettlebell swing will help launch the hips where the need to be to get on top of the box. Especially with a higher box in today’s workout, using the arms will be advantageous.
It is common for athletes to prioritize what happens on the jump over what happens during the landing portion. We often see knees and ankles caving when the feet hit the box. Landing with the knees out , just like in a squat, will cause our legs to act as shock absorbers and take a significant amount of stress in a poor position off the knees, calves, and ankles. This doesn’t mean athletes have to land is a full squat, rather just land with knees out.
10 Seconds Small Jumps
10 Seconds Tall Jumps
3 Step-ups (each leg)
3 Jump Up / Step Down (shorter box)
3 Jump Up / Step Down (workout height)
Rowing / Deadlifting
Legs Initiate Power
There is no movement that resemble the catch position of the rowing stroke quite like the setup position of a deadlift. There are may things that carry over from one movement to the other. If we are able to correct flaws in one of the movement, it will very likely transfer over to improved technique on the other. One of these principles that applies to both the deadlift and rowing is that the legs initiate the power. Athletes are commonly seen using the back or the arms when beginning these movement. Pretending to press the floor/foot pedals away will help generate power with the largest muscles in the body and save the back and the arms.
Handle and Seat / Bar and Hips Move Together
One way to tell if the legs are truly initiating this power is by focusing on the handle in relation to the seat and the hips in relation to the bar. They are one is the same. If one rises or moves before the other, you can almost guarantee that one part of the body is being used more than the other. If the seat moves a foot, the handle moves a foot. It the bar rises six inches, the hips rise six inches. This is true until the very end of each movement, where there is a slight lean back in the row and when the hips travel forward in the deadlift.
Handle / Hips Lead The Recovery
The recovery of each movement is so important in properly organizing the body to carry out the next stroke or the next repetition. On both the deadlift and the row, it is common for the knees to lead the recovery. This makes it much harder for athletes to find a proper catch position and start position. On the row, the handle leads the way. When the handle reaches about mid-shin, the torso leans forward followed by the knees bending to return to the catch. On the deadlift, the hips will travel back as the bar slides down the thigh while making contact. One the bar passes below the knee, athletes will bend and return to the bar to the start position.
The best posture for double unders is a tight, upright body position. In this position, the calves will end up doing most of the work, acting like springs. As the athlete jumps a little higher, there will be some knee bend and quad engagement, but mostly calves. Main focus here is all about springing, not absorbing. When the heels touch the ground and athlete start absorbing, it will alter the timing of the jump.
Once the correct posture is found, we can start to test out single under height jumps and then double. This short, single under height jump helps athletes practice rotating at the wrists and not the shoulders. When practicing these, we want to avoid the big, loopy single unders. These will work with singles, but won’t carry over to successful double unders. Keeping the same posture, hand position, and jump mechanics, athletes can start to open up to the higher, double under height jump.
1:30 Double Under Practice
200 Single Unders
:15 Seconds Easy Bike
:15 Seconds Single Unders
:15 Seconds Medium Bike
:15 Seconds Double Taps
:15 Seconds Hard Bike
:15 Seconds Double Under Practice
*Practicing timing of the double under. With a straight jump in the air, athletes will double tap low on the thigh to simulate a double under without the rope.