Hamstring Tension

coachB

I was pointed to a really great video clip this week on Crossfit.Com.  Coach Burgener sheds some light on a idea that I have been beating into lifter’s heads for a while now.

Anyone who has ever attended one of my Olympic Lifting classes or an Outlaw Training Camp knows that I believe the biggest fault by most lifters today is lack of tension in the hamstrings because of a insufficient or incomplete first pull.  Coach shows the clear difference here in the deadlift and the snatch first pull.  In a deadlift the weight starts in your heels and the bar moves vertically off the floor.  As Coach taught here, in the snatch the bar moves back as the knees move out of the way to create extreme tension in the hamstrings.

The necessity for a good first pull where the knees move back and the shoulders proceed over the bar is paramount to a successful lift.  Coach B demonstrates this necessity in this video and also keys in on the need for speed under the bar.  Far too often lifters think “shrug up” and as a result spend far too long at the top of the second pull and it delays their speed in the third pull.  A.S. Medvedyev in his book on Russian Multi-Year Training notes that the bar reaches maximum velocity the second it leaves the hips.  If this is true then after the bar leaves the hips ALL IT IS DOING IS SLOWING DOWN!  Why then would I continue to pull the bar up?  I wouldn’t.  I would do as Coach teaches here and remember to shrug down OR pull down NOT shrug up.  Shrugging up only takes your speed away.

The video is worth watching especially if you struggle leaving the bar out front when you miss.

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2 responses to “Hamstring Tension

  1. Excellent article.

    I find myself in a constant struggle with the fine line between proper hamstring tension (aka shoulders over the bar) vs bowing to the bar where my knees lock out first and I end up flinging the bar forward. Any tips on how to get myself back on the efficient side of this line?

    • That is a constant struggle for most weightlifters. I would say two things. First be sure and tighten your upper back and keep your upper back tight as you complete the first pull. This should get your shoulders moving vertical with your hips. Second think of maintaining a consistent back angle from the floor to the top of the knee which will also help keep your hips stay in line with your shoulders where it should be.

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