Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drive Your Legs

When it comes to most barbell movements, especially the snatch and the clean & jerk, the ability to produce force is paramount.  For any ground based movements (i.e. anything where your feet are on the ground), the legs are crucial in force production.  If you aren't effectively using them, you are not generating the force needed to move the bar effectively.

The mindset with these barbell movements needs to be LEGS first, not arms and/or back.  Ultimately, it comes down to this:  rely more on your bigger muscles and not the smaller, weaker ones.  I'll break this into two parts: pushes and pulls.

1) Pushes:  On overhead movements, the big fault I see is that beginners primarily rely on the shoulder muscles to drive the bar up.  How the hell am I supposed to use my legs on a shoulder press when they're supposed to be extended?  If you "drive" your legs into the ground, even if they're extended, what happens?  They tighten up.  Going back to physics 101, energy transfers through harder material much easier than softer material.  If your legs are tight, you are in a position to transfer energy much more effectively than if you were just relying on your shoulders and arms to get you through the sticking point.

When it comes to push presses and jerks, the same thing applies.  Drive the legs.  Our gym was doing push presses this morning, and a couple of people were struggling with weight that was relatively light for them.  When I cued them to "use your legs" and "drive the legs," the weight shot up!  You can't just go through the motions.  DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE! Use the legs to your advantage and make it easier on yourself.

2) Pulls:  Remember the old saying "lift with your legs and not your back."  It might be an old saying, but its true!  When your'e pulling weight off the ground, you don't necessarily "pull" with your arms, you DRIVE your legs into the ground.  If you rely too much on your arms or low back to pull the weight up, the ability to generate force is greatly reduced.  I touched on this briefly a few months ago here, but I want to touch on this again since it's very important.

The harder you drive the legs, the more aggressive and better your finish will be in the snatch or clean & jerk.

If there's one common phrase that can sum this entire post up it is this: DRIVE YOUR LEGS!!!!!

That's A Leg DRIVE

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