(Notice the similarity here in knee, foot, hip, and shoulder positions for all three)
Having made it back to Dallas after a weekend spent in Houston leading the CrossFit weightlifting trainers course with Josh, I had a second to think about the elements that were taught this weekend. The CrossFit course teaches the same Russian/Polish technical viewpoint that I hold, which made it very easy for me to fit right into their curriculum. The only real difference that I had to adapt to was slight differences in terminology. I don’t know why this surprised me as Mike’s curriculum is best designed for consistency in the lifts, and his coaching has been one of the major players in my development as an athlete.
Thinking back on how we taught the snatch, clean, and jerk; I especially appreciated how easily one element of the snatch translated into the clean and the jerk. We made a point to highlight the “down and finish”, which is just another way of saying “dip and drive” or “down and up.” The beauty of using the terminology down and finish when the barbell is at the hips or on the shoulders for the jerk is the focus on how we finish the second pull or the drive of the jerk. This flexion and extension of the hips and knees is a movement that every lifter performs from the hip in the snatch and clean and from the shoulders for the jerk. Specifically, that makes teaching the lifts very easy when one movement becomes foundational throughout three different lifts. This cue is especially helpful for teaching beginners so they are not learning different movements for each of these three positions. Learning the down and finish in the snatch helps a lifter understand the down and finish for the clean as well as the dip and drive for the jerk. I thought this ease of transition from one movement to another was genius.
Furthermore, the highlighting of the word “finish” was especially important as it encourage the lifters to violently extend the hip without spending any extra time in the top end of the second pull. The same is true of the jerk. It encourages lifters to violently drive the bar up but not spend any extra time at the top end of the drive. Using the term finish helped the attendees to understand that the lift is not just about how high you can get the bar, but how fast you can be underneath it.
I had a great weekend and was thoroughly blessed to get to work with Josh, Amie, Ursula, and Matt. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to work with them again.