Keys to raise the clean
It is impossible to use only classic lifts all the time to improve your clean. Do not train the clean and snatch in the same session due to different coordination structures. Therefore, you must use special pulls that can be used not only more often, but with maximal weights.
This is fully explained on page 76 in Laputin and Oleshko’s book Managing the Training of Weightlifters. First look at A.S. Prilepin’s data from 1974. Prilepin was the junior national coach and the senior national coach for Russia.
Let’s look at the optimal and maximal number of lifts in one workout.
At: 70% 18 and 24 lifts
80% 15 and 20 lifts
90% 7 and 10 lifts
We know that to improve your clean or snatch you must raise volume. But how?
If you look at Prilepin’s data one must stop at the optimal or for the very well trained the maximal number of lifts. Surpassing the recommended number of lifts leads to the barbell becoming too slow or technique will suffer. The answer is special exercises.
A weightlifter must reach two goals. Becoming faster meaning speed strength and becoming stronger meaning absolute strength. The goal is to constantly raise the average intensity meaning a percent of a 1 rep max (rm). To do this it is impossible to do with only the classical lifts.
This leads to a series of special pulls. Choose an arsenal of special pulls that work best for you. A popular one for top weightlifters from China, Russia, and Bulgaria is the snatch grip deadlift. This is a main exercise for the Chinese. Coach Fang says to pull as heavy as possible even if your back rounds or until you cannot get the barbell off the ground. Remember this comes from the Chinese Coach Fang.
Three methods can be tested. One is to start the pull with the feet on the floor. The second, is to start with the lifter standing on an elevated platform. The third is to pull with rubber bands over the barbell. You should choose at least three different band tensions. This is accommodating resistance. It makes it possible to change bar velocity while making it possible to break new max efforts while you are stuck with only one mount of limit strength.
Place a barbell on boxes to start the pull at mid shin, just below the knee, just above the knee, and at the top of the thigh. Use just barbell weight or one can use weight and bands of three strengths. One should use a variety of grips such as a regular clean grip or a wider than normal clean grip.
A weightlifter must do M-E work. Remember the weight on the barbell and the barbell’s speed are inversely proportional. As the barbell becomes heaver the speed of the barbell slows. When doing special exercises for weightlifting this has no ill effect on timing, coordination, or technique.
There are 100 special exercises for the weightlifter as shown in “A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting” by A.S. Medvedyev. If special pulls are important how can you increase strength to raise special pulls? Back raises, Reverse Hypers, Calf Ham Glute raises, Inverse leg curls, Good mornings, shrugs and upright rows. The Chinese do two body building exercises after every training session. Do not forget jumping with weight in hands, barbell on the back or held on the chest. This will make training much more enjoyable and much more productive.
Remember if you want to improve the classical lifts you must improve the power clean and power snatch. Isometrics can be a positive tool for the weightlifter. For pulls use six starting positions. This will increase absolute strength. The average USA weightlifter has adequate technique, but falls behind in absolute strength. This can be easily changed by adding to your volume while increasing the average intensity through special exercises.
Many coaches used special assistance exercises to be assessed in training to raise GPP. Two individuals who stressed this were M.P. Mikhailov and R.A. Roman. To learn more read the list of books below.
- “Managing the Training of Weightlifters” by N.P. Laputin, V.G. Oleshko
- “Supertraining” by Yuri Verkhoshansky, Mel Siff
- “Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport” by Y.V. Verkhoshansky
- “Olympic Weightlifting Strength Manual” by Louie Simmons