In this day and age, if a child or young adult is not fully engaged in what they are doing, then they can easily get lost and left behind. As the difficulty level of a skill increases, so does the significance of ensuring that the skill is being performed both explosively and with the proper technique. But whose fault is it when the athlete is falling behind? It could be their fault if they choose to give a half-hearted effort or if they do not fully commit to the process. However, if the athlete is 100% committed and giving their best effort in the weight room, then the fault could be entirely in the hands of the present strength coach.

Technique is crucial in Olympic lifting and it could be the difference between injury and improvements. We see all the time in YouTube videos or highlight films a clip of a young athlete surrounded by a bunch of his or her teammates and they are getting amped up to attempt a new personal record lift. In most of the videos, the athlete completes the lift, and then everyone in the room screams with cheers of celebration and excitement. The problem, however, is that in most of those exact videos, the athletes’ back was arched in a dangerous position, or their heels were off the ground when they should have been flat, etc. The fault then lays in the hands of the trained professional in the room who should know better and recognize when a new personal record lift is going to benefit somebody, and when it could end their season.

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In order to get those big PRs in the weight room effectively, it is imperative to find ways to build into the full Olympic lift if the athlete cannot do it correctly from the beginning. Even if that athlete seems to be performing the lift correctly from the beginning, learning to warm-up by going through a sequence of building into the complete lift can encourage good habits in each broken up section of the lift. By the end of the warm-up, that athlete will feel much more confident in each section of the lift so then when the time comes for them to perform the full exercise in a certain number of repetitions and sets, they won’t even need to think about the technique at that point, and they can shift their focus towards the power and explosiveness needed to improve both in the weight room and in their chosen sport.

Brian Amenta, Strength and Conditioning Coach at University of Maryland, Baltimore County takes the time to demonstrate some exercises to improve mobility and technique in the front rack position of the hang clean in the video below. After watching his coaching techniques ask yourself, are you taking the necessary steps to make sure none of your athletes get left behind?

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