In Coaching, Olympic Lifts, Videos

October 25, 2009

Video Article

You have one hour to teach the clean and jerk to six athletes of varying ability: how do you do it?

Tony Budding of CrossFit HQ threw the challenge at Olympic lifting expert Mike Burgener, who wasn’t phased at all.

“I’m sure we can get it done,” Coach B says. “It’s not going to be that hard.”

Coach Burgener starts with the basics. To establish a good rack position, he ensures proper grip width and has the athletes perform “Frankenstein squats,” where the bar rests on the shoulders and the arms are outstretched while the lifter squats. He follows it up with traditional front squats with the bar racked on the shoulders, the elbows high and the feet in the receiving position.

In Part 2, Coach Burgener teaches the athletes how to put speed on the bar and clean it to the rack position.

8min 24sec

Additional reading: From the Snatch to the Clean by Mike Burgener with Tony Budding, published Apr. 1, 2007.

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9 Comments on “The Burgener Files—Clean and Jerk Part 1”


wrote …

I think this is the preview video from the main site - not 8 min long.


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wrote …

Would love to see coach B work with some newbies with this same idea. It is rare for me to get a new client who hasn't been introduced to the Oly lifts to have as good a bottom position of the clean that all these people do. Would really like to see what he does with a green client for the clean and jerk.


wrote …

Me too Chris. What exercises/stretches are necessary to get your elbows up that high if you are not blessed like these athletes?


Kristopher Germain wrote …

yeah, i spend months getting a few clients flexible enough to even set themselves into rack position, let alone accept the load in rack at the bottom of a clean. what does coach B do when only one of the six people can get into rack position because of glaring in-flexibilities?


wrote …

"different experience levels" What levels would those be, very experienced and very very experienced. I know coach Burgener is a world class coach and I want to see him have to actually coach instead of simply providing guidance to already experienced lifters. I want to see a light bulb turn on above a newbie's head opposed to a video like this where a lady with a great front squat performs an even greater front squat with Coach watching.


wrote …

dan....great comment. believe me as a former school teacher i promise you that i had to teach kids how to rack the bar. amazingly however the light bulb went off when we have them squat without their hands....because that is the rack position without the hands on the bar. once i get that feel of bar high on shoulders they get the feel of the rack as well as the position from where the bar is jerked from. that is the beginning....that is where we have to start getting them to feel the weight. after that i work on making sure the hands are on the bar correctly so that i can maintain that position of bar on shoulders.....that is the challenge. we do a ton of stretches for the wrist, but we also do a ton of stretches for external rotation of the shoulders.

if you will contact me at: i will send you a jpg of the external rotation stretch that i use with my athletes. i found this stretch from lincoln bringham in seattle and found that it really helped with the hand bar placement on delts.

when i have athletes that are challenged in the rack position but can do hand stand push ups, the problem is not in the wrist but in the shoulders.....then like anyone else....i work the heck out of those positions until they can get it. do they ALL GET IT....of course not, but we work hard on achieving those desired position. many times the athletes do not know the correct position because they have never been there.....that is why the fs is so good. they finally get to feel what the position is SUPPOSE TO BE.

i love discussion like this not hesitate to ask me questions if you have concerns. coach b


wrote …

Thanks for the extra insight Coach B. I have had more trouble teaching good rack position than any other position/movement. That's why I teach the snatch before the clean & jerk. When I get an athlete to snatch, they are typically so proud of themselves that they don't mind spending the extra time developing the rack position. However, if I start off with the rack, then most of the time they get too frustrated with how long it takes and I loose that success oriented atmosphere quick. However, videos like this and those stretches will probably speed up that process. Thanks again coach and I'll send that email over.


wrote …

Coach Burgener,

Sir, would you recommend doing most (all?) our CF front squat work with no hands to reinforce that good rack position? I'm CFing out in Iraq (no certified guy I know of) and I'm just learning to Oly lift. As mentioned above, the hardest thing for me is getting my upper arm parallel to the floor. Luckily, I used to shrug a lot, and if I shrug up my shoulders I can get the bar on my delts (and off my collar bone)without arms parallel. Would love to get the shoulder stretch jpg from you, will send you an email straight away.

The other thing that's been bugging me about C&J is elbow position on the jerk. I guess I figure that shoulder press and push press are done with the elbow down under the bar to generate the most power pushing up (and keep the bar in correct path), so my jerk would be the same. I guess my question, Sir, is if my upper arm is parallel in the rack position after the clean, at what point do my elbows drop under the bar to complete the jerk? I'm guessing it would happen when I dip to drive the bar up? I'm looking at all the videos to try and catch it, but it seems like everyone's timing is a little different.

Thank you for any help/insight you can provide. Love watching and learning!


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