When it comes to the clean, it’s all about fully opening the hips.
In other words, “violently extend the hip,” says Jesse Ward, a member of CrossFit’s Level 1 Seminar Staff and a coach at CrossFit Lynnwood in Washington state.
To drive home the point, he has athletes throw medicine balls backward. It’s a simple but creative drill the ebullient Ward uses to help athletes identify and focus on one critical part of the clean. You can usually find a host of form errors in any lifter, and Ward is simplifying things to remedy one major problem: the muted hip.
“The next piece is the hip—now that it’s open—must go back to create that catch position and you can stand up and finish the lift,” he explains.
With med balls in hand at waist level, athletes simply push the hips back to drop into a very shallow squat while rotating the hands around the ball.
“What I want you to feel is the hip going from tight butt to butt back,” he says.
Finally, Ward has the athletes on the bar, and he uses a tactile cue to further encourage one lifter to fully extend the hips in the clean. When the athlete correctly snaps his hips open and the bar jumps to his shoulders, Ward lets him know exactly what time it is: “That’s crazy time. Bro, that’s PR city.”
Video by Ian Wittenber.
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Additional reading: Oly Optimization by Chad Vaughn, published Nov. 18, 2011.