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Old 03-19-2011, 12:27 AM   #1
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Default Stretching? Flexibilty?

I'm relatively new to this whole lifting world and I am rapidly discovering I'm perhaps not as flexible as I would wish I were, but I really want to be able to do the dynamic lifts like power snatch or power cleans, etc. unfortunately, I am discovering I am more inflexible than I would like. Maybe I will figure this out on my own, but I'm beginning to worry.

So, what do you do? Is there a stretching/flexibility guide out there? If so, where is it? I've googled it and come up with not much other than do the lifts properly and you'll stretch, or hire a coach. I'm willing to hire a coach, but is there another way?

Obviously, any thoughts would be most helpful. Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:42 AM   #2
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Were is your inflexibility in particular? Wrists? Shoulders?

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:52 AM   #3
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I was going to ask the same question as Swede. Let us know the problem areas and we will see if we can help.

I have issues with cleans because I can't get my hands near my shoulders to catch the weight.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:41 AM   #4
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For those pulls, back flexibility is important for generating power and transferring it through your back to the bar. Its important to always have a strong back arch, and chest to be out, it should be maintained throughout the entire lift.

Like this sort of thing.



That back arch comes from stretching your hamstrings and back. Practice at home going into a full squat, and try and stretch your back into an arch. Its helpful to use a dowel stick as long as an oly bar about as thick. Then practice holding it overhead and maintain that arch in overhead squats. It will take time, but it will add pounds to your lifts and strength to your back.

For snatches, shoulder flexibility is a MUST to prevent injury. Imagine you snatch a weight overhead but arent balanced, if the weight falls forward, its not an issue, just makes noise, if it wants to fall behind you, then your shoulders are going to bend backwards. If your shoulders are flexible, your shoulders bending backwards is not a problem, but if you are not flexible it will be a bad injury.

To stretch shoulders, get your dowel rod (like the one used above for back flexibility), hold it as wide as you can. Let it sit in front of you against your stomach, then lift it overhead keeping arms locked and chest out with back arched, so it moves in a circle, then as it passes overhead keep trying to move it, and if you have your hands wide enough, you should be able to move the bar all the way behind you so its touching your bum. Once that distance feels comfortable, move your hands closer together and repeat.

So the bar should move in almost a complete circle around your shoulders, with arms always locked.

I hope this answered your question
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:41 PM   #5
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Right. Should have known better than to ask too general a question.

My wrists are a bit of trouble, but I think they will come around the more I stretch them before and during lifts. But any ideas there might be useful. Interesting that I fooling around on Dan John's site last night after I posted here, and emailed him a similar question. He got back to me this morning with some advice and pointed out some DVDs too. Very nice guy!

Anyway,it's really my shoulders and back that are the problem, so Spartigus' advice might be right on and I will try what he says.

I'm noticing the problem when I try to do overhead or front squats, but I also think this is holding back my cleans too. I can do the bar or light weights, but any serious weight, I get halfway down on the squats then have to dump the bar forward. On cleans, when the weight gets heavier, I struggle to control it at the top, which is not a good thing as a loaded bar approaches your throat.

Also, how often should you stretch? Is just stretching during and after lifting good enough, or should I be doing stretches every day? Twice a day? Five times a week?

As I said, I'm just starting with this, so perhaps I am being impatient and flexibilty will come soon on it's own, but I'm not so sure about that, hence the need for advice.

Thanks!
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:27 PM   #6
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I'm a bit late to this but too much flexibility in the wrong areas can also be a hinderance and negatively affect lifts as well; just wanted to highlight that.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
Right. Should have known better than to ask too general a question.

My wrists are a bit of trouble, but I think they will come around the more I stretch them before and during lifts. But any ideas there might be useful. Interesting that I fooling around on Dan John's site last night after I posted here, and emailed him a similar question. He got back to me this morning with some advice and pointed out some DVDs too. Very nice guy!

Anyway,it's really my shoulders and back that are the problem, so Spartigus' advice might be right on and I will try what he says.

I'm noticing the problem when I try to do overhead or front squats, but I also think this is holding back my cleans too. I can do the bar or light weights, but any serious weight, I get halfway down on the squats then have to dump the bar forward. On cleans, when the weight gets heavier, I struggle to control it at the top, which is not a good thing as a loaded bar approaches your throat.

Also, how often should you stretch? Is just stretching during and after lifting good enough, or should I be doing stretches every day? Twice a day? Five times a week?

As I said, I'm just starting with this, so perhaps I am being impatient and flexibilty will come soon on it's own, but I'm not so sure about that, hence the need for advice.

Thanks!
What do you mean by halfway down on the squat when you do cleans?
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:06 AM   #8
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Oh, sorry that was confusing. I don't do full cleans where you front squat the weight up. I meant this flexibility problem is affecting both of these exercise areas separately.

What I meant was when I do overhead squats or front squats, I can do them fairly well with light weights or just the bar. But if I put anything heavy on the bar, I get halfway down and start to cave in and dump the bar forward. I think that is a back problem more than a wrist or shoulder problem. Reason being, I can behind the neck press all the way down to my shoulders, heck, I can push press from my shoulders behind the neck with no real issues other than hitting the back of my head now and then, so I think my shoulder flexibility is decent enough.

But on power cleans I start great, rip the weight up nicely, but all hell breaks loose when I try to rack it. As the weight gets heavier, I struggle to get my chest up, have less time to rack it, and generally fight the bar like I'm wrestling a snake. Again, that may be a back issue or a wrist issue as I work on stretching them out more, but I'm wondering if I also have some other flexibility issues too.

Clearly, I have things to fix in both areas, and I figured if I'm fixing one thing, why not both of them at the same time as this might be key to adding strength in all areas since all this seems to be interconnected.

Hope that made sense. Thanks again for your advice. I did that broomstick shoulder dislocation thing you mentioned today and failed like a two dollar watch! I got about three inches behind my head and would have had to rip the bar in two to get it down to my butt! I'll keep trying it, but wow, what an eye opener about flexibility.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:30 AM   #9
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Oh, sorry that was confusing. I don't do full cleans where you front squat the weight up. I meant this flexibility problem is affecting both of these exercise areas separately.

Ahh right. You can try got into a complete deep squat without weights and it will bring up areas to work on. I do it at home a lot to practice, I do it a lot to help with my lower back arching properly.

What I meant was when I do overhead squats or front squats, I can do them fairly well with light weights or just the bar. But if I put anything heavy on the bar, I get halfway down and start to cave in and dump the bar forward. I think that is a back problem more than a wrist or shoulder problem. Reason being, I can behind the neck press all the way down to my shoulders, heck, I can push press from my shoulders behind the neck with no real issues other than hitting the back of my head now and then, so I think my shoulder flexibility is decent enough.

It could also be the way your holding the bar overhead for overhead squats. Its not held directly above the head, it is actually just behind the head, the palms are facing up and shoulders slightly shrugged.

With front squats, how do you have the bar? The same as the rack for powercleans? The bar needs to be sort of at the base of the neck and on the meety part of shoulders. The upper arm should be parallel with the floor and the hands just adding support for the bar, not really holding it up.


But on power cleans I start great, rip the weight up nicely, but all hell breaks loose when I try to rack it. As the weight gets heavier, I struggle to get my chest up, have less time to rack it, and generally fight the bar like I'm wrestling a snake. Again, that may be a back issue or a wrist issue as I work on stretching them out more, but I'm wondering if I also have some other flexibility issues too.

Do you rip/jerk the bar off the ground?

Clearly, I have things to fix in both areas, and I figured if I'm fixing one thing, why not both of them at the same time as this might be key to adding strength in all areas since all this seems to be interconnected.

Hope that made sense. Thanks again for your advice. I did that broomstick shoulder dislocation thing you mentioned today and failed like a two dollar watch! I got about three inches behind my head and would have had to rip the bar in two to get it down to my butt! I'll keep trying it, but wow, what an eye opener about flexibility.

Ahh yeah just practise, you might need to hold it much wider, you can pick up long dowel rods for very cheap. They are also great for warming up and everything too.
I get what you mean. They arent easy lifts by any means. Just takes practice and time
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