ON THE BENEFITS OF SUBORDINATE EXERCISES
BOTH IN REGARDS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BODY AS WELL AS THE WELL-BEING OF THE MIND
BY DONNY SHANKLE CPT
“Familiarity Breeds Contempt.” Anonymous
Front squat plus jerk is one of the classic combinations which corrects cleaning in a straight line followed by dipping and driving into your jerk in a straight line. The combination to a lesser degree also improves speed on your clean as you are focused primarily on the jerk. Quite often when a jerk is missed it is not due to anything you are doing wrong in your “dip and drive” or “split” commands. If as you “stand” from a clean you are slightly on your toes or especially if you have not kept your back straight everything will be pulled forward at the onset of your “heels” command. When this happens no matter how hard you remain focused on dipping in a straight line you will nine times out of ten fall to your toes. As you do the combination think about keeping your back straight and chest and elbows up as high as possible. All of your weight should be across the center of the feet and closer to the heel. Once you have stood up this way with the front squat quickly, your balance will be perfect allowing you to “dip and drive” in a straight line. With a straight “dip and drive” your jerk will become much more efficient. Since the completion of the combination is the jerk, that is where your mind goes, and wants to do perfectly. With the mind directed someplace else, the front squat you will notice moves much faster, so long as before the repetition you remain focused on keeping your back straight. This combination is a great conditioner for your legs to remain strong as you prepare and move into the jerk especially as you gradually force the exercise above your personal best clean and jerk.
The power clean plus clean combination emphasizes finishing your pull powerfully. If you notice yourself catching your cleans softly, on your toes, with a rounded back, falling back on your heels, or especially not bouncing out of your bottom position immediately you are not finishing violently and bringing the hips through completely. By performing a power clean in the first sequence you will redirect your attention on hitting the bar powerfully with the hips and finishing hard in the second sequence. As you move into the second sequence you should feel some neuromuscular memory and “finish” the exact same way on your clean. Without a powerful finish you will never “stand” up with the heaviest of cleans authoritatively. A fast and strong clean has less to do with how much you can squat and more to do with how fast you can force yourself to move on the pull and “”finish,” keeping your back straight throughout the entire exercise. Power clean plus clean is a great combination for the weightlifter who is fearless going under the bar but, needs a bit more emphasis on finishing their pull and strengthening the hips coming through.