By Mike Minium
Analysis of a Clean, Part 1
Grab a cup of coffee ’cause this is a long one! If nothing else, perhaps I’ll aid in your getting a good night’s sleep.
We captured this video of Nicole performing hang squat cleans earlier this morning.
Nicole has come a long way with her cleans. This is really good stuff. When Nicole first came to us, she was strictly an arm puller, lacking the ability to pull herself under the bar (the skill that separates decent lifters from great lifters).
The first thing that you want to take a note of in Nicole’s clean is the lines formed by the relationship between her body, the bar, and the floor.
Most of the lifting we do comes down to simple geometry (with a dash of physics thrown in). The cleaner the lines, the more force one can generate. So what’s the proper line for a clean? Vertical! You want as much force as possible being directed upward. This allows you to create momentum and acceleration on the bar (thanks, Coach B, for adding “momentum and acceleration” to the CrossFit vernacular), allowing the bar to remain weightless for a split second–just long enough for you to pull yourself under it with everything you have and land in a rock-bottom front squat.
Having said that, there’s room for improvement with Nicole’s clean, as the frame-by-frame sequence (43 frames in total) below demonstrates.