Position & Mobility for Olympic Lifting

Brandon Chien

 

Low, Wide with Press

 

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The Iron Donkey 🐴 ⠀ Task: Hold the widest stance you can around parallel, while holding two KB’s in “Bottoms Up”. It’s a Horse Stance + Bottoms Up Hold. (I’m holding 32kg/70# total) ⠀ This was fun to try and see where my lower body mobility is while doing a hand-balancing task. ⠀ This isn’t an exercise I would train. What I actually have been training are the following: ⠀ 1. Cossack Squat 2. Seated Good Mornings 3. Wide Stance Back Squats 4. Pike Headstand Pushups Just neat what I can do these days. I feel playful, although my energy for training has varied. I’m doing a lot less and getting more out of training. ⠀ Doing just enough training to see changes – and not anymore than that. ⠀ #mobility #strengthtraining #squat #bench #deadlift #CrossFit #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #psychedelics #outdoors #camping #flexibility #weightlifting #olympiclifting #barbell #snatch #cleanandjerk #cossack #dragonsquat #MovementCulture

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Low, Wide with Back Arch Emphasis

 

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1. Wide Stance Back Squats ⠀ Today I posted the “Iron Donkey” task. It’s a move that happened accidentally as I’ve just been exploring movement lately. ⠀ If you already train Back Squats, give these a try during your warm-ups. These are fantastic for Weightlifters and Powerlifters because it saves you TIME by not having to constantly unlock your hips everytime. ⠀ This works on External Rotator muscles like the Glute Medius, Adductors, and Hip Flexors. ⠀ This is just weighted stretching, but this means having awesome mobility without warming up! I got turned onto the concept a few years ago by @jujimufu in his book “Legendary Flexibility”. If you don’t know him – go check his page. And also the @the_mindful_mover has insightful things to say about this too. ⠀ Some Chinese Weightlifters train the squat 3x a week – Narrow Stance, Regular Stance, and Wide Stance. This makes a ton of sense. This allows Weightlifters to “catch” the barbell in Cleans/Snatches in different foot positions without pain. WSBS loosen the hips like a Pigeon Pose would in Yoga, but it also gives you “holding strength” in that position with weight. So when you are just using your bodyweight, it seems easy! ⠀ This is also how I loosen my hips up after driving a lot, sitting, or just not having a proper squat session in a while. ⠀ But it’s also another way to train the Middle Splits indirectly. ⠀ ⠀ #mobility #strengthtraining #squat #bench #deadlift #CrossFit #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #psychedelics #outdoors #camping #flexibility #weightlifting #olympiclifting #barbell #snatch #cleanandjerk #cossack #dragonsquat #MovementCulture

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Back Arch/Length Emphasis with Flexion

 

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2. Seated Good Mornings These are similar to the Wide Stance Back Squat, except now you’re hinging. These are fantastic for keeping your torso organized while focusing on your “widening your crotch muscles” without using hamstrings. ⠀ This one also has a huge carryover to the Pancake (which is just sitting wide-legged and folding over until you touch your head to the ground). How to begin: You can do this holding a plate on your chest if a barbell scares you. If not, start with an empty barbell. A “low-bar” rack position can be helpful here too, but it’s fine sitting on the traps. Try both. Plant your feet firmly in the ground and keep tension in the legs at all times. This gives your body a “rooted feeling”. You can do these with a rounded back, as long as you brace. I prefer arching the back, because it gets a good pull on the Adductors early and mimics the Olympic lifting posture. I recommend “narrowing the waist” and arching the back – exactly the same posture you need for Olympic lifting. This narrowing pulls the hip flexors in, which are connected to the Adductors (groin). ⠀ These will really help with keeping a back arch if you get “butt-wink” during Squats too, but I don’t think it’s much of an issue. ⠀ I’m intentionally leaving out reps and sets because one man’s poison is another’s medicine. Your body will let you know the limit – if you listen quietly. #mobility #strengthtraining #squat #bench #deadlift #CrossFit #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #psychedelics #outdoors #camping #flexibility #weightlifting #olympiclifting #barbell #snatch #cleanandjerk #cossack #dragonsquat #MovementCulture #Chineseweightlifting

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Shoulder Mobility while Keeping Length

 

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Mobility for Front Squats/Olympic-lifting (beginner) Time for some Olympic-lifting content. Did you know some Chinese lifting coaches consider the Front Squat an upper body exercise? I can see why. Your upper torso will get tired before your legs do! The back squat and pulls are better choices to build leg strength. There are tons of benefits to Front Squats with a barbell. But first let’s talk positional demands. You need to be able to keep a tall spine and move your arms freely, before we even squat the bar with legs. ⠀ It’s horrifying to watch people “turtlebacking” and tearing their wrists apart while front squatting. Please don’t be that person. Why do this stretch? Generally, sitting tightens up the lats (think your body is curled forward like a potato chip) instead of being able to lift your spine tall. It also removes wrist flexibility as a limiter too and focuses on a tall/tensioned upper-back (or Thoracic extension). ⠀ Also, I found this weighted stretch to release my lats – making them more powerful for chin-ups and Headstand Pushups. Similar to the Butcher’s Block stretch that hand balancers use. I have less shoulder “crunchiness” after doing these. ⠀ This is one of those moves that gives you crossover into Weightlifting AND Gymnastics. Huge bang for your buck. ⠀ #mobility #frontsquat #flexibility #spinalhealth #painfreesquats #ChineseWeightlifting #MovementCulture

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Shoulder Position

 

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Front Rack Mobility pt.2 ⠀ The most common mistake I see in the front rack is the shoulder blades “pinched together”. This actually causes the shoulders to be frozen in place, making the lifter think they need “more mobility”. ⠀ Front Rack mobility is a lot simpler than you think. Most of the pain/tightness is from a disorganized torso! ⠀ The lats should be spread apart like a “bodybuilder pose”, and pressed downward into the pockets. This allows the shoulders to move freely (rather than locked like in picture A). ⠀ You may have been taught this as a beginner Weightlifting shoulder blade position – but it’s not correct if you want to actually move your arms and stabilize your upper body at the same time for Front Squats or Snatches. ⠀ The next two posts will be how to organize your shoulder blades/torso and a great exercise to get your upper back stronger for Overhead Support! Photo is courtesy of Tommy Kono’s book “Weightlifting – Olympic Style”. ⠀ #mobility #strengthtraining #squat #bench #deadlift #CrossFit #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #psychedelics #outdoors #camping #flexibility #weightlifting #olympiclifting #barbell #snatch #cleanandjerk #cossack #dragonsquat #MovementCulture #Chineseweightlifting

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Lat Spread with Shoulder Position

 

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Organize Your Torso for Olympic Lifting (photos courtesy of Tommy Kono’s book) ⠀ This dovetails from the previous two posts about Front Rack Mobility being a SCAPULAR issue more often. ⠀ One of the first things I teach first-timers is how to organize their trunk. It solves the most issues in one fell swoop. ⠀ The most common mistake I see is people “pinching” their shoulder blades together – this leads to swinging the bar because the shoulders are “locked”. This mostly happens with CrossFit’ers I’ve worked with. ⠀ When the “pinching” scapulae technique is engrained, then the lifter can misdiagnose their lifting faults, like “I need more mobility/strength/speed”. ⠀ They could have saved a lot of grief for themselves by actually looking at how your shoulders actually work. This video explains that. Next part is how to get the upper back a little stronger for more mobility overhead AND front rack. ⠀ Interested in getting in-person coaching at @spsgym or Online Coaching? Send me a DM. ⠀ #mobility #strengthtraining #squat #bench #deadlift #CrossFit #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #psychedelics #outdoors #camping #flexibility #weightlifting #olympiclifting #barbell #snatch #cleanandjerk #cossack #dragonsquat #MovementCulture #Chineseweightlifting

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