Making an Ass of Yourself

Olympic weightlifting is a sport requiring more finesse than one might expect from a strength sport. There are levels of technique that delve way beyond buying the most expensive pairs of shoes, cool knee sleeves, and growing a man-bun. For instance, once you have those expensive shoes, what should be your mental focus? Using this newly boosted ankle mobility to attain better position at the bottom of a squat? Or stomping really loud with each rep so that everyone can see your new shoes. Logic would suggest that a loud stomp should be prioritized, as the only reason you started Olympic weightlifting was to set yourself apart from the rest of the bros at the gym, but how will anyone know you are different without seeing or hearing?

When initially learning Olympic movements, a cue one often hears is “jump” (followed perhaps by a “bump” but that’s for a different time). The “jump” cue is meant to focus a lifters mind on attaining full extension of the hips, knees and ankles, or a “triple extension” if you will. This will enable a lifter to impart maximal power on the bar. An unfortunate side effect is that is also creates a bad reflex where a lifter “expects” their feet to come up and hit the ground again as he/she pulls under the bar. And since bad habits tend to like to unravel themselves as much as possible, this leads to a focus on the feet hitting the floor as the “proof” that a full jump was accomplished. This is fondly known as a donkey kick.

(from InvictusFitness)

More often than not, a donkey kick is the proof of the exact opposite. It is more likely the result of a lifter pulling their feet up as  they pull under the bar BEFORE a full triple extension is reached. Not only does this result in a really annoying sound for everyone else around you, this means you are shortening the amount of power you are actually putting on the bar. This means less effective development of athletic power, plus smaller weights than your body is capable of lifting, so your efforts of showing off with your loud stomp aren’t nearly as cool as you were hoping.

If you are a donkey kicker, fret not. There’s always room for improvement. Time to really utilize your full potential, and get the most complete effort possible passed into the bar.

Triple Extension, Part 1: Learning From The Hip (from CrossFit Jääkarhu)

riple Extension, Part 2: Executing From The Ground(from CrossFit Jääkarhu)

How To Clean | Second Pull/Triple Extension (from Mark Novak)

DST Exercise of the Week: Clean Progression (from DSTperformance)

Second Pull in the Snatch Tip for Olympic Weightlifting (from California Strength)

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