Meet Me at the Bar

Many lifters have the problem of letting the bar crash on them during the clean. Lifters feel they need to drop under the weight as fast as possible in order to lift the most weight.

This, however, is not true.

In this first image, you can see the lifter dropping too fast under the bar and, therefore, waiting for the bar to crash on them:

This, in turn, is like adding weight onto the bar. When the bar finally reaches the collarbone, the force of impact will be great. Also, the athlete will most likely be in his full depth squat upon absorption, and this will make his legs unable to absorb the weight. Many times this impact will cause the core to break down and the lifter to lose the bar out front.

On the contrary, Olympic lifting coaches stress to their athletes to “meet the bar” and ride it down. Here are a few images of myself receiving the bar at the correct height, and then allowing my legs to absorb the weight:

As a coach and athlete, what cues and drills can you use to help correct someone allowing the bar to crash on them? The easiest cue to use is to tell the lifter to bring their elbows around and up as fast as possible. If the athlete is focused on fast elbows, this will cause the lifter to meet the bar more efficiently. Another great cue is to tell the athlete to bring the bar to their collarbone as fast as possible. I know it sounds so simple, but it works. The best drill to correct this movement is to have your athlete revert back to power cleaning and then front squatting for a while. As the weeks progress, slowly advance the athletes to meeting the bar lower and lower while still riding the weight down.