The Blocks

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You’ve see them in the weightlifting room, and maybe you you have even used them. You know, to sit on in between lifts, to put your shoes on or hold your shoe tripod.  But actually they serve a purpose more than just to hold the shoe tripod. What am I talking about, the blocks! The blocks can be be used for both clean and snatch exercises. While they can be a bit intimidating, and cumbersome to move, but can be a great tool in your weightlifting arsenal.

Why do the lifts from the blocks? They are a great addition to your training routine. Because they come from a complete stop and above the knee there is less time for the bar to accelerate. This exercise helps develop speed, and rate of force. Also it is less taxing on a lifters legs and back since you’re not pulling from the floor. They can be set to pull from below the knee and above.

In this set up Steve is demonstrating a clean from the blocks just above the knee (give or take 1-2″ is totally acceptable). The execution should be just like your lift from the floor. However, since it’s coming from the block the athlete will feel a shift in weight further in the foot back prior to the bar being lifted off the block.

Check points: Feet are set right underneath you in your power or “jump” stance. Next you’ll see Steve’s shins are almost perpendicular to the floor and if we saw a front view you’d see them pushed out towards his arms. His butt is above his knees, and below his shoulders, arms are relatively straight (not locked), back is flat, lats squeezed and eyes forward. A great way to double check yourself if to record yourself (remember my earlier post?)! When you watch your videos a way to check yourself for a proper set up, is to see if your shoulders are over the top to slightly in front of the bar. Too far forward the butt will be too high (above the head and/or uncomfortable tension in the hamstrings), and too far back will feel a burn or tension in the quads, and the butt will be dropped too low.

When learning the block clean another great place to start are with some block pulls to ensure you’re hitting the right positions before you start cleaning. Start with light weights, and set of 2-5 reps for either exercise.

Want more weightlifting? Our Broomfield location has barbell classes Tuesday and Thursdays at 6:15am and 5:15pm. And remember weightlifting practice Saturday’s at 9am also at the hangar. Don’t worry we’re bringing more weightlifting to our second location in Arvada. Saturday, January 30th at 9 am I will be a snatch clinic! More details to come so mark your calendar and make sure to join our MBS Strength group on FaceBook for weighting videos, PRs, competitions, articles and more!

by Coach Meriah