The Squat Clean:
The foundation of receiving in the squat clean is directly related to the squat. We have spent many, many reps in the back squat, however the clean is received in the front rack. Often times, the issues that we see in all three variations of the squat are related to mobility issues we work on in the warm up and cue during the demo. Compensation for mobility issues in the shoulders, hips, knees or ankles by changing their stance from the front squat, overhead squat or back squat are our direct nemesis.
What does this have to do with receiving in the squat clean? Many of the same issues the athlete has in the front squat will manifest in the squat clean. This could look like poor foot placement, caving knees, knees forward or loss of midline stability, we have heard the term “dog poop back” or “mash potatoes”. These are largely related to mobility.
We can take the information we learned from the back squat and front squat, bring that to the receiving position of the squat clean and eliminate issues as they arise. If we have a problem descending to full depth, it is safe to say that the same athlete will have an issue being comfortable in the bottom of the receiving position of the squat clean which will happen much faster and following an explosive movemen. We also keep in mind we are using ankle mobility, rotating the femurs out, activating stability in the hip, a stable receiving position for the back and brace, brace, brace! JUST LIKE THE SQUAT!
With this being a primary movement in the cycle let us first address mobility. Then we need to look at the movement patterns, and establish the ability to address the possible need to lower the weight and get comfortable in the bottom of the catch, this will in turn translate to more comfort in the bottom of the front squat. Lucky for us we have progressions we do with the PVC pipe for this.
Building a strong connection to what proper depth of the squat and catch position should feel like, along with full opening of the hips, landing in a string base all establishes muscle memory. This will eliiminate potential injuries, increase mobility and confidence as an athlete,
Looking at the 11 components of fitness we see strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, body composition, flexibility, agility, speed, coordination, power, balance, reaction time. Considering the elements developed in the squat clean, we see strength, flexibility, agility, speed, coordination, power and balance.
Developing technique through this Olympic lift will translate to more explosion in jumping, thinking of box squats, faster acceleration during sprints, quicker calculated movements out a deep squat. Moving well with the ability to apply full power in a calculated way will benefit in overall athleticism and increased accuracy.
In life, this looks like squatting to a childs level and lifting them up, (super important as a parent or grand parent). This looks like getting off the toilet, off the couch, perhaps exceptional ergonomics in lifting a spare tire into the bed of a truck. This movement establishes great neural pathways allowing quicker reaction and avoiding injuries which is the number one thing we have in keeping us off the injury bench and in the game of life. Lets learn to get comfortable in the uncomfortable, like learning something new, getting comfortable in a tough position, lifting more than we “want” on heavy days and learning to be explosive in a world that endorses sedentary lifestyles. Get out there and move well my friends!