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Another one: Deadlift vs. Traditional Clean starting positions

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  • Another one: Deadlift vs. Traditional Clean starting positions

    Hi guys. Sorry if this topic's been beaten to death, but I wanna know this community's opinion on the merits and de-merits of the 2 starting positions for the clean: high hips (like what Rip proposes, like a deadlift) vs. the traditional low hips.

    In my experience, the high hips starting position definitely produced greater bar elevation. However, I can't really feel the bar "pop" off of my mid thigh (more like softly brushing) after the 2nd pull, and I sometimes pull the bar out in an arc in front of me. So it's probably a form issue.

    On the other hand, the traditional starting position produced a better "pop" and a slightly straighter bar path after the 2nd pull, but the bar didn't travel as high.

    As a side note, when I extend in the 2nd pull, I try to rise up to my toes and "guide" the bar upward using my elbows (like Torokhtiy's drill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrxex6ZBEAw&t=91s). Here's my video trying both styles: https://youtu.be/ZLi3lD99bkQ. My form likely sucks and the weight is probably too light, so sorry

    And people may call it phenomenology, but there's gotta be a strong reason why many top weightlifters and WL coaches start with low hips and with the bar over where the big toe meets the foot (Max Aita, Greg Everett, Glenn Pendlay, etc.), and I think the reason is not because it "feels more comfortable." At the same time though, I haven't heard a strong argument against a vertical bar path that Rip teaches, aside from my experience with having a less popping effect..

    Any insight is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    also, in my video, the order of style is high hips then low hips.

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    • #3
      If you want to do olympic lifting, I would listen to the advice of olympic lifters not powerlifters. The best way to clean is going to be with the traditional olympic clean setup. The only reason Rip has people clean from a more deadlift style starting position is because he is using it on novices as deadlift assistance, and he is trying to keep the motor patterns equal to not confuse them.

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      • #4
        The only reason Rip has people clean from a more deadlift style starting position is because he is using it on novices as deadlift assistance, and he is trying to keep the motor patterns equal to not confuse them.
        I'm still new to this whole debate, but is the purpose of the high hips setup really to not confuse novices?

        I mean, SS:BBT talks about virtually all heavily loaded barbells reorienting themselves over midfoot, even when using the traditional setup. And as far as I know, SS coaches analyze bar paths in their seminars, and they found out that lifters end up with a deadlift-esque position by the time the bar reaches their knees. I watched several slow-mo Hookgrip videos on YouTube and found similar results (lifters' back angle becoming more horizontal, hips higher when bar is near knees) with heavy cleans.

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        • #5
          Yes, that's all it is. It's the same reason why Rip doesn't like high bar or front squats as light squat day variations, because he believes that variations confuse novices. I personally don't agree. And I would not listen to anything Rip has to say about Olympic weightlifting. He has a lot of bold claims, but the proof is in the pudding. The best olympic coaches and athletes in the world have reached consensus on good form and strategies to train for olympic lifting are. The olympic lifts are more dynamic movements, the principles that constitute good form are different for a more dynamic movement vs a more static movement like SBD. I would listen only to those who have proven to be qualified enough to speak on the matter, and tune the other noise out. I'm no olympic lifting expert either, but I know I sure as hell would listen to someone like Max Aita over Rip any day of the week when it comes to olympic lifting. If you want the BBM take on it, BBM does have an olympic coach on staff, Hassan. You could reach out to him and ask him what his stance is on the matter. He is probably the only person around these parts fully qualified to speak on the matter. Unfortunately, I have not seen him around the forums at all.
          Last edited by PWard; 01-26-2019, 05:34 PM.

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          • #6
            Hassan Mansour looks like he does have a registered user, so I'll ping him to see if he ever checks this.

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            • #7
              PWard That's great, thanks for linking me up to him!

              Also, any thoughts on Mary Peck's technique? She pulls with high hips, but again I noticed the lack of popping off the thighs. She seemed to do well being the former 63kg US National Champion on 2016.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Abel J View Post
                PWard That's great, thanks for linking me up to him!

                Also, any thoughts on Mary Peck's technique? She pulls with high hips, but again I noticed the lack of popping off the thighs. She seemed to do well being the former 63kg US National Champion on 2016.
                I think you're going to find some variance in high level Olympic lifters technique, much like you'll find a lot of variation in squat/deadlift technique in elite powerlifters. I'd do some research into some competent weightlifting coaches (Like Max Aita) and just start finding a technique that works well for you.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Abel J View Post
                  I haven't heard a strong argument against a vertical bar path that Rip teaches
                  What's the argument for it?

                  I've heard the "high hips yields higher bar displacement"....but does it? Didn't one of his own coaches attempt an experiment that failed to tease out a statistically significant difference in peak velocities between the two start positions?

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                  • #10
                    Didn't one of his own coaches attempt an experiment that failed to tease out a statistically significant difference in peak velocities between the two start positions?
                    I searched it on the forums, and yeah I found this:
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                    definitely interesting...

                    Max Aita also spoke in one of JTS's Pillars of Clean Technique vids (number 1) that "the bar wants to travel backwards to you a lot, so we set up in preparation for that" (I'm paraphrasing). And I happen to see this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSHrVL3L6eQ&t=834s (go to 00:11) Notice that the lifter sometimes jumps forward using the high hips setup. Or again, maybe it's a form issue.

                    I'm thinking there's maybe a tradeoff between bar height and preventing horizontal displacement (especially jumping forward, which is definitely bad), which you should consider when determining hip height in the setup. In the low hips setup, sure the bar travels slightly lower, but the combination of the bar swinging towards the lifter and the lifter's hips/thighs connecting forward to the bar results in less horizontal movement after the second pull (?).

                    I'm confused now.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Abel J; 01-28-2019, 12:55 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Abel J View Post
                      I'm confused now.
                      I've wasted so much of my life thinking about optimal fast-lift bar paths. It's a super-nasty and probably unsolvable dynamics problem. I wouldn't even bother thinking about it in the abstract.

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