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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bent armgate part II: there's something about straight arms

Lifting with bendy arms is a bad habit that I most likely picked up at the earliest stages of my lifting. In recent years, because of my synchronous movement of my legs, back, and traps at the top of the pull, it was one of those flaws that fell by the wayside.

Sometimes, it takes a big failure to see the light.  Somewhere around NOV/DEC 2012, my bendy arms really started taking a noticeable toll on my lifts. Worse yet, I started getting Glute injuries from the suboptimized trajectory of my pull. It all came to a head when I did some explosive snatches at the 2013 Arnold, yet wound up bombing out in the clean and jerk due to a combination of my glute pain and my bendy arms leaving the bar to way out front in the catch of my cleans.  Bombing out at a big meet was like Halley's Comet.

4 months later, it's a whole different story!

Change is good. Change takes time. 

As I have said on this blog, before, most natural systems follow exponential growth (Sterman, business dynamics, MIT).   At first, working a pull with straight -- yet, not tight arms-- was painfully slow.  I'd have a good set, then a sucky set, then I'd have a bad set and tweak my glute. Slowly, I would really make straight arms the focus of all my pulls, and slowly I'd have epiphanies about what aspects of my start position was causing the bar to drift forward, which then caused me to compensate with bent arms. Slowly, that lead me to work on back and abs isometrics which enabled me to initiate and hold the right positions and hence keep my arms straight.

What felt like 2 months of almost stagnation, was really two months of tiny, tiny linear improvements ... Now, months 3 and 4 are the fun part.

It seems like somewhere in May/June, things started taking off.  Gradually, the pains went away, and. More and more my arms were straighter , I was using more leg and glute in my pull, I could visualize myself with a bar trajectory like Ilya Ilyin's.

So, here's my results after 4 months:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=g-high-u&v=yw6470Z3Pnw
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plcp&v=ueZTvpR4aAk
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plcp&v=RlKU4jMRf9c

Before 5 months, I will max out at Nationals. Now, this is going to be the fun part.  Here's to another 4 weeks of badassedawesomeness!

12 comments:

Marcus said...

First off I really hope you crush it at Nationals! Second, I have had similar tightness in the glutes and never thought that a bend in the arm could be a source of this. From a body mechanics perspective what is the underlying cause of this?


Thanks again for your great blog!

Gwen Sisto said...

Mostly due to weak abs and lower back, too much of an anterior pelvic tilt was exhibited in the pull below the knees-- ie unable to hold the proper posterior tilt off the floor. This lead to the bar drifting forward, leading to the arms correcting the bar path. It resulted in stress on a weaker part of the glute off the floor. ..It'd probably be easier if I drew a picture.

Gwen Sisto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen Sisto said...

And, Thank You!!

I am using the term "glute" rather broadly as there are many parts to that area. =)

Marcus said...

That description actually worked great! Thanks for the tips and great blog :)

Primo┼ż said...

It's nice to read how you improved after two months of very slow progress. First two months have been the most critical for me too.
I hope you do well, good luck ;)

Lbarb151 said...

Hi Gwen,

I was just wondering if this is an issue related to your body type or is it a general concern for everyone. I've seen several professional lifters with some sort of arm bend. Personally, I think it varies, especially when you refer to anterior pelvic and posterior tilt as pull positions will vary in both start height and body type.

Lbarb151 said...

Hi Gwen,

I was just wondering if this is an issue related to your body type or is it a general concern for everyone. I've seen several professional lifters with some sort of arm bend. Personally, I think it varies, especially when you refer to anterior pelvic and posterior tilt as pull positions will vary in both start height and body type.

Gwen Sisto said...

I see this problem a lot in lifters. Just a few degrees can make a huge difference in force output. In general, you want to be more posterior than anterior. Body types will affect the specific angles of hip bend, ankle bend, knee bend, arm and foot spacing, and angles of the pelvis. In general, one should not "stick their butt out" too much. Suleymonoglu , Vardanyan, Pecshalov are good examples for their pelvic tilt.

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