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Shut Your Mouth! (or Not?)
"It’s interesting to see a number of lifters, especially novices, before lift-off open the mouth," says Olympic Coach Harvey Newton. "This seems to happen even in the weightroom or training hall with sub-max loads."
With rare exceptions, lifters up through the 1960s did not practice this action. Most lifters exhibited an understandable grimace while lifting heavy loads. Florida’s Bob Neff, a top ranked 67.5kg lifter, even performed the majority of his lifts with a smile.
"OK, so much of this is individual, I get that," said Newton. "Since it seems so much more prevalent today, is there a reason for this, or are we simply playing to the camera?"
Coach Newton’s recent blog discusses research that suggests that it is beneficial to maintain a clenched mouth while exerting force.
Olympic Committee Features Coach Newton in US Coaching Newsletter
Olympic Coach Harvey Newton recently was asked to contribute an article to the USOC’s August Team USA Coaching Newsletter. "USA Weightlifting asked elite coaches to contribute content applicable to Olympic Family coaches and athletes. This is what I do on a regular basis, so pulling this piece together was easy," Newton said.
He continued, "Proper strength training involves a number of variables. I always find it worthwhile to educate coaches on proper terminology so as to get everyone on the same page. But the article’s bottom line is to encourage, where appropriate, coaches to consider the use of weightlifting training for non-lifter athletes."
Below is a link to read Coach Newton’s blog that includes the full article, Weightlifting: Strength & Power for All Sports
So You Think Jumping Back in the Snatch is a Good Idea?
Today, we have far too many coaches and athletes thinking that they need to emulate the technique of elite international stars. Usually nothing could be farther from the truth.
According to Olympic Coach Harvey Newton, "It's a shame to see so many young, inexperienced lifters consider the 'jump-back' style of lifting as something to imitate. In most cases, young lifters fail to execute properly, lose key lifts, and increase their frustration."
Coach Newton discusses in this blog entry the rationale behind coaching young lifters in textbook perfect technique first. "This is especially important when a lifter is snatching approximately their own bodyweight," says Newton.
This blog post features a Dartfish technique analysis of an elite young lifter missing a key snatch mostly because of this jump-back technique. The second part of the blog suggests quick and efficient ways of correcting this technique error.
Sometimes it's the small rules, or the interpretation or even knowledge of or ability to see the small rules that make a difference.
According to Olympic Coach Harvey Newton, "At both national and international meets we frequently seem to have technical officials who lack the ability to properly enforce the technical rules."
As an example, Newton continues, "Witness the +105s at the Rio Olympic Games when favorite Salimi (IRI) was approved on a jerk that clearly (at least from my NBC Sports vantage point) included bending and extending of the arms, a violation of IWF Rule 18.104.22.168. The Jury, in a unanimous action, overturned the referees, refused the lift, and contributed to an upset in this class."
Using Dartfish, Coach Newton illustrates another example of a small technical rule that got past the officials at this year’s USA Olympic Trials.
Newton Sports and DC Training Concepts are pleased to announced a new improvement to the popular DC Blocks. "The new "double-wide" top piece greatly improves the use of DC Blocks for jerks, but also for pulls, full lifts, and plyometrics," says Olympic Coach Harvey Newton.
"Until now clubs have had to commit one platform exclusively for standard, heavy, difficult to move jerk boxes. With DC Blocks' new double-wide topper a gym can easily dedicate space for jerks and overhead work one day, then quickly and easily set up pulling stations across many platforms for another session. The great advantage of DC blocks is their adjustability, portability, and durability," says Newton.
5 Reasons Why You Should Try The Split Snatch/Clean
Few, if any, elite weightlifters demonstrate skill at snatching or cleaning with a split, rather than squat, style of lifting. But there are several reasons why lifters and other athletes might want to learn how to perform these lifts.
"We just lost Norbert Schemansky, one of USA's finest-ever lifters, at age 92. Ski was the last splitter to establish a world record in the early 1960s. This was a time when squat style lifting began to take over. But as a young lifter just starting out I found it much easier to split in the snatch for my first few meets," says US Olympic Coach Harvey Newton.
Coach Newton recently explained at least five solid reasons all lifters should try the split style of lifting:
More secure means of early success for many
Sport specific for athletes that lunge (tennis, volleyball, etc.)
A great alternative for masters and mobility-challenged lifters
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the weightlifting certification. It was a major paradigm shift in many ways, especially learning of the important of the power position and ankle mobility for weightlifting.
At first I was somewhat frustrated, as I struggled conceptualizing the teaching of weightlifting in this manner to athletes. Then, I looked at myself in the power position and realized how closely it mimics a vertical jump, and changed my mind. After a week of focus on this position, my dunking ability is improving.
I also really appreciated your honesty on what your experience taught you to be true, and teaching us more useful information than we would have received otherwise. It was great getting to know you as a person and a coach, and I hope all is well with you."