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Thread: Pelvis position on snatch, clean and jerk (and more)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Pelvis position on snatch, clean and jerk (and more)

    Hello folks!

    Something I have been battling with for many years is the overhead portion of the clean and jerk. I have never liked front loaded movements like front squats or standing with a clean for too long, jerks, push press etc.

    As it turns out, my previously-thought-useful anterior pelvic tilt just meant that I had very weak/disengaged abdominals and glutes, and overly tight/dominant quads and spinal erectors. This was both good and bad.

    After a lot of work it is coming together, finally, but there are a few pieces of the puzzle left to arrange. Now I can support weights on the front of my body with a solid level of abdominal activation and no over-arching of the back, which makes things weak and also makes me want to pass out. So, anyway, things are progressing nicely and I am learning the correct mechanics and motor control of a proper front rack position, instead of the subpar positions I had before. Pulling from the ground and back squatting was always ok, and snatching was very solid. Power jerks felt nicer than split jerks, but obviously I couldnt get the same results KG wise as I have a Western build of long legs and arms.

    Anyway, after further research and trying to discern levels of glute activation with a neutral pelvis vs a tilted pelvis, I came across the following:

    'The pelvis plays a vital role in the ability of the athlete to produce strength efficiently and safely, because it is the major link between the spinal column and the lower extremities… a neutral pelvic tilt offers the least stressful position for sitting, standing and walking. It is only when a load (or bodymass) is lifted or resisted that other types of pelvic tilt become necessary. Even then, only sufficient tilt is used to prevent excessive spinal flexion or extension… The posterior pelvic tilt is the appropriate pelvic rotation for sit-ups or lifting objects above waist level. Conversely… theanterior pelvic tilt is the correct pelvic rotation for squatting [and] lifting heavy loads off the floor. – Supertraining 2009'

    Stu McGill supports the neutral pelvis throughout all movements for optimal results, and he claims Mel Siff consulted him on these matters because he was not a spine specialist.

    Regardless, the consensus for lifting weights overhead is the neutral pelvis. This is interesting to me, because from the floor it is different to off the shoulder, and this makes sense considering my current situation of learning. For me, the neutral pelvis is achieved through a lot of core activation and training, but I don't have to worry about off the floor

    So, after that ramble, the point of this post is to see which of you guys have had any pelvic tilt issues with WLing, your experiences, what you do in this regard, if you don't know what I'm talking about, what you've seen in some pros, and so on.

    Secondly, if anyone has any relevant studies into glute/hamstring activation and hip extension from a neutral pelvis compared to an anteriorly tilted pelvis, please share.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    I've had the issue in general, and compounded it with lifting. For me personally it wasn't that hard of a fix. For abdominal muscle strengthening, doing leg raises with my back totally flat on a bench helped a lot, I'd try to do 3x10-20 after most lifting sessions. I eventually got strong enough to do dragon flags, especially static, it was harder to do a negative and do them for reps, though, but that was cool (too untrained and weak now :/ ) I think the bigger issue was tight hamstrings. Tight hip flexors, too. Tight hip flexors and hamstrings basically pull your back into anterior pelvic tilt, I guess both equally, but personally I get tight hamstrings easily. For the hip flexors, a good stretch was just Cobra pose, and for hamstrings, get to the point of at least being able to touch your toes on command, but ideally you want to be able to palm the ground with stiff legs. As a generality, try to get as flexible as possible. I found the best program to be stretching 20-30 minutes after each lifting session, with the idea being that you'd heal stretched vs tight. Then, for all your static stretches, you basically need progressive overload, ie, start with an easier variant, 30 seconds, next session 40 seconds, etc, and eventually go to a full 2 minutes, then try upping the difficulty but bring time back to 30 seconds, etc. Beware, if you actually stretch hard, you're tearing and breaking down the muscle again, and the next day you might actually be more stiff feeling, but after 2-3 days the stiffness will go down and you'll be more flexible, and of course with this, modify the stretching program by the day based on how stiff you are from before.

    But yeah, after these fixes, I very rarely get lower back pain from any sort of lifting now. I think the issue is without a neutral spine, instead of your abs and upper back taking the weight, you end up with the lower back taking a lot more weight in your movements. I think the cause of a lot of disc herniations is just anterior pelvic tilt let go for too long, especially in normal people. Basically their tight hamstrings and hip flexors just pull so much on their spine, and precompress their spinal discs, then since the discs are precompressed so much, they get injured picking up a basket of laundry or something similar. One man I know herniated discs from playing with his son and jumping off a 10 inch rock. So, with lifting, though it's a controlled movement, the spine still has to compress, and let's say (I have no idea of the actual measurements here, only making them up) each vertebra can only move 1cm, and you're precompressing 5 of them so they only have 4mm movement each before hitting full ROM and then the spinal disc, it's really not a good situation.

    I think for movements and technique, a natural inclination I have is I naturally had anterior pelvic tilt before lifting, and basically all my lifting was very glute and hamstring dominant. A lot of my technique issues got a lot better just from strengthening my quads, ditching back squatting basically entirely, and even doing leg presses/extensions. I realized one day I must have pretty weak quads as I decided to leg press and could only do 300-400lbs or so, but still was front and back squatting over 120kg. Basically with weak quads, I'd just try to rip the bar off the ground and pray, and had a lot of problems getting under and keeping the bar close. I actually got some extra heel added to my WL shoes, and what surprised me wasn't feeling more solid in squatting, but actually how much my pull improved with 1cm of extra heel, I was much better able to activate my quads and keep everything balanced through the pull. I'm also very long femured and long armed, and I think in that scenario you need more quads than the average person, as just due to leverages you'll probably have overdeveloped glutes and hamstrings, at least this was the case for me.

    Oh yeah, aesthetically as well, your butt will stick out less at the same bodyweight, and you'll have less of a belly, from strengthening the TVA and stretching. With a stronger TVA you'll have a lot less belly even if you're fat. One trainer (just general gym trainer, but still a really intelligent guy...) I know actually pointed out my pelvic tilt straight away, and his suggestion was instead of arching your back, on lower weight back squats, actually suck your belly in somewhat, do a small chest vacuum of sorts. He basically advised to do this with say, 60% of your max. It helped a lot, actually. On your max attempts, especially belted, you'll likely still push your belly out and arch your lower back on back squats, but keeping that sort of technique on lower weight helped a lot.
    Last edited by celicaxx; 04-08-2019 at 03:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    I don't think it is a glute issue. I don't like stretching hip flexors directly either. I suggest stretching the hamstrings and rectus femoris, as well as training strength-endurance for abs.

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