When It Clicks, Years Later

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I caught myself looking into my own training history when trying to calm the frustration of a student the other day. She wasn’t quite able to understand full hip extension before receiving the bar in a power clean. It’s a problem as common as any in strength and conditioning.

lightbulb

In any case, she did a number of things right. Heck, she made nearly all of her lifts and even found a five-pound personal record. Nonetheless, things hadn’t yet “clicked” for her. She knew she wasn’t hitting the ideal position, and it killed her that she couldn’t self-correct.

What I laughingly told this student, who has been training with a barbell for just four months, was my experience with the same fault. For me, my introduction to the power clean came in 2004. It’s a staple in any NCAA weight room. Though I wasn’t in any danger and got plenty strong power cleaning barbells without truly hitting full hip extension, I revealed to my student that I was confident that I didn’t open my hips until late 2008.

It took four full years in a rigorous NCAA-level strength and conditioning program for it to click. Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to take their time when it comes to progress, but I think recalling this story taught my student and I a great deal.

As athletes and coaches, if we can’t be happy with walking into and out of the gym with an “unfinished project,” I’d argue you’ll harbor much more frustration than necessary. And in the case of this fault, though it leaves some performance on the table, it’s not something worth kicking someone off the platform for.

Awareness to faults and your own movement is a valuable asset, but there are times that such observations need not consume the forefront of your mind. Carry on even if it hasn’t clicked yet, athletes.

Logan Gelbrich
@functionalcoach