Good day people,
The weightlifting world championships of 2018 is over. Many world records were achieved which should be unsurprising since this was the first official competition with the new weight classes meaning that the old world records were scrapped. This is of course not the first time it happens. It’s a similar situation as when they wanted to get rid of the old Soviet and Bulgarian world records. This world championships also saw the return of the previously banned countries that made the last world’s seem like anything but.
China of course showed up in strong form as they always do, Russia on the other hand hasn’t been itself for many years now. They’re living on old glory and it’s questionable if we’ll see a strong comeback from them. But we shouldn’t count them out, history shows us that just about any country can make a splash on the scene if enough effort is put in from the state. Examples would be Bulgaria in the 80’s, Greece in the early 2000’s and Kazakhstan after that. All of which by the way made said splashes with the Bulgarian system. Nowadays Thailand is looking particularly strong, especially their female squad which is just outstanding.
Fresh of the presses at everlifting.com
The no touch muscle clean
Speaking of weightlifting, I’d like to take this moment to introduce you to an exercise that you may not be familiar with. And it may be among the best exercises that you aren’t doing, even if you might have done it without knowing so! Confused yet? Good! The exercise in question is the no touch muscle clean.
That’s a long name, let’s break it down. The clean is obviously what’s done in weightlifting, the exercise to bring the bar to the shoulders. You pull the bar from the floor, hit it with your hips, squat under to catch it and stand up. It’s a very dynamic movement that requires speed, strength and coordination. Some people think that you must catch the bar in a front squat position by some sort of rule. No! You do it because it’s easier! Easier because you don’t have to lift the bar as high. That’s the kind of stuff that becomes important when you’re trying to get 200 kg onto your shoulders.
Many might be familiar with the power clean. In this exercise you don’t catch in a full front squat but rather with a slight knee bend. For most people it’s easier to learn and if you just want the power aspect of the clean then it might be the only variation of the movement you will practice. The muscle clean, as I will talk about here, is caught with NO bending of the knees. In other words, you pull from the floor, hit the bar with the hip, pull it and catch on straight legs.
This is where the “no touch” part comes in. In this variation you don’t hit the bar with the hips, you simply pull the bar straight from the floor up onto your shoulders, catching with straight legs. The no touch muscle clean. You muscle the bar up so to speak.
You’ve probably done this without thinking too much about it when picking a bar off the floor! Turns out if you do it as a proper exercise it’s a damn good one that will work your legs, your posterior chain and your upper back plenty. Here’s how to do it properly.
The most common mistake is to pull with the arms too early. Keep them completely relaxed until the legs and torso have straightened. Think about it like this: the legs and back are much stronger than your arms so you want those muscle groups to exert as much force as possible before your weaker arms take over.
The second common mistake is to not pull the bar close to the body. Make a great effort of pulling as close to your body as you possibly can. The further away, the harder it will be.
How can you incorporate this exercise into your training? It works really well doing reps with this exercise, five or above. You can also combine it with the press. In that case you can do one no touch muscle clean before every press, lowering the barbell between each repetition. Or you can do multiple no touch muscle cleans followed by multiple presses, i.e. 5+5. It’s all good. Make sure to give this exercise a try.
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