Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pull Like A Pole Dancer

I haven't been to any strip clubs lately, and I don't watch any sort of risqué movies, but I have seen enough music videos to get an idea of how most dance these days. Regardless, all forms of dance have much to offer in terms of learning, assessing, and teaching movement. My most recent observation comes from the exotic dancing realm...

One of the trickier parts of the Olympic lifts is the first pull from the floor. Depending on the athlete, some may do fairly well from the hang position, but as soon as the bar goes to the floor, the pull becomes a mess. Sometimes it's failing to hold the back angle (in relation to the floor), sometimes the hips pop up too soon, for others the shoulders drop back behind the vertical line of the bar.

One cue that I have used with pretty decent success is to 'pull like a pole dancer'. This seems to help clean up the first pull by getting the athletes to hold their hips back (butt out, against an imaginary pole), while getting both the shoulders and hips to rise at the same rate. Sure the hips sliding up the pole my be exaggerated for some, but cues that get an athlete to exaggerate the movement usually make it easier to settle into a happy medium with what you are trying to accomplish.
As soon as the bar passes the height of the knee, I tell the athletes to put the bar on the thigh and go. We try to be smooth off the floor (pull before you pull) and progressively accelerate to the point where passing the knees is the trigger.
I am not totally sure why the pole dancing cue has been so effective, maybe because the guys and ladies are so good at exotic dancing these days (or more likely have just seen it so much everywhere)... and/or the fact that the cue would fall under an external attentional focus. Either way, it's worked well for me.

**I strongly suggest having a great relationship with your athletes first, so as not to be offensive in using such a cue.



Keith Norris said...

Ha! This is awesome. I use the same cue! And you're right -- it works wonders!

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

That's cool to hear Keith! Thanks!

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