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© 2017 4 Star Strength. All Intellectual property protected.
30942 Industrial Rd. Livonia MI, 48150

A Guide to Blocks: @ the knee

Hello and welcome to this excert from my up and coming book "The Modern Guide to Weightlifting".

This book series will serve as a oppurtunity to put great content out into the weightlifting community that is modern and relatable to todays weightlifting society, I hope to help athletes and coaches alike bolstering the intelligence and skill into our sport. Anything that may help someone out there or ensure our sports future i'm down with!

Now for what you came here for... Again!

(if you didnt catch my last one it was on the previous position "At the thigh". Click the link to read!)



The “At Knee & Above the knee” Positions

The Knee position for both lifts is probably my favorite positions to have my athletes train from. Effective to observe adjustments, as well as get athletes to see and feel what I want as a coach, this position, if any, is the block position I use the most.

I am going to describe as well in this section the “Above the knee” lift off blocks here because as many educated coaches know as well as experienced athletes, the above the knee, the knee, and the below the knee all have very very different specifics involved in their positions to be observed by coach and athlete.

The “At the knee” Position of block training is like the swiss army knife of block work. The “at the knee” position always has our points of performance we would want for the “at the knee” position off the floor or in a hang but allows of to be very specific in its specifics as we dont have to worry about the lift-off phase.

By not having to setup and lift the bar off the floor we take some major mental points out of the lift and allow the athlete to conserve energy (a very notable amount!) as well as give their posterior chain a break as well. Another notable point of the “at the knee” position is we can feel positions that are very common for athletes to rush when it gets heavy as they are focused on the “this is heavy and I need to complete the movement” mentality commonly found when taking it from the floor.

The Blocks from “Above the knee” is the quickest and most violent phase of the lift when using blocks. The athlete no longer needs to keep their knees back for that split second longer to facilitate the full use of the posterior chain and can just set up in a “Go!” position. It is not exactly the same as the “Mid thigh” and actually give the athlete more time in the leg drive phase. This position is excellent for getting athletes to practice just creating raw amounts of power over and over again focusing less on specifics and more just raw power output!

Areas of Focus:

  • Shoulders most in front of bar out of pull

  • Shins vertical in setup

  • Weight balanced in mid foot

  • Elbows facing outward

  • Tension of lift-off between bar and body

  • Patience in lift-off before explosion phase

  • Leg to shoulder connection

  • Maintaining bar to body closeness

  • Being ready for bar to come down

  • Turnover tension

  • Comprehensive understanding of acceleration

The following is a great example of a snatch from the block at the knee. Watch a few times and then follow on to a frame by frame breakdown of what we are looking for in this movement.

In the frames below we can see some important pieces being maintained that are easy to identify in your own training with just a simple video review.

Frame 1: Shoulders are set in front of the bar, shins are vertical in setup, and bar is slightly set off of the knee. (side note - extreme amounts of tension is present in the athlete-bar relationship here).

Frame 2: Pushing throught the ground maintaining athlete-bar tension the athlete extends through the floor, the bar is maintained close, and the knees start to come forward as athlete stays shoulders in front of bar. The athlete tries to stay flat footed best they can in this position to promote vertical drive.

Frame 3 : Athlete starts to finish extension and drives through their legs until the very end. The athlete continues to keep the bar close as this position will promote the best vertical bar path and athlete posture to finish extension.

Frame 4 : Leg drive is carried over, finished, and connected to the shoulders to help carry over higher bar height as well as create high levels of tension to "pull under" against the barbell.

Frame 5: Athlete finishes leg drive vertically and finally gets slightly behind the bar to get turnover setup. Athlete reaches "triple extension".

Frame 6: The last piece of the extension where athlete finishes leg drive and connects the "shrug" and high pull element to continue vertical height of the bar. This is also where the "pull-under" begins.

Frame 7: Athlete completes turnover phase and recieves the bar with an upright and tight position (chest up, tight spinal position, rigid landing stance). They keep the upward shrug continuing so the bar has a "cushion" to land on and be able to hold the overhead position.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and learned something from it. If you really enjoyed it please just click that little like button and regram it for me!

Ill be posting more post like this helping explain the blocks as I feel they are great tools but very misused by many out there. Hope this helps take you to your next level and go out there and practice!!

Next week I will post snatches from the below the knee so stay tuned!

- Coach