INFORMATION ON THE CLEAN, RACK & JERK POSITION FROM SOME OF THE TOP OLY EXPERTS. THIS WILL BE ENFORCED IN THE STRENGTH AND IN WODS. WE WILL START REDUCING WEIGHT WHERE THIS POSITION CANNOT BE ADHERED TO.
- Chad Vaughn, “Setting the hands too narrow is a far more common flaw. I typically see beginners trying to jerk (and clean for that matter) with their hands touching their shoulders or at least part of their hands between the bar and their body. The hands need to be outside the shoulders at least, and I recommend placing them around 1 to 2 inches (sometimes up to 3 inches) outside the shoulders. I’ve seen some coaches use a general set-up of a thumb’s length outside the barbell knurling, and I’ve adopted this as it seems to be right on for most. In the extreme example of a small female, her hands might be placed right where the knurling starts, and the outside of a large male’s hands might be on the outer ring of a standard Olympic bar.”
- Mark Rippetoe states, “The correct grip for most people will be about 21 inches between index fingers in a double-overhand grip… The grip is wide enough to let the elbows rotate up unimpeded into the rack position…” (Rippetoe, Mark, and Lou Kilgore. Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. Edited by Stef Bradford. Wichita Falls, TX: The Aasgaard Company, 2007. P.173)
- Greg Everett says, “The basic starting point for hand placement is approximately half a fist-width or slightly more outside the shoulders… With this hand placement, the bar will be in contact with the athlete’s UPPER THIGH when standing in the tall position.” (Everett, Greg. Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide For Athletes and Coaches. 2nd. Catalyst Athletics LLC, 2009. P.132)
The bottom line is that the clean grip needs to achieve a couple different purposes. Your grip needs to allow you the bar to rest on your deltoids with your elbows rotated high and at least some grip on the bar. Furthermore, the width of your grip needs to allow your hands to sit outside of your shoulders far enough that they do not touch the deltoid. Lastly, your grip has to allow the bar to sit high enough on the upper thigh in the power position that you can clean without sending the bar in a bar path away from the body.
Often the biggest limiter for clean grip is mobility in the wrists, elbows, triceps, shoulders, and thoracic spine region. If these are your weaknesses hit up the Mobility dude Papa Llew for some pointers.