Friday, July 4, 2014

Teaching the Double Knee Bend

A nice quick look at the DKB as executed by a master.

If you are new to lifting, or have not been exposed to competent coaching, you may not be aware of the double knee bend (DKB)that takes place during a properly performed pull. In the past there has been some discussion concerning how to teach this or even if it needs to be taught. Some have advocated teaching the concept, others say it occurs naturally. Taylor Chiu in his OlympicWeightliftingGuru site has brought up that argument again and provided some suggestions for teaching the DKB. http://www.olympicweightliftingguru.com/2014/07/01/double-knee-bend/
I agree that the DKB can and should be taught, although I also agree that it occurs naturally if you take a beginning lifter through the right progressions. Taylor outlines a progression that he has used. I have found an even simpler one that I have used for years in teaching high school students to clean and snatch. I simply begin with hang cleans and snatches from just above knee level. This automatically puts them in the power position with the knees slightly in front of the bar. They develop the jumplike feeling of using their legs to propel the bar upward. In conjunction with that, I have them also perform clean and snatch grip deadlifts from the floor. We teach proper back position and using the legs to push the floor down while maintaining a constant back angle. The bar is squeezed off the floor and as it passes the knees, the knees slide forward under the bar as the hips move in towards the bar. After a few weeks of these two movements, the hang lifts and lifting from the floor, the two are blended togather into a smooth and rhythmic movement as the novice combines those two exercises into a power clean and power snatch. (adding overhead and front squats will allow them to progress naturally into a full lift) Of course it takes a few weeks, but the DKB pattern is ingrained without even mentioning it by name. So, in my opinion, the DKB doesn't need to be presented as a complicated movement. It does not even need to be mentioned or pointed out. Just teach proper positions and it does occur naturally. So, it is taught, but very covertly without even mentioning it or making it seem like it's complicated or confusing.
Good view of the knees coming in front of the bar as the hips drive in. This allows the legs to extend explosively and is termed the Double Knee Bend.

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