Float Like a Butterfly

“Make the weight float” is a phrase I commonly hear, whether we are doing kettlebell swings, push jerks, clean & jerks, or similar powerful movements.  The thought of making heavy weights float seems odd, but I am finally grasping the concept and making it happen, though not consistently. To illustrate what is meant, I am sharing a few of Dave’s videos where he makes the weight float:

The Kettlebell

This has been difficult for me as I want to crush the handle and actively swing the weight, but only recently have I understood where the power is to come from in this exercise, and it is the part that eludes me in many of my other lifts: the hip pop.  As the arms swing forward with the weight, the snap of the hips should propel the weight forward and the arms should simply be holding onto the end of the pendulum.  Just as a grandfather clock does not press the pendulum to the end of the stroke, I should not be muscling the weight through the complete motion.  Realizing this and finally feeling it this past week will help me to focus on developing the hip drive I desperately need.

Overhead Presses

With overhead presses, I struggle with the coordination, but I am starting to get it, but Dave gives an excellent presentation in the above video.  In the first press, the axle, the weight moves quickly and fluidly overhead as he drives with the legs, presses with his arms, and dips underneath, making the axle almost weightless for a second, making it easier to extend the weight overhead. He accomplishes the same with the log and for most reps on the one-armed circus dumbbell. The great thing about the repetitions on the circus dumbbell is that you can more easily see when the leg drive, press, and dip result in the weightless moment on most reps, but on a few, he has to muscle them out.  So far in my development, I muscle out most of the circus dumbbell presses I have attempted. But, I am starting to see and to feel how this is accomplished.

It feels good to be getting to the point where I can feel when I am getting something right and when I have reverted back to improper technique. Last Saturday, I was thrilled when I was able to get 215 lbs for 2 reps on clean and jerks. My previous best was 210 for 1 rep, and I felt like I could have pressed more because I was starting to get the float. This week while using the kettlebells, I felt a few reps start to float, and it was a revelation in what I have been doing wrong.

Small steps will eventually get me to my goal. When enough small steps line up for me, they will result in a sudden jump, then it will be back to small steps for a while, but as long as I am moving forward, I will choose to focus on the positive.

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