Movement is built into our genes. The physical configuration of our bodies allows us to interact with our environment in a huge variety of ways, everything from moving ourselves over, around and through to lifting, carrying and throwing things. Moving is part of what we are and there’s certain specific movement patterns that allow us to accomplish tasks in the most bio mechanically efficient manner.
The Clean & Jerk is a great example of this. The movement itself seems extremely complicated, especially if you learn it in the Olympic style. But if you’ve ever lifted a heavy object onto your shoulders, you’ve done a clean. If you’ve ever pushed a box onto a shelf overhead, you’ve probably done a jerk. These aren’t some magical abilities you’re learning, they’re primal human movement patterns; they’re the most efficient way that you can move.
I was working with a client the other day and I had him doing heavy squat cleans a long workout. When he started, his cleans were ugly: wide feet, poor depth, elbows down, etc. After about 12 minutes of a 20-minute AMRAP, he was getting exhausted and he started doing perfect squat cleans. By that time, he was so fatigued that he simply couldn’t lift with inefficient technique, either he’d do it right or the bar wouldn’t even get to his shoulders. We see that phenomenon frequently, especially in people who have a high degree of strength or who tend to over-think the movement.
The next time you’re having trouble with one of these functional movements, remember: you are built to do this. Don’t think about it too hard, just move the way you were meant to and you’ll surprise yourself.