The "Double Knee Bend"


The mechanical action in the second part of the pull known as the double knee bend or scoop is the result of proper technique and is not a direct conscious act in itself. This action should not be taught. It occurs quite naturally. The athlete has enough problems mastering the correct positions without confusing him with the complexity of the double knee bend.

A brief definition of good technique is correct position at the following key points: start, knee height, and full extension. As the bar passes the knees to begin the second pull, the hamstrings begin to contract strongly and violently causing not only an extension of the hip but also flexion of the knees. This is sometimes referred to as the double knee bend.

Having coached athletes and Olympic weightlifters for thirty years at all levels, ranging from novice to national champions and Olympians, I can personally vouch that the majority of coaches who endeavor to teach the double knee bend fail. To teach this action will result in premature weight transference to the balls of the feet and loss of upward momentum in the phase between the first and second pull. These key points should be kept in mind while executing the pull: phase 1 - leg extension (In the initial pull from the floor, the barbell moves back toward the lifter. This allows a more stable, balanced position from which to exert force), phase 2 - hip extension, phase 3 - jump shrug. Start with feet hip width apart, hips above knees, back flat, shoulders in advance of the bar, arms straight, elbows out. Correct position as bar crosses the knees is extremely important. Leg extension complete, bar over center of feet, back angle constant, arms straight, elbows out, shoulders over bar. At the beginning of the "explosion phase", the feet are flat, hips extended, arms straight, elbows out. Proper body position at the finish of the pull reflects good technique. Legs and hips extended jump and shrug coordinated. All motion directed up. If the athlete performs other aspects of the movement correctly, then the double knee bend will occur naturally.

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