Questions from Europe

We’ve been featuring our intern graduates as they complete their internships through photos in Facebook.  The vast majority go on to continue pursuing their coaching endeavors and I enjoy keeping up with them.  This blog centers around the exploits of Lu Gregorova, a coaching intern from the Czech Republic who interned with us in 2016.  She was able to get one of her athletes on the national team to the European championships and e-mailed the following with a question, the answer to which might be of interest to you readers.


Hello Bob,


So European Championship is over and Simona (Hertlova) placed 7th. 

She performed at trainings way better and she Cleaned & Jerked 10kg under her best. 


But I am proud of her. She was able to PR at her snatch (91kg) and unfortunately with the C&J she had "good lift" and then the minute afterwards the  jury decided to cancel it. It was really stressful for her. And she did not make her final attempt.


Here is one big problem with her clean: she really chokes herself and really often she is passing out. I don’t know what to do. It is happing just with 95% and over. 

One thing is: I need to make her drink more, because I think bad hydration might be a problem as well. As well there is slight problem in technique when she often cleans it to much on her neck. Maybe more tall cleans? Cleans paused in bottom position?


As well I have been thinking: do you think that I might put C&J as a first exercise at training or split Snatch and C&J in A.M and P.M phase?


Thank you for your advice,


happy Easter time,






More than likely, Lu, the problem is that she is not keeping her shoulders slightly elevated during the catch and front squat portion of the clean.  This would keep the bar from resting across her carotid artery.  When athletes allow the bar to sit directly atop the carotid it oftentimes inhibits the flow of blood to the brain, and this can result in passing out.  Furthermore the bar could be rolling backward and exerting pressure on the trachea as well. 


I would advise you to not concentrate on the actual technique of the clean so much, but rather on the technique of the front squat, practicing keeping the bar slightly elevated throughout the rise from the bottom position.  Diligent practice of the proper front squatting technique should minimize if not completely eliminate the problem of passing out during the clean.  I hope you find this helpful.