How to Survive CrossFit Beauty Marks Part 2: Thigh Contusions

[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=”” full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1456147865877{padding-top: 100px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_column][vc_row_inner row_type=”row” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” equal_height=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1456148051953{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1486324923666{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”16540″ img_size=”full” qode_css_animation=””][vc_single_image image=”16556″ img_size=”full” qode_css_animation=””][vc_single_image image=”16560″ img_size=”full” qode_css_animation=””][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1486324960139{padding-right: 35px !important;padding-left: 35px !important;background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_column_text]Do you bruise like a peach? Are your thighs as tender as tomatoes? You can avoid that awkward explanation to a co-worker or family member when they ask you about those gnarly bruises on your thighs.

It comes down to two things in your lifts. First we need to identify your style of olympic lifting and where you are making contact in the high hang position when executing your clean or snatch. Style? For those who aren’t in the Olympic lifting world, there’s two major styles. They are “triple extension” and “catapult”. It’s a constant debate of “right vs wrong”. Just like politics, it gets people heated and everyone thinking they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Not the case. It’s about what works best for the lifter. IN MY OPINION, I prefer to teach newer athletes triple extension. Teaching them a close bar path with a smooth hip drive pushing the bar up from the high hang pocket. It’s my belief that your body is not meant to bang hard metal repeatedly! The catapult tends to be a harder bang to the hips or thighs, pushing the bar away. My question is, if it repeatedly leaves hematomas or a brusied pubic bone, why wouldn’t one explore other ways? Without getting too in-depth and possibly confusing for any readers who aren’t grossly obsessed with olympic lifting, here’s a simple solution. Go to your coach, tell them you’re always brusied when we do snatches and ask what you can do to change that. If they don’t know, move on and find a coach that knows the olympic lifts better.

Ok, assuming you have a beautiful triple extension clean but you still have bruises on your thighs. We then turn out attention to the down phase of the lift. The portion of the lift where people tend to neglect focus on. It’s returning the bar to the floor. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing high rep hang power cleans or reps from the floor. Bruises are being created from stopping/catching the bar with your thighs. Try and change your way of thinking to smoothly slowing down the weight over a distance. Think of it as stopping for a red light. You don’t drive at 40mph and slam on the breaks 10 feet before the red light right? What do you do? Gradually apply the break a good distance out to slowly lower the speed on the vehicle.

We’ve completed a clean, now we need to return the bar to the floor for another rep without slamming my thighs. How? Press rewind! Retrace the motion that you just executed while going up. Rotate the elbows up, keep the bar close, SKIM the thighs, ride gravity down as you push your hips back to use the hamstrings to slow down the weight (instead of your back). If it’s hang cleans, same thing but just going to above the knees.

This can still be done with light, high rep, hang cleans . Best part is it can be done whilst not looking like you’re in an abusive relationship. It will take practice and kinestic awaresness of slowing down the movement.

If you absorbed every drop of this knowledge bomb and understand every ounce, still get with a coach to put this into action. Reading and learning are great but it doesn’t beat meeting with a coach who can analyze your movement then figure out how to improve it. Get with your coach and stop those oh so cute contusions.


-Nick Carignan

CrossFit 8 Mile