Slow Motion

I just got this handy camera that I will also use as a coaching tool. It can film stuff at 240 and 600 frames per second. This means that the camera is taking more pictures than the standard 30 or 60 fps, and thus can capture very fast movements (I got it for the Olympic lifts). Unfortunately the 600 fps degrades in quality (the resolution goes down quite a bit), and since the camera is taking so many pictures, you need a pretty hardcore light source to get the most out of it. The 240 fps works pretty well for my purposes in a gym, so I decided to share some of the videos with you after messing around with it on the first day.

It’s pretty sweet to watch the Olympic lifts when they are slowed down, and you can see little deviations in bar movement very well. Sammerr is the subject of our first video — he is a friend of mine that Rip and I have coached since he’s been at the gym. He’s a pretty damn strong 94 kg lifter (I just watched him deadlift 545 for a triple the other day), and was doing some 140 kg cleans. He’s clean and jerked 150 in competition, and these didn’t look particularly hard. His technique is solid in that the bar leaves the floor in a vertical bar path. Also note the shrug at the top of the pull.

After seeing the video slowed down, we thought it was pretty cool. So Sammerr loaded the bar to 90 kg and did a quick power snatch so we could film it. His form is, again, very solid (we finally got his start position consistent). My only nagging point is that he could have shrugged his shoulders a bit more at the rack, but a solid power snatch. It wasn’t that heavy — Sammerr has snatched 112 in competition and 120 in training. If he keeps pulling the bar vertical like he is here, he’ll easily hit at least 120 in competition.

For the hell of it, I also filmed one of my favorite people at the gym, “Peez”. She was power cleaning singles on the minute, so I had lots of footage on her. This was also the first time I coached in real time, then consulted a camera. It’s useful, but I don’t think a coach should be dependent on the camera to verify what’s wrong. Peez has come a long way in the last year and a half and has gotten pretty explosive on her power cleans.

Follow the jump for a squat video.

And for you non-Olympic lifters, here is a video of my friend Mike squatting 415×5 (the first set of his 5×5 volume day on the Texas Method). This video doesn’t have any sound for some reason, but it is in HD. Key in on the nice bounce Mike has. Mike’s intensity day is hovering around 480 for a triple right now, and I’ve seen him triple 500. He squatted 512 at his last meet. Ignore the width of this video — this was the smallest embed I could use.

20 thoughts on “Slow Motion

  1. Pingback: Olympic lifts in slowwwww motion « 2016 Rio Games

  2. most of you all probably know this but with kinovea, you can track the bar path if you film the lifter from the side. A very handy tool and it’s free.

    Never used it, but I’ll check it out. Filming from the side is pretty much useless though.


  3. I am impressed by how close they all keep the bar – especially at the top. They are very much almost toughing their t-shirt.

    Is there any key to doing this?

  4. I like this slow motion business. It seems helpful. Especially if you can’t afford a coach and are learning it on your own or with the other people you’re training with.

    You would have to know what to look for and how to cue it though, assuming you know the model of what you’re doing.


  5. Thats pretty awesome. I just figured out how to film myself with my i phone which i have yet to decied whether it is helpful or not.

    On the powerclean, Sammerr has a huge shrug at the top of the pull (like you mentioned) and he is leaning back significantly. Should i strive to mimic this technique or is it something that he developed on his own. I ask becasue I feel like i should be able to PC alot more than I have been doing lately. I’m pretty sure its my form that is holding me back.

    I was worried about this — you guys don’t need to start thinking too much about what’s going on in the lift. You don’t need to worry about actively shrugging at the top, because you do it already. You have to remember that since this is slowed down big time, all of these things you see are minute at regular speed. He really doesn’t lean back all that much, and I’m curious to see how much “lean back” I have in comparison.

    There is a chance that his form isn’t perfect, but it is very good…irregardlessly.


  6. Sweet. You mentioned the very high speed needs a ton of light, and the quality is really compressed… have you tried shooting very high speed in VERY bright conditions? Like outside on a VERY sunny day?

    It may be that the camera is squashing the image size and resolution in the sub-optimal lighting as there’s not enough light to capture the image in that time. Try doing something outside in the sun and see what the image quality is like. If it improves… Outdoor Olympic Lifting™.

    So the camera is just choosing to lower the resolution because there isn’t enough light? Think about it.

    And did you not read? I just got the camera the other day.

  7. It should be a 70’s Big rule that all slow motion video should have the $6 Billion Man music in the background.

    I can probably make that happen.


  8. justin, sorry if this has already been mentioned by you. When you teach the Olympic lifts, do you teach the same start position as the deadlift (Bar over MIDDLE OF THE FOOT)? A lot of Oly resources I have seen/read recommend the bar to be over the metatarsals. I have played around with both styles and I gotta say when it comes to the Oly lifts, I get a much better starting position in terms of back angle when I have the bar over the metatarsals rather than the middle of the foot. Do you guys differentiate or use the same position as the deadlift?

    bar over mid-foot, irregardless of what other people do

    results in a starting position with higher hips but a more linear, vertical bar path compared to starting with the bar at the metatarsals and subsequently pulling the bar back towards mid-foot on the way up

    – brent

    Also if you are pulling a heavy clean, your body will go to the position that we are putting you in anyway. Mechanics and bar path are what matter, not “how you feel”. This is weightlifting, not group therapy.


  9. Very cool stuff, I think breaking down videos frame by frame is a great way to coach yourself. I’m also super jealous of your camera.

    p.s. how much does Mike weigh? his squats great

    I weigh somewhere between 240-245…I need to drop a few pounds for my PT test soon though. :( -Mike

  10. Justin, yes, it’s definitely a possibility. Many, MANY cameras will make adjustments which can affect image quality when in automatic mode. Still image cameras do it all the time. Not always resolution, but most still image digital cameras will automatically increase the ISO rating in low-light conditions. This increases the sensitivity of the sensor to enable the image to still be taken, but also dramatically affects quality making the image VERY grainy, or noisey. Try taking a photo in dim light with your cell phone camera, without flash or other additional lighting.

    Okay, you’re right. Sorry about that.

    The increased ISO enables a faster shutter frame. This is exactly what is needed in high-speed motion pictures, an EXTREMELY fast shutter speed so that the image is taken fast enough for the next frame. Very important at 600fps. Even professional high-speed video is going to be pretty grainy, so you’d expect a consumer level camera to have a relatively dramatic decrease in image quality.

    But I don’t really know much about your particular camera and how it works exactly. I’m sure resolution will have to go down somewhat just to get the file size down so the processor in your camera to write it to disk fast enough. But with enough light, the camera won’t have to increase ISO as much.

    Try it and see. But keep the vids coming, they’re sweet.

    /geeky camera shit

    Check my comment above. I haven’t read the directions yet, but I don’t think the res will improve much. I don’t know what I’ll do to get better lighting because I was in our Oly room which has flourescent lighting. We do have a platform outside in the back yard of the gym, but I doubt I’m going to take the time to train out there and it’s been rainy this week. 240 fps is working pretty well though.


  11. Pingback: 05/15/10 – Saturday – Mini “Kelly”

  12. Justin,

    You said the following:

    Filming from the side is pretty much useless though.

    Can you please describe the proper angle(s) to record yourself while doing the various exercises? In particular I will be recording my lifts by myself, and I want to create videos that can be analyzed properly.

    Thank you.

    45 degree angles, the same angles used to coach with. If it is an oly lift or deadlift, have it be 45 from the front. Press is from the front too.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.