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Universal Truths of Weightlifting Technique

By Sean | In Olympic Weightlifting | on February 22, 2012

Greg Everett, owner of Catalyst Athletics in Sunnyvale, CA and lead author/editor for the the Performance Menu, recently posted a free article on his website entitled “Six Truths of Weightlifting Technique”.  It sifted through all the differing opinions on weightlifting technique and focuses on the six areas that any coach worth their salt can agree on.  I felt the Intrepid Weightlifting aficionados out there would appreciate a post on Olympic Weightlifting as it’s been awhile since our last one.  Here’s a quick synopsis on Greg’s article:

  1. The Lifter and the Barbell System Must Remain Balanced over the Feet.-The actual balance over the foot isn’t exactly the same throughout a given lift, but it must end up being essentially balanced on average. If it diverges too much at any given point, it will be more than the lifter can compensate for, and the result will be the entire system being pulled forward or backward out of balance. There is actually a bit of latitude here. It’s possible to perform a snatch or clean with a backward or even forward jump as long as you can re-establish the balance over the newly positioned base.
  2. The Lifter and the Barbell Must Remain in Close Proximity to Each Other-When we’re talking about a more complex movement like the snatch or clean, the effect of distance between the bar and body is magnified; that is, extremely small distances can create big problems. I prefer to have the barbell as close to the lifter as possible without making contact until the appropriate point of contact during the final explosion effort (hips for the snatch, high upper thigh for the clean).
  3. There Must Be No Time Wasted at the Top of the Pull-You can’t deny that any time spent in an extended position following the point of producing maximal acceleration is limiting the lifter’s ability to relocate under the bar. That is, whether you want to focus on lifting the bar or getting under it (or, a novel idea, both…), you have to transition between accelerating the bar upward and accelerating the body downward as quickly as possible.
  4. The Relocation Under the Bar is an Active Movement-In effective lifting, there is no falling, dropping or catching. There is pulling, pushing, squatting and splitting—the relocation of the lifter under the bar is just as active as the rest of the lift, and a lack of aggression in this phase of the lift will ensure a lifter fails to maximize his or her potential.
  5. The Receiving Position Must Be Stable and Strong-All that matters is that you establish the position that best allows you to support the weight and stand up with it. This position will vary somewhat among lifters based on anatomical peculiarities, flexibility, etc. The rack position of the clean similarly will look different among lifters, but in any case, the bar must be supported securely on the trunk, not in the hands and arms, and the position must allow optimal posture in the squat position.
  6. Consistency is More Important than the Actual Technique Style-No two athletes lift exactly the same way. Some use the same basic style, but every lifter has his or her own technical idiosyncrasies for better or worse. In the long term, it’s more important that a lifter perform the lifts as consistently as possible relative to him- or herself than it is to perform the lifts with a certain technical style (assuming the style is within the range of acceptable). Each lifter should strive to optimize the technique that proves to be most effective, and then make that optimized technique second nature through high volumes of practice and training over time.

The above is my attempt at a Reader’s Digest version of Greg’s full article found here.  Each month Greg publishes articles relevant to improving your athletic performance in the Performance Menu.  If you haven’t already subscribed please consider it as it’ll be the best value $29.95 has gotten you in a long time.


WOD 2.22.12

Deadlift 1×5/Wendler

In 4 Minutes: Run 800m and Perform Max Rep Ring Rows
Rest 1 Minute
In 3 Minutes: Run 400m and Perform Max Rep Double Unders
Rest 1 Minute
In 2 Minutes: Run 200m and Perform Max Rep Ball Slams
Rest 1 Minute
In 1 Minute: Run 100m and Perform Max Rep Squat Jumps

Add total reps for score.

4 Comments to "Universal Truths of Weightlifting Technique"

  • Xuan says:

    February 22, 2012 at 7:29 AM -

    Is that Napoli?

  • Michael H says:

    February 22, 2012 at 7:34 AM -

    That is a wicked O face!

  • kathy says:

    February 22, 2012 at 8:57 AM -

    Brian’s face is priceless!

  • Brian says:

    February 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM -

    C’mon guys…. lets focus on the content here! haha

    (damn … i thought i was safe having my back to the crowd)

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