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Olympic Weightlifting Articles, Video and More
Updated: 18 hours 50 min ago

How Fast Should The First Pull Be?

18 hours 50 min ago
How fast should the first pull or the snatch or clean be? As fast as possible without compromising position, balance or tension. The first pull is the segment of the lift in which the knees and hips are at their most mechanically disadvantaged due to the smaller joint angles. This means that no matter how forcefully you try to accelerate, the first pull will never be as fast as the second pull, during which the joints are opened to larger angles. The bar speed a given lifter can produce in
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A Horrible Bottom Position Doesn’t Make You a Lost Weightlifting Cause

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 04:00
The explosion of masters weightlifting in recent years has brought thousands of new competitors to the sport. And many of them are crusty old people with bodies that won’t totally cooperate with the Olympic lifts. People are “getting bit by the iron bug” and making the decision to fully commit to it, despite physical roadblocks that basically don’t allow them to do the full classic competition movements we see on the platform at the World Championships.   As athlet
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Push The Knees Out In The Squat? Maybe.

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 04:00
Pushing the knees out in the squat does not directly contribute to standing up. It’s a measure to correct or prevent knee valgus and forward leaning. Standing up is achieved primarily with knee and hip extension, and secondarily with some hip adduction and ankle extension. That pushing the knees out doesn’t make you stand up is easily demonstrated by sitting into a squat and pushing your knees out—you won’t move up a single inch no matter how hard or far out you pus
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How To Stay Connected For A Better Jerk Dip and Drive

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 04:00
A critical part of the jerk is keeping the bar connected to the shoulders in the dip to maintain its security in the rack, preserve balance, and allow maximal force transfer. We stand normally with a passive knee lock; that is, we’re hyperextending knees and not using much muscular tension to keep from falling over. If we initiate the jerk dip from this passive knee lock, there will be a moment of slack during in which we freefall before the quads catch up and gain control. This a
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The Olympic Lifts: Complex but Not Complicated?

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 04:00
In my quest to find new topics for articles, this was the suggestion I found most interesting. Evidently the idea that the Olympic lifts are “complex but not complicated” is making its rounds through the internet world, although I can’t say I’ve noticed.   First, let’s just get this on the record: this isn’t a new idea. Many weightlifting coaches have been trying to make the case that the lifts aren’t as complicated as they appear for many years f
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Hand and Wrist Position In The Snatch and Jerk

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 04:00
The hand and wrist position overhead in the snatch or jerk needs to provide the most security and stability possible with the least strain on the joints. Imagine your arm and hand like the post and cradle of a squat rack. The wrist should be extended so the base of the palm is directed somewhat upward. Position the bar in the palm, slightly behind the midline of the forearm. Then simply close your grip around the bar. Grip tension should be only what’s necessary to maintain control.
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Pushing The Knees Out In The Snatch and Clean

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 04:00
In the starting position and first pull of the snatch and clean, we want to push the knees out inside the arms. This serves 3 important purposes:   First, it opens the hips to allow freer movement of the pelvis so the lower back can be arched properly. Just like in a squat, the legs need to be oriented in a way that prevents the femurs from running into the pelvis and limiting hip flexion.   Second, pushing the knees out shortens the fore-aft length of the legs by bringing the knee
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Why Performance is More Important Than Victory

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 04:00
The obsession with winning… In America, it’s part of our sports DNA. If you’ve been an athlete in this country at any point in your life, you’ve heard those beaten-to-death quotes like, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  I’ve probably seen that one on the walls of half the locker rooms I’ve been in since I started playing sports when I was a kid.   Throughout my weightlifting career, I was always more focused
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Ask Greg: Snatch Swinging Forward

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 04:00
Kris Asks: I have a lot of problems and one that I can't seem to correct is the bar looping after contact in the snatch. I’ve observed that during a no brush snatch my bar path is almost vertical, I extend with my torso upright and I'm pulling up with my elbows high. It looks great and almost nothing like my snatch. I've tried to correct the looping by doing a no brush snatch + snatch complex, but I can't get my body to make the correction.  From what I can see, it
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How To Fix Your Snatch Turnover - Understanding and Exercises

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 04:00
The pull under the bar in the snatch needs to be as active, aggressive and precise as the rest of the lift. This motion has 3 purposes: to change your direction and accelerate your body down into position under the bar; to maintain maximal proximity between the bar and body; and to establish a balanced and stable receiving position. As you finish extending, continue lifting the bar upward and toward yourself by pulling the elbows up and out and squeezing your shoulder blades back together. Th
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Breath Control and Trunk Stability For Olympic Weightlifting

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 04:00
In order to create the spinal stability that we need for both performance and safety in weightlifting, the trunk must be pressurized with air. In addition to improving force transfer to the bar through increased trunk rigidity, intervertebral disc pressure is reduced and the ability to produce muscular force is increased with breath-holding. To take in a full breath, the diaphragm must contract and push downward, which means our guts have to move out of the way to allow the lungs to fill and mdas
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You Don’t Have to do Everything Right… Just Most of It

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 04:00
If you follow me, there’s a decent chance you’re someone who enjoys technical detail and is bordering on obsessive about skill development in weightlifting. I’d say this is mostly a beneficial quality, but it can have its problems. Primarily, it can cause you to overanalyze what you’re doing (or not doing) and become overly focused on certain details.   This isn’t a problem exclusive to those of us with over-analytical minds—it’s a pretty natural
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IWF Rule Changes: Challenge Cards and Feet Touching the Barbell

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 04:00
The International Weightlifting Federation made some rulebook changes recently, and social media has been tittering with conversation about them. There were quite a few changes, but two specific ones caught my eye.   1) Lifters are no longer allowed to touch the barbell with their feet. If this happens on the competition platform, that attempt will automatically be red-lighted.   2) Lifters are now going to be given challenge cards when they compete. They can use these cards to ch
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Keep Elevating The Bar In The Snatch Turnover

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 04:00
Bar speed in the snatch peaks a little prior to the final extension in the pull. At a given speed, the heavier the bar is, the sooner it will stop moving up under its momentum and begin falling. The pull with the arms against the bar after the final extension primarily moves the body down under the bar, but that same force also helps preserve the bar’s existing momentum, maximizing its ultimate height and delaying its descent. The goal is for the bar to continue moving up during as m
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Control the Controllable and Handle the Rest

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 04:00
Weightlifting’s a tough sport. Not just physically, but also mentally demanding and exhausting—especially early on when you’re not only trying to get stronger and more mobile, but also trying to master some difficult motor skills. I probably don’t need to tell you any of this.   An important lesson you need to learn as early as possible is that there are things you can control and things you can’t. It’s critical to take an inventory periodically and sor
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How To Stay Over The Bar In The Snatch and Clean

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 04:00
How do you stay over the bar in the snatch and clean? Easy! Just keep standing up without opening your hips. We want the shoulders over the bar until the bar is between above the knee and mid-thigh depending on your proportions and strengths. Typically longer-legged lifters will stay over longer and shorter-legged lifters will open the hips sooner (taking advantage of the relatively stronger hips or legs, respectively). If you extend the knees and keep the back angle approximately the same
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The Ugly Rise of Poaching Athletes in Weightlifting

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 04:00
Let’s talk about poaching in weightlifting, shall we?  It’s a buzzing topic these days, for sure. In case you don’t know what it is, “poaching” is when weightlifting coaches try to lure athletes away from the coaches they’re currently working with. Basically, poachers build their roster by stealing lifters from other coaches. That’s probably the simplest way to describe it.   There are two things you need to know about poaching. First, it and
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How to Fix Your Butt Wink… So We Can All Stop Saying Butt Wink

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 04:00
The butt wink… I’m honestly not sure which is more worrisome to me—the actual phenomenon or the commonly accepted term for it. In either case, I’m going to weigh in to help them both go away.   I want to first establish what exactly we’re talking about because there is some confusion there. I consider a butt wink to be a reduction in lumbar extension beyond neutral in the bottom of a squat—to be clear, it’s not any amount of reduced extension, bu
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Fix Your Butt Wink… So We Can All Stop Saying Butt Wink

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 04:00
The butt wink… I’m honestly not sure which is more worrisome to me—the actual phenomenon or the commonly accepted term for it. In either case, I’m going to weigh in to help them both go away.   I want to first establish what exactly we’re talking about because there is some confusion there. I consider a butt wink to be a reduction in lumbar extension beyond neutral in the bottom of a squat—to be clear, it’s not any amount of reduced extension, bu
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Olympic Weightlifting Squat Position - Trust What Works For The Best

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 04:00
When it comes to squatting for weightlifting, somehow there are still pockets of resistance to the obvious, and instruction contrary to all evidence. Here are the bottom positions of the biggest cleans from each weight class from the most recent world championships. This includes male and female lifters with body weights from 45kg to over 160kg, a range of body types, and from a variety of countries. In not one single case is the athlete sitting the hips back and leaning the trunk forward
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