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Olympic Weightlifting Articles, Video and More
Updated: 11 hours 6 min ago

Million-Dollar Bodies and Five-Cent Heads: Mental Strength in Weightlifting

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 04:00
There’s nothing more frustrating than a weightlifter with a million-dollar body and a five-cent head.   You know the ones I’m talking about, right? These are the athletes who have mountains of physical ability, but they’re mental trainwrecks. They’ve got strength, explosiveness, flexibility, balance, coordination…the gifts most people dream of. But they’ve got all kinds of problems and shortcomings between their ears. Maybe they’re lazy. Maybe th
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Hierarchy For Learning The Olympic Lifts

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 04:00
When learning and training the snatch and clean and jerk, always keep in mind this hierarchy: Position, movement, speed, load. Position is the priority because it’s the foundation of everything—all movement originates from a specific position, passes through other important positions, and finishes in another specific position. You cannot perform a correct movement from or to an incorrect position because it would be a different movement. Movement, in most cases, can be lea
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Daily Minimums: Focus on the Baseline Over the Peaks

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 04:00
For obvious reasons, we’re all focused in weightlifting on our all-time best lifts; the sport is contested on exactly that. But in training, that’s only one useful metric, and in many ways at many times, it’s not the best one. It can be misleading, discouraging and even counterproductive if used in isolation without context provided by other measurements.   The idea of daily minimums comes from the Bulgarian training method, in which lifters are snatching and clean and
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Bar Contact In The Clean: How To Keep The Bar Close

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 04:00
Because of the narrower grip, the bar in the clean will tend to contact the body on the thighs rather than in the crease of the hips as it does in the snatch. This makes keeping the bar close to the body during the final extension more difficult because the bar path is more easily disrupted with early contact by the thighs as they move forward during the scoop. Often this results in athletes rowing the bar up with the arms to try to make contact at the hips. While this can be successful in
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The Press-out Rule: Weightlifting’s Latest Drama Generator

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 04:00
The press-out rule has been around forever in weightlifting. It’s one of the fundamental technical rules of the sport, and probably the most prominent one. If you’re a weightlifter, having a perfect lockout is one of your top priorities because you don’t want to see those red lights pop up after you just worked your ass off to lift a big weight. The referees are watching for press-outs like snipers, so you’d better get it right when you’re on the platform. This is p
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Find Your Pulling Stance For The Snatch and Clean

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 04:00
The primary criterion for the pulling stance is how it influences the effectiveness of the second pull. Stand with your heels under your hips so the legs are vertical and turn your toes out to a comfortable degree, approximately 10-30 degrees from the centerline. Lifting with the toes straight forward has been shown to reduce weight in the lifts, and being turned out helps keep the knees better aligned when pushed out in the pull. However, turning the toes out too much reduces the depth
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Fix the Hips Shooting Up in the Snatch and Clean

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:00
We want to maintain a fairly constant back angle through the first pull, although we’ll nearly always see a slight change. It’s important to understand what actually constitutes the starting position because this is a common source of confusion and argument when suggestion the back angle shouldn’t change considerably—the starting position is the posture you’re in the moment the bar begins to separate from the floor. It’s not whatever low-hipped, shoulders-behi
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Hips Shooting Up In The Snatch and Clean

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 04:00
We want to maintain a fairly constant back angle through the first pull, although we’ll nearly always see a slight change. The goal is to prevent an excessive and unwanted shift in position. The hips shooting up dramatically more than the shoulders and bar rise creates a two big potential problems: It tends to shift balance too far forward, and it tends to force an early second pull, which reduces bar speed and elevation and also disrupts balance. There are 2 basic reasons for this t
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Thoracic Mobility for Olympic Weightlifting

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 04:00
Most of you have discovered that a solid overhead position for the snatch and jerk requires good thoracic spine mobility to create a platform for shoulder mobility and stability. We also need some T-spine mobility to create an optimal back arch when pulling snatches and cleans. T-spine mobility can be stubborn, and you need to address both mobility of the spine and the strength and stamina to maintain the position you want. Here’s what I’ve found to be most helpful. You can add al
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Thoracic Spine Mobility For Olympic Weightlifting

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 04:00
A solid overhead position for the snatch and jerk requires good thoracic spine mobility to create a platform for shoulder mobility. You need to address both mobility and the strength and stamina to maintain the position you want. In all T-spine mobility and strength work, it’s critical to ensure you’re actually moving the T-spine rather than excessively arching the lower back or hinging at the thoracolumbar junction. Limited T-spine mobility is nearly always coupled with excessive
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Jerk Dip and Drive Technical Styles - Strength Vs. Elastic

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 04:00
There are two broad categories of dip and drive styles: strength and elastic. These are really the two ends of a spectrum; a lifter may fall between the two rather than exhibiting one or the other dramatically.   The strength jerk relies more on absolute strength to accelerate the bar. This requires a deeper dip to allow a longer drive to put enough force into the bar to achieve adequate speed.   The movement will be slower, including the braking effort at the bottom, and these a
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Self-Reliance vs. Team Mentality in Weightlifting

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 04:00
This article is mainly going to be about getting you to look inside yourself. So I want to start by asking you a question.   Could you go it alone in this sport, if you had to? No training partners, and no coach. Completely on your own, self-coached and working out by yourself full-time. How do you think you’d do in that situation?   First, let’s acknowledge that some of you are saying, “That’s what I’m already doing.” Point taken. I know we and rsqu
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Ask Greg: Extending the Knees Too Much Too Soon in the Pull and More

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 04:00
Matt Asks: It’s midnight and I can’t fall asleep because of the endless loop of mental snatch reps in my head. And it all crystallizes into this damning question, and it is driving me mad... do the hips come forward to meet the bar or are the shoulders coming back, bring the bar with them to the hips? I can’t seem to get rid of two things: 1. The dreaded rainbow loop that the bar takes when too much horizontal movement of the hips is used to propel the bar forward and 2
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A Practical and Effective Daily Journal Routine

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 04:00
The morning for me has always been a special time that offers a sense of inspiration, renewal and optimism. Even if I’m exhausted, it’s always my most productive time of day, the time when I’m able to work with the most enthusiasm and clarity. It’s a time when my mind is open to possibility and unburdened by the often overwhelming pressure of responsibility and obligation. Your mind is also more receptive to suggestion first thing in the morning than it is later in the da
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How Fast Should The First Pull Be?

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 04:00
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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