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Olympic Weightlifting Articles, Video and More
Updated: 9 hours 40 min ago

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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The Increasing Non-Enforcement of IWF Rules by Referees

Fri, 11/23/2018 - 04:00
Okay, let’s get right to the point on this one.   The 2018 IWF World Championship in Turkmenistan just wrapped up last week, and it was an amazing show. Records fell, medals were captured, fans were thrilled, and the weightlifting world was electrified. Great! Stupendous! Sensational!   So…let’s take a look at a couple of maybe-not-so-sensational hiccups that were noticed by a LOT of people at the Worlds. I’m talking about fuzzy rule enforcement by the refe
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Clean Turnover Drills For Bigger Cleans

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 04:00
A smooth delivery to a secure rack position is critical for successful cleans. In order to spin the elbows around the bar as quickly as possible, the bar and shoulders need to be close and have momentum continuing to bring them together. An active pull of the elbows up and out accelerates the body down and preserves the bar’s upward speed to achieve this. Squeezing the shoulder blades together and pulling the bar up and back into the rack position as you move the elbows around brings
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My 3 Biggest Mistakes in Weightlifting

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 04:00
In scratching my head about what on earth I possibly have left to write about, it occurred to me after a mind-boggling exchange on Instagram that it would make sense for me to discuss a few things I’ve learned the hard way—in other words, what not to do.   Learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to progress, and learning from other people’s mistakes is the best way to learn from mistakes. Why run an experiment that’s been run a million times before? Unless y
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Vertical Leg Drive In The Snatch and Clean - Elevation, Direction, Balance and Proximity

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 04:00
Leg extension in the snatch and clean helps provide both elevation and direction on the barbell. While it’s not perfectly accurate, it can be helpful to think of leg drive being responsible for elevation and hip extension being responsible for speed. The best lifting occurs when the two work together properly. Picture a vertical line running through your shoulder, hip and ankle. As you extend in the pull, your hips should move forward into this line and then up along it. They should
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WADA Reinstating Russia = Drug Testing Should Be Eliminated

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 04:00
You know, there was actually a short moment in time over the last few years when drug-free lifters started to feel like they were going to get an honest shot at fair competition.   So much for that…   In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me break it down for you. The organization responsible for drug testing in Olympic weightlifting is WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). They do the testing, and they suspend the cheaters when tests come back positive.
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Maximal Recovery Speed For Bigger Cleans

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 04:00
Cleaning as much weight as possible requires using every advantage available to recover from the lift. A technically adept lifter with reasonable explosiveness can clean 95% or more of his or her best front squat. There are 5 parts to optimal clean recoveries: First, you need to rack the bar before you reach the bottom of the squat. The sooner and higher you rack the bar, the more secure it will be and the more loaded eccentric motion you have to feed into elastic rebound out of the bottom
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The Jump Cue: Useful, or The Worst Thing Ever Created?

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 04:00
Jump has been the focus of contention in the sport of weightlifting, at least in the US, or at least on the internet among Americans, for several years (remember GoHeavy?). It’s one of a handful of things that provokes ire to a surprising degree for some—somehow it’s become a personal affront and it absolutely must not go unchallenged.   My opinion of the cue is quite a bit more moderate. I could live with or without it. I use it occasionally when I feel it’s appro
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Calm Down… It’s Supposed to Feel Heavy

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 04:00
One of the most common reasons for lifters missing their heaviest snatch and clean attempts is the blow to their confidence experienced as the bar is first lifted from the floor. Suddenly it feels heavy, and that means it’s slow, and that means it’s impossible to accelerate, and that means it’s impossible to get under it.   The logic itself is sound—if you can’t move a weight fast enough, you can’t snatch or clean it. But what gets quickly forgotten in
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Lifting The Feet Is Not Jumping - Lifting Vs. Sliding In The Snatch and Clean

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 04:00
There’s a concern among some lifters and coaches that lifting the feet in a snatch or clean is reducing the force in the pull, or is inefficient because the lifter is jumping.   A jump is an elevation of the center of mass above its resting level—in other words, the body as a whole moves up off the floor. However, lifting the feet in a snatch or clean isn’t jumping. The feet are elevated off the floor, but the body as a whole moves down. This is the exact opposite of jum
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The Scoop Or Double Knee Bend - What, Why and How

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 04:00
The double knee bend might be more accurately called the naturally occurring temporary cessation of knee extension to facilitate the preservation of balance and repositioning of the body to optimize vertical propulsion… but that’s a bit of a mouthful.   The double knee bend occurs naturally if you position yourself correctly when entering the second pull, and you drive forcefully against the ground with your legs along with the hip extension. You do not need to intentionally
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