Let me tell you what’s improved my Olympic weightlifting technique. The key to great lift is balance. I focus on keeping the pressure of my body weight solely on the mid-foot so that I can more easily push for a greater extension on the first pull of the snatch and clean.
I’ve had the good fortune of having Russian Champion Olympic Weightlifter Vasily Polovnikov make his home at my gym JDI Barbell. He’s been coaching here for almost a year now and I’ve learned nuances in weightlifting techniques that I didn’t even know. But one of the most interesting The primary focus in learning how to train the snatch and the clean…from an anthropometric standpoint is mid-foot balance. I’ve noticed that in the past, he has stressed the importance of maintaining proper balance with both feet during these lifts.
Table of Contents
According to Vasily
According to Vas, most of the errors in weightlifting stem from not starting with the correct balance. He goes to great lengths to adjust foot position and hip height, and even hand placement, to make sure that whoever he’s coaching finds the correct balance before they lift. from the floor. He’ll have lifters rock back and forth from their heels to their toes while pulling the slack out of the bar before they pull.
Vasily feels that telling someone to pull longer or extend harder or stay over the bar or drive from their legs if their balance is not first correct is utterly pointless. He insists that it’s impossible to correct any of these other faults unless the balance is even slightly off, and instead asserts that the lifter must first address this issue. claims that once this is fixed, most of the cues will not be needed anymore.
I’ve seen plenty of coaches insist on proper foot pressure and balance, but few as much as Vas. He believes that if you haven’t met perfection, there is no point in adding any weight to the bar.
Solving the Balance Issue
In my lifting and coaching, I place a lot of emphasis on the balance problem. I feel my legs pushing upwards, trying to pull the bar away from the lifter’s body.
My leg stays in position over the bar until the bar touches against my leg. My leg explosions contract and the bar is placed on my shoulders or overhead. And my lifters feel it’s the same. The whole is made better from the start the precise finish.
I recently took up Muay Thai training. I used to do some boxing when I was younger, but this new form of martial arts has ignited my interest again. I started taking classes at my local gym when my friend Justin Troy showed up. He’s a former world champion in the sport and is now my personal trainer. This is fun strength and conditioning training with me.
I’ll coach him and then he’ll coach me. Then he brought me to his gym- the Sitan Gym NYC where I’ve been training since.
A basic skill that is practiced when throwing a punch is turning your fist to face each other before it makes contact. This means that first your fists should be facing each other when up guarding your head, and they shouldn’t completely turn so that the knuckles are parallel with each other. the ceiling all the way to the end.
This provides the snap and sting of a well-timed well-practiced punch. Most people have trouble doing this, and I was no different when I started. It had been a while since I practiced a punch, and my skills were starting to degrade.
Justin would coach this technique in me by telling me first to make sure my gloves were touching my head with the palms facing each other. He focused on the start. Then he told me to focus on the image of lighting a match off of my head. He said that when beginners throw a punch they start their fist from the knuckles because they know that when the knuckles hit should be up.
But if you think of lighting the match your palm faces in and it provides that flicking motion at the last second. Justin thinks about teaching the starting position and the initial movement and it leads to an intuitive effort from beginning to end.
Consider Your Start
The most important thing in life is to begin. If you don’t start something, it’s practically impossible to fully get it done. Take diets for example. Let’s leave out the kind of diet where you eliminate or count calories for the moment and focus on the conscious effort to eat right. To make sure students eat a healthy quality diet, emphasize the importance of eating foods that are nutrient-rich and good for them.
Let’s say you really love consuming high amounts of fat in the morning without carbs or intermittent fasting makes you feel and perform better. What doesn’t matter is what the focus is.
But let’s say you start this dietary habit but that knows full well that if you don’t throw out the bananas in your house you’ll eat one on your way to work.
Under no circumstances should you eat a banana. Banana is one of the most caloric foods on the planet, and that’s not even counting the guilt you feel from eating it. The nutritional benefits of eating a banana are negligible at best.
The point is, you broke your fast. You had a carbohydrate spike in your blood sugar and willfully allowed yourself to begin something on a bad footing and already set a pattern that you’ll follow until you change your views on nutrition next month. And how you do one thing is how you’re going to do everything from now on. You do everything. It’s a cliche, but there’s never been a more accurate statement.
Start everything in your life the proper way or don’t start at all. In my experience, you do more bad than good if you stutter start or start on the wrong foot. But realize that the correct way for you right now is not necessarily the best way.
There is a better way, and you’ve never had the chance to learn it. It’s not enough to do your best with the resources you have right now. Look as clearly as you can through your current lens, but then retool and revise along the way as things become clearer.
It’s important to put your best foot forward and keep it there. I used to think that taking one step forward would be enough, but the idea of failing forward has changed my outlook on life. I talked myself out of any attempt to make a full step by making excuses like “taking a half step is enough” and really calming myself that I was cautious and strategic.
Don’t get this confused with the fear that you have to know everything first before you start. This has caused more hesitation in my life than just about anything else I’ve ever done..
If you don’t know all there is to know, take that first step with the sober knowledge that you will have to face these things and do the work needed to not only learn but integrate the lessons into your current perspective.