Balance!


The success of a lift largely depends on a balance. More specifically the reduction of horizontal bar displacement away from the lifter's centre of mass (CM).

Many things can cause the bar to shift rearward or forward (more common) of one's CM, however the most likely error is that when the lifter does not distribute their weight correctly prior to forcefull hip and knee extension (such as the second pull).

Note: there are a number of other causes, however the purpose of this post I will focus on errors above the knee only.

All too often to I see lifters sit back onto the heels at the end of the first pull (above knee) or when performing the hang clean/snatch. This rearward weight displacement is taking the lifter out of balance! This error will result in tqo possible outcomes:

1. In a search for balance, the body will naturally rock forward onto the toes, overshooting the midpoint (CM) causing the lifting come up high into the toes and inevitably 'push' the bar forwards away from the body.

2. This rearward displacement onto the heels will result in a hip hinge like position (left picture) where greater range of motion is demonstrated in the hips than it is the knees. - Consider that hip extension is primarily a horizontal movement - you guessed it, the bar is 'bumped' forwards during the second pull.

Sound familiar?

It is essential that you aim to keep your weight distributed through your CM. More specifically your "60%". This is something I picked up from my time with Jianping Ma of Ma Strength / Chinese Weightlifting. If your midfoot is 50%, then your weight should be 10% forward from that.

In addition, when performing hang cleans/snatch, sit down into the hang position rather than pushing hips back. This will place an even responsibility of extension through both the hip and knee joints, resulting in you going vertical rather than forwards.

Take note of the improvements made between photographs above, taken of my client, Jim, in this morning's intro to Weightlifting session. Which position do you think will be optimal for a vertical bar path?

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