Thursday, January 08, 2009

For Weightlifting Geeks

For those of you who enjoyed the January 5 post, here is the full lift by Jake Johnson, from two views. What do you notice about the lifter's starting position? Where is the barbell in relation to his foot? What happens as the barbell comes off the floor?

P.S. See Jon, he receives the bar below parallel. That's what you have to do to lift weights greater than double-bodyweight.


Kristof said...

Two things:
1) The bar starts out over his metatarsals ... as it should
2) He nicely pulls the bar towards his body during the first pull (partly achieved because his shoulders are over the bar at the beginning and of #1))

Anonymous said...

Two things from a different perspective:
1) The bar starts out over his metatarsals... too far forward.
2) As a result of 1, his bar path isn't as vertical as it could be, which means force was wasted on lateral movement.

Anonymous said...

Ooh. I love a religious debate.

Kristof said...

Thanks Anonymous #1 for coming up with an alternate hypothesis ... Can't say that it's one of my strongpoints.

But, I have no idea how one would turn over and catch a clean/snatch with not even a little horizontal movement.

If the point was to have no horizontal travel maybe we need to lift in a smith machine:
Kinetic Comparison of Free Weight and Machine Power Cleans.
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 22(6):1785-1789, November 2008.

Anonymous said...

Random question: did he waste energy right after the catch, when he bounced before standing up? From the video it seems that the bounce was quick enough to utilize the stretch-shortening cycle. But why the extra bounce? Or am I wrong to think there is something plyometric about the reverse of direction at the bottom of the squat?


mark said...

The lifter uses a Bulgarian style of hovering at the start of his pull to activate his hamstrings and with a strong first pull separates from the floor with a very good bar path: bar tracks toward him with a good relationship of hip and shoulder rising together just past his knees with his arms staying straight. At this point, if the lifter endeavored to wait on driving into the bar with his hips at a higher point, the second pull could of been possibly more powerful, none the less, the lifter uses his straight arms to pull the bar up as he jumps down to receive the barbell. (notice the double setting in the bottom to get position due to the long second pull)
He obviously has strong legs and rises quite easily in the front squat portion.
His push jerk is strong as his shoulder rack stays put through his dip with his legs and instant change in direction at the bottom of the dip to drive the barbell up as he instantly jumps down again to ensure his arms are locked and feet together for a successful lift. Overall, a very powerful movement.
As always, the video from the Iron Maven is top notch.

Anonymous said...


Do you have actual evidence supporting your claim that starting the bar over the metatarsals is vastly superior in every case, or is the only thing you have an attempt to bully someone into silence with an argumentum ad populum?

The answer to the claim that "everyone does it my way, therefore my way is better" is the same one your mother probably gave you as a child "if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?"

anonymous #1,

You've provided even less support for your contrary position than Aimee did for her outburst in response to you. In fact, some of it is entirely irrelevant. For example, if I want to run as far as possible in one direction but there's a wall that way, does going around it waste effort on lateral movement?

Alex said...

Beautiful pull underneath the bar. Very fluid. One thing I noticed that I liked was his legs externally rotated during the second pull. I've struggled for a while to keep my legs straight forward for the hip-pop thinking I'll get more power from it, but always felt more comfortable spreading them for a better drop into the squat.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

How much energy do you believe is required for the bar to move from its starting position over the metatarsal-phalangeal joints to its farthest position back during the first and second pulls? Your concern over this movement very clearly demonstrates your inexperience and resulting lack of understanding of this movement. If positioned such, the bar will quite naturally - that is, with no real effort on the part of the lifter - sweep back after leaving the platform. That being the case, to argue that this is "inefficient" makes no sense.

Further, efficiency should not be the goal - effectiveness should - and those two things are not synonymous.

It's important to understand that the body isn't positioned according to this placement of the bar; the bar is positioned to allow a more effective position of the body. This position improves the ability of the lifter in a number of ways, including allowing better final hip extension speed and maximal torso rigidity to transfer power from legs to bar.

It's by no means some silly, haphazard tradition - it's conventional because it has been demonstrated effective.