Monday, May 16, 2011

New starting position

Let me start off by saying something VERY important that has nothing to do with the fact that you should all know my 21st birthday is tomorrow...

You will never stop learning as a coach and athlete

My father.. you know.. the Britney Spears of Crossfit.. always prides himself on being openminded as a coach. He'll be the first one to tell you that his way of coaching is not the only way (even though its totally the best way ;) ) and he is constantly telling stories of how his methods have changed based on suggestions from his own students or other coaches. This idea that even the best coach in the world can learn new methods was something that took me a while to grasp. Mainly because I learned it from my father, and lets be honest, what young girl actually listens to her dad?

So, my whole point of telling you this is because I recently learned something new that I am SO excited about! Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about me and my weightlifting, I went up to train with Greg Everett and he taught me a new starting position that has completely changed my lifts and my life (two things that are really one in the same).

My old starting position: (very similar to a deadlift)
  • Hips above the knees and shoulders over the bar
  • Bar right up against the shins
  • Shins vertical
  • Weight on heels
My new starting position:
  • Hips above the knees and shoulders over the bar
  • Bar 1/2 inch away from my shins
  • Shins forward
  • Weight on the ball of my foot (still being able to wiggle toes)
Let me tell you why this new starting position is better and why you should do it:

The MOST important part of an olympic lift is the pull off the floor. If the pull off the floor is efficient, everything falls into place much easier. Your weight will be in the proper position on your feet to be able to jump aggressively, your jump will be vertical, the bar will move vertically, the bar will be close to your face so you can turn it over with an attitude, everything just goes GREAT!

So, what does a PERFECT pull off the floor look like? I have drawn a beautiful picture for you all that I'm certain will help you understand just what I am talking about.

Or this.. if you don't get it. (minus the crazy neck strain)

"Push and Sweep"
Although you start off with your weight on the ball of your foot, as soon as the bar leaves the ground, your weight shifts to your heels and your hamstrings PULL your knees back out of the way as you push into the ground and sweep the bar back into your body by engaging your lats. If you do it correctly, you should look something like this:

Melanie has swept that bar back into her body, landing her in the perfect mid-thigh position. Her weight is back on her heels, so when she goes to jump, she will jump off the whole surface of her foot.. creating a beautiful "junk yard dog aggressive" jump. If her weight was on her toes, or even on the middle of her foot at this position, she would end up receiving the bar forward and on her toes down in the overhead squat. Also, if she was forward, it would mean that the bar went straight up off the floor as opposed to sweeping back. Get where I'm going with this?!

Where she goes from here is a WHOLE different blog post, but if you can get to this position and accelerate the bar from here, you are in a good place. Kapeesh?

Lets hear your questions.

Sage, out.


  1. How do I get a weightlifter butt? - M Good

  2. Yes, the weightlifter butt is pretty rad.

  3. Is the guy in the drawing wearing flippers?

  4. I think the guy in the picture definitely has my huge biceps.

  5. @KCB- Yes. weightlifting shoe flippers- weishlippers.

  6. Kick Ass Sage!

    I just attended the new USAW Sports Performance Cert and I have to tell you...I am so grateful for your teaching and the program your Father has put together.

    Read between the lines from there.

    KC, your 12 week program is Bad Ass!

    Thank you and your family for your professional yet, playful approach to teaching all of us.

    Semper Fidelis

  7. Hey Sage,
    I just wanted to say, (in a really horrible signing voice).
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday 21 year old Sage,
    Happy Birthday to you! :)

    Best Wishes,
    Darren McGuire

  8. Happy Birthday Sage !!
    you rock!

  9. Great post and great info.

    My new cue is "Push and sweep" love that one!

  10. Love how you break it down. I need it!

  11. Cool going to try this in my next training session. Your illustrations are great :)

    Beth in Sweden

  12. why wouldn't a straight bar path be good? isn't that the most efficient? takes a lot of energy to cover horizontal space with a heavy object, right?

  13. Hey Sage: So glad your back on the blog! Love your writing and oliftt insights! And you always make me laugh!

    Take care!

  14. Sage - what do you think of this drill: