Monday, June 20, 2011


I think I have a history of writing blabbery blog posts that leave people frantically clicking the exit button out of fear of becoming more and more confused about Olympic lifting. For this post, I pinky promise to make it short and sweet.

Lets talk footwork.

Everyone knows that getting under a barbell is scary stuff. We don’t trust our overhead squat and we don’t trust our front squat, so, we shy away from receiving heavy weight in those two positions…aka receiving a snatch or clean. That hesitation causes one of the MOST common technical mistakes I see in the Olympic lifts: people throwing their feet out wide.

No one ever said that the fastest way to a pretty snatch or clean was through a wide stance. So, why do we do it?? We try to get depth by jumping our feet out into a quarter split position instead of landing in our squat stance. And why do we do that?!!? Because we all have commitment issues.

Now, I’m not going to get into the many ways Olympic weightlifting can reveal things about you and your relationships in life because that would take away from me psychoanalyzing athletes through their technique. However, I am going to tell you how to fix your footwork problems.

If you are one of the many lifters who land wider in the snatch and clean (by wider I mean wider than your back squat/front squat stance) you need learn to NOT shy away from commitment AND you need to use cones when practicing the Olympic lifts. In most gyms, one can find some pretty orange cones. USE THEM! Take two orange cones, line your feet up in your squat stance, and place the cones outside your feet. Now that the cones are set, reset your stance with your feet right under your hips in preparation to snatch or clean. Now.. snatch or clean. When you have completed the movement, look down and see where your feet are in relation to the cones. Having the visual can do wonders for a lifter, and will most likely solve your problem if you practice enough.

If the cones don’t solve the problem, using small children and kittens have proven to be even more effective.

Footwork is key, people. If our feet cannot be consistent, how can the rest of our lifts be consistent?

An amazing coach, Steve Gough, always says that “99% of missed lifts can be attributed to the feet”. Don’t let your lift be a statistic... fix your feet.. (HOW’S THAT FOR DEEP?!)


  1. What about puppies? Are puppies effective?

    All jokes aside, great post. I, too, always quote Steve on the issue of footwork when doing footwork drills.

    Keep it up!

  2. Thanks Sage for making me aware of my "commitment" issues. I hope to get to train with you in the near future. - Omari

  3. Never be short and sweet w/your writing! Always great stuff from you!