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  • Nathanael Littauer, CSCS

Pull Your Knees Out Of The Way

I love the sport of weightlifting. Out of the eight sports I've had the opportunity to compete in, weightlifting is tied with wrestling. Or maybe I just like sports that start with 'W' and don't include water? Regardless, I love watching and performing the Olympic lifts.

However, there's a common problem I see that a lot of athletes and lifters make is that they try to move the barbell around their body. What ultimately ends as a result is an unbalanced and often sloppy lift. This isn't what we want if we are chasing maximal power gains or to increase our ability to lift maximal weight.


But there's a way to fix the issue that I find many forget to consider:

It is easier to move your body around a bar then to move the bar around the body.
Photo: Lifting Life

Especially when performing a snatch or clean from the floor, you need to move your body around the bar. Especially your knees! This is generally mistake numero uno for new lifters and general athletes. They want to get to the point of extension and in their impatience they swing the bar out in front to get past the knees and into the hip. This often results in an unbalanced lift or a missed lift.


If you're struggling with this concept, think about this: if you try to clean a weight that is equal to or heavier than your body weight, moving your knees back and out of the way is the path of least resistance. It takes an incredible amount of energy to move more than your body mass, so by moving your body around the bar you save energy to be channeled into the remaining aspects of the lift.


So as you start lifting in your next session, be aware of what your knees and the bar are doing. Are you moving the bar? Or are you moving the body? Because once you learn to move your body then the lift will fall into place

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