Move Your Damn Feet!

by coachdanbell

I’ve seen this before, but lately I’ve been seeing it a lot: lifters finish their pull and then pull under the bar, their feet having never left the platform. Even if most of them do rise onto the balls of their feet, the balls of their feet remain in solid contact with the platform throughout the lift and their feet stay in the same place.

Lifters have argued to me that they can relax their legs quickly and they can pull under the bar just as fast as if they lifted their feet off the platform in the third pull. To be blunt, that could not be more wrong. If you don’t get your feet off of the platform, you are slow under the bar. Period.

Speed under the bar has three parts to it. The first is timing. You must begin moving under the bar while it is still rising. The second is aggressive and continuous arm action. Your arms actively pull you under the bar and keep pulling all the way to lockout in the snatch or to the shoulders in the clean. The third is foot movement, or to be more precise, lifting the mass of the thigh to get the feet off of the platform. Because your thigh is attached to your trunk (unless something very unfortunate has happened) the mass of your thigh moving up against the mass of your torso causes the mass of your torso to be “sucked” or “driven” down, adding to your body’s speed in the descent under the bar. Rather than your torso falling against the passive resistance of a relaxed leg, that actively rising leg is pulling your torso down faster.

You don’t have to donkey kick your feet in the air to accomplish this. Most world class lifters move their feet up less than two inches. The best an inch or less, and the bottoms of their feet are always facing down toward the platform. But they actively pick them up off the platform, and most move them out from a little up to several inches.

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So, you want to be fast under the bar, move your damn feet, or keep looking up at the lifters who do.

As usual, I cannot thank enough Nat Arem of Hookgrip.com for allowing me to use his photos for teaching purposes.

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