Over the short amount of time I have been weightlifting and coaching weightlifting, I’ve read, heard, and discussed starting positions vs. squatting positions in regards to the feet. This concept came up again last night as I was having a discussion with one of my athletes as we looked to help her transition under the bar.
Just as I was taught, I always start off every athlete with their feet directly under their hips as they start their lift. In starting your feet directly under their hips, this will allow for the greatest direct application of power vertically as the athlete moves through the first and second pull. This is crucial as the bar speed tends to decelerate after the second pull. If we are unable to maximize that power more often than not this will result in a missed lift!
Though the actual starting position maybe different amongst the six athletes, their foot placement is under their hips!
In regards to the squat, our feet need to be in a different position than our pulling stance. From 2 inches to a half step each way, however you look at it your squat stance will and needs to be wider than our pulling stance (our hips). Squatting with a stance wider than your hips allows for a couple of things. First, in squatting it allows your hips to sit between our heels when we squat. Secondly, a wider stance allows for a vertical torso. With the wider stance, the knees can track out, activating the glutes thus keeping the hips under the shoulders keeping the torso vertical. The importance here is that this allows for a vertical torso which is critical when receiving the Olympic lifts.
Here is a break down of Lauren Fischer’s Clean. Pay attention to the second row of pictures. Here you can definitely see her base widening allowing her to transition underneath the bar quicker along with role it play with keeping the torso upright.
So the questions might be how do we get to our squatting stance. Stay tuned as we answer that next week!