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I recently attend a weight lifting clinic (snatch and clean and jerk) with Coach Ma Jianping who was a World Silver medalist, Olympian, and former national level Chinese coach.   This was one of at least a half dozen clinics I have attended, along with numerous books, DVDs, and videos I’ve used to learn more about the sport of weight lifting.   I have study and learned about the different techniques and programming from the US, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece and now China, all of which have been the best in the world at some point over the last 50-60 years.

Now obviously everyone’s goal is the same, to get the most weight overhead but all these countries have different opinions on the best way to go about doing that.   They all have strong opinions on the best style, techniques, skills and drills and programming to achieve the best results and win Olympic medals.  Although there are different schools of thought, the fundamentals are pretty consistent.

  • Power Position/Jumping Position:  The bar MUST get to this position for max force to be applied to the bar.  The most common error being timing, an athlete will try to jump before the bar has reached the proper position and will not be able to apply max force to the bar.
  • Feet:  You ask 10 coaches and you will get 10 answer as to where your feet should be on set-up and with landing.   The key however is consistency and balance over the base of support.  Everyone’s set-up and landing position will be slightly unique to them, the key is to make sure it’s the same every time.  The base of support starts at the ball of the foot and goes until the ankle (not the heal).  Your weight needs to stay over the base of support throughout the lift, too much toe or heel and you will lose balance.
  • Bar Path:  The bar needs to stay within the base of support throughout the entire lift.  With lighter weights you will have a little more room to work in, maybe about 4-5” but as the weights get heavier your base of support and margin for error start shrinking, maybe to about 2”.   Remember that the body moves around the bar, not the other way around.
  • Legs and Back:  At least 90% of the lift is done using the legs and back.  Beginners have a tendency to use too much arm and shoulders.
  • Strength over technique:  Athletes who are beyond the novice level, have a decent understanding of the correct bar position, know where to jump and how to use their legs should be training at heavy weights (90%+) in order to improve.  You only get better at lifting heavy weights by practicing with heavy weights.  Doing perfect snatches at 60% won’t help you get better at snatching big weight.  If you consistently practice at heavy weight your technique with those heavy weight will improve.    If you are new to the sport and still don’t have good fundamentals, stick with lightweights.


The Chinese currently dominate the sport of Olympic Lifting.

The Chinese currently dominate the sport of Olympic Lifting.

Workout of the Day
12 min AMRAP:
4 Deadlifts (275/185)
40 Double Unders
8 Box Jumps (30″/24″)