Moving Your Feet: A Weightlifting Christmas Story

To move, or not to move your feet, a solid weightlifting question. To beginners, I like to cue people to “jump” off the ground during the clean or snatch. I’ve found this cue to be effective in that it teaches people what full extension (extension of the hips, knees, and ankles) feels like. I’ve also used/heard cues such as “slide your feet out” or “make noise with your feet”, and although these can be helpful to an individual, they certainly have a time and place.

When an individual jumps, that person is sending power through the ground and is in turn trying to elevate their body as high as possible. Our feet elevating is just a consequence of sending power down through the ground and the momentum carrying us up. Now I want to clarify why we need to be cautious when we just focus on “moving our feet” or “making noise”. Just as a reminder, when our feet leave the ground we want it to be a result of full extension or “triple” extension. If we just focus on moving the feet or making noise with the feet, sometimes we forget about producing force with our hips. Confused? Try standing up nice and tall, pick both feet up off the ground, what happens? Your mass drops, and that is the complete opposite of what we need to happen when we perform the clean or snatch. Additionally, the noise you hear from picking up your feet is just a bi product of you falling/your mass dropping towards the ground. In other words, I can just stand nice and tall and make noise with my feet all I want and still not produce any upward force.

Just like box jumps, we want to create upward force through the ground when it comes to the clean or snatch!

Anyway the point I’m getting at is this, move your feet! Just be careful going about HOW you move them. Are they moving them because you are trying to generate as much upward force as possible, or are you moving them without full extension and just to make noise. Here’s an article that goes a little bit more in depth about what I just spoke about, check it out here if you guys have a little bit more time!

As always there are a ton of different ways to perform the clean or snatch. As you become more seasoned with the lifts, it’s ok to experiment with little tweaks here and there. For example, some people like to start with a wider stance, some like a more narrow approach, and so on. Always remember though, we most produce as much upward force as possible in order to move that barbell! I hope I was able to help some of yo understand the movement a little better, if not I’d be more than happy to clarify or talk more about it in person! Happy lifting!