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Keith Wittenstein 01-23-2006 08:20 AM

There are slight differences in the Oly Lift techniques between the World Class Coaching tapes and the USA Weightlifting techniques.

For example the "heels down" method of WCC vs. the triple extension method of USA weighlifting.

I was wondering which techniques people (especially Coach) favor and why?

Mike Burgener 01-23-2006 09:35 AM

i think the idea with the heels down during the pull is indicative of staying flat footed as long as you can. the only reason to rise on the toes is because your drive has been so forceful, violent that one must go up with that extension. i rarely see anyone staying flat footed 100% during the lift, but they do try to stay flat footed as long as possible. now having said that there is much discussion going on watching the bulgarians rise on their toes right after the bar passes the knees. coach b

Lincoln Brigham 01-23-2006 10:07 AM

I figure you can teach 'em to lift flat-footed and that'll get them going in the right direction even if they end up lifting like the Bulgarians anyway as Mike said.

The Bulgarians are not the only ones to come up on the toes early. (Nor do all Bulgarians do this.) Check out Justin Brimhall from Wichita Falls Weightlifting in Texas:

125kg snatch from blocks

His heels come off the ground as the bar passes the knees. I don't know if this is right or wrong for this lifter, nor do I know how he learned to lift this way. Obviously he has achieved some degree of success with it. Notice how he is bent in a backwards "C" at the top of his extension, which seems to be a hallmark of lifters who come up early on their toes. I suspect they need do this to in order to counteract some forward movement of the bar caused by rising up on the toes.

Contrast this with Akakios Kakiasvilis from Greece, 3-time Olympic gold medalist.

185kg snatch

He stays flat-footed much longer and finishes his pull with his torso more vertical.

Neal Winkler 01-23-2006 04:38 PM

The WCC people don't believe in going the toes because it displaces the weight forward which makes you less balanced and for some reason having a greater surface area contacting the floor is good as well.

I'm at school right, I'll get the quote from the DVD's tomorrow.

They also say that they think Gardev(sp?) has the best snatch technique, so find of video of him and you will see how he stays on his feet the whole time and makes a little flatfooted jump back just before he goes under the bar.

I do remember this quote from the DVD: "If you want the body to go higher, go up on the toes. If you want the weight to go higher, stay on your feet."

Keith Wittenstein 01-24-2006 10:15 AM

I seem to recall the WCC people say that the heels should stay down as you pull the weight up, but as you try to pull yourself under the bar, the explosive force of the hip and knee flexors may pull the heels up off the floor. So in essence, the heels are used to drive as you are coming up, but the heels tend to lift as you pull yourself under. That is significantly different than the idea of triple extension.

If you watch Dan John's avatar of Pyras Dimas, he seems to drive off his heels and then the heels seem to lift as he is pulling under the bar. It's extremely fast, but I think that is what he is doing.

Another difference, is that the USA Weightlifting want a perfectly vertical pull whereas, the WCC advocate a pull and backwards motion where your head and shoulders move back and you look at the ceiling briefly at the maximum extension. Again, look at the Dimas avatar and notice how far back his head & shoulders go at maximum extension.

How do you guys feel about that?

Keith Wittenstein 01-24-2006 10:22 AM

It seems to me that the backwards movement of the head and shoulders at extension is meant to get more distance in the pull because you are trying not to come up on your toes. Instead of ankle extension getting back & shoulder extension. Trying to stay perfectly vertical and pulling the weight straight up would force you up on your toes at maximum height and velocity of the bar. While driving through the heels it becomes like a tug of war and your head and shoulders drive back further.

I'm not sure how the Bulgarians do things...I've only watched WCC, USAW & some Dimas footage. I have to get some training tapes and do some more homework. Any recommendations of good Oly Lifting videos?

Keith Wittenstein 01-24-2006 10:32 AM

Sorry for the repeated posts, but I keep coming up with more to say.

The USAW & some coaches on here advocate a sort of "first pull, JUMP! & catch" method. Sorry if I'm oversimplifying. In that style, the "JUMP!" would tend towards a heels up/triple extension lift.

From the WCC, I get the feeling they are looking for less of a "jump" and more of a "PULL REALLY G'DAMN HARD!" which would encourage a dig your heels down and lean back style.

Does that make sense?

I keep playing with both methods. I find the USAW method really great for dumbbell cleans & snatches. Jump & Catch! Easy to teach and easy to do.

When I grab a barbell though, I find myself wanting to try and dig down in my heels more and not jump quite so much as pull hard.

Lincoln Brigham 01-24-2006 02:43 PM

Check out the "1998 Bulgarian Training Hall" video from

Jan Szyndler 01-24-2006 06:01 PM

I want to state that I am a true newbie at this and have only been learning for a few weeks now.

When I first began lifting I was in with a bunch of guys that did heavy deadlifting and heavy everything was back on your heels. That was then.

From what I have gathered so far with the Olympic movements is that I should be placing about 60% of the weight on the balls of my feet on the snatch and then lean slightly forward on the cleans. It has been mentioned, to me, that this is more of an athletic stance and that the OLY lifts can have a correlation to one's vertical. I thought this made sense because one does not want to be on his/her heels when getting ready for an explosive movement; rather, they want to be more on their toes.

Consequently, I am now trying to "un"-learn what I have picked up in the past about being back on the heels so much (as was the case when I performed the heavy deads, etc.).

Is there actually a BETTER way to obtain certain results as this earlier quote suggets?
"If you want the body to go higher, go up on the toes. If you want the weight to go higher, stay on your feet."

I just want the lift to happen and to be proficient at doing it!!


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