View Full Version : Analysis of Olympic lifts

11-21-2008, 02:48 PM
I thought I'd post this video up that Ironmaven made from the last senior nationals. A lot of people seem to have questions about the lifts on this board, and I thought I'd give a little more insight into what the form ought to be:


Take a special look at the side by side slow mo comparison of bar paths at around 1:55. Here's a few things to look for that can probably add a few kilos to any newer lifters' lifts:

1. Notice that, despite the fact that they both run a dynamic start (i.e., they start with their hips low and raise them before the bar moves), when the bar actually starts moving, they are pushing the floor down. Their knees begin to move backwards and they are not pulling with their back at this point at all. Its all legs. (Norik, the guy on the left, actually loses some back angle - a slight flaw that will hurt him a bit later in the lift.)

2. Notice that as the bar passes the knees, Moser's shins do not lean forward, where as Norik's do. This is indicative of the fact that Norik is being impatient with his knee rebend; he is rushing the lift. This will force the bar more forward as you can see in the bar path. It also pushes him onto the balls of his feet WAY early. On the other hand, Moser keeps his feet flat and his weight centered further back.

3. Notice that, at full extension, the bar is a few inches in front of Norik, while Moser keeps it a lot tighter. This is also a consequence of the earlier mentioned stuff. Consequently, you'll also notice Norik bending his arms earlier in the phase of his pull than Moser does. Both lifters are VERY upright at the top of their pull. While their shoulders are a little behind the bar at this point, they are pulling up, not backwards. This is important; you don't want to purposefully slam the bar with your hips - you want to get as vertical as possible to impart as much upward force on the bar as possible. Neither lifter hits the bar hard, but it looks like Norik hits the bar lower (somewhere off his thighs) where as Moser brushes it higher. You want to be higher.

4. Norik's bar drop is a lot smaller than Moser's, but Moser is considerably taller. Still note that Norik is forward much more in his bottom position due to his early knee rebend (which is probably due to the fact that he lost some back angle, causing the bar to be a bit more in front of him which makes you have to rush your knees under it to develop power.) You'll also notice that Norik has to step forward with it as he stands.

There's some bar speed info too.. that's kinda cool, but not super helpful to newer lifters.

Anyway, I hope this gives some more insight into the lifts for people who are trying to learn.

11-21-2008, 04:19 PM
That was a very well done video. i'm always very interested in this sort of thing because it combines my two passions - strength and physicsy stuff. What do you have to say about their individual bar paths? The second guy's looks a lot, er, "straighter" than the first besides the dip, probably because of the things you've mentioned.

Also, looking at the two graphs of bar velocity vs. time, is there some sort of average function they can get to fit that? I feel like you could find a function that would depend on certain aspects of the lifter's stats, like height, weight, gender, etc. and get it to spit out their optimal bar path (though that might be more difficult than just looking at them lift and critiquing! XD ).

You don't get a lot of this sort of analysis in powerlifting because usually the bar path is supposed to be real straight, so its interesting to look at another sport. :-p

11-21-2008, 06:59 PM
You make a good point about the bar paths. These days, the best lifters are getting away from the classic S shaped pull to a slightly straighter one, though I think Moser's backward pull is a little technically inefficient too. Norik (though he is a beast, dont get me wrong) definitely has some technical flaws which is making his barpath a lot less straight. In general, you want the bar to come backwards some off the floor and its hard to not kick it out slightly at the full extension. The more compressed the S, the better, though.

Yeah, I agree on the speed issue. The bar path is a really useful diagnostic tool to see where things are going wrong in the lift - the speed is just kinda neat.

I'm glad you enjoyed the analysis. Olympic lifting is just so technical and the lifts so fast that if you don't break it down in some way, its hard to see subtle issues.

11-22-2008, 05:56 AM
I'm about to do oly lifts today and am a major noob at em' (started 2 weeks ago). I love videos like this. As a golfer, I've watched my swing with this sort of software and it has be really helpful.

just checked out the other vids, amazing stuff!

In competitive oly lifting, is there a "wrong" way to C&J or snatch? Like in PL, if you don't go low enough on your squat, it's no good. Or is it like the DL, where basically if you get the weight up and hold, you're good?

11-22-2008, 08:03 AM
There are a few rules. There can be no press out - the weight has to fluidly go over your head without 'apparent' shoulder exertion. You also can't hitch the weight up on the clean or the snatch; you can't stop anywhere in the motion besides the shoulders in the clean. No part of your body can touch the ground except your feet. Finally, your elbows can't touch your knees.

Jorge Sanchez
11-22-2008, 08:10 AM
Useful vids and write-up. Thanks, J!

11-23-2008, 11:24 AM
Good video!