The Effect of Torque on Stability

Maintaining an Upright Posture

Accepting that many athletes have flexibility limitations, an important goal for every athlete in Olympic Weightlifting is to achieve postural perfection in receiving positions. This goal should be pursued from the earliest moments of skill development but unfortunately it tends to be sacrificed in the rush to achieve full depth positions.

Particularly in the Snatch and the Jerk, postural perfection means developing an ability to brace the body in an upright position under the bar. Although the term “upright” may be open to interpretation, there is no doubt that small deviations in body position have a significant effect on the athlete’s stability in the receiving position and their chance of success.

From the first moments of training, therefore, athletes and coaches must be aware that learning to perform any variation of the squat with an upright stance is a principal objective. For example, it is far better for the beginner to initially perform overhead squats to a half depth with excellence of posture than to rush to full depth and compromise on body position. Such haste to will likely lead to significant consequences later when the athlete wishes to advance to higher levels of performance. In short, beginners must learn to keep the bar directly overhead when they practise Overhead Squats. Similarly, in the Jerk, athletes must strive to keep the upper body as vertical as possible with the head under the bar, not forward of the bar.

The Need for Stability in Receiving Positions

It may not be apparent to the beginner in their first year of training that body position under the bar has such a significant effect on stability and balance in receiving positions. The weights that beginners lift are usually considerably less than bodyweight, and imperfections of body position do not necessarily cause failed attempts at the Olympic lifts. However, as athletes begin to exceed 100% of bodyweight, they will undoubtedly notice the increasing effect of the bar’s weight on their balance and stability. Lifts are failed not because they are unable to lift the bar sufficiently high, but because they cannot achieve stability and control of the bar in the receiving position. For the long-term benefit of the athlete, there is an incumberance on coaches to ensure athlete continually practise stability and balance and as the video above explains, to encourage athletes to be as upright as possible in receiving positions.

Some Useful Exercises

The following videos provide an idea of how to develop an upright posture in the Snatch and the Jerk.

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