The past month we have been talking about Closeness, the first part of the Kingfield Barbell Philosophy. This month we will talk about Control. Control is being aware of what you are doing throughout the lift and moving the bar where you want it to go. Do not mistake this with manhandling the bar though. We want to move the bar smoothly and with finesse. The first thing we do is look at the feet when we are teaching our athletes how to have and maintain control throughout the lift
If you are going to jump, whether a box jump, vertical jump, or broad jump, one of the first things we do is get our feet centered. We would not jump from a wobbly, unbalanced position. You would set your feet, feel centered, then jump. The same thing applies in weightlifting. In the setup, we want to take our time getting set and centered then perform our lift.
Every athletes' feeling of “centeredness” will be different. It will depend on how your body is built and what feels strongest. From what we have noticed, most lifters feel most centered when the weight is right below or right in front of their ankle. This is not for everyone, but it’s what we have noticed. We have some lifters who find it most centered when the weight is more in the forefoot or even in the heels. If you can get centered in the feet, you will be able to have more control and use the correct muscles to lift the bar off the ground
A good way to find where you are most centered is doing snatch/clean deadlifts to the knee. The movement is short and gives you time to feel your feet and what muscles you are using to lift the bar. Typically, we want to feel the quadriceps and glutes as we lift the bar. If you do not feel the right muscles being used, shift the weight in the feet and try again. Be sure to have an upright torso but not too upright to where it is too awkward to lift. Also, as you stand, keep the weight in the same spot for as long as possible in the feet and maintain a good back angle until you “GO.”
Next time you lift, be more aware of what your feet are doing and see how it goes.