Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Pressure Vs. Balance In The Snatch, Clean & Jerk

Don’t make the mistake of believing having pressure on the balls of the foot during a lift means your balance has shifted forward over the foot.
 
If we’re standing still, our line of gravity and the center of pressure have to be aligned—otherwise we’d fall over.
 
However, with adequately fast movement, we can separate the center of pressure from the line of gravity while maintaining the original balance. This is how a weightlifter is able to rise to the balls of the foot in the extension of a snatch, clean or jerk without the balance of the system actually shifting forward. The pressure is entirely on the balls of the feet, but the center of mass is still behind this point where it was prior to the heels lifting.
 
If this is confusing, here’s a simple demonstration. Stand still, then rise to the balls of your feet and balance. Your entire body has to move forward over the balls of the foot to remain balanced.
 
Now jump backward from a standing position. Notice that you rose to the balls of the feet as part of the effort to jump, but that your body still moved backward because you actively shifted the center of mass in that direction.
 
This shows that the center of pressure and line of gravity can diverge with movement of adequate speed.
 
When extending in the snatch, clean or jerk, understand that the pressure will move forward to the balls of the foot naturally as the legs drive against the floor—all you need to do is preserve the proper balance with correct movement and positions.


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