Looking Down: Why It’s Bad & How To Fix It

This is a blog for those of you who look down when you Snatch or Clean & Jerk. The action generally starts at the set position (see here for the correct set position) and can carry on through the 1st and 2nd pull. It then tends to be more dominant in the bottom of the receiving position.

So, firstly why do we look down?

The three main causes of looking down are:

When you're learning the lifts people tend to want to keep an eye on their feet positioning, Flexibility issues, You don't know you're doing it, and not before long it just feels natural.

Why is it bad?

3d rendered medical illustration - correct lifting posture It puts the spine out of line which means you can't get the full height from the 2nd pull (after the hip drive) as it restricts the mobility in your shoulders. Looking down reduces the stability in the receiving position as your spine is not as strong when you're, again not in line. There's also a saying "when focus goes energy flows" and it's true. If you're looking at the floor you're most likely going drop the bar in front when trying to catch it in the receiving position... Does this happen to you when you start hitting weights above 90% of your 1 rep max?

How to solve:

Apart from the flexibility issue* there is one very simple way to get out of the habit. That is to develop a better one. You should pick a point on the wall opposite roughly 15 degrees above your standing height and focus on that throughout the lift. It may feel odd to begin with as you're changing your technique but stick at it. You may even find you're dropping more weights as the bar is in different positions but in order to get the best pull and strongest receiving position you need to be looking forward and up.

We suggest you ask your coach for a few stretches to help improve your shoulder mobility and/ or seek a physio/ sports massage to loosen your shoulders and neck muscles.

Thanks for your time! Please do like and share if you found this to be helpful. It's the same technique and teaching method that we use at St. Birinus Weightlifting Club - The home of Ben Watson, Commonwealth Games 2014 medallist.