Stefi Cohen Deadlifts 525 Pounds At 123 Pounds Bodyweight

Forget the Instagram-famous #roadto500 — powerlifter Stefi Cohen wants much, much more.

Back in August, Cohen pulled 485 pounds in a meet for a new all-time World Record in her weight class. Then in September, she deadlifted a PR 501 pounds in training. Earlier this month, she hit 503 pounds for FOUR reps.

And Saturday, Cohen pulled a new personal best 240kg/525 pounds. Watch the epic lift below.

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It didn’t hurt that her cheering section included record-breaking powerlifters like Kevin Oak and Larry “Wheels” Williams. Those two know a thing or two about heavy pulling themselves.

And before the criticism sets in, yes, we know she’s lifting with straps in training. (And don’t even get us started on the “sumo is cheating” argument.) But if her 485 pound competition PR is any indication, her training methods — including the use of straps — are working pretty well.

Cohen is in uncharted deadlift territory for a lifter her weight, and at this point, she’s really only chasing herself. However, that hasn’t stopped her from publicly expressing a new goal: Stefi Cohen wants to deadlift 600 pounds, and if she stays anything close to her current bodyweight, such a lift would be one of the most remarkable accomplishments in powerlifting history.

[Want to learn more about Cohen? Check out our in-depth interview with her here!]

The secret to Cohen’s success? It could be some relatively unconventional warmups. In an Instagram post a few weeks ago, Cohen stated she liked warming up deadlifts with front squats, then posted a video of herself executing a snappy set of five in the lift. Watch it below:

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She also showed off some pretty impressive mobility and raw quad strength with narrow-stance back squats:

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Do you think Stefi Cohen can hit the mythical 600 pound deadlift at her bodyweight (or any other, for that matter)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Stefi Cohen Deadlifts 525 Pounds At 123 Pounds Bodyweight appeared first on BarBend.


Sohrab Moradi (94kg) Breaks World Record Clean & Jerk in Training

When we last heard about Iranian 94kg weightlifter and 2016 Olympic Champion Sohrab Moradi, he was breaking the World Record for the total in his weight class. Now, less than a month later, Moradi is making waves again, this time for a training lift.

Though we’ve seen him go above the clean & jerk World Record in his weight class before, Moradi has once again outdone himself with an absolutely immense 240kg lift — EIGHT kilograms over the current official World Record, which was set by Poland’s Szymon Kolecki in 2000. (Note that Kazakhstani weightlifter Ilya Ilyin temporarily held the World Record, though his results were annulled following positive doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.)

Watch Moradi’s massive lift below.


At 29 years old, Moradi isn’t a spring chicken in the weightlifting world, but his success over the past two years shows he’s anything but out of his prime. Indeed, his strength seems to be increasing with each competition.

In the same training session, Moradi made a 230kg clean & jerk look like clockwork:

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And his heaviest competition snatch — 185kg — is just three kilograms below one of the longest-standing World Records in men’s weightlifting, held by Akakios Kakiasvilis since 1999:

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We’re excited to see what Moradi does on the platform at this year’s World Weightlifting Championships, which is set to kick off in late November in Anaheim, California.

To our knowledge (and assuming he stays health and competes), this will be the first World Championships for Moradi in quite some time, and the first where he looks positioned to take home gold.

With nine countries currently serving suspensions due to positive doping retests, Moradi and the rest of the Iranian squad look poised to make waves on the podium.

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BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Review — No Fat, No Carbs

Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, BiPro does some unusual things with whey. For instance, they sell protein-laced water and they also offer a high tryptophan whey that’s intended to help you sleep. Their flagship product is a naturally-flavored whey isolate that’s available in five flavors. We decided to try out the French Vanilla flavor.

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Nutrition

One scoop is 90 calories: 20 grams of protein, no fat, and under a gram of carbs. That’s a very impressive protein to calorie ratio; it’s hard to find a protein powder that’s so low in fat and carbs, even for a whey isolate.

The micronutrients are a little less impressive. It has 1 percent of your daily calcium, which is low — most wheys have at least 10 percent — and it’s a little high in sodium, with 180 milligrams or 8 percent of the RDI. There’s no information about cholesterol, iron, or vitamins.

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Ingredients

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Ingredients

There are very few ingredients here: whey protein isolate, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, and stevia extract.

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Benefits and Effectiveness

There are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners in this product and there’s no lactose, gum, or soy either.

There are also no carbs or fat, so this will tick a lot of boxes for people who follow low carb, paleo-style diets. (Of course, they have to be OK with dairy.)

It’s worth pointing out that although this has nothing artificial, unlike a lot of all-natural wheys it doesn’t come from grass-fed cows. That’s not a big deal healthwise, especially since the benefits of grass-fed dairy are restricted to the fat content and there’s no fat in whey isolate. Nonetheless, there’s no guarantee the cows weren’t treated with hormones or antibiotics.

With all that said, it’s a great product for folks who want easy protein without consuming artificial sweeteners. So what does it cost?

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Review

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Price

You can pick up 1.1 pounds for $24, which is $1.33 per serving or 6.6c per gram of protein. Or you can grab a more standard 2-pound tub for $43, which comes to 5.2 cents per gram of protein.

That’s not a bad price. BiPro is in an interesting space in the market between all-natural grass-fed whey and conventional whey, and the price follows suit: it’s more expensive than a popular whey isolate like Isopure but cheaper than most grass-fed wheys, like NutraBio or Xwerks.

BiPro Whey Protein Isolate Taste

Mild. That’s to be expected from a naturally-flavored vanilla whey, but there is such a thing as a strong vanilla flavor — Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard‘s Vanilla Ice Cream flavor comes to mind.

Don’t expect BiPro to elevate the flavor of a shake or even a big bowl of oatmeal, but it’s great in milk. In water, it brings nothing to the table.


Not only does it mix remarkably well, but after mixing it with water I left the shake on my desk overnight. When I came back in the morning, it was still mixed — nothing had settled on the bottom of the jar. That’s some next level mixability.

The Takeaway

BiPro is more expensive than mainstream proteins, but cheaper than a lot of the “all-natural” whey supplements. There’s no soy, no fat, no carbs, no lactose, and no gum, so it will likely suit a wide variety of dietary restrictions. It doesn’t have digestive enzymes, so it may not be suitable for people who have difficulty digesting whey isolate or lecithin, but for most people this is, relative to the competition, a well-priced and effective all-natural whey isolate.

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Harrison Maurus (77kg) Hits New PR Snatch at 155kg

It was less than a month ago when we reported 77kg American lifter Harrison Maurus hit a new PR snatch at 150kg. And since we’ve come to accept remarkable progress from the lifting prodigy, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to see him load up the bar to 155kg. Check out Maurus’ new PR lift below:


Not a shock? Sure. Impressive? Incredibly. This is only 2.5kg below the Senior American Record in Maurus’ weight class (set by Oscar Chaplin III back in 2000). Maurus, of course, already owns the Senior American Record clean & jerk at 192kg, which he broke while setting a new Youth World Record in the lift (on his way to becoming Youth World Champion).

Maurus is just 17 years old, and while big progress isn’t too surprising for young lifters, a 5 kilogram increase on any international athlete’s snatch PR is pretty remarkable in just one month.

In July, Maurus represented the United States at the 2017 Senior Pan American Championships and successfully snatched 142kg on stage. He’s known for having a significantly stronger clean & jerk in competition, but these days, it looks like his snatch is certainly catching up.

Will be take the American Record in both lifts soon?

The post Harrison Maurus (77kg) Hits New PR Snatch at 155kg appeared first on BarBend.

The History of the Deadlift: How Did This Lift Become So Popular?

The deadlift is the simplest of the compounds, yet it’s one of the most rewarding to perform. There’s something about the grit and tenacity that comes with picking up a dead heavy weight from the ground; it’s instinctual and universal. Every strength sport utilizes at least some form of the deadlift, but where did this movement come from?

It’s difficult to put an exact finger on the origins of the deadlift. From the mid-1700’s to the present, we’ve had multiple iterations of a deadlift style movement, but in the earlier years, it wasn’t universally known with a set name. This is what makes predicting the deadlift’s exact origins so difficult. Yet, there have been some speculations as to where this popular movement came about.

The name deadlift itself stems from the exact meaning of the word, which is picking up a dead weight from the floor. There’s not much concrete proof out there about where the name originated; some say it came from soldiers picking up the bodies of their fallen comrades on the battle field, yet that’s most likely a rumor.

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First Beginnings: Sixth Century B.C. – Early 1700’s

Possibly the first tale of what could be considered a deadlift comes from the sixth century B.C. On the Greek Island of Thera, archaeologists stumbled upon an unearthed a massive boulder. They noticed that the boulder had an inscription on it, and it read, “Eumastas, the son of Critobulus, lifted me from the ground.” It’s rumored that Eumastas had hoisted the boulder to hip height, but there’s no concrete evidence of him doing so.

Then, similar to Eumastas’ boulder feat, there was Bybon. In Olympia, Greece, there’s a stone that has a hand imprint it it with a similar description as the above tale. This boulder’s description reads, “Bybon, son of Phola, has lifted me over his head with one hand.” Unlike Eumastas’ tale, historians tend to believe this as a little more factual, stating that Bybon most likely lifting the stone with two hands, and held it overhead with one.

Image courtesy neufal54 Pixabay. 

Obviously, neither of these can truly be proven, nor do they constitute a true barbell deadlift. But they do entail the act of picking up a dead weight from the ground and lifting it to waist height, and in Bybon’s case, higher.

[Infographic: Check out the heaviest deadlifts of all-time, do you know them all?]

Resembling Movements: 1700’s – 1900

The 1700 and 1800’s brought about many strength pioneers that changed the game of strength. These were performers, and athletes that competed with each other, along with circuses to make a living. But who started the deadlift? Let’s shift focus on not who, but what may have pushed the deadlift’s popularity before mainstream picked it up (literally).

Harness Lift

One of the first strength feats that resembled a deadlift-esque movement was performed by British strongman Thomas Topham. He became well-known throughout the 1700’s for his odd strength feats, which bring us to the harness lift. For this movement, Topham would stand on a platform and loop a harness around his upper back/neck, then lift an astounding amount of weight below him.

Some records state he maximally lifted over 1,800 lbs in the harness lift.

Thomas Topham, lifting 1836 lbs.

Image courtesy Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0.

Silver Dollar Lift

One of the many strongman feat performed at circuses and road shows was called the Silver Dollar Lift. This movement is still used in strongman competitions today, but originated sometime in the 1800’s. It entailed a old time strongman ‘deadlifting’ two barrels filled with silver dollars connected by a bar. They would pick up the weight, then invite performance attendees to give it a try. If the attendee could lift the weight, then they earned the silver dollars.

Health Lift

The Health Lift was a device used back in the 1800’s that had people stand on an elevated box and grab a bar attached to weight on string, then stand up with it. It’s somewhat similar to belt squats on an elevated surface, but is slightly different due to the gripping of the bar and hinging of the hip. George Barker Windship is often credited with being the first formal inventor of this device.

Image courtesy 

Early 1900’s to 1991 (Ed Coan)

Moving on from the 1800’s, there’s been one strength pioneer who’s often referenced as the ‘father of the deadlift.’ That’s none other than German strength pioneer Hermann Goerner.

Goerner began his rise to fame for his strength feats performed with the Pagel’s Circus between 1910-1930. At this time, he began getting well-known for his feats of strength which include: Wrestling an elephant, clean & jerking 330 lbs, one-arm snatching 169 lbs, triple flipping a 50kg kettlebell, deadlifting 793 lb, and one-hand deadlifting 727 lbs.

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It’s hard to say if Goerner was the true ‘father of the deadlift,’ but he definitely played a role in popularizing the movement. Then around the 1930s comes Mark Berry, a strength pioneer who was also a national champion weight lifter in 1925. Berry was one of the first pioneers to promote heavy compound movements (like squats and deadlifts) for building strength and muscle.

As the deadlift’s popularity began to grow in America from the 1930-40’s, so did its record setting numbers. Around this time and into the 1950’s, to record a record setting deadlift, an athlete must performed the feat at an Olympic lifting competition. Weightlifting’s governing bodies would allow athletes to perform “odd lifts” such as the deadlift, bench press, squat, and sometimes over head press during competitions for records.

One of the first documented best pound-for-pound deadlifts was recorded by John Terry of York, Pennsylvania’s weight lifting team. It’s said that he deadlifted 610 lbs at a bodyweight of 132 lbs. Then in 1946, at the Chattanooga, Tennessee Weightlifting Championships, Bob Peoples performed at 650 lb deadlift at a bodyweight of 181 lbs, and then hit over 700lbs a year later.


In 1961, Canadian Ben Coats broke the 750 lb deadlift seal, and did so weighing around 270 lbs. Then in 1977, the 800 lb seal was broken by 198lb powerlifting legend Vince Anello It wasn’t after long until 900 lbs was broken by Dan Wohleber, who pulled a little over 900 lbs at a bodyweight around 290 lbs.

In addition to the above historical deadlift landmarks, Lamar Gant was the first to pull 5x his bodyweight with his incredible 632 lb deadlift at a mere 123 lbs bodyweight.

1991 Ed Coan – Present

In 1991, Ed Coan performed a lift that most consider as one of powerlifting’s most impressive feats. He pulled the record setting 901 lbs at a bodyweight of 220 lbs. This record stood for over two decades until only recently being broken by Yury Belkin and Cailer Woolam.

After years of lifters hitting 800-900+lb deadlifts, the 1,000 lb seal was finally broken. In 2006, Andy Bolton became the first man to pull over the 1k mark raw, and hit a 1,003 lb deadlift in competition.

And in 2011, Benedikt Magnusson completed the heaviest raw deadlift, which now sits at 1,015 lbs. And of course, we can’t forget Eddie Hall’s 1,100 lb deadlift that he completed at the 2016 World Deadlift Championships. Yes, he performed this lift with straps, but it’s worth a mention in this historic deadlift article, as it’s the highest recorded deadlift performed to date.

Wrapping Up

The deadlift has a an interesting history, and continues to grow as strength sports do. Currently, the best deadlift with straps sits at 500kg, but we have a feeling it won’t last too incredibly long. In addition, we’re in a time when strength sports are at their highest level of popularity, which is creating new records within each weight class almost routinely.

Feature image from @pt_luca_marsigliani Instagram page.

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4 Essential Exercises for a Stronger Neck

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. See a doctor before embarking on any new exercise program or if you experience any pain while exercising.

Necksercise! It’s a thing. And I feel like I’m taking crazy pills because yes, squats are important, and sure, deadlifts and power cleans stimulate the neck muscles some, but there are real, legitimate benefits to training your neck directly.

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1) You look like a badass

First of all, let’s be superficial: people look at your head. And the closest bunch of muscles to your face is your neck. And if you have a thick, muscular neck, you immediately look like a badass. It’s the only muscle group that’s visible when you’re wearing a suit or a coat. You want people to know you work out even if you’re bundled up in winter? Train your neck. There’s a reason “pencil neck” is an insult.

2) It’s life insurance

This is the muscle group that supports your damn head. It’s super important to have a strong, healthy neck. Boxers and martial artists train their necks to reduce the risk of whiplash and neck strain when they’re getting punched in the face, but if you ever travel by car, it’s a good idea for you, too. Whiplash sucks.

A strong neck has also been linked to a lower risk of concussion, which is why a lot of NFL athletes work the neck. We don’t need to say why neck injuries should be avoided at all costs. Stronger neck = lower injury risk.


3) Fewer headaches

Tension headache have a ton of causes, but there’s evidence that neck exercises can help to both relax and strengthen the muscles that might contribute to them.

4) Less neck pain

This might seem obvious, but a Danish study found that female desk workers who had been suffering from neck pain experienced a significant decrease in pain when they performed dedicated neck strengthening exercises as opposed to general, full-body exercises.

How to Strengthen Your Neck

So how do you strengthen your neck? There are over a dozen muscles in the neck and it’s a delicate area of the body, particularly if you’ve never worked it out before. Shrugs, one-armed rows, upright rows, reverse flyes, and lateral raises will help, but here are a few direct exercises.

Note that these are not exercises for attempting a 1-rep max. They’re movements best utilized with a relatively high rep range, say two or three sets of 15 to 20 reps. Keep the motion smooth and don’t rush through reps. Stretch downward, sideward, and rotationally before you get started.



Lie face up with your head off the side of a bench, put a light plate on your forehead — you might find it easier to put a towel in between them — and nod downward and upward.

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If you’ve got a neck harness, this is a great time to use it to lift your head back against resistance. If not, a resistance band or your hand can work.

Lateral flexion

Place your palm against your temple and try to touch your ear to your shoulder, pushing into your head for resistance. Do the same in the other direction.


With a resistance band or your hand, use gentle pressure to rotate your head in both directions.

There are some more specialized neck programs out there but for the average athlete, doing a few sets of these exercises each week should be enough to make a significant improvement in your neck strength and size.

This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image via @therock on Instagram.

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Could Weight Distribution Be the Reason You’re Missing Olympic Lifts?

Weightlifting technique is built off of cause and effect principles. Very simply put, when you push down, things move up. You push forwards, things move backwards. Unfortunately, we lose sight of basic physiological and biomechanical principles and become married to cues and ideas with no true validation behind them.

The main culprit of that tends to be weight distribution.

Weight distribution has become my focal point as a coach and lifter over the years. What I have found is that the most effective way to correct a myriad of technical flaws in the lifts is by adjusting where the foot is applying pressure into the floor. Conversely, it also means that many technical flaws in the lifts are caused by incorrect weight distribution and the inability for someone to correctly apply force into the ground to:

  • Maximize the force applied into both the floor and the barbell
  • Move the barbell correctly and vertically
  • Maximize stability in a variety of positions and squats
  • Move the body effectively around the barbell

I spent years as a novice lifter trying to figure out why I jumped forward, jumped backwards, made excessive hip contact without fully extending my knees, collapsed my chest during squats, shot my hips out while catching a clean, had difficulty performing “paused” reps, had bar-swing, had an early arm bend, etc., and the list goes on.

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For years, I spent hours and hours performing drills I watched on the internet attempting to correct each problem individually, and listening to the coaching cues of top level coaches as they yelled “HEELS!, STAY BACK!” to their lifters on the platform. As I started coaching more, I ran into the same problem. Prescribing drills and shouting cues with no avail. It occurred to me that I had no idea how to fix these issues.  

Something was fundamentally wrong with the movement, but the only thing we paid attention to was the outcome. The effect. So I decided to search for the cause.

Why Weight Distribution Is So Important

99% of weightlifting happens when the barbell is front of the lifter. The only time we have the barbell over the center of gravity is when we are overhead or back squatting. So, it is ESSENTIAL to have some pressure towards the front of the foot when moving. So often, I work with athletes who have been taught to eliminate all pressure on the toes, and to stay into the heels as much as possible in order to keep from being pulled forward.

Considering cause and effect, this makes no sense. The weight is attempting to pull you forward, similar to having a force applied to your back, pushing you forward. In order to counteract that force, you have to be able to push into the floor. This is virtually impossible to do without your whole foot applying pressure into the ground.

Don’t believe me? Try it. (You’ll need a partner)

1. Stand Up.
2. Shift your weight back to your heels and lift your toes off of the ground.
3. Have someone push you in the back attempting to push you forward.

Were you able to resist without putting your toes down or falling forward?

Chances are, the first thing you did was put your toes down and use the whole foot to apply pressure to the ground in an attempt to resist the force pushing you forward.

Try it again, but this time do this. 

1. Shift your weight forward until you feel your toes grab at the ground.  
2. Unlock your knees to flatten out your foot.
3. Have someone push you in the back attempting to push you forward.

Were you able to resist more effectively?  

This is indicative of applying pressure to create a cause that results in the intended effect. This example is especially similar to the jerk dip and drive, as lifters fanatically attempt to keep the weight in the heels, but inevitably dip into their toes because of it.

As we go through some very common technical errors, I will attempt to justify why you should be balanced through the middle of the foot, using the whole foot to apply force, and maximizing the pressure you can put into the floor.

Weight Distribution When Squatting

A very popular way of instructing an athlete into a squat is to “get your weight in your heels and sit back like you are sitting in a chair.”

Why this is incorrect is because in weightlifting, it is essential that we keep as MUCH of our body underneath the barbell as possible. By shifting our weight back and removing our hips from under the barbell, we become an inefficient squatter, resembling a folding chair or taco, whichever you prefer.

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This is especially essential in the transition to the squat in the snatch and clean. If the weight is shifted to the heels to move under the barbell, the effect is an inevitable shooting backwards of the hips, taking away resistance and stability of the barbell as it lands on our shoulders or overhead.  

Instead, center the weight behind the ball of the foot and drive your knees through the barbell.  Now you will be in position to use your whole foot to push against the ground, instead of ½ of it, maximizing the amount of pressure in the correct direction. All while keeping as much body under the barbell as possible.

Weight Distribution Throughout the Lifts

Many common errors in the snatch and clean are product of getting behind the bar too early and pulling the body away from the barbell, which causes many other issues (arm bending, a looping bar path, jumping backwards, etc).

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Many of these cannot be fixed with a drill. The fundamental flaw lies in the weight distribution. When your weight is in your heels, you are a puller, rather than a pusher, making it very challenging to keep your chest over the bar long enough to get a vertical drive at the top. So, while the “effect” may be a looping bar path, it’s not because you aren’t attempting to drive it vertically. You just physically can’t because your torso and head is already behind the bar.

It can be evident early on in the set-up, before the lift even begins when the lifter will gets into their start position, sits back so the shins are vertical, lifts the toes up, and gets all the weight into the heels. First thing that happens: shoulders come flying back, which is setting you up for disaster later in the lift.

Find mid-foot, push, and drive. Pull less: Push more.

Weight Distribution: The Jerk

This is where I see the most issues due to improper weight distribution. It is very evident when a lifter drives the bar forward, and you hear things like “getting into your heels” becoming “the way to do it.” Makes sense superficially, don’t want to move forward? Go backwards.

Unfortunately, like anything else at one extreme, the only direction to go is in the opposite. By having all the weight in the heels the instant the lifter decides to put effort into the ground to resist the barbell in the dip, or to drive the barbell upwards, then they will inevitably push into their toes.

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I chuckle every time I hear a coach yelling at the lifter to stay back and get in their heels, and watch the lifter drive the bar forward and run underneath it with a confused look on their face. “I stayed on my heels, coach and it still happened, I don’t get it!”  

You may have noticed that most of this discussion is arguing the benefit for NOT being so heel-heavy in our lifts. As stated before, extreme in any direction is less than beneficial. So, having TOO much pressure towards the front of the foot is not desired and will lead to the exact opposite effect, which is Jumping backwards, shifting the weight back into the heels as you transition to drive the bar, pulling you forward during the lift, and pushing you forward during the jerk.

The goal is to find the middle of your foot, which is the place where you can maximize pressure into the floor and create a stable body position that allows for you to be as solid as a rock under load, and during movement.

Wrapping Up

I encourage experimentation: They say there is no sound without silence.  

If anything else, experimentation gives you an opportunity to compare the feelings of each position, so you can adjust accordingly. Without knowledge of what these positions feel like, then making adjustments in your lifts is like playing darts blindfolded. You may hit the bullseye, but not because you meant to.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Feature image screenshot from @phillysab Instagram page. 

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