Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flat on my feet.

It's become obvious to me that my ideal position for both squatting and pulling motions( and this includes the swings) is flat on my feet. It is not on my heels alone. This is the same problem I had in the squat when I was fighting to use the wide stance squat instead of what is my natural strong postition, a close stance flat foot posture.
Same with the deadlift and when I sit back too much, especially at the start, I'd scoop under and lose my hips, not engage them more.Only when I lean into it first do my hips engage well. I have a very strange lumbo pelvic rythym ; not only from gymnastics but from the early straight leg landings and compression injuries.
This is holding true for my kb swings and snatches too and I HAVE to remember it and NOT fight it.Get and stay flat on my feet, remember it!

One arm swings

32 kgx10/10 x10 sets
200 reps
14,400 lbs.

this felt good from the start and then when I realized that staying flatter on the foot put my hips in a much better position to extend hard when it was time my power and the bell height went up dramatically. I also have to really focus on getting this position when I snatch on Monday.It should make a huge difference.

H2H Transfers
144 reps
7632 lbs

total tonnage
344 reps
22,032 lbs Pr.

these were actually easy after the 32 kg work and using the new position.Not fighting myself.

Snatch Holds
24 kg x60 sec x 2 sets

These were HARD,especially as I had been doing stick shoulder extensions between sets and my triceps were cooked! LOL. I love these extensions and found a way to do them in the rack to ensure that the stick stays level and square as it gets higher.
Also took some video of Nick doing the shoulder extension so everyone can see what REAL shoulder tightness is,lol.
And, no surprise, Nick has had an AC joint, bicep tendon issue for a long well as some really tight radiobrachialis. He has some work to do.

Heres some video of Nick doing his stick stretches. Nick has a great sense of humor.

datsit, staying loose.


Franz Snideman said...

that's alot of hand to hand transfers!

Nice Rif!

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks franz, I was really amazed how easy they were. the 24 felt very light after 200 with the 32.

Geoff Neupert said...

Rif, there's good reason for the "flat on the feet" pull and squat: It's the "natural" way to do those things. By encouraging people to sit back on their heels, we've disengaged the ankle joint in the lifts and unwittingly disengaged the hamstrings and glutes, which of course is why people are supposed to get "into the heels," right? But it's a short-term fix to a long term problem: immobility. I've showed this to all my clients and to two strongmen now--one pro and one amatuer and both have been blown away by the results of this "new" technique along with proper head position.

If you fail to do this and "look up" and "sit back into the heels," you end up with lumbar spine problems in the long run--kinda like that picture of you deadlifting...

I/We should write an article on this...

Mark Reifkind said...

very interesting geoff.also that when I sit back and push just through my heels its always hurts my back!

Tim Anderson said...

Most of my clients end up flat footed when i tell them to put their weight on their heels instead of their toes. It would be hard for them to pull up their toes while swinging. I let it ride because there form looks good. If the foot is flat and the shins are near verticle, i'll take it. Ofcourse, i train some "swing challenged" people.

Mark Reifkind said...


I am coming to believe that as long as the hips are the main driver using the quads( breaking at the ankle a bit)as shock absorbers( as tracy says) and using 'bone rythym' as Geoff talks about makes sense. it keeps the weight over the base better as well as shorters the lever arm of the femur.If one has a long femur such as I ( cruel joke huh, 29" inseam and a 15" femur)keeping the weight closer also makes sense.
more to work on.

Aaron Friday said...

I discovered the flat foot is important in Taijiquan as well. One thing I came up with is imagining each foot has four corners, and each corner stays pressurized. Doing this, knees always track correctly, the body roots properly and relaxes more deeply, and chi flows better.

Iron Tamer said...

I find that telling peoeple to drive through the heels gets the to push flat footed 90% of the time. If I tell them to push flat footed, they rock ofrward on their toes.

Royce said...

Rif, man you did some volume on those transfers. Very cool. It's really hard to read training blogs when I can't do it BTW. Sucks actually.

Aaron as soon as I can again I'm going to try that four corners method. Sounds interesting.

Mark Reifkind said...


thats good to know. I often have clients swing with the toes up if they cant keep on the heel and shift too hard to the toes.people still want to shift the shin forwards. With my knee even if I push it forward it doesnt want to go,lol.

Tim Anderson said...


I guess it's literally different strokes for different folks, or different swings for different bodies!

Anonymous said...

I like the different angle for your swing vid. You can really see your use of leverage for your body type...and thanks for posting the stick stretches with explaination, always educational... I like Aaron's comment about the foot as "four corners," too. I'll give that a visualization next time I DL.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks sara,

nicks was noticing that I was scooping on some reps and I wanted to see it from his angle.I cant beleive how much this simple stretch has helped my biceps tendon and elbow tightness so quickly.betweent that and the overhead stick press my shoulder feels and moves 100% better than just a few weeks ago.

Brett Jones said...

Just a thought - Think of getting taller at the top of the swing - should help your lockout and top position - BTW can you straighten your left knee?
If not that may be why Nick catches you scooping - hard to lock the hips if the knee will not straighten.

Geoff et al - so the cue might be to push through the middle of the foot?

Mark Reifkind said...

the left knee still is missing 10 plus degrees of extension and this shows up most with the two poods.lots of tke for the leg at the top but still challenging.
I like the tall spine idea, it should help, thanks.
I think I scoop when I sit back on my heels,I get out of phase to exert downward force and the scoop is an attempt to forward shift my center of mass over my base.
when I planted on the whole foot I didnt scoop.
I think to use the left knees extension as the guide for total extension, what do you think?

Brett Jones said...

I think you are getting pushed back toward your heels by your non-extending knee - and it may not be a bad idea to use the left knee as an extension guide (just don't lose any on the right knee).
Planing on the whole foot should work great in combination with getting tall at the top of the swing.
Let me know.

Mark Reifkind said...


if I use the left knee as a guide it will be impossible not to subtract the same degree of missing extension or I will end up lopsided.I tend to kind of split the difference :))
swinging today flat footed was a revelation. way way better and I had heels and front foot contact. much more stable.
as usual I am backwards with everything.