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Individualisation combined with text book technique =YOU!

“Hey, you’re doing it wrong!”, so he tells you. If you’re an advanced or elite lifter, there is no such thing as you’re doing it wrong, and don’t let anyone (especially a coach) tell you otherwise.

To illustrate my point, let us focus on few Olympic weightlifters and their individualised habits that make them unique. Take for example the Pocket Hercules Naim Suleymanoglu from Turkey and the way he yanks at the bar before his first pull off the platform. Then if that was not enough, watch how he dips slightly forward and jerks the bar forward, only to chase it by pushing his torso forward (ahead/in front of the bar) to compensate for the above head misalignment. Both of these techniques are individualised and work perfectly for him. Will you tell him it’s not text book lifting and have him work on changing it? I wouldn’t.

You also have Behdad Salimi from Iran, briefly breaking the bar off the platform, setting it back down before he begins with the actual lift. Granted he tried this maneuver out back in the 2011 World Championships during the snatch lifts, and then abandoned it, even though he broke the world snatch record at that meet with a lift of 214kg. He broke it again last year in Rio with a lift of 216kg, and snatched an unofficial 220kg in training.

I’ll stop with Dmitry Klokov (and myself), we both have an uneven foot position when lifting. We both place our left foot slightly ahead of our right one, and it feels just perfect that way. Any other way (the correct and even way) feels really awkward and wrong. Will you tell us to even our feet positioning out? I don’t think so. I’m not and have never reached the same elite level Dmitry has, however we share the same individualised technique that makes us feel right at home, even when it's wrong by any text book measuring standard.

I’m in no way suggesting you go on emulating this technical “errors” of the champions, but it’s important to recognise that once you have reached the level of intermediate/advance/elite in your sport, then these “wrong” behaviours may become an integral part of your own individual technique.

Beginners ought to be taught text book technique in order to formulate a foundation from which they can build upon. It’s only when a coach recognises that a lifter is being consistently constant with a particular habit, and that habit is actually helping with the lift instead of causing a hindrance that results in failed attempts, then a clever coach would simply let that “constant error” go, whilst focusing his attention on what the lifter really needs to make his training more productive and his lifts even more successful.

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Active member
I recall a thread on another forum where some of Markos' lifters were criticised for form while the weight being moved was completely ignored, some of the critics were nowhere near the numbers shown.

Winning ugly is still winning.