Glenn Pendlay: Common Weightlifting Mistakes

Glenn Pendlay uses the snatch to demonstrate weightlifting mistakes that beginning lifters often make.

Let’s go ahead and put the bars down. I want to have Jon demo two or three mistakes that are fairly widespread.

Number one, we want to initiate the movement with the legs. Sure, the arms are going to bend or else the bar’s going to go clear out wide.

I’m not really worried about the bar path right now, but what we do want is to make sure the initial movement is supplied by the legs. Go ahead and show them. Go kind of slow but start with the legs.

Bend your knees first, and then initiate with the legs.

Go. Legs move first. There you go.

See? His legs move first.

Now go ahead and start with a little bit of arm pull before your legs move. This is what a lot of you are doing. It’s not illegal to bend your arms. Again, that’s part of the lift and they almost have to bend as the bar comes up your stomach and chest, but we want to start with legs.

Do it right one more time. There you go.

Second thing, we want the foot coming back to the platform and the bar going into the locked position to happen at the same time or as close as possible. I want you to watch Jon do this one more time, and I want you to notice that this happens at the same time:

Elbows lock, the foot stomp, boom.

What’s happening with a lot of you is that your elbows are slow. That’s normal for beginners. It’s very normal. You’re doing something more like this: boom, then boom. Stomp, then elbows. You want it to be one motion.

Go ahead and show one more time. You see the bar goes into position, the feet hit the platform, all at the same time.

The other thing is the head. When he hits that position and his arms lock, the chin is stuck forward. You’re not looking up like this, you’re not looking down, but have your chin out. You have your head not tucked back like this, not looking up, not looking down, but out.

Go ahead and show them your head position, Jon. There you go.

Everybody practice those things and see if we can’t correct some of those mistakes, then we’ll move on.


Interested in more from Glenn Pendlay—a top US Olympic weightlifting coach who has coached his lifters to over 100 national championships.
He shares this level of experience in this live workshop video, Olympic Weightlifting Techniques.
Coach Pendlay weightlifting lecture

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