Technique for More Weight: Hip and the Start

January 18, 2017


What is this all About:

When an athlete starts using the Olympic lifts they usually aim at one thing: Lifting More Weight.

This is a great goal. In fact, it is THE goal. However, often athletes don’t have the resources close to them to catch the “causes” of what is holding them back. Then they end up chasing the “symptoms.”

An example – Missing a lift forward is a “symptom.” Trying to stay back or pull back more isn’t always the best solution. The “cause” could easily be realizing that you’re out of position at the start, which is causing you to push the bar away at the hips!

My hope is that this monthly article will help you catch “causes” vs chasing “symptoms.”

How are we going to do it:

I’ve been doing this daily on the #projectliftreview on Instagram to help athletes who work really hard but just need a second eye. However, it is difficult to dive deep in 60 seconds. So, I’m going to be pulling in a case or two that I’ve seen through the #projectliftreview that month and break it down even more.

Let's Get Started:

Kicking this month off… let's look at a video sent over from a WOD Nation member.

A video posted by Drew Dillon (@drewdillon) on


As you watch through the video you’ll see that how Anna comes off the floor influences what happens at the hip in a big way! However, most of the feedback Anna was receiving was about how she was coming off the hip! I always tease that the start position is the least sexy part of the lift. Everyone wants to talk about the explosive change of direction off the hip. However, the start position is vital to how we reach the hip.

It is like launching a rocket at the moon… if we’re two degrees off from earth, how many degrees will we be off when we make it to the moon. The answer… A lot more than 2 degrees!

The start position is truly the one thing we have COMPLETE control over.

A Comparison Video

There have been a few videos I’ve reviewed truly to highlight how someone was moving well. Here is a lift from Buster where he nails a good start position and we see how he is able to hold positions from there through the lift.

A video posted by Drew Dillon (@drewdillon) on

You can see a big difference when we look at the above the knee position between the two athletes.

Anna has let the bar go forward to go around her knee and Buster has driven his legs letting the bar come with him. Anna ends up in a knee forward position where Buster ends up with the knee back and vertical shins.

Then from the above the knee position since Anna is already forward she now comes toward the weight shifting her whole body forward very early. Since Buster was in a good above the knee position he is able to open toward the hip without getting pulled forward.

All of this finally results in how the bar will come off the hip.

Anna is in a spot where she can make dramatic gains to her lifts if she allows herself to train the positions. I hope this helps.

Training the Positions

Finally, to wrap this up you might be asking how do I train the positions. It helps to know what specifically is going on in your lift. If you’re like Anna and you’re coming off the floor incorrectly than the process would be intentionally practicing the start position and moving from the start position to the above the knee position. Once you have that consistent then continue the movement to the hip.

To help with this issue Project Lift is developing a Free 3 Day Oly Position ChallengeIn the Challenge, I’ll walk you through these key positions and provide you a specific exercise to test them and then give you a specific solution to begin to correct them if needed. There is nothing more frustrating to me than an athlete who works hard and could easily be lifting more with a couple quick changes.

This is a guest post from Drew Dillon, head coach and co-founder of Project Lift during his lifting career as an athlete Drew placed as high as 4th at a USA Weightlifting Nationals and is a personal coach to 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold. He is also know as a weber grill snob and will routinely ask you "what is for dinner" during training. You can follow Drew on Instagram and YouTube.

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