Rudy, Winchester, and I arrived in Austin TX today to start camp #2 at Crossfit Central Downtown. We started the camp with a bang tonight watching PR after PR happen in the night lifting session. However, one of the biggest things I noticed in the athletes lifting tonight was the feet placement. Many of them glued their feet to the ground and did not move them throughout the lift. This is ludicrous if you consider your difference in foot position when you pull and when you squat.
I ALWAYS tell my athletes to put their feet directly under their hips when they start a lift. This allows for the greatest direct application of power vertically in the first and second pull. If the feet are directly under the hips then the power applied through the foot moves directly vertical into the hips and thus into bar speed. You pull from this position because it grants you the greatest amount of power applied.
However, you squat from a different foot position. We squat with our feet just slightly (like 2 inches) wider than our hips. This allow for a couple different mechanical advantages. Firstly, it allows us to get our hips in between our heels when we squat. This is important as it allows for both a deeper squat and more glute activation in the standup. Secondly, a slightly wider stance allows the knees to push out a little wider when standing. This forces the glutes to activate and keeps the hips under the shoulders when squatting. Since a vertical torso is super important to the Olympic lifts it is pivotal to get the feet out to a squatting stance when you lift.
All your squats should be performed from the same foot position and all your pulling should be from the same foot position BUT they should be different. Therefore, the feet must move during the lifts or one of the positions is wrong. On top of that, foot movement is a indicator for the finishing of the second pull and prevents (in most cases) over-rotation of the shoulders behind the bar in the second pull.
The three best examples I can give you off good foot movement are here:
For some longer more in depth description of this read Greg’s articles on it: