Preserving The Back Angle Off The Floor


If any of you had the time to watch the analysis comparing Matt Bruce’s and my snatch technique earlier in the week, then you noticed that one of the significance differences between he and I off the floor is the consistency in his back angle and how firm his back remained.  The difference was easily seen in the side-by-side view.  However, the question that follows an analysis like that is what am I doing about the problem?  What am I doing to make my back angle to look more like Matt’s?

The exercises are simple.  Pulls from the floor with pause and isometric holds at weak points as well as tempo returns and tempo concentric movement.  The problem with these movements is that if I continue to repeat the poor back position and the change of back angle then the work I put in will have less impact.

Thus, it is important that I keep a couple of things in mind when working off the floor.  One of my biggest struggles is not engaging my back muscles and keeping them tight throughout the entire movement.  I tend to tighten my back at the start and allow it to flex as the bar leaves the ground.  Oftentimes, consistent focus on the back staying tight will help my back be more stable to the hips.  Secondly, I often will neglect to bring my shoulders up with my hips.  One of the better cues I have used as of late was given to me by Stan Luttrell over Christmas.  He said for me to focus on “standing tall” and “jumping down.”  The idea of standing tall helps me to lead with my shoulders, keeping my chest up  and back angle consistent.  I want my sternum to lead the way and stay facing the wall in front of me throughout the lift.  This helps me to push hard with my legs without compromising my back angle or stability.  Another cue that helps is to think about someone attaching strings to my shoulders and pulling me up by my shoulders off the floor.

Tomorrow I am going to post some videos of different exercises I utilize and Ursula is utilizing to help strengthen me in these positions.


6 responses to “Preserving The Back Angle Off The Floor

  1. Hey Spencer,

    I’m a friend of Tia Wrights, she recommended me subscribe to your blog for good coaching advice. It’s been more than helpful so far, and I really appreciate the material everyday.

    With that said, I have a question about this post. I’ve always been told personally and I’ve always cued my athletes to maintain a consistent back through the knees, but I found myself wondering today why? Obviously raising the hips early and loading the hamstrings early will produce power at the wrong places. And it seems like raising the hips early will exaggerate at big horizontal hip pop instead of vertical.

    I’m wondering if there are other reasons or what the primary reason is for maintaining your back angle?

    Derek Rampersaud CFBF Co-Owner 541.602.9177


    • both of your assertions are correct. the other answer is that raising your hips puts your back under undue tension that isn’t necessary. keeping a consistent back angle allows your legs to handle the load while your back remains stable rather than your back bearing more load than it needs to.

  2. Coach.. I’m having the very same problem, so I’ll be eager to see your video analyses. Thanks for listing the mental cues. Gonna try them today.

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