One of the biggest weightlifting cues that has been getting a lot of attention as of late is based around foot movement. When I first got started in weightlifting one of the major cues I was taught was to stomp my feet when I turned over under the bar. That cue has gotten a lot of negative publicity by coaches who ascertain that it teaches weightlifters to donkey kick and raise their feet too far off the platform.
I don’t disagree with this criticism. In some cases, the negative repercussion of teaching lifters to make a loud sound with their feet can cause unnecessary and inefficient elevation of the feet during the third pull. This is a problem for two reasons. Primarily, when the feet are in the air you are at the mercy of the barbell. Without my feet planted to the ground I am not able to apply force to the bar with my legs and thus am in a position where the force of the barbell outweighs the force I am able to apply to it. Secondly, if my feet rise that far from the platform it’s a simple waste of energy. It’s more work than is necessary.
All that being said, aggressive foot movement makes a noise. Don’t believe me? Watch Aimee Everett snatch or Caleb Ward snatch. Or for some international lifters check out Apti Aukhdov or Tatiana Kashirina. These phenomenal lifters have aggressive footwork and it’s clearly heard when you listen to their foot movement.
We all know the downsides to teaching aggressive foot stomps already. But what are the benefits? Are there any? I think there are three reasons that we should teach aggressive foot noise.
1. It forces the lifter to finish the second pull. You don’t get your feet off the ground and back to the ground aggressively without being aggressive in the second pull.
2. It forces the lifter to keep the bar close to their own center of gravity. If the bar is swinging out away from the lifter then the combined center of gravity is away from the lifter as well. This will likely force the lifter to land a little uneven in their feet. Likely in their toes first. This prevents any aggressive foot noise when landing. Thus forcing an aggressive foot sound at receiving can help bar track issues.
3. It ensures the lifter gets all of their foot on the ground at once. This is important because it allows for the lifter to absorb the weight of the barbell faster and more spread out across the surface area of the foot.
Therefore, don’t throw the cue out simply because it sometimes causes a bad habit. Instead, be a good coach and coach against the bad habit while still applying the benefits of the teaching cue.