Thursday, December 9, 2010

The ABC’s of Weightlifting, Part Five - Tommy Kono

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The ABC’s of Weightlifting, Part Five
by Tommy Kono (1969)

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The Area of Balance

The subject covered in this article may seem so basic it doesn’t require any explanation yet many times the most fundamental things are overlooked or forgotten while a more complicated manner is stressed. For this reason I am calling your attention to a basic law of lifting in the following paragraphs.

In lifting, the Area of Balance is created by the base of your feet. Any time the bar travels beyond this base, whether it is behind or in front, you have lost control of the barbell. When this happens THE BARBELL WILL CONTROL YOUR MOVEMENT if you want to save the lift.

The Area of Balance is between the middle of the heel bone and between the ball of the foot and the first joint of the big toe. The Area of Balance is the shaded portion in the accompanying drawings. With the feet pointed straight ahead and parallel to each other, you have a greater fore and aft area (figure A) as compared to the feet angled outwards (figure B). This is one of the reasons why lifters who use the lay-back technique of pressing keep their feet parallel to each other – for a greater fore and aft movement of the hips in pressing and for maintaining good balance while the weight travels outward.

The barbell is not like a Yo-Yo where you can throw it away from you and pull it back with a snap of the wrist. If you weigh 150 pounds and you swing a 300 pound barbell (or for that matter a 200 pound one) away from you, you will end up traveling forward with the barbell if you want to regain control of it.

In all your lifting, whether it be pressing, cleaning, snatching or dead lifting (study figures 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively), keep the bar traveling within the Area of Balance for maximum efficiency. Think that the bar must travel within the column of air space created directly above the area your feet cover.

In pulling, keep in mind that for every forward or backward movement of he barbell out of the Area of Balance it means you are LOSING the height of the pull in direct proportion to the distance the bar travels out of the Area of Balance. Naturally, in the press, if the bar travels out of the Area of Balance in competition, you’ve lost the lift since you will have to take a step to regain your balance under the weight.

Figures C and D illustrate the correct and incorrect way in maintaining your balance over the Area of Balance. In figure “C” the actual balance is placed on the ball of the feet which is the correct technique. With this technique you have better control of your body movement. In handbalancing it is termed the “over-balance” technique. By having your balance on the balls of the feet you are able to “grip” the floor with your feet. In figure “D” you see the balance centered approximately in the middle of the Area of Balance and this leaves you very little control. This type of balance is akin to a boxer being caught flat-footed.

Series made possible with the help of
Regis Becker and Reuben Weaver.

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