The Stance

By Mike Burgener

In Coaching, Olympic Lifts, Videos

July 14, 2011

Video Article

Before a lift, you have all the time in the world to put your athlete in the correct stance. Once the athlete squeezes the bar off the ground, you’re out of the picture and the athlete has to find the receiving position on his or her own.

Ideally, the receiving position is the same every time, which will produce consistent mechanics required for successful lifts. In reality, athletes have trouble landing where they should, which changes the lift and often results in a miss.

The cure is in practice—perfect practice.

In this session, Coach Mike Burgener drills his athletes on footwork mechanics, dealing with donkey kicks, wide landings and all the other faults that can get in the way of a perfect Olympic lift. Once the proper landing position is ingrained in each athlete, he or she has a great foundation from which to receive the snatch, clean or push jerk, or to perform the back squat, front squat or overhead squat.

“Jump! Check your feet! Squat!”

11min 36sec

Additional reading: Burg’s Eye View No. 2 by Mike Burgener, published Dec. 8, 2010.

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12 Comments on “The Stance”


wrote …

Right on Coach. Not to be blasphemous, but at times I wonder about the form we are using to hit these times when doing a WOD "as prescribed". When you work on form your times suffer, but over time with good form your time and strength improve. Thanks for the video.



wrote …

Coach B brings up the dreaded 'butt wink', my questions is...when's the 'Butt Wink Solution' tutorial coming out? If you search the boards you get lots of opinions on how to solve it but I'd love to hear Coach B's.


wrote …

"Perfect practice makes perfect," is easier said then done. I have little experience with the Oly lifts and zero experience being coached. So is there any sense at all in doing a WOD with snatches or cleans and/or jerks if you have not nailed the technique? But then again crossfit endorses technique first, then consistency, before adding intensity with all movement.

The basics are just what I need. Why learn something as complicated as the snatch if you don't take the time to learn it correctly. By practicing perfectly (quality not quantity) I'm sure I'll see better results, but I still get bored and a little frustrated sometimes just working technique at this early learning stage.

Patience and crossfit seem an odd combination, but I guess it has its place.


wrote …

William: this is some pretty good stuff on fixing the lumbar curve problem, (WFS)

Harrison, I usually have new people drill the snatch with pipe to work on mechanics then substitute either tuck jumps or vertical MB throws (Start with the MB on the ground between your feet and throw it as high as you can) in the WoD to get them explosively opening their hips. Once they can Hang-power snatch safely, they sub that then progress through Power snatches, and finally full snatchs. It usually only takes a few sessions to get someone to a hang-power snatch, but I still sometimes work the tuck jumps and MB throws until they can HP snatch heavy enough to effectively load their hips. Hope this helps.



wrote …

When receiving in the squat position, aren't you still supposed to keep your knees behind your toes? In that video I saw what I thought would be considered really bad squat form at the bottom. Are the rules different here? Or am I just wrong?


wrote …


In olympic lifting (and front squatting), your knees should track in front of your toes when you receive the bar (ie when you're at the bottom of your squat). keeping the knees back behind the toes is more applicable to back squatting and certainly box squatting. but when the bar is overhead or to the front, your torso must be a lot more upright, and in order to keep the bar directly overhead, this means the knees must travel out over the toes.

at least that's how i understand it.


wrote …

I just watched again the exercise demos for snatch, snatch balance, and overhead squats. I saw knees get about even with toes, but never in front. Is that what you see?

I really want to do this correctly - so I can "practice perfect." Thanks.


wrote …

michael, alex is correct. you want to see the proper form, send me an e mail at: and i will forward you several pix of oly lifters placing the knees beyond their toes. the more angle of the shin forward over the toes the more upright the torso becomes. in my certs i say to my athletes: BRING ME YOUR HIPS!!! which is really saying move your knees to the front. when that happens feel the torso move upright.

the butt wink i have found n my lifters is caused by poor hamstring flex. we use the seated good morning stretch of the hammies as well as floor good mornings for this stretch. again send me a e mail and i will send pix.

i love these comments.....good work!!


wrote …

I love this video about the stance. thanks coach B.


wrote …

Thank you, Coach.


Chris Sinagoga wrote …


Just a quick question, are the knees tracking beyond the toes still ok for multiple/high rep workouts? Because it is my understanding that the knee tracking too far over the toe is bad positioning.


Craig Hysell wrote …

Coach B,

2:54 to 4:35: OUTSTANDING!!!

Craig Hysell
CrossFit Hilton Head

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