The Point of Explosion

By Mike Burgener

In Coaching, Olympic Lifts, Videos

October 04, 2011

Video Article

At the 2011 Summer Affiliate Gathering in Big Sky, Mont., Olympic-lifting expert Mike Burgener shares his coaching insight into the set-up and take-off positions.

Proper set-up is crucial.

“The problem is most people with the high hips are pulled forward off the ground,” he says.

The proper set-up is hips above knees, shoulders ahead of the bar, weight distributed on the balls of the feet with feet flat on the ground and knees out. From there, Burgener says, you sweep the bar back as you push your feet down and extend your legs.

“That will give me the mechanical advantage that I need to explode,” he says.

Having your hips too high and weight in the heels in the set-up leads to being pulled forward with the bar, he says.

“I can’t feel the transition back to where I need to be to be explosive,” he says.

According to Burgener, because the bar is trying to pull you forward, you need to stay back—but your set-up needs to be on the balls of your feet.

“From the balls of the feet I immediately shift back,” he says. “I want to feel the sweep.”

He continues: “That take-off position right there is critical. That’s where it starts the acceleration process.”

5min 28sec

Additional reading: The Burgener Warmup by Mike Burgener and Tony Budding, published Jan. 1, 2007.

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10 Comments on “The Point of Explosion”


wrote …

Coach B. is looking pretty yoked!! If I look like that at his age, this crossfit stuff will have paid off.


wrote …

Great instructional series. Keep 'em coming.


wrote …

Off the subject but did you see the awesome mountains in the background? What a place for some Crossfit.


wrote …

Loved seeing this addressed. In my office I teach a "higher" (relative) hip position with DL and o-lifting because most of the lower skill people I see squat their DL. However, I have had some deep, spirited, and highly conceptual conversations with the higher skill people regarding the hip position. From what coach B presented, can I make the assumption that the hip starting position is secondary to proper movement into the position of explosion? In other words, slight variations in hip starting position doesn't matter as long as you move to a good position for explosion?


wrote …

What I take from this is that the purpose of the first pull, is to position the bar properly (roughly mid-thigh, extended spine,slight bend in knee) so the lifter can perform the best 2nd pull possible. The nice hangover position requires good posture and flexible hammies; hard for many lifters.
I wish I could be coached outdoor in the sunshine....


wrote …

thx for the vid.. really needed the instruction


wrote …

Great video, that helps a lot. I also loved the dog at the end, looking around going "what the hell are these people talking about?"


replied to comment from Christopher Kamper

Yeah, that's a great dog.


replied to comment from Jared Van Anne

Jared, I think you can make that assumption, but don't forget that hip position and weight distribution on the foot are related and that impacts your bar path. You have to keep the bar coming back into you, and some people find that easier without the weight transition from mid-foot to heels. They just start with the weight back on the heel (lower hip)because it is easier to learn. I can't comment on how that impacts moving heavy weights.


wrote …

Oh yea, great video, always love to hear from Coach B.

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