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Unweighting: A Universal Concept by Dr. Nicholas Romanov - CrossFit Journal

Unweighting: A Universal Concept

By Dr. Nicholas Romanov

In Coaching, CrossFit Endurance, HD Videos, Running

October 04, 2012

Video Article

At the recent CrossFit Tour stop in Big Sky, Mont., Dr. Nicholas Romanov worked to improve Dan Bailey’s running and his snatches to illustrate how unweighting can be applied to all movements.

Bailey, who finished sixth at this year’s CrossFit Games, is a former college sprinter whose best 400-meter time was 47 seconds.

In this video, the Pose Method creator watches Bailey run and offers advice: less effort. Romanov demonstrates his point by having Bailey do hang snatches with an empty bar.

“I cannot do anything with my body if I’m weighted,” Romanov explains.

More efficient running will mean more efficient weightlifting, he adds.

Games General Manager Justin Bergh explains it simply: “You unweight and you change pose.”

A quick study, Bailey learns how to unweight his body in both his running and his snatching after just one session with Romanov.

“Easy” is how Bailey describes snatching afterward. “Almost like coasting down.”

15min 40sec

HD file size: 351 MB
SD wmv file size: 187 MB
SD mov file size: 95 MB

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Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 207 by Justin Judkins, published Jan. 19, 2012.

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30 Comments on “Unweighting: A Universal Concept”


wrote …

Would be nice to see a follow up with Dan, to see if there was a breakthrough in his PR by focusing on unweighting.


wrote …

What a great concept. I have been missing the concept of unweighting and the result is that I get tired from just moving the bar because my muscles end up just as fatigued as if I had substancial weight on it.
If I can carry this over to toes-to-bar my WOD would have been so much easier today!


replied to comment from Nick Myhre

Unweighting is just a cue. At the end of the day you have to get the bar high enough to get under it. And that requires the production of force. Just as the difference between high level sprinters is their ability to deliver force through the ground. Maybe Romanov perceives it as "unweighting". That isn't what is happening, however.


replied to comment from Thomas Davenport

its confusing now i thought it was just about how unweighting the body makes it easier to move into the next postion?


wrote …

What I want to see is real improvement in numbers. Get an athlete to run their best 800m/400m/200m/100m, or whatever; then get Romanov to work his "magic"; then retest the athlete over the same distance. It's impossible to know whether Dan made any improvement or not without some actual distance and time comparisons.


replied to comment from andrew davies

I think that is the whole point of the video.
I am no physics expert, but your apparent weight is the force the ground applies to your feet in response mass x gravity. So at the point in the lift (or movement) when your feet are no longer pressing into ground your apparent weight is zero, hence the term unweighted.
What I get from the video is that this moment is the best time to change pose.

With regards heavier lifts your technique for generating the upward force on the mass will dictate if the bar is high enough when you reach the 'unweighted point' so that you can get under (change pose). With a light weight you don't want to generate so much upward force that you end up too jumping high.


wrote …

It's hard to tell whether or not Romanov is a genius or absolutely insane. It's as if he drank 3 cups of coffee and a bottle of red wine right before filming this video.


replied to comment from Nick Myhre

Since Big Sky my 'easy mile' times on a long run have come down from 7:45 to 7:30's and when fresh 7:15-7:20 and I attribute it to the techniques he promotes. I haven't changed anything else other than what he showed in this video. I plan on running in a few indoor and outdoor track meets this year in the 100 and 200 to see if there are any changes in those times as well. I still am applying a large amount of force into the ground to get the desired result but the unweighting that complements this is where the cues and coaching have made the improvement.


wrote …

Thank you to Dan Bailey for posting! I have been working with Dr. Romanov for over 10 years- he is not crazy, genius, yes- he just has a different style. Unweighing is about using less muscular efforts in all of your movements from running to lifting. If it can work for Dan, imagine what it will do for you and your athletes!


wrote …

i love it! amazing! outside the box!


First off Dan, really impressive work capacity and dedication... that is awesome. It's really great when athletes put themselves up for 'critique' and to then watch the coach athlete interaction/cues and transformation. It took me a while to 'get the concept' (not as quick a study as Justin and Jordan ;-) )but it was very clear your physical movement 'freed' once you shifted your 'mind/body' to Dr. Romanov's 'unweighting' approach. I'll be testing it out soon.

In the meanwhile, if you could, please share how long (time/distance) you are able to hold 'the pose technique' and perhaps video of how the unweighting changes your form and #s on olympic lifts and WODS that require efficient olympic movements. Thanks so much Dan and Dr. Romanov... great contribution.


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Best instructional video I've seen since A Language to Diagnose pt. 2.

Great work to both Dan and Dr. Romanov. As with many others, I hope there are more videos to come. If possible, some visual cues pointing to exactly what I should be looking for when coaching an athlete to unweight.

Thanks again


replied to comment from Chris Garay

HAHA! Same thoughts exactly


wrote …

The clips were very short, but I thought Dan was overstriding a bit in the "before", and the cues of "unweighting" seemed to improve the situation by the end of the video. Since overstriding requires more energy (to overcome the braking effect), it makes sense that Dan would feel like his running efficiency improved.


replied to comment from Chris Garay

I totally agree....


wrote …

I'm confused, I thought I should stay tight during an o-lift? How does the Hollow Body concept work with it?


wrote …

Clearly the best part of the video was the Arnie impression.


replied to comment from Chris Garay

I've met him, he is always like that.


wrote …

It's like watching Borat coach someone... i can't focus...


The hollow body principle is basically eliminating as many variables as possible in the midline and throughout the body during a movement.
You can still maintain integrity of the spine and unweight using the shoulders.


wrote …

I don't get the unweighting principle... I need simple cues in English.

Can anyone offer those? Thank you :-)


wrote …

I am new to CrossFit and a former collegiate decathlete and current H.S. T&F coach. I have been attempting to coach this type of technique to me athletes. To get them to think about doing their movements with less effort I have been telling them to "do it like you're doing it for TV," among other cues. There was and still is so much I don't understand. I realize that as a seasoned athlete there are just some things that I now naturally do because of solid coaching and years of repetition. I simply expected my kids to do what I was able to do. I'm 30 and haven't competed in 9 years. After watching this video though, I now have the cues to be able to further assist my kids in effortless movements. Thanks!


replied to comment from Peter Evans

I use different terms when coaching but I think they mean the same. Maybe this will help you. I call the point in the lift where you "change poses" or "drop under the bar" or "the third pull" as the" moment of weightlessness" or "when the bar is in flotation". Just when those elbows cannot get any higher and outside. The split second before the bar starts coming back down is when it is "unweighted". Hope that helps.

Good video even though some are confused. But in the end, the best cue is whichever works and Romanov's seem to work for Mr. Bailey.


I, along with Brian Hassler who posts on these boards often, coach Track & Field at our local high school as well. It is certainly difficult to portray the Pose method to a larger group of young kids. We just basically pick one component to work on every day and try to keep them focussed on that. For instance, if we notice many people were heel striking in the previous day's workout, we will spend a majority of the time allotted for Pose drills to work on ball-of-foot perception.

We are still experimenting with a lot of stuff though


replied to comment from Rick Blain

I was thinking Bruno, but yeah, I feel the same way.


replied to comment from Thomas Davenport

Great video. Unweighting is key to utilising power! Learn to shift body weight and the rest is much easier.

It is common to think unweighting is a simple concept but as we see in this video (from an elite cross-fitter) it still can be learnt and improved over time.


wrote …

That is a great concept and can be used in many variations.


wrote …

I think the relativity of unweighting in olympic lifts is relatively understood already and has many cues... The genius is using the same concept in running, as well as every other movement.


wrote …

My 11 year old picked it up in 5 minutes. Don't think too hard about Mr. Romanov--just TRY it.


wrote …

Extremely interesting!

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