Bar path is such a huge concern when referring to maximal lifts. Think of a back squat. The path of shortest distance is definitely the bar staying over the middle portion of your foot as you pass through the full range of the squat. I am referring to the hip passing beneath the knee, maintaining a neutral posture, and then returning to standing. This is not something that feels quite as urgent during sub maximal attempts, but it is definitely a focal point not to miss.
Imagine the bar moving forward of this slot. You can almost see the athlete’s weight shifting to the balls of their feet, and then having to resist the tendency to lose position of their back. The same can happen to the back if an athlete is squatting with their body weight in the heels and toes up off the ground the tendency is to fall over backwards due to the bar being placed behind the slot. These errors don’t always end up with an athlete falling down, but you can imagine the rise in difficulty, or you could say more energy is required to complete a lift being more than you really need to exert.
Eventually each athlete makes the journey to heavier weights and the ability to deviate from this slot will become increasingly limited. Weight can be an incredible coach and it can let you know that you are out of position. But, misses become costly to our bodies and to our mental game. Having success in a lift is a great reinforcement tool, but missing lifts doesn’t necessarily boost your confidence.
Remembering the tunnel concept comes in handy when talking about lifts. This consists of three parts. The start (on one end), the tunnel, and the finish (on the other end). Each lift begins with a starting position. This is a defined place. It is very clear where to put your body and what you should feel. Once you have accomplished this position then we have the tunnel. The tunnel is the hard part. What we think about as the main exertion. Think of this as the bar moving. After the tunnel, you have the finish. The finish is where you end the lift. Sometimes, as in the case of the squat, the start and the finish are the same. If you can start a lift well, you further increase your chances of finishing the lift well. There are other lifts such as the clean, that have a different start and finish position.
In the squat a huge part of the lift is keeping your whole foot on the ground. Balance from front to back has a whole lot to do with the success of keeping the bar safely on your shoulders, and keeping the bar in this slot. This brings tension into the conversation, which furthers the understanding of the lift, and furthers the athletes ability to develop.
A straight line is the shortest distance, and the least difficult path to make a lift. It’s much to your benefit to learn the ideal bar path and head for that. Granted theere are variations to this depending on movement, but stacking the deck in your favor before the lift can really help you out. Setup well and execute.
Complete 10 rounds for time of:
1 Clean (205/155)
3 Box Jumps (24/20)
5 Strict Pull Ups