View Full Version : Lat use and ussian style lifting

Tosca Mulder
07-15-2014, 03:30 AM
Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone knows what to do with the lats while lifting a weight overhead. I have learned to really turn my elbows up thus keeping the shoulders low, which is very hard for me in an overhead squat because of upper back mobility issues. However, it stabilizes the upper back and feels good. Other people say you have to use your shoulders, to push your shoulders up. This would make it easier but I doubt this technique is safe in the long run.

I was also examining the Russian technique and there is no 'double knee bend' at all. Should the first and second pull be an aggressive deadlift?

Thanks in advance,


Blake Barnes
07-15-2014, 10:38 AM
The focus for overhead stability is going to be the upper back rather than the lats. The lats will be tight (along with the rest of the back) to maintain and active and stable overhead position. I don't know exactly what you mean when you say "elbows up" in the overhead position. You want the shoulders packed down, not up, with the shoulder blades squeezed together.

As far as the Russian technique goes, I'm not a Russian weightlifter so I can't speak for their technique but I agree, the "Double Knee Bend" is very slight although I wouldn't call it an aggressive deadlift. You still want to explosively drive against the platform.

Greg Everett
07-15-2014, 10:44 AM
Think of squeezing the top inside edges of your shoulder blades together in the overhead position - this will achieve retraction, some upward rotation and very slight elevation. Definitely don't shrug your shoulders up.

RE double knee bend - the higher up the thigh a lifter initiates the explosion (second pull), the more subtle it will be, and consequently it often goes unnoticed. Some people will say they don't double knee bend, but really they just mean they don't intentionally do it (which they shouldn't) or think they don't (which they do). It's a natural reaction to the movement as a whole, and the name is misleading, because the knees shouldn't actually rebend - they really just stop extending momentarily as they shift forward, and then continue extending.

Tosca Mulder
07-15-2014, 12:59 PM
Thank you Greg and Blake!

By 'turning the elbows up' I mean externally rotating the shoulder blades. I guess that is what you describe as well. I am doing plenty of (back, front is still impossible) Sotts presses which are extremely hard for me to do and leave me exhausted (: so that should make me some more flexible and comfortable in the overhead position.

Is it a bad thing not catching snatches and cleans in the bottom position yet because of limited flexibility? Or should I just 'do it'?


I quess this is a very good Russian weightlifting documentary for anyone interested in Russian-style lifting. Besides, you might pick up some Russian words (trying to learn the language myself atm)!


Blake Barnes
07-22-2014, 11:02 AM
I would go for receiving the bar as deep as you can while still maintaining an upright torso position. The more you lift and work on your mobility, the lower you will be able to go.