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Why We Turn The Feet Out In The Pull
Greg Everett

Not a lot of people want to fight the turning out of the feet in the pull like they do in the squat, but just in case, here is a quick run down of why we want the feet turned out about 10-20 degrees relative to the centerline.
  1. The knees need to be pushed out in the starting position and first pull, and turning the feet out keeps the knees more aligned, although it's not necessary this alignment be perfect. The knees-out position allows the hips to move closer to the bar (creating a more upright posture).
  2. It's stronger. Glyadkovsky & Rodionov found that forcing lifters to pull with the feet straight forward reduced snatch and clean weights by 2.5-5kg.
  3. It allows the hips to move more naturally, meaning a better back arch and smoother pull from the floor.
Generally I have lifters turn their feet out to whatever degree they feel is natural and only intervene if it's less than about 10 or more than about 20 degrees, or their chosen stance is in some way causing a problem in another aspect of the lift. Some lifters will have the exact anatomical peculiarities than make a toes-forward stance appropriate—but they are few and far between, and it will be apparent in these cases that turning the feet out is creating problems.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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