How to Choose Your Tempo Off the Floor in Olympic Lifting
Written by Sage Burgener

The cool thing about Olympic lifting, aside from everything, is the ability to be creative with technique. We all have different body types, which means that there are certain technical tweaks that can help us be as efficient as possible on an individual basis.

There are a lot of points that we can touch on with this idea, but today our focus is on tempo off the floor.

Throughout the years, I’ve seen lots of different speeds and styles on the first pull from athletes all around the world. I’ve seen the “grip and rip”, the “oh my gah he/she is going so slow there is no way they’re going to get that overhead”, and the standard medium, smooth, fluid tempo.

There have been many athletes that have performed any one of these pulls and have proven to be extremely successful! So, who am I to say what is right or wrong?

For the sake of this blog post, let’s just assume that I know everything and we’ll focus on beginners and what I feel to be most successful for 90% of that population.

My rule of thumb is: however fast you go off the floor, you need to go even faster through the middle.

So, if you go really fast off the floor, you need to be prepared to jump with everything you have…creating more momentum past the hips. Ironically, when an athlete hears that rule, they seem to naturally slow down their initial pull.

The great thing about moving a little slower off the floor is that it tends to be easier to make sure that proper positions are hit and it seems to be easier to stay tight! A “grip and rip” style can pull our midline or lats out of position and causes our butt to shoot up, and/or we rush through the below the knee, launch, mid thigh positions, creating a less controlled, chaotic movement.

Give yourself the opportunity to really feel where the bar is in relation to your body by slowing down your initial pull and your basic understanding of the movement as a whole will increase.

With that being said, you don’t have to go deathly slow to the point where you’re feeling that you’re trying to go from 0-60 once you go to jump. Choose your initial speed off the floor with the intent of steadily increasing in tempo the higher the bar gets. Not too fast. Not too slow.

Figure out what fluidity off the floor feels like for you as an individual athlete! You get to be creative!

Also Check Out…

A Case Against Mixed Grip Deadlifts

Proper Hip Drive For The Olympic Lifts

Calculating Pace Zones