Mental Imaging

When you lift, what image do you see in your head? Hopefully, it’s something like this:

“Over the years those that have heard me lecture and coach on Olympic Lifting technique know that I am big on training imaging, as well as the physical training of technique. You have also heard me talk about a study that trained four groups of subjects on enhancing three throws. One group practiced free throws physically, another group imaged making free throws, another physically practiced free throws and well as imaged making free throws, and the forth group was the control that did neither physically practice or imaged making free throws.

The group that only imaged making free throws improved as well as the group that physically practiced free throws . But the group that made the most improvement was the group that did both, practice and image. And that is the key. I urge lifters to image the lifts and real time as well as practice the lifts physical. I know that when I was competing I thought about technique all the time, seeing my self making the lifts in ever step of the movement and in real time.”
— Dr. Richard Borden

Read more on the study of free throws here:
The effects of mental imagery, Digital Commons

Mental Practice

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Brush vs. Bang

Brush vs. Bang

Q: I see videos where athletes bang the bar off their hips, so I thought you were supposed to bang the bar off your hips. Is that wrong?

A: It’s not “right or wrong” – there are 1,000 ways to skin a cat. We teach a “brush” of the hips and vertical hip drive, because for a beginner, this helps keep the bar in the least line of resistance. Banging the bar off your hips is not wrong if you can keep the bar path going straight up. Watch the video below – notice he brings his hips to the bar (aka “bangs the bar”), but after his hips make contact with the bar, the bar is not displaced – it keeps going up in a straight path.

This technique is HARD to do….for most lifters, when they make contact with the barbell and bang their hips, the bar swings out (like a rainbow), and this pulls the lifter forward (either causing a missed lift or a jump forward). Because the margin for error is significantly greater with this method, we teach a “brush” of the hips and vertical hip drive to help keep the bar close in the least line of resistance.

Notice in the first video too, after he makes contact with the bar, the bar is momentarily “floating”; at this point, he AGGRESSIVELY presses his body down under the barbell to complete the lift. In the second video, she “brushes” her hips with the barbell, it “floats”, and she presses her body down. There’s a moment in every lift where the barbell is “floating” and regardless if your hips “brush” or “bang” the bar, PRESSING THE BODY DOWN under the bar is critical to making the lift.

Ask a Coach!

Q&A with CrossFit Weightlifting Coach JP Bolwahnn:

Q:  Why can I power clean more than I clean?

Read more on JP’s Blog here.

En Espanol:


JP is a 13 year Navy Veteran and former Navy SEAL that has been involved with CrossFit since 2004. JP received his CrossFit Level 1 in 2005 and since 2008 has been working and training with Coach Burgener and CrossFit HQ as part of the seminar staff. He also helped coach Division 1 athletes in Strength and Conditioning at the University of San Diego. Currently, he leads CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer Courses for Coach B in various regions throughout the world. Some other notable accomplishments for JP include: Playing for the Mexican National Rugby team in 2009 in the IRB USA Rugby 7s. Playing FCS Division 1 College Football as a 33-35 year old running back for University of San Diego Toreros. Finishing 2nd Place at the 2013 American Weightlifting Masters meet. JP still trains and competes in weightlifting in the 85Kg weight class as a Master.