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Employing the Halting Deadlift


Vol. 4, No. 11

June 01, 2011


This free newsletter is to inform you of events, and thoughts regarding the training of weightlifters and the incorporation of the Olympics lifts and their derivatives into the training of athletes.

Coaching Tip: Employing the Halting Deadlift

Some exercises lend themselves primarily to the improvement of technique, while others are more favorable toward improving strength. One group of exercises that can be used for both purposes are halting deadlifts. I’ve characterized them as a group as they can be performed with either snatch or clean grip widths and by placing the halt at several different heights.

If used for the improvement of technique, they can help to reinforce the “feeling” of certain positions during the course of the pull. If used for increasing strength in at certain points, they can be used as isometric movements to strengthen the stabilizing musculature for the snatch or clean.

figure 1. The Halting Snatch Deadlift with halt at knees.

The movements can be performed as simple movements, or compound ones. For example, as a simple movement, the snatch halting deadlift can be performed with the halt at the knees. If used as a technical movement, this is done with a medium weight with perfect technique, with the emphasis placed on feeling the relative positions of the various involved bodyparts at the halting point. The halt should be maintained for two to three seconds. Ideally the coach should determine the cadence. At the completion of the halt, the barbell can be returned to the platform.

If used as a strength building movement, weights in excess of 100% may be employed for two or three repetitions per set. Perfect technique should be maintained throughout.

To use halts as compound exercises, after the halt at the knees, the bar can then be lifted correctly to the power position where another halt is maintained.

Halts can also be performed at a position with the bar just off the platform, below the knees, or just slightly above the knees depending upon the situation being targeted by the inclusion of the exercise.

Four sets of halting deadlifts can be employed before going on to more difficult teaching progressions from the floor. They might be included at the beginning of the workout. If used to improve strength, they can be placed toward the end of the workout. As a strength building exercise they can also be performed while the lifter is standing on a short block that places the instep in directly contact with the bar at the start of the lift. HINT: Closing the eyes at the halt can reinforce the kinesthetic input.

figure 2. The halting deadlift at the power position.


Weightlifting Special Interest Group will be meeting at the NSCA National Conference in Las Vegas, July 7–9. This will be an election year so anyone interested in running for office should be prepared to do so at this meeting. No specific date or time yet from the national office. Those of you that have been involved in any relevant activities since our meeting last year should report them to me at [email protected] so that I can include them in the annual report.


This piece is just a way of reminding readers that there are a large number of free downloads available at the website. The amount and quality of the information should be a tremendous aid to coaches and athletes interested in improved performance levels. Because the number of downloads is large, the following lists are a quick way to find the ones that have proven to be the most helpful to the readers.

Most Popular MP3 Interviews: The most downloaded interview is the one with Dr. John Garhammer, who offers his insights gleaned from over a quarter century of biomechanics research on the Olympic lifts. His interview was downloaded 278 times. A close runner-up is Calpians coach, John Thrush with 270. John has long been one of the top weightlifting coaches in the country with plenty of international experienced gleaned as the national coach for the Junior team. Joe Carbone, long time Strength and Conditioning coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, is third with 234. Very close behind is 2000 Olympian Cara Heads with 233 downloads.

Most Popular Instructional Articles: The top 3 articles are the updated editions of the Coaching Optimal Technique in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk series that I originally wrote in the 1980’s. These highly detailed articles cover an approach to coaching the lifts through the use of blocks. Many lifters developed top technique using these progressions. Article 1 is the top download with 1738, while number 2 is second with 1649 and number 3 is third with 1640.

Most Popular Training Programs: The volleyballers win this one with 1009 downloads of the Preseason Volleyball for Varsity and JV Girls training program. This is a multi-week program for female volleyball players approaching the competitive season. The Soviet Training Program is in second place with 806 downloads, while the Greek Soviet 2 Week is third with 785. Apparently there’s some allure to the term “soviet”.


A recent article appearing in the Arizona Republic by columnist Dan Bickley points out that there are more instances of American athletes seeking to gain a competitive edge through paying more attention to their diets. Phoenix Suns players, Grant Hill and Steve Nash, both well past their salad days, were featured as athletes who feel that their longevity, durability and performance levels are enhanced by careful observance of a strict dietary regimen.

Apparently there is a growing trend as more college and professional teams are adding sports dieticians to their staffs.

I’ve long felt that one of the big problems with selling the anti performance enhancing drug campaigns was the lack of viable alternatives that athletes could and would embrace. Most athletes, being the competitors that they are, are always looking for the edge be it in the form of equipment, garments, food supplements, training methodologies or pharmaceuticals. Perhaps an emphasis on proper nutrition will provide another embraceable edge for athletes as the competitive standards become more rigorous.


As of the end of May, Chatham County, Georgia management was considering the closing of the Anderson-Cohen Weightlifting Center as means of balancing the next fiscal year’s budget.

Since 1995 Michael Cohen and Team Savannah have managed the facility as a training facility for weightlifting. Many national events have taken place there over the years, and it has become somewhat of an institution on the national scene. The current economy has been unkind to many aspects of American life, but the weightlifting community can ill afford to lose a facility that has consistently contributed to the survival and growth of the sport for a considerable period.


There soon may be another training facility for college age lifters at East Tennessee State University. Officials from the USOC and USAW are considering placing a site there along with a scholarship program in hopes that it will serve as a feeder point for elite athletes who might go on to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.


This Saturday, will be one of the last opportunities for our local lifters to put up a qualifying total for the 2011 National Championships. The deadline to put up a qualifying total is June 21, 2011. This sanctioned meet will featured several national level lifters who will be trying to determine their pre-nationals fitness levels. The first session at 10:00 AM will feature lifters who have yet to attain Class 2 totals. The 1:00 PM session will feature the elite level athletes.

The meet will take place at Crossfit High Voltage located 219 W. Palm Ave., Burbank, CA 91502.

figure 3. 75 Kg. lifter Lindsey Valenzuela has recently broken several PR’s in training. She’ll be lifting on Saturday.


A New Look at the European/Asian Championship Results Reader, Dr. Deric Wisleder put together a graph from the results of the medalists at the recently concluded European and Asian championships. This unique graph has lines with 3 dots. For each line, the left most dot represents the difference between the gold medalists at the Europeans and the Asians, while the second dot represents the difference between the silver medalists and the third the bronze medalists.

If the dot is above the zero line, the Europeans are superior, and below the zero line, the Asians. The first line represents the women’s 48’s, the second line the women’s 53’s, etc., through the men’s +105.

Looks like the odds would favor the Europeans. More to come when the top lifters are all present for the World Championships in Paris, this fall.

Patrick Bassey Nearly Kept Out of Olympics by Food Poisoning A recent story in the Sun News On-line, detailed the incident in which Nigerian 67.5 kg. lifter Patrick Bassey was nearly derailed from competing in the Los Angeles Olympics by a case of food poisoning. Apparently a bad bunch of tomatoes made him so sick that he was prevented from training just four weeks ahead of the games. Fortunately he recovered in time to compete and finished 9th with lifts of 132.5 and 162.5.

I remember watching him and his team mates train back then as I was serving as the assistant training hall manager for the competition. One of my tasks was to hand out box lunches to the athletes. These monstrosities were concocted to provide 3600 calories. One of Patrick’s team mates, Ironbar Bassey, apparently had no fear of food poisoning as he did on several occasions consume two of these box lunches at a sitting.

Evidently Patrick couldn’t get enough of weightlifting. He is now the national coach of Nigeria.

Another Methylhexaneamine Positive at the Asian Championships Sri Lankan weightlifting record holder Chinthana Vidanage was found to have failed an anti-doping test at the Asian Championships. The 69 kg lifter lifted 132 in the snatch and 167 in the clean & jerk before testing positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine.

He has been suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation. The substance is found in geranium oil, and is sold as a nasal decongestant, but functions as a stimulant.


NSCA National Conference. I’ve been notified that I’ll be speaking at this summer’s NSCA National conference in Las Vegas at the Paris Hotel. The topic will be The Determination and Planning of Long Term Strength and Conditioning Training Based on the Training of Weightlifters. It’s scheduled for 2:00 PM on July 9th. Hope to see you all there! For more details go to

The USA National Championships will take place in Council Bluffs, Iowa from July 15th to the 17th. Details are posted on the USA Weightlifting web page at should be a great event as it is the qualifier for the World Championships, which in turn will determine the final number of slots allotted to each nation for the 2012 London Olympics.

California State Games and State Games of America will be held at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, CA on Sunday, August 7, 2011. This will be the first time that the State Games of America will be contested in California. It will involve the State Games Champions of each state competing against each other. Join the PHAT Elvis Weightlifting Club for this meet in sunny San Diego! On line registration at Doesn’t get any better than August in San Diego.

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