Shut Your Mouth! (or Not?)

"It’s interesting to see a number of lifters, especially novices, before lift-off open the mouth," says Olympic Coach Harvey Newton. "This seems to happen even in the weightroom or training hall with sub-max loads."

With rare exceptions, lifters up through the 1960s did not practice this action. Most lifters exhibited an understandable grimace while lifting heavy loads. Florida’s Bob Neff, a top ranked 67.5kg lifter, even performed the majority of his lifts with a smile.

"OK, so much of this is individual, I get that," said Newton. "Since it seems so much more prevalent today, is there a reason for this, or are we simply playing to the camera?"

Coach Newton’s recent blog discusses research that suggests that it is beneficial to maintain a clenched mouth while exerting force.

Read Coach Newton's full article: Open Mouth or Closed Mouth? Does It Make A Difference?

Featured Dartfish Video

Dartfish Video 120916

Check out the Dartfish Technique Tip video entitled A Clear Rules Violation.

"Dear Harvey-

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the weightlifting certification. It was a major paradigm shift in many ways, especially learning of the important of the power position and ankle mobility for weightlifting.

At first I was somewhat frustrated, as I struggled conceptualizing the teaching of weightlifting in this manner to athletes. Then, I looked at myself in the power position and realized how closely it mimics a vertical jump, and changed my mind. After a week of focus on this position, my dunking ability is improving.

I also really appreciated your honesty on what your experience taught you to be true, and teaching us more useful information than we would have received otherwise. It was great getting to know you as a person and a coach, and I hope all is well with you."


Stephen Wells
Hope College