"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.