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Midfoot Balance Squat & Deadlift PLUS Push the Floor Away Cue

Midfoot balance squat & deadlift plus push the floor away cue. Learn the importance of maintaining midfoot balance while lifting weights, but especially during the squat and deadlift. Also, Matt explains the push the floor away deadlift cue to begin your deadlift right.

Weightlifting Midfoot Balance

We stay balanced by maintaining midfoot balance. This means our weight does not shift too far forward onto our toes or too far back onto our heels.

Without shoes on, your midfoot does not actually touch the floor. The two major surfaces that touch the ground are your heels and the balls of your feet.

Because of this, even while wearing shoes, midfoot truly means equal force on the balls of your feet and heels. Standing up, if you shift your weight forward, you’ll feel the weight transfer to the balls of your feet.

If you shift back, you’ll feel the weight in your heels.

Having and wearing good lifting shoes helps here. The bottom of a lifting shoe is flat and hard (not squishy like a running shoe). This provides a more stable platform to lift on and prevents some of that force production going into the compression of the squishy running shoe.

Midfoot Balance Squat – Under Your Center of Mass

What are you shifting that causes you to feel a change to pressure in your feet?

You’re shifting your center of mass.

Without a barbell on your back, your center of mass will likely be somewhere around your hips. Adding a barbell changes the equation, but with a barbell you’re now considering the center of mass of the barbell-lifter system.

In the low bar squat, for example, where the bar rests on your rear deltoids, your center of mass gets closer and closer to the barbell as the weight gets heavier and heavier.

When squatting, therefore, you’re solving the problem of how to maintain the center of mass of the barbell-lifter system over your midfoot balance point while overcoming the force due to gravity. It’s biomechanics – it’s cool!

Midfoot Balance Squat

You squat with a heavy bar on our back, so you probably want to stay balanced so you can lift more weight and not fall over.

During out teaching progression, we teach this without the barbell and can emphasize it by having the lifter shift too far forward, too far backward, and then returning to midfoot.

People tend to squat far forward on the balls of their feet or toes as opposed to too far back, especially as they approach the bottom position where their hamstrings lengthen.

This often causes a knee slide forward and a resultant shift back coming out of the bottom, which makes their back angle more horizontal than it should be and then it was on the way down.

As a coach, you can look at a few different things to see a midfoot error.

You can look at their feet, and not only see if the heels or toes move up off the floor but if you see toe movement and where the shoe is compressing.

You can look at the barbell from the side and see if it is moving straight up and down or deviating either forward or backward or both.

Lastly, you can look and the lifter’s knees or hips and see if they move forward or back or if the back angle changes.

A master coach sees all this at once and almost instantaneously identifies the error.

Midfoot Balance Squat

Midfoot Balance Squat

Midfoot Balance Deadlift

Midfoot balance on the deadlift is a little bit easier, because the deadlift begins in the bottom before the concentric portion. Fixing a midfoot balance issue on the deadlift typically means fixing a startup error.

The bar needs to start over midfoot. Ensure the bar is not too far forward or backward.

Even with the bar in the correct position, the lifter may shift his weight too far forward or backward. The lifter should rock back or rock forward until he is balanced on midfoot.

Examining the deadlift with the 5 + 1 deadlift framework can help identify errors.

Push the Floor Away Deadlift Cue

Though we call the deadlift a pull, the deadlift begins with knee extension as the quadriceps contract, the hips and back raise, but the hip angle does not open quite yet.

To emphasize this knee extension, we give the push the floor away cue or floor press the floor away cue.

Of course, you push the floor away through midfoot, not through your toes or heels.

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