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Where's the best spot to focus my eyes during my Olympic lifts?

The best place to focus your eyes during Olympic lifting is straight ahead. The common misconception is to look up. Doing so obviously tilts your head back which can easily throw off your technique. Plus, remember Newton's 3rd Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaciton. This is the most commonly applied law to weightlifting. If you are looking up you are likely to shift your weight (and center of gravity) backwards to the point where you could lose your balance or cause a breakdown in your technique.

Many of the USA Olympic Weightlifters are taught to pick a point at or just above eye level in the back of the room; this gives them something inanimate to focus on. Coaches advise the lifters against looking directly into the crowd. This seems to cause the lifters to dart their eyes from person to person and lose focus on the lift.

Athletes seem to have their preferences with this, but you can use your focus point to assist with maintaining superlative posture and priming certain phases of the lift.  Beginners usually start by facing the mirror so they can learn by seeing.  That's alright to start, but should be progressed through as technique improves and the bar is beginning to hold more plates.  Let us look at some common phases of the Olympic lifts and associate with optimal visual positioning: 1.) On the ground the eyes can look slightly downward, definitely avoid looking upwards.  You should think about having your head on straight here, the shoulders are still over the bar, there's a slight forward lean, let's match your head to your shoulders  2.) First pull should allow your eyes to travel upwards so that as the bar is ready to be truly accelerated into second pull, you are looking straight ahead; 3.) Second pull would be best if you can angle your vision upwards slightly, focusing on a spot a few feet higher than your head.  This aligns with the posture of triple extension and will even get your chest up a little quicker and higher 4.) In the receiving position for the clean and jerk, you will maintain your eyes angled slightly upward like before to help you stand up.  For the snatch, the eyes must look forward enough to get your head through and maybe slightly upwards to help you stand up.  be careful not to look too far forward, balance is harder to maintain when your center of gravity extends outside the body; 5.) Pressing for the jerk has your eyes track upwards slightly to assist keeping the chest wide and up; and 6.) Finishing has the eyes straight ahead, assisting to push your head forward ahead of the bar.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.