Shrugged Collective

Leverage in Weightlifting Part 2: How to train

In part 1 we discussed how you can use the 2-box method to determine the length of your levers, particularly your torso, femur (thigh bone) and your lower leg.

This time round, let’s focus on what matters most. How should you structure you training to make the very most of your body type and leverages?

The Uses of The Front Squat. The front squat is a common tool within weightlifting programming. It is also a good time-saver or bang-for-buck exercise because of certain reasons. 1) It allows you to properly keep tension in the quads and engage the legs. In the pull we know that it is important to punch with the legs to finish the pull. Because of the need to maintain an upright torso to avoid tipping forward, the hips can’t sit back and the load has to constantly remain in the quads. 2) The stimulus it puts on the anterior musculature of the trunk helps build trunk stability. Many a times we focus too much in extending the back to hold trunk position in the front squat. The fact that the weight is sitting in front of the COM of the lifter, muscular effort to support the weight in front should come from holding the abs. 3) Changing the tempo of the front squat can help build positional strength for the clean. Adding a pause at the bottom or having a slow tempo descending to the bottom can improve the integrity of the receiving position of the clean. Well. If you are pressed for time like me to be able to train, adding front squats into the busy schedule can definitely help you work on keeping a tight and solid trunk position, continue to learn to engage the legs to produce force and build positional strength for the clean. So why not? Haven’t been front squatting properly for awhile, I still managed to pull out a single on 115kg and 120kg. Failed 125kg only because I relaxed at the bottom and lost the ability to feel my legs. #TheTrainingGeek #FuBarbell #SanFranciscoCrossfit #weightlifting #olympicweightlifting #crossfit #frontsquat #legs #pendlay @virusaustralia @fashionrxd #becauseScience @roguefitness @roguefitnessaustralia

A video posted by Lester Ho (@lesterhokw) on


The Weightlifting Ideal – Long Torso, Similar Femur & Lower Leg

Because of the long torso, it is important for this individual to maintain position over the barbell, but not too far over…Why?

Because when you’re too far over the bar, especially early in the pull, the long torso lever is placed at a mechanical disadvantage. The further out you go, the heavier the load is going to feel.
A lifter with this body type needs to have a very strong back so that they can maintain torso rigidity. If that’s not possible, you will notice one of two things.

First, once your torso loses its integrity you won’t be able to keep the barbell’s centre of mass close, and most likely you will lack proper muscular engagement as well.

The second situation is that the lifter will adjust torso position to keep the barbell very close, thereby removing the disadvantage and making the load “lighter.”

If you have a long back, you must fight to keep the weight close to you as you lift the barbell from the ground and transition into the second pull. Avoid letting the load get too far forward. Do not let your torso align parallel to the ground. This will remove unnecessary or excessive strain on your back, which will allow you to train much more efficiently and utilize those super strong legs fully.

If your back is weak, then you must place a strong emphasis on building dynamic trunk stability. This alone will greatly improve performance.

And with that, the FuBarbell + Training Geek tour is a wrap with the last two locations at Athletes Warehouse (@ath_warehouse) and Brazen Athletics (@brazenathletics). . Athletes Warehouse is a strength and conditioning gym focusing on youth programming and have dedicated coaches specialising in sport specific training for youth and adolescent athletes. More importantly, really passionate about lifting. Brazen Athletics have a really tight Crossfit community with a strong interest in improving their weightlifting. We really enjoyed our time sharing our experiences and knowledge with all the athletes and also those we have met the last two weekends and thank you so much for all the learning experiences you all have given me. As I leave to return back to Australia in the next couple of days, I bring back so many ideas and tools to help me be a better coach and subsequently help my lifters get better not only as athletes but also as individuals. Many more things to come with more projects in the horizon from me and Diane. So stay tuned as the Training Geek has more learning ready for you! P.S. In my last post, I mentioned a movement assessment that I’ll be offering and since have received a lot of interest from those not based in Melbourne, Australia. I am happy to say that I’m happy to offer it via online correspondence and if you are keen, contact me now for more information regarding what you will get as well as pricing. #TheTrainingGeek #FuBarbell #AthletesWarehouse #BrazenAthletics #weightlifting #biomechanics #crossfit #neverstoplearning #thetraininggeektakesonUSA #newyork #newjersey @virusaustralia @fashionrxd

A photo posted by Lester Ho (@lesterhokw) on


The Long Leg Individual – Short Torso, Long Femur, Short Lower Leg

When you have a long femur, your center of mass will likely be set back behind the barbell. This requires more precision during the transition to the power position but maintaining good position will allow you to fully utilize your legs during the lift.

When the femur is longer than the torso you have to constantly fight to keep the torso over the barbell. If not, your center of mass will easily be pulled back behind the bar again.

For the long-legged lifter, this is equivalent to losing torso stability. Once the weight drifts back, it’s going to feel a lot heavier in your hands. With the hips extended your legs will be able to make little to no contribution to driving the bar upwards.

Also, when your lower leg is shorter than your femur you have to think carefully about where you load your feet. Shifting the weight back onto your heels will also pull your femur and hips backward, and will work to pull the bar back. This means that you need to keep the weight a little more forward on the foot.

Make sure you work on your ankle range of motion so that your knees can stay forward over the bar and your toes. And again, keep your shoulders forward over the bar.

Training wise, individuals with long femurs need to make sure that their hamstrings are highly functional and capable of producing force rapidly while being stretched. Also, a strong lumbar spine will help you stay over the barbell more effectively and will give those legs of yours a chance to do their work.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.37.31 PM Lester with The Supple Leopard.


Mr. Square – Equivalent Torso, Femur and Lower Leg Length

How do you train when your back, femur and lower leg are all about the same length?

The thing to keep in mind is that back length is the only difference between this individual and that first weightlifting ideal. For this body type, the emphasis should be on lengthening the lever of the torso. You can do that by finishing the pull further than usual with a strong shrug of the shoulders.

This ensures that the momentum generated is directed vertically. Because the legs can also be more involved in this way, the need to utilize both the upper and lower body fully is critical to finishing the pull correctly.

So, how should you approach your training? Where should you focus?

First, make sure that you have a well-developed, functional upper back. If you can properly elevate your shoulder blades, finish the second pull and maintain a strong upper body position then you’ll perform much better. Also, make sure that you are comfortable coordinating the use of your arms and legs together to drive the barbell vertically.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.29.38 PM



Knowing which category you fall into is important, but understanding the relationships between body segments is equally as important critical.

Once you get this, you will be able to tailor your training appropriately and avoid unproductive work. Also, you’ll be able to identify and address critical mobility restrictions that are limiting your pulling efficiency.

Once you can attain better body shapes and leverage them properly, you will also be able to optimize your technique and training. With that, nothing can stop your progress.

I hope you find these tips useful. For more great weightlifting info, check out my blog The Training Geek.

Pull well,



For more

Mike Bledsoe


  • HI Lester,
    HAve just discovered your site and it is most informative. AM studying maths mechanics in the uk for a level for fun but also to help my snatch and clean . I am a researcher into Soviet weightlifting training and know how much emphasis they put on special exercises to combine technique and strength . DO you know of any books on weightlifting bio mechanics – I know that Zatsiorsky was the Soviets chief bio mechanist has he done any ? OR J Grahammer ? I can only find the occasional paper ? have you written anything on the subject or perhaps you are thinking of it ?

    thanks again for your site


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