Mistake #1: A “Close Enough” Mentality on Form
The most common mistake Vaughn sees in new athletes is “getting ahead of themselves.” A prime example of this is failing to practice perfect form with lighter weights before going heavier.
For example, the snatch is performed by bringing the barbell from the ground to an overhead position in one fluid movement. But if you can’t maintain a flat back in the starting position, it’s detrimental to repetitively drill the lift — you start to build muscle memory with bad form. “The longer they do that,” says Vaughn, “the harder it’s going to be for them to go back and start over and make those changes.” So, if you’re that person who struggles to maintain a neutral spine when initiating a snatch, you’ll be far better off working to perfect that starting position than continuing to add weight to the bar.
The best thing you can do if you’re new to power- or Olympic lifting is ask a coach or experienced weightlifter to assess your form. He or she can recommend progressions for a lift, as well as accompanying accessory work to increase your range of motion and help you nail the setup, movement, and finish.