5 Steps Toward Finding YOUR Set Up: Step 3 Find Your Gaze

Joes Barbell
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NOTE the consistent head and neck position in the photos above.  Finding and maintaining your gaze is muy impotante!  Unless your Pyrros Dimas you need to limit your head movement.  In step 3 of my set up series I provide some insight regarding establishing and training strong head and neck positioning.

While competing at nationals I received a great piece of advice from Rob Blackwell of California Strength.  He told me that competing at nationals was no different than lifting at your home gym, the room is just a little bigger, so find something to look.  With that in mind I jumped on the platform early and found my gaze. 
Since receiving that advice I have included it into my coaching of the set up.  When my lifters set up I ask them to look at something fixed and slightly above the horizon.  Doing so helps to promote a natural neck and straight spine.  If an athlete is dropping their chin and losing lifts forward, or whipping their head back and banging the bar out wildly, I grab the whips and chains from the bedroom and classical conditioning begins. 

Clear direction usually fixes this flaw.  I will cue the athlete to find and maintain their gaze if I see excessive head movement.  I try my best in all coaching scenarios to avoid “Don’ts” and “Stops.”  In a general sense giving an athlete something to do, as opposed to “not do,” will yield better results.  One interesting drill to fix excessive head movement is to have the athletes go through some empty bar work with a tennis ball tucked under their chin.  

A neutral neck and clear focus means open lines of communications between the brain and body.  Combine those factors with what you learned in step 2 and your well on you’re way to establishing a clear pathway to awesomeness – and #livingSIXforSix.