Tim Rawlings (@rawwlings @crossfitsaa @superiorathletic)...

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Tim Rawlings (@rawwlings @crossfitsaa @superiorathletic) stepping in today to chat bar path. Straight pull versus “S” pull. What does it mean, does it even matter and how can you start to optimize your pull?

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Bar Path

The quickest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. The idea of a straight pull goes hand in hand with “staying over the bar.” The more you deviate from that line, the less likely you will be to make the lift.

Everyone will have a slightly different bar path based on style and body type. Don’t get caught up over analyzing different bar paths. Just make sure you are in the proper starting position (shoulders in line with the bar) and from there try to hold that line all the way to the power position. This will ensure the bar stays close and you keep optimal leverage. Here are a couple ways I teach to pull straighter and “stay over the bar.”


1) From the time you lift off the floor, imagine you are watching yourself from the side, and your head has to continue in the same line until you hit the power position. If you get pulled forward or start leaning back too soon, a tough lift or a miss will follow.

2) Imagine the end of the bar is a marker, and you have to draw a perfectly straight line up the wall during the pull. This is basically the same idea as you #1, but just a different cue.

We can talk about S curves and different styles of lifters, but at the end of the day they are all trying to get the bar high enough, and keep it close enough to drop under and receive it. No high level lifters are purposely trying to make an S curve while standing up with maximal weight! To master your bar path, you must implement special exercises, with the specific loads. If you cannot do 4x4 pulls with the right speed and the right lines, how can you expect to lift it?

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