Clang and Bang: What I learned about weightlifting from being a drummer by Ty Fischer

On Site Coaching in Paoli - OPEX Upper Main Line

CLANG and BANG: What being a drummer taught me about weightlifting

by Ty Fischer


I love weightlifting. I was a musician growing up - well, a drummer :/ - and the concept of “practice” was branded into my being. *Please, no A.I jokes* I learned early on that honing your skills and mastering your technique would take you leaps and bounds further than any amount of brute-forcing your way through it. I could try to play complex patterns at 180 beats per minute all day long, but only when I would slow it down to 60 bpm, or even 40 bpm, and mastered what I was doing would I then be able to get to the fun stuff, play fast, and perform. It’s the same with weightlifting. You can try to pull on heavier weights all day long, but lightening the load for the purpose of mastering the positions, and working on your timing will take you leaps and bounds further in the long run. What I learned about patience and practice from being a drummer, I apply regularly to my own skill development within fitness. 


 So, what is good technique?


Well, every individual is a bit different. I’m not going to talk about hip contact - that is just one method of trying to optimize performance.  Don’t get me wrong, it is incredibly crucial in the snatch (and sometimes the clean); and it’s used by the best in the world (and just about everybody else), even though, from my understanding, that wasn’t always the case. But why do we do that? Why do we use the positions that we do? Here are three general principles that I picked up listening to Max Aita and Chad Wesley Smith, known as the Weightlifting Technique Triad.


  • Bar Path - You want to make sure the bar is going in a mostly straight line and not being sent excessively forward or backward overhead. Doing “no-feet” versions of the lifts can help with this. By not letting your feet lose contact with the ground, you won’t be able to move them. If the bar is sent forward, you won’t be able to jump forward to catch it. Your body will be forced to learn how to move the bar more vertically and less horizontally.
  • Height of the Pull - Simply put, the higher you can pull the bar, the more likely you can snatch or clean it. Obviously heavier loads cannot be pulled as high as lighter loads, but if you can high pull it to your shoulders, you can probably lift it. Developing general strength and explosiveness through squats and pulls (clean pulls/snatch pulls) and plyometric work can help. Also, “never stop pulling” is a cue I’ve found to help, along with focusing on my grip on the bar and not letting it go.
  • Time to Fixation - This is your speed under the bar. A straight bar path and a high, powerful pull won’t mean anything if you don’t get under the bar quick enough. The power versions of the lifts (power snatch/power clean) can help develop a quick transition. Also, thinking of pulling your body under the bar - not just pulling the bar up; and in the snatch, thinking about pressing your body down (and the bar up) aggressively have helped me in the past. 


Any technique you adopt should be chosen to maximize these three components. Many countries and lifters have experimented over the years to find what works best. There are generally accepted patterns, but everyone is different. We all won’t stay over the bar as long in our pull. We all won’t get our knees back as far. We all won’t get our elbows as high. The question is - what is the purpose of each of those things and will it help your bar path, the height of your pull, or your time to fixation? 


Go Forth,



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