We use the term “Vertical Extension” when describing how we want the athletes body to finish.
In reality the athlete will have a slight lean backward as they are trying to “Finish the Extension”. It has been my coaching experience to never verbally communicate to an athlete to lean back during the Final Extension. Doing so can lead to an excessive lean causing the athlete to jump substantially backward which is not desirable. Too much of a hyper-extension of the back can cause the bar to separate from the body. This will result in the bar never reaching it’s desired final position. The bar will drop out in front of the athlete. The second common error with athletes leaning back too far during the Final Extension is that the athletes deliberately pulls the bar back with them taking away from the barbells vertical flight causing it to level out into a more horizontal ark/trajectory. Again not favorable, because it is this horizontal ark can lead to the bar missing it’s final target and traveling to fast behind the athlete for the athlete to safely stop the momentum it created on the bar. Athletes will most likely “Miss” the bar behind them in a “Looping” fashion.
We want to keep the bar traveling as vertical as possible with minimal Horizontal Displacement as possible. That is why it is Ok to use cue words such as Vertical and Straight to express to the athlete how both the bar and their body wants to finish during Extension. The fact that the athletes body moves backward slightly should, in my opinion, never be communicated to the athlete. They should never consciously be trying to attempt it. Hopefully this Coaching Advice can help you during your next Training Session.
Coach Joe Micela