Dmitry Klokov, olympic medalist and renowned heavyweight lifter, does something very unusual with his feet in both the snatch and the clean and jerk. In the below picture, he can be seen with his left foot opened slightly outward compared to his right foot, as well as positioned slightly forward.

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Even in the snatch he can be seen using similar positioning of the feet:

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In all the videos of him lifting, he can be seen using this staggered stance.

We've heard from DPTs that torque is generated from the hips, so the feet should be as straight as possible in squat movements to help induce more rotational torque. For Klokov, this apparently has not worked best for him. As a top tier athlete, I'm sure he has access to some of the best trainers in the world. Wouldn't this be something they would try to condition out of him?

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As one of the most flexible lifters I've ever seen, I'm sure it's not a mobility issue. What's the deal? Can anyone explain his foot positioning?

  • 2
    It's possible that's just naturally how his feet are. Mine turn out that much. If I were to turn them "straight", my right leg especially would have a lot of rotational torque.
    – JohnP
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 5:17
  • I'm not disputing that the asymmetry is present, but none of these images present a 100% head-on view. It's tough to see just how pronounced this foot thing is. Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 9:10
  • @DaveLiepmann - img1.uploadhouse.com/fileuploads/20208/… Still not 100% head on, but this is a standing pose no weights, and his left foot is angled out here as well.
    – JohnP
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 15:41
  • @DaveLiepmann - here's another: zacheven-esh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Klokov-Deadlift.jpg. It's more pronounced in some of the YouTube videos.
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 20:27

5 Answers 5


Jean-Patrick Millette on Firstpull.net calls this an example of individualization of technique:

Elite lifters do have what we might consider kinks or a special routine/behavior towards the lifts. To us, they could be detrimental, but to these lifters these behaviors an integral part of their technique. There is something about lifting very heavy weights that will make you chose a certain style and develop certain behaviors. Would they lift more without those interesting technical deviations ? May be or may be not. They are used to training the way they train.

Professional lifters may be more apt to discover and test unique things about their body that improve their own performance but no-one else's.

  • 1
    Very interesting! Great article. It's amazing that these guys are performing at such a level that this is expressed in the movement, and in such a way that they do it better than what should be considered the "right" way.
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 22:24

Fixing these kinds of postural asymmetries isn't just a matter of mobility, but of simultaneously tightening up muscles on the other side. This can involve a lot of specialized mobility work along with unilateral corrective strength work. And just like how one a runner increases their susceptibility to injury in the short term by improving their running form, attempting to fix a minor stance issue like this might introduce the potential for injury during the transition phase. If the asymmetry isn't causing any trouble, it might be rational to merely keep it from getting worse.

It's likely that fixing this just isn't a priority for him and his coaches.

  • Could you clarify why improvement of running form increases risk for injury? Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 21:25
  • 1
    As I understand it, A) one is acclimated to their gait, and using a new one stresses different tissues, and B) a suboptimal gait is often caused by a weakness or immobility, so improving it pushes back against the long-standing problem. Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 21:41
  • But that's in the short term correct? I'm not sure what research is out there, but I think it stands to reason over time that muscular asymmetries would be overcome, improving injury reduction. Nothing to be done about bone structure though. Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 21:45
  • @Ellocomotive You're absolutely right, I wasn't clear about it but I meant in the short term. Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 21:51
  • 2
    It's also entirely possible that this is his normal bone structure. My right foot points out the way his left does, and my knee still tracks/points straight ahead. Any attempt to "correct" this and point my foot straight ahead soon produces pain.
    – JohnP
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 2:41

I didn't read through everyone's TL;DR.

Easy answer: one leg is longer than the other significantly enough. He has addressed it in a snatch video tutorial and I went to his weightlifting course where he explained that. Also, that's why in the end of his jerk, he twists a little.


It's because he injured his right leg in a soccer match and because of surgery, the leg is structurally different.

  • 3
    Welcome to Physical Fitness. Do you have any source for this?
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 3:37
  • @NunaBizz: As Andrew pointed out, you should try to back up your claims to conform to the community standards.
    – user8119
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 9:34
  • he has a video on training advice where he states it again about hes leg not being straight
    – Nuna Bizz
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:03
  • youtube.com/watch?v=W92SdAZptHY here is one video where he states it again.. Its a widely known issue definitely not a bad posture or routine he does...have to skip through it to find where he talks about hes leg...
    – Nuna Bizz
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:11
  • @NunaBizz I'm interested in hearing this. If you have a moment, can you give a timestamp where he explains this in the video?
    – Daniel
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 0:59

Not only is it legit, but, he explains it at in the seminar in the following video: https://youtu.be/QJskWqVcaE4

  • Around what time?
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 14:34
  • 1
    Your answer would have been more complete if you had paraphrased the explanation in your reply. If the link becomes invalid, so does your answer.
    – rrirower
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 13:34
  • @Daniel youtu.be/QJskWqVcaE4?t=390 Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 7:54

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