Coach Burgener Explains The Burgener Warm-up

I probably get anywhere from 30 to 50 emails a day wanting me to explain the Burgener warm-up and the purpose of the Burgener warm-up. I tell everybody the same thing and I tell this in my courses that the Burgener warm-up consists of five exercises, five tools if you will that you can put in your toolbox that if they practice daily it will help you with your weaknesses in the Olympic lifts. The first exercise that we’re going to perform is called the down and finish. One of the biggest problems that Olympic-style weightlifters have in the snatch, especially, is the proper way to finish. Everybody thinks in terms of pulling a bar up but in reality the bar is driven up with the legs and the hips and then the body is pulled down and around the bar. If an athlete doesn’t finish properly, if an athlete finishes straight up, then intuitively that athlete is gonna swing the bar away from the face. The first and most important thing is to teach her the proper way to do the term “down.” So I’m gonna ask her to corkscrew her knees only about a half inch and then this is the position that we want her to be in. Her shoulders are behind the bar, the wrists are neutral, slightly elbows turned out, slightly. This is the position that we call the down position. I’m gonna ask her to stand. That’s it. It’s that simple. Now, if I have an athlete that bends at the hips then that athlete potentially can swing or bump the bar outside. What we call the area of the base. So, the purpose of the down and finish is to create speed through the middle, which you’re gonna hear her say, but the other purpose is to make sure that she has vertical hips and her shoulders are gonna be shrugged as she’s going down, her shoulders shoulders are gonna be shrugged behind her ears that will give her the opportunity to pull her body down and around the bar. So we always like to start our teaching from the start, going down. So listen to what Zia says. My command is going to be down and finish. Listen to what she says. We’re gonna do three reps. Ready and down and finish. [Zia] Speed through the middle. Down and finish. Speed through the middle. Down and finish. Speed through the middle. That was excellent. Now you’ll notice her arms are like ropes they’re not real tight, they’re not like two by fours, they’re like ropes. You’ll notice that her shoulders are behind the ears, she’s in a perfect position now to go ahead and pull her body down and around the bar into that full snatch or an overhead squat. Exercise number two of the Burgener warm-up is the down and finish, we build on it, it’s the down and finish and her elbows are gonna come high and outside to keep the bar in the least line of resistance or the area of the base. Now, the coaching point here is, I teach no one ever pulls the bar up, but we have to understand that this is a drill. It’s a drill to teach the athlete as they are going down to keep their elbows high and outside as they are going down, so the bar will be kept in the least line of resistance. Let’s look and see what’s this look s like. It’s still the down and finish. The shoulders are gonna lead the elbows up and the bar’s gonna be kept close to the body with inside the area of the base. Listen to what she says. Down and finish. [Zia] Keep the bar close. Down and finish. Keep the bar close. Down and finish. Keep the bar close. Excellent job. She had a beautiful finish, the bar is kept close to her body, it stayed right in the area of the base. The area of the base—and let me go back just a little bit and explain that area the area of the base is a rectangular box around the feet. It extends out about six inches. The toes are marked and the heels are marked. At no time during the pull should that bar go outside the area of the base. That way we know that the bar is lifted with the most efficiency, it’s lifted within the least line of resistance. Exercise number three is called the muscle snatch. We do a down and finish. Down, finish, elbows, turnover, press. The idea here is if I have an athlete that is slow or weak on the turnover, I will make sure that we do a lot of muscle snatches. You gotta be careful with the muscle snatch. The muscle snatch. That bar has to stay within the area of the base. It’s gonna from mid-foot to the heel. Athletes will have a tendency when they go faster to wanna swing the bar back, outside the area of the base. And if that happens, when it gets heavy, the bar could be lost behind. So, in theory, the barbell is lifted, it’s created speed through the middle, the bar is kept close to the body, the athlete pulls themselves down and around the barbell and then presses their body down into that overhead squat. That’s really what happens. Certainly don’t think about that. But when we drill this way, it will become second nature for you and you’ll make it happen. Listen to what she says when I say—the command is gonna be down and finish. Listen to what she says. Here we go. Ready. Down and finish. [Zia] Strong turnover. Reset. Don’t re-bend the knees. Down and finish. Strong turnover. Reset. Down and finish. Strong turnover. And she leaves the bar there. Now we wanna work the footwork. Ninety percent of all missed lifts are attributed somehow to the feet. We’re gonna do snatch lands. Snatch lands are three exercises, they’re gonna be at varying heights. A snatch land, I’m gonna ask her to land two inches that’s gonna duplicate a very, very light power snatch. I’m gonna add weight and ask her to land four inches or deeper, that means that’s a heavier weight. I’m gonna ask her to go six inches, which is about parallel which duplicates a heavier weight. A power snatch is anything that’s received parallel and above. So here’s the way she does it. These are snatch lands at two inches, listen to what she says. And land. [Zia] Footwork. And reset. Notice how she brings her feet back to that jumping position. Now she’s gonna go four inches. Land. Footwork. And stand. Now she’s gonna go a little bit deeper. I’ve added more weight. And land. Footwork. And stand. The whole idea with weightlifting is that we don’t want you to go to the hole all the way down and then let the bar crash on you. What we’re really wanting you to do is go to the bar meet the bar and then go down. So this is an excellent drill to teach you to meet the bar where the bar is. So now we’re gonna go all the way down. We call these snatch drops. On this one she’s gonna hit the bottom on the way. I’m gonna ask her to stay there so I can look at her position in the bottom. And drop. [Zia] Footwork. And stand. And she resets her feet. And drop. Footwork. And stand. Resets her feet. And drop. Footwork. And stand. And come back to the high hang. Five exercises in your toolbox each exercise has as reason to correct one of your weaknesses. I do this every single day, we have to do it the correct way, we have to know why we’re doing the exercises so we can communicate as a coach and an athlete. Burgener warm-up, done daily will make you better.


  1. Amazing video! Thank you so much to CF HQ and Mike Burgener for creating this. Much gratitude. 

  2. Was Burgener ever an athlete.? I feel like hes just some old dude who took a bunch of courses & doesnt really know shit.

  3. Dude is a beating to listen to!

  4. Thanks Coach !

  5. Burgener videos are gold worth, more pls!!

  6. Another great from Coach.

  7. I needed the feet and base demonstrations! Thanks!

  8. This is a little different than the explanation video given out of his garage 7 years ago. This is ok but I like the video with Page. With the slow motion out takes I think you can better see what he describes. In any event this is a good warm-up.

  9. Coach is looking a little thicker #jacked 

  10. Because this will fix a weak back or weak legs?

  11. the guys from california strength bump the bar at the hips, and it seems to work well for them ?

  12. Thank you for this video!

  13. does anyone know what Coach says as far as weight distribution? some people advocate weight slightly forward, more midfoot, or heels. I just wanted to know 

  14. I would not trust a fat coach…….

  15. very nice explains ^^
    thank you^^

  16. Coach B, you're a sensei to us over here! Thank you for the video on the drills.

  17. Whats up gurl? 😉

  18. T H I C C

  19. One of the greatest minds in Coaching and Olympic weightlifting, he is a huge benefit to all who are around him.

  20. Russian school (klokov and Toroktiy) teaches the finish straight, and disagree about that "swing" before the turnover…

  21. When your school weight training coach used to own a crossfit gym and now co-teaches highschool wrestling and weight training and you actually have to research to memorize movements like the Burgener warm-up

  22. Coach Burgener teaches you how NOT to snatch.

  23. my last name but dont kno this guy

  24. I can honestly say I found it technically weak and somewhat patronising. CrossFit deserves better.

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