Move Your Feet: The Third Pull of the Snatch & Clean
Greg Everett

Do you find that your feet never quite end up where they need to be when you snatch or clean? For example, they're always too far behind you? Try actively lifting your feet and replacing them flat on the platform, focusing on landing on the whole foot, not the balls of the feet, and directly under the bar. You might be surprised how much it improves your balance and position when receiving the lift.

Now before you go and tattle on me, I'm not necessarily telling you to lift your feet way up into the air. I'm saying make them separate from the platform enough that you can replace them flat and aggressively in the correct location. This doesn't require much air space, but it does require you be active and aggressive and precise. And having said that, a dramatic elevation of the feet during the third pull can in fact be a very effective lifting style that allows maximal downward speed by guaranteeing exactly zero resistance against that initial downward movement.

If you have trouble kicking your feet back and landing on the balls of the feet, try thinking of lifting your knees rather than lifting your feet, and of sitting your hips straight down with a vertical torso rather than pulling your hips back after you finish your extension.

See also:
Ask Greg: Jumping in the Snatch
Weightlifting Technique - With Evidence

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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Matt Foreman 2012-09-05
Good post. I've talked with a lot of people about this subject. Many new lifters have a tendency to get carried away and start lifting their feet twelve inches in the air during the turnover, like you said. If you take a picture when they're in the middle of a lift, it looks like they're doing a jump-tuck. This isn't the way to go (although Behdad Salimi snatches a little like that). I like the idea of a more moderate jump-and-stomp movement.
Sarah Jones 2012-09-11
Are there any tips on improving elbow lockout or is that just something you're always going to be stuck with? My lockout isn't great and I'm wondering if there's anything that can be done to assist, even in a small way. I've heard things about it being linked to tight biceps, is that true? Thank you.
Greg Everett 2012-09-12
If you have an actual anatomical limitation, there isn't really much you can do. If you can't extend your elbow completely with your arm at your side, you may have an anatomical issue with the joint itself.

Otherwise, you can have lockout trouble for numerous reasons, some of which have to do with inflexibility, although rarely the biceps. Usually it's the shoulder girdle and thoracic spine and even the ankles and hips causing the problem.

But it can also be an issue of poor structure/technique. This article may give you some ideas.
DK 2013-07-22
A quick question on this topic. I'm new to the olympic lifts. One of the things i've noticed is that at heavy weights (for me) my right foot often ends up a bit behind my left foot. Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent this? Also, does this pose a high risk of injury because of too much force on the knees? The reason I ask is that it doesn't happen at lower weights and I would like to keep working through it with heavier weights, but i'm a master's lifer and don't want to needlessly take risks
Jeff Williams 2013-12-10

I have the same problem, never been able to straighten my arms all the way. this causes trouble for ANYTHING overhead. I have tried several things with little results. But the two things that have helped are;, this may take longer and a lot of work on your part, and Massage therapy, much better but cost more, and more relaxing
Jonathan Sparkes 2014-01-13
Another Amazing Tip from Greg! Thank you! Yes, getting too much air defies the point of upward acceleration if your body doesn't have anything to push against, but I do struggle with the stability on the catch, and this will give me a que to make it better.
Jimmie Johansson 2016-01-03
Would the "think of lifting your knees" que occur during the pull under phase of the lift?
Yes. Lifting your knees to pick the feet up will occur right after hitting extension and almost simultaneously with pulling yourself down. The important part of "picking up the knees" is preventing folks from kicking the feet back or "donkey kicking".

Steve Pan
Simon 2016-03-05
What if i'm moving one feet a lot more than the other? What can I do to correct this? Sometimes it hurts my balance.

Thanks !!
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