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Snatch and Clean Extension: Be Patient
Greg Everett

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A big mistake with the snatch and clean is trying to initiate the final explosion too soon. This can create a list of problems, including shifting your balance too far forward, pushing the bar away from your body, preventing a complete extension of the hips, and limiting the speed and height of the bar. Bring the barbell back into your body as it leaves the floor, and continue using the lats to push it back into the hips - not near the hips, but actually into the hips. (Understand that the hips DO move forward toward the bar as well - however, the effort to move the bar back to the hips helps prevent the lifter from shifting forward as is the natural tendency, and from over-reaching the hips through the bar).

If the barbell never touches your body, you're doing something horribly wrong. (By the way, keep the bar in tight to the legs on the way up - if the bar is banging into your hips when it contacts, you've let it get too far away first.) When the bar is into the hips, you're balanced properly over the feet, and your shoulders are still over the bar, drive through the ground explosively and snap the hips open (or you can use the dirty little word jump). Do it right, and you will feel and hear the bar pop up for you faster than it ever has; additionally, you'll find your pull under and your balance in the receiving position much improved.

Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the national-medalist Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team, publisher of The Performance Menu, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, and director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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15 Comments
Scott DeTore 2012-09-17
Totally Awesome. What a difference
Jose Torres 2012-09-17
Any video in slow motion to demonstrate this? Thanks for the advice. How much should one expect to improve on the power clean over their first yr of training? And those years following? Fallen in love withe clean more than even the squat. I know that is heresy to some.
Steve Pan 2012-09-17
Jose - You can go back in the archives and look at some of our older videos in quick time format to view frame by frame and see the movements. Improvement can vary from person to person and depending on the quality and consistency of training. You should see improvements over time but it is hard to predict for a certain person how much they will improve.
Bill 2012-09-18
Great points, Greg. Thanks Bill
W 2012-09-18
@Jose: Buy Greg's DVD. Watch it until your eyes bleed. Then do the drills on the DVD until your arms fall off. Every day. Like Steve said: there's no way to know how far you will progress in any amount of time, and aside from weights being thrown around there's no objective measurement for "improvement of the clean". But if you follow the above two recommendations, in a couple of weeks your clean will be at a point that you won't embarrass knowledgeable coaches and no one will feel the need to take the bar away from you before you hurt yourself.
craig 2012-09-20
Greg, Thanks for the article. However, now I am a little confused. Should the second pull or "jump" begin when we feel the bar touch approximately mid-thigh or should the bar be even higher up at hip level? I am still trying to learn the lifts so apologies in advance if this question makes no sense.
Greg Everett 2012-09-20
Craig - You can start "jumping" around mid to upper thigh, but you need to keep the shoulders over the bar until upper thigh/hip. Kind of confusing maybe, but generally if you think of jumping when the bar is at the upper thigh in the clean and at the hip in the snatch, it will actually start a bit sooner, and this is what you want. Play with the timing untl you find what works best for you in terms of how you think of it.
Samuel Aguirre 2012-09-22
my favorite article.
Francis N Phillips 2012-09-25
Received your e-mail regarding "Online Workout Feedback". Since I don't have an olympic coach, nor is there one in my area, I have to rely on what I've read, most of it from your DVD and your regular posts. I came upon your website and books indirectly through wading through all of the Russian websites on lifting. Does the term over-analyzed mean anything to you? I compare learning the lifts to mastering a Bach Fugue. The complexity of the whole can be overwhelming. Mastery comes only with step by step breakdown of each part. Virtuosity comes from observing what others have done and applying it to yourself. Your body of work and cogent and readable commentary are greatly appreciated. Regards, Curmudgeon-At-Large
Charlie Reynolds 2013-05-13
More great material! Should you not let the bar hang, keeping the arms long and loose, elbows out (pronated) as opposed to actively pulling the bar in?
Steve Pan 2013-05-13
Charlie - You want to push the bar in using your lats, keeping the arms long but not stiff. The idea of keeping the arms loose is to keep it close at the top so you don't stiff arm the bar away after the extension.
Charlie Reynolds 2013-05-13
Thanks Steve, it just seems to me that once you get to a certain percentage above bodyweight, you cannot force the bar inwards, particularly cleaning; although you should keep the lats tight to aid upper back and shoulder stability. On lighter weights you may distort the optimum bar path and end up pulling the bar back instead of up and on heavier weights you may pull yourself forwards/soft your balance too far forward into the front of the foot (unless you are way back on your heels throughout anyway, in which case you'll probably end up behind not under the bar).
Greg Everett 2014-05-05
Charlie - In no case are you really moving the bar back any significant distance, and never, in my opinion, should your shoulders be dramatically forward of the bar, which means that "pushing the bar back/in" isn't that difficult with any weight. However, from its starting point on the floor, the bar should move back slightly on its way up - if it moves directly vertically, the balance of the system will be forward over the base. So I think you're just imagining the cue to push the bar back as being more dramatic than it actually is. Aside from the small move back, the effort is primarily to prevent the bar and system from shifting forward.
Leo 2014-06-26
Hey Greg, Great article! Should you hear the bar rattle when it comes in contact with the hips?
Greg Everett 2014-06-26
Leo - For most people, yes, you'll get a pop sound with the bar, but don't make that a goal or you'll probably overdo it.
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