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View Full Version : Getting low on clean and snatch


Jamie J. Skibicki
05-29-2008, 06:57 AM
I've always done the power versions of both excercizes so getting low on the catch for both is rather difficult for me. I can front squat and OH squat deeply with more weight then I can use for the clean and snatch respectively. I think I'm just not comfortable catching the weight low.

My plan to address this is to do more warm up sets (okay DO warm up sets) and force myself into a low position while doing the warm ups. Is there anything else I should be doing? I did a search for sntach and clean form checks, but all the ones I found were of a finer detail than I currently need.

Bill Ripley
05-29-2008, 07:38 AM
Quoting Gary Valentine...

While its certainly possible to learn power versions first then squat lifts, Ive had better success teaching squat versions first. Under the eye of a qualified caoch each workout, the lifter will be instructed to pull properly, i.e, similarly to the squat versions. There should be no difference in the pull, whether power or squat style. In reality though, many beginners who train on their own resort to a back swing- heavy-single-thing which not only doesn't apply to squat lifts, but probably inhibits learning them when it becomes an ingrained motor pattern (I know this from experience!).

I teach the snatch balance sequence outlined in USAW Club caoch manual, but I go from the Drop Snatch to "Snatch from Full Extension, to Hang Snatch to Snatch from floor. I've had great success with it. I'm in no way saying its the only way, but it works.

Practice the Drop Snatch a lot. That's standing with empty bar, snatch grip, behind neck as if to squat. Put your feet in the pull position however. Just drop down into an overhead squat, picking feet up to move out to slightly wider squat stance. Here's the catch - when you get good at those, start with knees slightly bent, so the bar starts even lower. This is all for learning body speed, essential to lifting great weights, and I believe what sets OL apart form other barbell feats. There's something about throwing yourself under a limit weight thats a bit crazy and exciting!

Then go to snatch from full extension. I've posted on this before, so check through the notebook. You may need a lighter bar, or more emphasis on pulling body under bar. The bar is higher in full extension than in the bottom of an Overhead Squat, so its all a race. I simply ask my lifters to show me how fast they can get into the squat and start coming up before the bar starts coming down.

Practice!
Gary Valentine

Yuen Sohn
05-29-2008, 07:45 AM
Bill, looks like we're on the same page. I was just about to post a compilation someone at The P&B put together of Gary's stuff (a lot of which pertains to improving the full versions of the lifts)

More here:
http://powerandbulk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2272

Bill Ripley
05-29-2008, 11:52 AM
Hey hey - exactly where I pulled that from. He has an excellent blurb on getting under the bar for the squat clean as well.

Jamie J. Skibicki
05-30-2008, 07:45 AM
Thanks guys. I did some real light form work yesterday using some info from G. Valentine (thanks for the links). I'm going to do full cleans and snatches today instead of the power and see what happens.

Gary Valentine
06-02-2008, 11:50 AM
boy that was strange! i usually go to the weightlifting forum, and happened to click into the exercises portion. i'm reading the original post, thinking of replying, then scroll down to see my quote as reply!

well anyway here i am, ask away. yes its a common mistake to focus on "pulling it higher" when in fact there is relatively no power once the bar gets past about waist height. so, a vital part of a weightlifters trainigng should be in practicing that part, and the timing of putting all you have into pushing the bar from the ground to standing heigh with arms straight, then flying down. as i said, i dont even teach the power clean or snatch, and its amazing how perfectly my lifters can do a power version if they want to, after elarning only sqaut versions. hang sqaut cleans, hang sqaut snatches for triples, and heavy singles, are great for this. i cant get on youtube here at work, but im sure if you google it you can find a clip of me doing 151 i beleive, and theres also an old 145, clean from the hang as illustration. (did triple with 140 yesterday)
:-) -g

Jamie J. Skibicki
06-03-2008, 09:05 AM
So it's better to practice with the hang version than the full version?

I think the other part of it is fear/weakness. It feels as though my mid section isn't strong enough, I'm gone fall and basically my mind says "I'm not getting under that big heavy thing".

I was thinking about doing some OHS and some direct ab work.

Allen Yeh
06-03-2008, 09:49 AM
I think Tall cleans and tall snatches would be good as well as the hang nad high hang versions of the lifts.

Marcus Holden
06-03-2008, 09:54 AM
So it's better to practice with the hang version than the full version?
.

After doing power cleans and snatches for years, I've recently started learning the full versions, so I'm no expert, but am probably going through some similar issues as you - trying to relearn the movement. Hang cleans have helped me quite a bit. I think the point of doing them is to reduce any momentum from the first pull, which is a positioning move. When I look at competition videos I see plenty of guys using momentum from the first pull to build on their second pull, but they know what they're doing. When you first start off and don't really have the technique down, however, it's tempting to not really have two distinct pulls, but simply wrench the bar up from the floor. (That's that I had been doing with my power cleans, anyway). This basically left me in a position of being able to power clean more weight than I was comfortable catching at the bottom, and this is from someone who'd had a lot of experience with front squats - it wasn't a strenth issue, it was a confidence, comfort and muscle memory issue.

The hang clean forces you to lift weight that is hanging there, rather than weight that's already on it's way up. This way, you have a relatively manageable amount of weight that you can pull up and catch, but it's not going to go that high, so you actually have to go down and catch it. It's important that you not let your ego get in the way. When I first started this, I could power clean almost double what I could squat clean from the hang. My first pull and arms were strong enough to allow me to get by with bad technique; so, I started hang cleaning with some pretty modest weight and it didn't take long to build up to where I'm hang-cleaning 80-85% of what I can clean from the floor. I don't know what the 'ideal' ratio is, but I gather that the higher it is, the better (within limits).

How comfortable are you with front squats and overhead squats?

Allen Yeh
06-03-2008, 10:03 AM
Almsot forgot another suggestion would be 3 position lifts working from the top down.

Arien Malec
06-03-2008, 10:22 AM
Almost forgot another suggestion would be 3 position lifts working from the top down.

Or even 4-position: starting with a series of tall snatches, cleans. The tall or high-hang variations are fabulous on working the key skill of pulling under the bar.

Jamie J. Skibicki
06-04-2008, 07:38 AM
Marcus,

Yeah, thats pretty much the problem I have. I'm very comfortable with a front squat, not as much with the OHS. My shoulders act up a bit in the OHS, mainly because I don't think I'm shrugging them hard enough. I got fairly low on my 80% cleans yesterday after doing warm ups with hang squat cleans. THe snatch was better, but I'm still only getting down to just above parallel.

I was thikning about OHS squatting each rep on the snatch to work on the bottom position.

Gary Valentine
06-04-2008, 11:31 AM
yes, exactly what marcus said! learn the feel from the hang without worrying about the timing of the double knee bend, then go down to the floor and use all the momentum for the big full lift. . 3 position, 4 position, all good, but get good at tghe hang first. another tip i find that i need to tell beginners is that when they pick it uop to the hang for the set, do it exactly like the lift as far as the startign position etc. soem just tend to stand up with it from different posdition, and miss the chancce to practice that for wehn they put it all together.
i like the term "tall cleans" - what we call cleans from full extension. teaches the feel of throwing your body DOWN into the full sqaut at that point, NOT continuing to try to pull it higher like the common power version. -g

Jamie J. Skibicki
06-04-2008, 05:37 PM
Hey guys, thank you for your help. I've gotten deeper on both the snatch and the clean, though I still have some work to do. Today I was warming up my snatch using a hang snatch with 135 and I dropped the bar on my head. When I got back to the office, the O-Lifting coach I met Sat. called and wanted to know when I wanted to train.

Realizing my technique is worse than I thought, this Sat. I start training with a live coach. I will keep you all posted, and again thank you.

Arden Cogar Jr.
06-05-2008, 05:55 AM
Jamie,
I'm watching this thread with much thought. I have the same delimma and I'm trying to find a way to use the bar to pull myself down and I just haven't gotten to it yet.

A good coach is the best way to go.

All the best,
Arden

Leslie Poole
06-26-2008, 07:24 PM
Jamie and Arden-
I've be focusing on cleans and snatches quite a bit lately, and have learned a couple things-
box jumps and tall cleans/snatches are excellent for training you to close your hips, and get your heels to your butt fast. Also, doing tall cleans, I FINALLY felt it when I used my arms to pull myself under the bar. It reminds me of swinging under bars on the playground when I was little.

Arden Cogar Jr.
07-03-2008, 11:28 AM
Leslie et. al,
what do you mean "use your arms to pull yourself under." I'm obviously missing something here. I've read about it, but I just don't get it. Any help on that front would be awesome.


All the best,
Arden

Jamie and Arden-
I've be focusing on cleans and snatches quite a bit lately, and have learned a couple things-
box jumps and tall cleans/snatches are excellent for training you to close your hips, and get your heels to your butt fast. Also, doing tall cleans, I FINALLY felt it when I used my arms to pull myself under the bar. It reminds me of swinging under bars on the playground when I was little.

Derek Maffett
07-27-2008, 05:22 PM
Arden, the basic idea is in the whole "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." A force which pulls the bar up is also pulling you down. When the lifter is connected to the ground, the "up" force is affecting the weight of the barbell and the "down" force is affecting the lifter/ground/garage/continent/etc... thus a 400# bar will move a very great distance with X force while the lifter/ground/garage/continent will move extremely little (remember that the "down" force is still only X).

At the third pull, the lifter/ground/garage/continent system is reduced to simply lifter because the connection with the floor is lost. PVC or just the bar will move quite a distance during this third pull because Y force applied to 45# also means Y force applied to a gargantuan lifter such as yourself, and that force will obviously move the smaller load a much greater distance.

Now consider what happens when the barbell is the same weight as the lifter. Z force applied during the third pull will mean the lifter moving downwards due to Z downwards force from the pull and X downwards pull from gravity. The bar will move upwards due to Z upwards force from the pull minus X downwards force from gravity. As the strength of the lifter and weight of the barbell increases, so does the force Z (and the gravitational force affecting the barbell), which will mean an ever-increasing downwards speed of the lifter and a barbell velocity which will be consistently close to zero (or whatever is required for a successful catch - perhaps the velocity could become lower and negative when the speed of the lifter increases sufficiently?).

So pulling under with the arms is a phenomenon which will become more pronounced the greater the weight of the barbell. As long as you are pulling/pressing during the third pull, it will happen automatically.

Sorry for the late answer.

Derek Maffett
07-27-2008, 05:41 PM
Oh, yeah - Jamie.

I generally work tall snatches every time I lift. That and insisting on full depth has made it fairly habitual, so that arresting depth in the squat is starting to feel more or less unnatural. It's all about practice and establishing the movement pattern.

Of course, after two months of lifting, you probably didn't even need that advice. :p

Arden Cogar Jr.
07-30-2008, 11:29 AM
Thanks so much, It makes sense to me. Now I just gotta make myself do it. If you know what I mean?

All the best,
Arden

Arden, the basic idea is in the whole "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." A force which pulls the bar up is also pulling you down. When the lifter is connected to the ground, the "up" force is affecting the weight of the barbell and the "down" force is affecting the lifter/ground/garage/continent/etc... thus a 400# bar will move a very great distance with X force while the lifter/ground/garage/continent will move extremely little (remember that the "down" force is still only X).

At the third pull, the lifter/ground/garage/continent system is reduced to simply lifter because the connection with the floor is lost. PVC or just the bar will move quite a distance during this third pull because Y force applied to 45# also means Y force applied to a gargantuan lifter such as yourself, and that force will obviously move the smaller load a much greater distance.

Now consider what happens when the barbell is the same weight as the lifter. Z force applied during the third pull will mean the lifter moving downwards due to Z downwards force from the pull and X downwards pull from gravity. The bar will move upwards due to Z upwards force from the pull minus X downwards force from gravity. As the strength of the lifter and weight of the barbell increases, so does the force Z (and the gravitational force affecting the barbell), which will mean an ever-increasing downwards speed of the lifter and a barbell velocity which will be consistently close to zero (or whatever is required for a successful catch - perhaps the velocity could become lower and negative when the speed of the lifter increases sufficiently?).

So pulling under with the arms is a phenomenon which will become more pronounced the greater the weight of the barbell. As long as you are pulling/pressing during the third pull, it will happen automatically.

Sorry for the late answer.

Dave Ogilbee
07-31-2008, 11:12 AM
Arden -

I really sympathise with what you're getting into. My current delimma is in the catch portion of the Snatch. In lifting weights around 1/2 BW and up somewhere around the second and third pull my shoulders just seem to give out when coming down for the catch. In really self-analysing it, my best guess is the need to work on lower body explosiveness, kind of like what Leslie was describing. The other aspect i've noticed trouble in is stablizing my hips during the OHS. After a few reps of light weights my rear lats really start to feel a strain and my iliopsoas seem to get quite a bit of strain as well. Maybe do flexibility work in the hips with a little explosives from snatch work variations?

Derek Maffett
07-31-2008, 09:01 PM
Dave, you need to be pressing yourself under the bar (or the bar up - it makes no difference as long as you are not in contact with the platform) before you get to the bottom of the squat. Pressing too little, too late may work somewhat with lighter weights, but it will just cause failure with anything more.