View Full Version : Programming/Accessory Exercises for developing timing and speed under the bar

Emily Mattes
01-19-2010, 05:31 PM
I can clean pull 105 and snatch pull 85 off the ground no problem. I have tremendous trouble consistently cleaning 80 or snatching 60. One of the reasons is that my timing and speed under the bar sucks.

Can anyone recommend a good programming scheme of adding exercises to my normal Oly program to help with this? I train 5 days a week, and this is what I'm thinking now:

High-hang snatches 1x/week
High-hang cleans 1x/week
Power clean/power snatch work 1x/week
Box jumps 1x/week
Depth jumps 1x/week

Plus whatever conditioning work I do, and of course focusing on being explosive during my normal lifting.

Should I add more? Less? Any specific exercises you've found to be very helpful for your own or your athletes' training? I know if I were doing strength exercises I'd face the problem of diminishing returns from adding more and more, but how much is this the case with speed?

Brian DeGennaro
01-19-2010, 06:23 PM
Tall variations of the lifts are always good too, really help to train that turnover. Personally I find that what you are cuing and telling yourself helps with the turnover better than most exercises.

- Ripping yourself under the bar, attacking the bottom position, etc.
- Timing the replacement of your feet (stomp) with snapping your elbows overhead/rack
- Trying to raise the bar minimally and race under it

There's a million different ways to imagine it and think of the turnover. I've told people their arms are like a mousetrap snapping shut (elbows snapping up). Whatever you can tell yourself, imagine, cue, etcetera that gets you doing the right thing, keep doing it.

Blair Lowe
01-19-2010, 09:35 PM
Is your problem the 2nd or the 3rd pull?

Emily Mattes
01-19-2010, 09:42 PM
Brian, I do try to keep my focus on that turnover--I will think about turning over at the same time my feet hit the ground though, haven't been doing that.

Blair, I would say both. I've gotten faster, but fast for me is still half-speed for everyone else. People who watch me say I have little acceleration through the second pull, and as for the third pull my elbows and shrug under are slow as hell.

Ian Gallimore
01-20-2010, 03:49 AM
Emily, I'd cut out the power versions. If you're having trouble getting under the bar they'll only make it worse, because they'll turn you into a chicken who spends too much time hanging around waiting for the bar to get "high enough". It's always high enough, if you're fast enough, which you say you are not.

Speed under is very much a function of the speed of your second pull - if you really attack the middle of the lift you will be faster under as a consequence. Whilst tall versions are great for honing bar path and body position during the pull under, and thus great things to have in your warmups, IMO you'd be better served by really working on speed through the middle with the full lifts so you really get a feel for accelerating the bar. There's a great quote from Jim Hooper I always refer back to that goes: "

Its not: (a) Extend your legs. (b) extend your hips. (c) rise up on your toes. (d) perform a shrug. (e) drop into a squat. (f) push up and lock out the bar. Its about a) SquueeeezzzecrankfasterBAMdowntight. One movement, and frankly way too fast to be thinking of specific component movements while you are doing it."

High hang lifts basically have you working on the "BAMdowntight", but from what you say the problem begins much earlier than that. For that reason I'd work the full lifts, from the floor, and really work on that middle part, regardless of weight on the bar. I don't know if you ever seen Halil Mutlu warming up, but he attacks a 40kg snatch just as hard as a 100kg snatch. The guy commits to every lift, and doesn't wait until it's "heavy" before really cranking it up - for some people it's already too late by then.

Amy Carson
01-20-2010, 07:09 AM
- Ripping yourself under the bar, attacking the bottom position, etc.
- Timing the replacement of your feet (stomp) with snapping your elbows overhead/rack
- Trying to raise the bar minimally and race under it

For me, this is the best advice. Especially the "raise the bar minimally and race under it."

I'm no expert, not even close. But I've been struggling with cleans for a while, trying to get to 100lbs and I FINALLY did with a few pointers. I had some of the same issues as you have. I was getting the bar plenty high but not getting under it fast or low enough.

Now I've been looking at it differently. Not how high I can get the bar but getting low enough to catch it.

A lot of it is mental for me. Good luck!

Michael McKenna
01-20-2010, 07:19 AM
What does Victor say?

Singles, with 30-60 seconds rest between reps. Singles.

Emily Mattes
01-20-2010, 06:28 PM
Victor says I just need more time. But I'm impatient!

Brian DeGennaro
01-20-2010, 06:39 PM
What you cue yourself with can sometimes make your technique and speed day and night, even changing your starting position. Different strokes for different folks. Think of everything possible to help you imagine and feel the speed of the lift, watch the lift in your mind, feel it movement by movement.

Michael McKenna
01-21-2010, 05:43 AM
Festina Lente, Ms. Mattes.

Arden Cogar Jr.
01-21-2010, 08:29 AM
I'm trying to lose my fear of jumping under a perfectly good barbell, so I'm doing really high box cleans and snatches after I do my power versions. I think it's starting to work. But I do this because I have a fear of jumping under. that may be different than what you're experiencing. I put these on my videos hoping someone will not think I'm completely retarded, butttttttttt....well, we all know the answer to that before we debate the issue.

I am soooooo jealous that you get to train under Victor's watchful eyes. Man, what I wouldn't give?

All the best,

Emily Mattes
01-21-2010, 09:30 AM
Haha Arden, just do what I did, quit your job and move to Jersey! You can bring the wife and kids. :D

Arden Cogar Jr.
01-21-2010, 10:06 AM
Haha Arden, just do what I did, quit your job and move to Jersey! You can bring the wife and kids. :D

I love my job and I don't reckon there's as many "disposable trees" in Jersey. Alas, weekend travels for me to learn the finer points of lifting. So that I can hopefully pass it on to Kiara, Carmen and others in my area.

All the best,

01-22-2010, 03:40 PM
I've never been a fan of lots of variations of the lifts to hone technique. Lots of singles or doubles, with medium weight, weight you can lift with technique that is as close as possible to what you are trying to achieve. I also think that limiting the rest period works well when doing technique training. 20 singles in 20 minutes with a medium weight is a program that i would often prescribe to one of my lifters who is having the problems you describe.