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View Full Version : Proximity of barbell to legs in the 1st Pull/ Snatch/ Clean Deadlifts


Troy Kerr
10-30-2011, 11:36 AM
I was reading through Gregs book earlier, and noticed that in the section of the 1st pull, it states that the proximity of the barbell to the lifter should be minimal, however friction between the barbell in the lifter can be harmful to the overall lift.
I am a little confused. I was under the assumption that once the barbell is elevated off of the platform and is brought above the knees, the lifter uses their arms to keep the barbell in light contact with the legs.

So is it personal preference? Or does keeping the barbell a small distance away from the legs allow for a stronger lift? I would assume any alterations to the 1st pull would needed to be trained in clean/snatch deadlifts as well?

Greg Everett
10-30-2011, 12:07 PM
I have changed how I tell people to do this over the last couple years. I used to tell people to keep the bar in light contact with the thighs, not because I wanted it there, but because it's much easier for people to feel when learning than if I said keep it half a mm off your thigh. As they got better technically, we could refine this and they would then become able to keep the bar just off the legs until the moment when it contacts during the final explosion.

That being said, yes, I would prefer to see the bar as close to the legs as possible without touching until the upper thigh (clean) or hip (snatch). You will still need to engage the back and push the bar in toward the body, just not so much that you drag it up your body.

Troy Kerr
10-30-2011, 12:25 PM
Ok. I am wondering because I have always instructed my athletes to keep the barbell in light contact with the thigh once the barbell is above the knees, otherwise I imagine their form would of been a lot harder to coach. But I have also seen some lifters have decent success with keep the barbell very close to the legs, but like you said, only a mm or so.
I regularly watch the Catalyst training videos, however I have never noticed this small gap with any of the athletes. Maybe I have been missing it.
But in order to get a feel for the small gap, the first thing that comes to mind would be a snatch or clean deadlift, and upon moving to mid-thigh, move into a second pull? With the form alteration, this seems like this would also require the athlete to focus on knee extension as they move the bar to mid thigh?

Thanks for the quick reply Greg!

Greg Everett
10-30-2011, 12:31 PM
If you could see the gap on those videos, it would be way too big. What you shouldn't see is the lifter's shorts getting tugged up when the bar is low on the thigh. And just because that's what I want lifters to do doesn't mean all my lifters do it perfectly. All of them have plenty of technical improvements to make.

Snatch/clean DLs are good, but halting DLs would be better because you can then get the timing of contact. On a halting clean DL, stop with the bar in contact with the upper thigh; on halting snatch DL, stop wth the bar in the crease of the hips or close to it. Below this, focus on immediate proximity with no contact. You can also do partials from below the knee to focus on this tough transition area.

Yes, knee extension should be the focus from the floor to mid/upper thigh. But be careful that doesn't turn into pushing the knees too far back too soon and tipping the shoulders too far forward over the bar.

Troy Kerr
10-30-2011, 01:02 PM
Sounds good. I think since I was assuming the barbell should stay in contact with the leg, I failed to notice. However I can see the slight distance of the barbell from the leg.

Now I know that the narrow-grip in the clean puts the barbell in contact with the thigh lower than the snatch. So as athletes get more advanced, and are able to apply greater or near maximal speed to the first pull, does this run the risk of the barbell getting pushed, or bouncing into the second pull too soon? ( Sorry if that is confusing, I had trouble trying to word that to express my question)

I am watching video 8-37-11, more specifically with Steve and D'Angelo performing the snatch, and it looks like instead of the barbell coming in contact at mid-thigh and moving up the leg in light contact to the point of hip and knee extension, the barbell is instead bouncing into the crease of the hip, causing them to miss the lift? I apologize if I am mistaken, but I work with a lot of athletes and like to keep an eye out for technique errors and how to correct.

Greg Everett
10-31-2011, 09:22 AM
Troy -

If I understand you, yes, in the clean, because the bar hangs lower, it's easier to hit low on the legs and bump it forward. Often this is more due to getting behind the bar too soon more than anything, i.e. not staying over the bar long enough as you extend the legs.

In that video, D'Angelo's miss was from the bar being forward and then his feet sweeping back as a result, which kept him out from under it. Watch as he first starts pulling from the floor and you'll see the bar roll away. He brings it back about as well as he could, but when he finishes at the top he's not balanced.

Steve's misses are simple: too much weight.

I prefer the bar to come into the body near the crease of the hip in the snatch rather than actually contacting at mid-thigh, although I've used that point historically to simplify and discourage slamming the bar away with the hips.