View Full Version : Snatch: Pulling Under the Bar

Ben Glidewell
11-04-2011, 12:58 PM
Thanks for the great site and all the info!

What are the best exercises to improve pulling under the bar for snatch? New to OLY lifting (6-8mos, PL background) my technique has improved greatly as well as my limited flexibility, but I am still having trouble getting under the bar. Numbers have seemed to plateau and I am still trying to catch my snatch up with my power snatch (almost 20% off):mad: .

Thanks in advance

Greg Everett
11-04-2011, 01:16 PM
I can give you better advice if you can describe in more detail where the problem is - for example, are you slow to change directions at the top of the lift? Do you feel weak or slow actually pulling down? Does the bar move away from you?

Ben Glidewell
11-04-2011, 07:18 PM
There is a pause at the top, I receive the bar above parallel then drop in the hole slowly feeling a bit unstable or weak through my theighs/TFL/hips. The bar doesn't travel out on me too much and I am getting hip extension according to my training partner. I will try to get a video posted to give you a visual reference asap. I am finishing up the general cycle and have my 4th day at 90% on tap for Monday, what % would be best for a form check?

FYI: my snatch balance and OHS are not much above my current snatch both of which are less than my press.

Best Snatch 190#
power snatch 225+
OHS 215-225
Snatch balance 205
press 245-255
deadlift 550-565
HB back squat 465
Front squat 300 bar does not touch my delts, 365 w/arms crossed
clean & jerk 255 bar does not touch my delts
31 5'9 220

Front rack position has improved as I have committed to stretching and added volume to front squats


Ben Glidewell
11-07-2011, 07:12 AM
Did a waveload press on Saturday and finished at 265

Greg Everett
11-07-2011, 08:41 AM
Ben -

Usually weights in the 80-90% range are good to see what's going on, although anything is better than nothing.

From what you describe, it sounds more like you just have some stability issues with the bar overhead in the snatch rather than a problem pulling under. Try some 1 1/4 overhead squats and heaving snatch balances to help strengthen that position and up your confidence and comfort. Also take care of any soft tissue problems in the hips/quads that may be hurting and slowing you down there.

Ben Glidewell
11-07-2011, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the reply Greg. I did not have my phone with me this morning, but I will try to get a video up on Friday (power snatch, jerk, snatch pull on Wednesday). After your reply and listening to the last podcast I will also be sure to roll and get on the lacrosse ball before training, I usually just warm up and go then roll out at night. How would you program in the 1 1/4 OHS and heaving snatch balance? I am finishing up the general cycle and plan on starting the Sample Master's Program with some added squat volume in early December.

Thanks again!

Greg Everett
11-07-2011, 02:55 PM
I would do the heaving snatch balance 2-3x/week - before you do any snatching. Keep the weight such that you can do smooth, quick reps rather than having to grind out sitting in - 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps. 1 1/4 OHS 1x/wk and take the weight up reasonably heavy but not beyond perfect positioning - something like 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps also.

Ben Glidewell
11-08-2011, 12:40 PM
Will do, thanks Greg!

Ben Glidewell
11-14-2011, 10:25 AM
Here are the clips from Friday. It is my first attempt with youtube... I tried to rotate them, but I guess it is not saving that way.

80% http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo9LkkYE78E&feature=related

85% http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqW58wKlmq8&feature=related

90% http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEaa__xNlh4&feature=related

Your advice is greatly appreciated,

Greg Everett
11-14-2011, 10:41 AM
There are issues in all parts of the lift that are affecting your ability to get under it. So that's the bad news. However, that's also the good news in the sense that this problem will clear up as you improve in general.

First, as I know you're aware, flexibility is a limiter for you right now. This is holding you back from a comfortable position under the bar as well as a solid start position.

When you leave the floor, you're letting yourself tip forward over the bar too much - your knees extend faster than your hips, so you end up nearly straight-legged with the bar at your knees and your shoulders too far in front of it. So you're basically getting pulled forward and then you try to jump into the bar with your hips, which limits the upward acceleration and and kicks the bar forward. Then you still try to muscle the bar up overhead rather than pull yourself under it - of course, this is not only too much weight to do that, but the bar is too far away, so it doesn't work and you end up pressing it up overhead. Watch your hips as you try to get under the bar - you reach them forward rather than sitting them back into a squat. This is a combination of a lack of confidence under the bar, being off balance forward, and inflexibility.

So here's what I would suggest:

1. Stretch your face off.

2. Overhead squats and snatch balances every time you train if not more. No need to go heavy - use it as a stretch as well as a way to simply get accustomed to that position under the bar. Do it over and over and over and over.

3. Lots of snatches from the high-hang. Start with the bar a couple inches below your hips, shins vertical, weight toward the heels, shoulders very slightly in front of the bar. Relax your arms and arch your back forcefully to use the lats to push the bar into your hips. Elbows pointed to the sides. Focus not on lifting the bar up, but on immediately changing direction at the top and PULLING yourself down under the bar. Literally pull - elbows high and to the sides with the bar right in front of your face, turn the arms over without dropping the elbows and punch it up over the back of your neck forcefully. This has to be extremely aggressive. Force yourself to catch the bar with fully extended elbows immediately - no pressing. If you have to work with only an empty bar to make this happen, that's fine. You have to get the movement and speed down first.

4. Segment snatches: Slow and controlled snatch deadlift to that high-hang position; pause; snatch. Focus on maintaining your posture and balance all the way so you end up in the perfect high-hang position before you snatch. Light as you need to do them well. Progress to following the segment snatch with a regular one (no pause) but keep the initial pull to high-thigh pretty slow - you have to learn to be patient and wait for that high bar position to explode.

Ben Glidewell
11-15-2011, 11:09 AM
Thank you for such a detailed response Greg, I really appreciate it.

I will continue to focus on stretching, is there a particular area or a certain stretch that I should focus on?

After I stretched and rolled out last night I messed around with the High-Hang Snatches and Segment Snatches with a PVC pipe. I have also been using 1 ľ OHS and Snatch Balance as you suggested in my warm-up, I will try to alternate them as a light weight warm-up and a stretch at night with the PVC. I assume that I have the same issues with my positioning on my clean in addition to my front rack problems. Would you suggest using the High-Hang and Segment variation to improve my clean as well?

I am finishing up the General Cycle this week and I had planned on starting the Sample Masterís Cycle after Thanksgiving. Should I sub the high hang and segment variations for the whole 5 week cycle and reassess after Christmas? Or continue with the regular lifts and add in the variations for a warm-up/stretch or assistance work? I guess I am asking if I should continue to train the full lift as deficient as my form is currently. Any input or suggestions for me to personalize the Sample Masterís Program, or a program in general would be greatly appreciated?

Thank you again for your time and willingness to help,

Greg Everett
11-15-2011, 11:55 AM
Try using a bar instead of PVC whenever possible - you need a little weight for feedback and you'll get the feel of it better. Also, OHS/snatch balance will actually stretch you better than PVC because you need that bit of resistance to work against to really hit those postures correctly.

I would do the masters program as written (it actually has the halting DL + lifts in it 1x/wk) but add the other stuff as warmups. For example, before the snatch workout, spend 5-10 min warming up with high-hang snatches. reduce the weights on those as needed to do them correctly. You'll get strength work with the DLs, etc. And make sure you use perfect posture/balance on those - they're not just strength work, they're practice for the lifts.

Ben Glidewell
11-18-2011, 08:52 AM
That makes sense on the PVC pipe and thanks for the gameplan on the Master's Program.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this site.