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-   -   Getting low on clean and snatch (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2538)

Jamie J. Skibicki 05-29-2008 06:57 AM

Getting low on clean and snatch
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.

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:

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

Gary who?!:-)
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


Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki (Post 32112)
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.

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