Does it matter when you jump in the snatch or clean? The answer is a resounding and emphatic yes!
Jumping before the bar gets to the “explode” position at the hips, which is usually somewhere above the pubis but below the hip crest in the snatch and the upper thigh in the clean, results in a forward bar displacement and loss of power.
To avoid jumping too early, you need to stay over the bar with the shoulders until you intend to jump. To perform the jump, you inherently bring the shoulders back on bent knees. Ideally, you will be jumping off of a foot that has to that point maintained full contact with the ground.
If you bring your shoulders back to soon, you cause the weight to shift to the toes too soon, hence the early jump or appearance of it because you are on your toes (really the balls of the feet, but if I say balls throughout the article, very immature people will laugh—you know who you are) early. When the weight shifts to the toes too soon, the entire pull trajectory will be completed in front of you.
The weight should instead be on the full foot when you initiate the jump. This keeps the bar close and allows it to follow a path that brings it the right place over your head or on your shoulders. It is also common to see early jumpers not open their hips all the way or get full torso elevation. Cutting the hip extension is cutting your power source and completely antithetical to lifting heavy weight over your head!
Remember, it’s a snatch or clean, not a snatch or clean broad jump. You should be landing in the same plane or no more than half a foot length behind where you begin the lift. Small jumps forward with proficient technique may occur as long as that forward jump doesn’t increase as the weight gets heavier; this could be considered idiosyncratic with certain lifters, but if when lifting heavier weights the forward jump increases, you have a problem to fix.
How to Fix an Early Jump
Work on hip
and hang snatches
or snatches from blocks
. Feel the weight on your entire foot before you jump.
Feel the movement by slowing it down: Muscle snatches
are a great exercise to see what you really do in the pull. I can always tell how good my athletes snatch technique is by watching their muscle squat snatches. After all, without the jump the lift is significantly more difficult.
These are pulls without coming onto the toes. The lifter hits his or her explode point and then extends the body up to pull but instead of coming onto the toes, he or she just stretches the torso upward, opening the hips and knees but not the ankles. This can help rewire the timing of a chronically early jumper.
Adding in a combination of a pull to the jump position and then following with the full lift is a great and very revealing complex as to whether you are jumping early.