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Get Strong Where You Need to be Strong
Greg Everett

I know I'm not the only one who hears things like, I need to just deadlift really heavy so I can be stronger for the snatch and clean. The same people then proceed to deadlift looking like a question mark and wonder why, since they can deadlift so much, they can't snatch or clean to save their lives.

Strength is important in weightlifting—but strength is very position-specific. It's not a magical quality that applies to all positions and movements equally. If you get very strong deadlifting with your hips high and your shoulders way in front of the bar, for example, that's exactly the position your body is going to find in the snatch and clean as weights increase and your physical inability to maintain your position surpasses your intention.

Does this mean you can never do colon-prolapsing, whatever-goes deadlifts, or weird squat variations where your hips are so far back they're in another state? No. But it does mean that such variations should be overwhelmingly in the minority of your total training volume.

In order to become strong in the positions you need for the snatch and clean, you need to train strengh in those positions. That means performing pull and deadlift variations in the same posture you want to pull the competition lifts, strengthening an upright, knee-centric position for the jerk dip and drive, and strengthening the squat in the posture you’ll need to be successful in the snatch and clean, in even if it means less weight than you could move if you just threw position out the window.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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