Meeting The Bar In The Clean: Avoid Crashing In The Turnover
A common problem with the clean is athletes letting the bar crash onto them in the turnover. In other words, the bar falls into the rack position rather than the bar and shoulders connecting smoothly. This creates excessive downward force on the lifter, encouraging collapsing of the trunk, a loss of position, poor timing in the transition out of the squat, and an unnecessarily difficult recovery.
Lifters who make this mistake are usually trying to rush into as deep of a squat as quickly as possible, moving down indiscriminately instead of actually pulling under the bar and remaining connected to it. The goal is to bring the bar and shoulders together smoothly so the lifter can absorb the weight and maintain position and rigidity—in other words, to meet the bar at whatever height it’s been pulled to.
You can see the natural progression of receiving heights in this series of cleans with increasing weight. Light weights will naturally be pulled higher, meaning the lifter needs to match the bar’s height in the turnover. As weights increase, bar elevation will decrease, meaning the lifter will receive the bar lower and lower. But in all lifts, the key is that the lifter is remaining connected to the bar and pulling under it, not just falling down into the bottom of a squat regardless of where the bar is.
This is where the cue to rack the bar as quickly and as high as possible comes from—the goal is to secure the bar in the rack position as close to it’s maximal height as possible rather than allowing it to fall down onto the lifter. It does NOT mean as it has been misinterpreted to mean that we’re attempting to pull the bar to absolute maximal height, as that would require continuing to pull the barbell up after it’s reached its maximal upward speed.
Simply put, meet the bar with your shoulders in the turnover at whatever height you’ve pulled it to.
Read more about improving the turnover of the clean in these articles –
Improving the Clean through a Better Turnover
Pull Down for a Better Turnover in the Snatch & Clean
Stay Connected to the Bar