Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

How To Stay Over The Bar In The Snatch & Clean

How do you stay over the bar in the snatch and clean? Easy! Just keep standing up without opening your hips.

We want the shoulders over the bar until the bar is between above the knee and mid-thigh depending on your proportions and strengths. Typically longer-legged lifters will stay over longer and shorter-legged lifters will open the hips sooner (taking advantage of the relatively stronger hips or legs, respectively).

If you extend the knees and keep the back angle approximately the same while staying balanced over the foot, the shoulders will stay over and then move forward of the bar as they should naturally. In other words, use just your legs to stand up. You do NOT need to actively tip farther over the bar or push the knees way back or any other fancy tricks.

If you stand up, the knees move back out of the way. The only way they won’t move back enough is if you start with your shoulders behind the bar or begin bringing them back too soon.

The hips move forward as you stand, which means the shoulders move forward with them if the back angle is the same. The bar moves backward slightly as it rises as well, which means the shoulders will naturally be even farther in front of the bar without having to perform any specific motions to achieve this position.

Staying over the bar properly requires 3 things—the understanding that you need to, the skill to execute the correct motion, and the posture-specific strength to allow that motion with heavy weights.

To train the skill and strength, use halting deadlifts with a pause at mid-thigh, segment deadlifts or pulls with pauses at the knee and mid-thigh, segment snatches or cleans with a pause at mid-thigh, or complexes combining any of those exercises with a snatch or clean. Slow eccentrics on any pull or deadlift variations can also be helpful. Remember that none of these exercises will be effective unless you’re in the correct positions—they will strengthen exactly the position and balance you perform them with, so take your time and make it right.

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