Pushing The Knees Out In The Snatch & Clean
In the starting position and first pull of the snatch and clean, we want to push the knees out inside the arms. This serves 3 important purposes:
First, it opens the hips to allow freer movement of the pelvis so the lower back can be arched properly. Just like in a squat, the legs need to be oriented in a way that prevents the femurs from running into the pelvis and limiting hip flexion.
Second, pushing the knees out shortens the fore-aft length of the legs by bringing the knees back and hips forward. This means the knees are less disruptive of the bar path and the lifter can achieve a more upright posture without sitting the hips lower than would be mechanically sound.
Third, it moves the shins back slightly to create more space for the bar to start in an optimal position over the feet.
Unlike in the squat, the thighs don’t need to be aligned with the feet during the pull—the knees will typically be outside the toes.
Some lifters will push the knees even wider as the bar passes them, but this is rarely actually necessary. Simply keep pushing the knees out to approximately the same degree until the bar passes and then allow them to naturally re-orient themselves as you finish the pull.
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