Quit Scraping Your Shins In The Snatch & Clean
No, having bloody shins doesn’t mean you’re doing a good job keeping the bar close in the pull—it means you’re doing something wrong, and putting the rest of us at risk for communicable diseases while you’re at it.
There are 3 primary reasons for the bar scraping your shins.
First is starting the lift with your shoulders behind the bar. The bar wants to hang directly below the shoulders. If your shoulders are behind the bar, the bar tries to move backward to get under them—but your shins are blocking its path, so it scrapes its way up. Related, be sure you’re not starting the bar too far back over the foot. Fix your starting position so your shoulders are above or very slightly in front of the bar, and the bar is over the balls of the foot.
Second, you need to settle down with your lats. If your posture in the first pull is what it should be, your shoulders will be right above the bar or very close to it, which means it will require very little effort to keep the bar close to the legs below the knees. Don’t grind it into yourself because you just learned about lats.
Finally, even if your starting position and initial pulling posture are good and you’re not freaking out about the lats, you’re still going to snag your shins with the bar if you start opening your hips too soon in the pull, which brings the shoulders behind the bar. Your shoulders should be above or in front of the bar until it’s around mid-thigh.
Conveniently enough, you can practice and fix all of this with a single exercise—a halting snatch or clean deadlift. Set the proper starting position, keep the shoulders above the bar until past the knee and don’t push it against your shins, and pause at mid-thigh with the shoulders in front of the bar, and yes—use your lats there to push the bar back into light contact with your legs.