Bar Contact In The Snatch & Clean | Brush Or Bang?
How and when the bar contacts the body in the snatch and clean—and even whether or not it should—is an ongoing source of confusion for new lifters, so we’re going to sort you out right now.
First, does the bar have to contact the body? Only if you want to lift correctly.
The bar wants hang directly below the shoulders. If you stand vertically with a bar at arms’ length, your shoulders will be behind the bar—but the bar is prevented from moving all the way back under the shoulders because your legs and hips are in the way, which means the bar is unavoidably contacting your body.
In other words, the only way to lift without the bar touching your body at the top of a pull—assuming proper balance on the feet—is to not extend the body completely—a complete extension will force the bar to eventually come into contact.
Exceptions to this are with very light weights, generating enough speed early in the lift to allow the bar to swing out and stay away from the body, or allowing the bar to move forward from the start of the lift and letting it pull you with it—two serious errors.
This leads us to when this contact should occur, and that’s when the shoulders first move behind the bar. As your trunk reaches approximately vertical in the second pull, the bar will contact the body as it tries to remain below the shoulders as they move back with hip extension.
Artificially forcing the bar to contact before this point by pushing it back and up excessively will create problems with balance, reduction of bar speed, and dragging that will slow or deflect the bar.
Finally, the perennial argument: should the contact be more of a brush or a bang? The goal is to ensure complete contact because it indicates proper balance and position, while minimizing disruption of the bar’s upward trajectory and acceleration.
Contact aggressive enough to generate a bit of noise is generally desirable, but significant horizontal contact of the bar with the hips is problematic because it moves the bar forward and slows and limits its elevation.
In all cases, the bar needs to be continuing to move upward along the body as it contacts rather than contacting at a single point and then immediately moving away. We can call it a violent brush or a glancing bang—whatever makes you happy.
Now the obvious question is how you make all this happen.
First, simply keep the bar as close to the legs as possible all the way through the pull without dragging.
Stay over the bar long enough to prevent it from contacting low on the legs as the knees move forward.
And continue driving through the floor vertically with the legs through completion of hip extension.