Now that we have your attention!
The best way to finish, is to start with the start in mind.
A Successful Snatch: It’s all in the pull
Everyone has a different focus when learning to snatch – some are worried about
getting enough vertical acceleration of the bar (second pull), some are worried about
pulling their body under the bar (third pull), but many tend to lack focus on the starting
position and first pull.
The first pull, and your ability to set up correctly, is a vital component of a successful lift.
Given that much of the starting position and first pull rely on the flexibility and body
positioning of the lifter, there is much room for variances that may influence the rest of
So for those of you who aren’t familiar with the technical jargon of Olympic weightlifting,
I will explain the first, second and third pull.
First pull: From your starting position, this pull begins when the bar is lifted from the
floor and ends at the second pull initiation which typically starts around mid-thigh.
Second pull: The upward extension of the body to accelerate the barbell, which starts
approximately at mid-thigh and ends at the fully extended position of the body. This is
where the speed and power are generated to accelerate the barbell upwards.
Third pull: The active movement of the “pulling” yourself under the barbell and into a
position to receive the weight. Typically during warm ups (such as the Burgener warm
up) we practice pulling the elbows “high and outside”. This is a great drill to learn bar
path, however, we often confuse the pull of the elbows with the breaking of the elbows
as the lifter actively descends under the bar into a receiving position.
So why is the first pull so important to the success of the lift?
Many common errors in lifting, such as horizontal movement of the bar (rainbowing),
jumping forward to receive, bailing the bar in front, etc., are a result of incorrect or
inefficient set up and first pull. The first pull should create a position that will transfer into
the second and third pull and allow for optimal bar acceleration and bar path (which
should be vertical!).
So what does proper movement look like in the first pull of the snatch?
Your starting position should include the following:
- Weight balanced over the entire foot
- Feet are in “pulling stance” which is under the hips
- Shins should be inclined forward
- Shoulders slightly in front of the bar
- Back remains flat
Your first pull should include the following:
- Angle of the back remains the same
- Legs engage in raising the bar to the knees
- Shins will pull backwards to allow the bar path to remain vertical
- Shoulders remain slightly in front of the bar
There are many errors that can occur during the first phase that may impact your ability
to execute a successful lift. It is vital to understand how these errors can be corrected
through feedback from a coach who is capable of identifying areas of improvement.
A great coach can recognize those areas of improvement, and help you build a program
to correct, strengthen, and create muscle memory that will help you become a better
lifter and transfer into efficient barbell cycling in wods.
Post by "Elysha Oliver"
Beginner or advanced you can always benefit from more work on the basics. Greg Classman, the man himself said that once you think you've mastered the basics you should go back and start again.
Elysha will hosting our fist snatch specific clinic on May 6th. If you know Elysha then you know that this lady is passionate about lifting and she is super excited to be able to share her knowledge with you.