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Snatch

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Snatch & Clean the Same

In my opinion, the Snatch and Clean should be treated the same, with of course a different grip. The mechanics and geometry used to raise the bar (regardless of height) should be similar during both lifts.

During the Snatch, athletes believe the bar should be raised as far as possible overhead before attempting to 'get under the bar' - elite athletes can actually elevate the bar to the same height as their Clean.
The truth is, pulling the bar far enough to drop under it will suffice. This concept makes the movement simpler and helps coaches develop beginner and intermediate lifters.

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Hitting the Knees

The problem isn't a major issue but can cause a nuisance. The primary reason this happens is due to the athlete rocking back too soon and/or pulling the shoulders back behind the bar before it has passed the knees. Instead, the lifter should be patient and keep the shoulders in place (whether directly above the bar or in front) for a longer period of time until the bar has passed the knees. Remaining patient like this video shows also helps the athlete stay in a "hang" position anyway, which is strong stance for many.

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Dynamic Start

Many of my posts are geared towards athletes (beginners/intermediates) and coaches. This post however is a bit more advanced.
When we first learn Olympic Weightlifting we are taught a static start. A static start is when we find a comfortable start position, pause, and then lift. Once an athlete has achieved a certain amount of proficiency, I typically introduce the dynamic start. A dynamic start is similar to a running-start; its purpose is to gain an extra advantage over the bar. 

Although this technique is not for everyone, I introduce it when I feel the individual is ready to try it. In a dynamic start, the athlete creates a stretching-reflex, quick tension, or pre-loading movement prior to lifting. This action must return the athlete to his/her original start position…and without hesitation, lift the bar. The key components are:

1. Pre-loading
2. Swift movement
3. No hesitation
4. Maintain bar path

When learning the dynamic start, it is easy to disturb the lift-off of the bar. It is important that coaches and athletes practice the correct principles without interfering with the lift itself. If the athlete is not comfortable with the movement, return him/her to their original static start.

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Getting Your Head Through

This particular tip describes why coaches use the ‘get your head through’ or ‘head through a window’ cue. This cue is used to promote better placement of the bar in the overhead position which generates a stronger position. Is this cute enough, no… it is only a small piece of the puzzle. The primary responsibility of this cue is the directional effort of the body. Placing the ‘head through’ is an amazing cue that I use personally in my training.

 

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Contacting the Hips

Should the bar hit the same location on the body in both the Snatch and Clean (at least for those who contact at all)? I say no. In the Power Position, athletes often try to strike the bar in the exact spot with both lifts and sometimes struggle to do so -often bending the arms early in Clean to accomplish it. As long as the bar is within a certain range, it is good to go. The optimal range is between the waist line, and top of the quadriceps, which encompasses the glutes, hips, and hip flexors. If the athlete is outside this area, most often too low (mid-quadricep), it would be a cause of concern. This video explains the idea and the full description.



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Why people jump forward on Snatch

There are 3 main reasons why people jump forward on Snatch: (a) shifting onto toes right off the floor, (b) during transition passed the knees they shift their hips too far forward, or (c) they simply smack the bar out in front from the hips. I suggest coaches identify which one their athletes are doing then address it accordingly. To simply see an athlete jumping forward is one thing, but to identify why, or when it occurs, is most important. The line in this video is not to show bar path but rather to label the frontal plane, where the bar may not pass.

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Textbook Snatch

This is what I refer to as a textbook Snatch. I am not suggesting it is a “perfect” lift, there is no such thing. I feel a “perfect” lift is relative to the individual athlete. We are all different; one size does NOT fit all. So that being said, as long as a person’s technique meets my 3-point criteria; safe, efficient, and comfortable, then it is a good lift. This video shows an athlete of mine on her way to a PR in the gym. As I was setting her warm ups, I noticed her movement what was some would consider “text book”, in my opinion. It just happens to possess mechanics consistent with many books, articles, and curriculum of various certification courses

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3-Position Snatch

3-Position Snatches or Cleans are a great way to develop technique and power. The goal of the athlete will determine in which order the sequence will be executed.  By definition, 3-Position Snatch and 3-Position Clean is the execution of 1 rep from various heights on the body in a sequential order; such as floor, midhang, and the power position (hip).

Snatching or Cleaning from all 3 positions equals one repetition.  As stated, depending on what the coach wishes to accomplish will determine which order they should be executed. If the aim is to develop power, the order should be (1) floor (2) midhang then (3) power position. The logic behind this by the time the athlete has reached the third position they should be under a bit more fatigue and executing a lift from the hips is challenging.

The athlete has no choice but to engage the legs & open the hips with maximal effort in order to be successful. Yes, this can be done with moderately heavy weight. In fact, the heavier the better so long as the athlete is successful in the final position. If however, the goal is better technique, then the order should be reverse; (1) power position (2) midhang then (3) floor. The idea here is that the athlete starts with the simplest of the movements, followed by the more complex movement from the midhang and ending from the floor for the full technique.  This is similar to how coaches should teach Olympic Weightlifting; “high to low.” This video gives the example of 3-Position Snatch but the concept applies to 3-Position Clean.

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