Reconstructing the Snatch from the Ground Up, Part 2; The Second Pull

Day two, pull number two. Yesterday, I talked about some things that can happen from the time the bar starts on the floor til the time the bar gets to the knees. This is a very important part of the lift, however the magic happens once the bar gets above the knee. This phase of the lift is where explosive power is generated by the hips in order to generate force into the bar, and harness that force into a vertical pull. The power generated by this pull will determine whether the bar travels high enough for the lifter to move underneath the bar and receive it.



1.) Not completing the pull. 

This one seems to be slightly self explanatory but is one of the most common reasons for a missed lift. The reason for this mistake usually boils down to the fact that the lifter is in too much of a rush to get under the bar that they do not go into full hip extension, thus not completing their pull. Working technique at submaximal weight, as well working on hang pulls and shrugs are two of the most effective ways to correct this problem.


2. Tossing the head back at the end of the pull.

Second pull whiplash as I like to call it. This is the over compensation for correcting the problem of not completing the pull. Any force produced will create an equal and opposite force. Bring the head or shoulders back, and the bar will move forward and swing away. So, the objective here is simple: try to produce as vertical of a pull as possible, and stay way from over extending. Compensation at the neck and head will not create a higher pull, but will instead create the reaction of the bar moving away from the body.


3. Coming up on to the toes too soon.

This is usually done with the intention of generating vertical momentum with the hips (like a jump). However, this will more times than not create a forward push of the bar, thus causing the same swinging effect that we spoke of earlier. One of the best corrections for this problem is the “no feet drill”. This drill is done by concsiencely keeping the feet in contact with the floor while doing a Snatch.


One thing I would like to cover is the “bump”. This is when the bar makes contact with the body somewhere between the thighs and the hips in order create an upward “scoop” of the bar. At some point the bar MUST make contact with the body in order to achieve maximal force when the bar is as close to the body as possible. HOWEVER, this is not the most important mechanic of the lift and I feel like sometimes beginning lifters put too much emphasis on achieving the “bump” that they lose sight of the mechanics of the lift. Learning timing, elbow mechanics, feet placement, hip mechanics and pulling technique should be the primary focus of the lifter that is just starting out. Some people will get the bump sooner than others, and for some it will happen naturally, but it should be a goal after achieving the timing and mechanics described above.


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