The 1st Pull
Did you read my last article explaining the difference between the clean and snatch hang positions?
This time, I will explain:
The Key Points of the '1st Pull'
First of all, let's review the 1st pull and hang positions.
The 1st pull is the part of the lift where the bar is brought from the floor to the knees. It is very important to know how to create a 'hang position' from the floor.
In the hang position:
1) The shins should be perpendicular to the ground.
2) The hamstring (back of the thigh) should be stretched.
3) The chest should be fully expanded.
4) The low back should not be rounded.
5) The centre of gravity should be in the centre of the sole of the foot.
When we compare the hang positions of the clean and snatch
The clean has a slightly higher upper body position
The snatch has a slightly more forward leaning upper body.
The hang position is easy to achieve when we begin from a deadlift then lower the bar from the hips, but it is difficult to get into when pulling the bar from the floor.
Whenever you do a good clean or snatch from the floor, you want to go through the hang position, but because of the above mentioned difficulty of achieving a good hang position from the floor, the difficulty level varies greatly between a clean or snatch from the hang position and a full clean or snatch.
We believe that if you can move well in the 1st pull and achieve a good hang position, the rest of the snatch or clean will improve.
Now, please watch this video.
Which of the three 1st pull videos from (1) to (3) is the better 1st pull?
The correct answer was number 3!
In video (1), the upper body rises quickly and the power of the legs is being wasted.
In video (2), the hips rise first and the upper body leans forward.
In video (3), you are able to push into the ground strongly and lead into a good hang position.
In movements (1) and (2), the feet are not pushing into the ground firmly, so the power of the legs is not being transferred to the bar very well. Furthermore, this results in a poor hang position, which causes the bar to move away from the body, etc. during the remainder of the lift.
So what should you be aware of in order to perform a good 1st pull?
Try the 'knee pull', the action of pulling your knees back!
Please watch this video.
In the starting position, my shins are angled forward, but as I lift the barbell, I pull my knees back. Can you see how my shins become vertical when the bar comes above my knees?
Lifting in this way allows us to create a good hang position while the bar is closer towards our centre of gravity.
Lastly raise your upper body slightly for the clean and keep it slightly lower in the snatch (neither of these is good if you overdo it).
One warning: if you are only conscious of pulling your knees back, your centre of gravity will come too far back, so try to be conscious of pulling your knees back while your hips remain high.
If you've improved your hang snatch and clean but they're still not quite right or don't feel right from the floor, try this out.
Sometimes just a better 1st pull can make things feel a lot better!