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Weightlifting Wednesday: Proper use of Power movements… Have we been doing them wrong?


Weightlifting Wednesday: Proper use of Power movements… Have we been doing them wrong?


“One of the biggest faults I see in our lifters especially beginners is the ability to pull themselves under the bar. Instead, they pull the bar “up” from the hip to overhead. This is easily done in METCONs or with lighter weight because your arms/upper body are strong enough to still handle the load. But if you recently watched the Olympics or anyone at your gym moving big weight, they do something a little different. They are actively PULLING THEMSELVES UNDER THE BAR!”

“Isn’t your “over pulling” just a power snatch/clean?” That question and many others similar in content were sent to me after last weeks post. Unfortunately, this is not a short answer…. and will confuse you even more by saying yes and no! An over pulling through your second pull yes but like I mentioned last week NOT through your arms and upper body!

So in order to make more sense of this gray area, let me ask you this question… Since we know what our “third” pull consists of (if not, read last weeks blog) what does “second” pull consist of……

Having a hard time verbalizing or unsure??

Greg Everett defines the second pull as

“….the final, vicious explosion of the hips and knees beginning at approximately the level of the mid-to upper thigh…..the purpose off the second pull is to vertically accelerate and elevate the barbell as much as possible.”

For those of you that prefer drawings here is one from a Russian training manual that was shared with me from a close friend of mine.


So you might be asking How?? Why??

The “How”

Mechanically, the power snatch is identical to the the snatch, the difference is the height in which the bar is received and that plays into the application of power… So to make this very clear the ONLY thing that truly distinguishes a power snatch/clean vs. a squat snatch/clean is the amount of power exerted on the bar. If you as a lifter apply a maximal force to a barbell to what you would constitute as a “light” barbell, that said barbell will travel higher allowing you to receive the weight before a full squat is reached. Thus a power snatch can be taught with the same progressions as a squat snatch would be…

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You may notice in Spencer’s video (or really any frame by frame picture or video) that his torso is slightly angled backwards. What you need to pay attention to is the fact that is not angled so far back that his hips are moving horizontally….. THAT IS BAD! In efforts to be aggressive at the top of the second pull and send the bar away from us because of the horizontal hip movement and/or over rotate our shoulders behind the bar this is NOT the same as the “little” angle Spencer and other lifters do during their lifts. Instead of thinking driving back think of driving your shoulders VERTICAL at the top of your second pull! If you do struggle with this go back to last weeks blog and try out the TALL SNATCH or CLEAN

Now…. The “Why”

The power snatch can be used by weightlifters for numerous reasons but the main two reasons I program them is to teach bar velocity to help with extending that second pull. Athletes that have a muted second pull, power work tends to be a good auxiliary movement to help with this. Secondly, it allows athletes to continue to perform the snatch/clean with less taxing loads.

For non-competing athletes, the power snatch provides a good alternative as it still requires hip and leg power with out requiring the same amount of flexibility needed to perform a squat snatch.  It is important to note that most athletes hate squat snatching as it is so only practicing power work will ultimately have a negative effect on the aggressive third pull. A good coach who understands the lifts will be able to observe this and program accordingly to help you progress to whatever end/goal you have.

So, I leave you, coaches and athletes, with this final thought…. Please treat Power work for its designed purpose, an auxiliary movement.  They are designed to be used in order to aid in FULL movements, however the opposite is not true, they are NOT designed as FULL MOVEMENTS.

The next time you program Randy, Grace, Isabelle or another METCON in which power work is/can incorporated make sure you go over the proper use and reason(s) why that specific power work is being programed.  For instance we will use power work in METCONs to reinforce what was being taught in the Strength/Skill for the day in which proper movement should and always take precedence over time or score for the day!

As always if you need help from a coaching or programming stand point please do not be hesitant to contact us! We love to help any and all athletes!

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