Timing is key!
The timing of the second (past the knees to full extension) and third pull (pull down and around the bar) may be one of the hardest concepts to for someone learning the Olympic lifts to understand or explain. Although in a way.. it’s simple, the bar is elevated and accelerated using the extension of the body while driving through the ground — this is what your coach calls “leg drive”. When you’re finished with the extension you pull yourself under the bar into the receiving position. That’s it.. simple right?
Even when an athlete understands these two phases It gets tricky when they try to blend them together. One can not simply go noodle-legged at full extension and hope for the best in the receiving position. There is an overlap in which the lifter is still generating upward momentum while initiating the pull under the bar.
You are, in short, pulling against the bar — and under — to preserve it’s upward momentum. There is one key moment in the third pull in which a lifter can preserve the bars elevation and speed and that is the initial pull under the bar.
The bar must continue its upward momentum while you pull under.
Now.. don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying pull the bar up to your chest and THEN pull under the bar. You’ve already lost it’s momentum –– I’m saying there is a split second in which you feel the bar elevating, right before the feet relocate.. this is when the magic happens.
(The above shows the purple arrow continuing its upward force through the pull while the body moves under the bar.)
The pull is a very fluid movement, we must tie all 3 (first, second & third) together in order to create an aggressive and seamless movement. There are a few drills one can do to get a better understanding of the upward and downward force, but the real test comes with piecing it all together. If we compare it to one drill, it’s very similar to the muscle snatch, the bar is ALWAYS moving up. Once you understand this way of thinking, it’s only a matter of time before it is linked together mentally and physically. The only change in this comes from the final receiving position in which you push up into the bar to secure the lockout.
Here are some drills that can help enforce muscle memory in the third pull in either the Snatch or Clean:
1. High Pull from Power Position
2. High Pull from Hang (above knee) Position
3. Muscle Snatch/Clean from Power Position
4. Muscle Snatch/Clean from Hang (above knee) Position
5. Power Snatch/Clean from Power Position
6. Power Snatch/Clean from Hang (above knee) Position
7. Full Snatch/Clean from Power Position
8. Full Snatch/Clean from Hang (above knee) Position
Here are some complexes of the above:
1. Snatch High Pull from Power Position + Power Snatch from Power Position + Snatch from Power Position – 2+1+1 @ 40-50%
2. Power Clean from Power Position + Clean from Power Position – 2+2 @ 40-50%
**remember this are primer and technique intended drills, do not go heavy while dialing in your timing!
Hopefully this article clears up some of the confusion that many people have when learning the lifts. Thinking about moving YOURSELF around the bar, rather than focusing so hard on moving the BAR as high as possible is key!