The Second Pull – Oly Lifts

The Second Pull
(courtesy CF Verve)
Last week we left off with the bar having just passed the knees, and the lift-off completed.  Let’s review our body positioning at this point: Weight should be on the heels.  Shins should be at vertical.  Shoulders should be out over, in front of the bar.  In this position, you should feel hamstring tension.  If you don’t, check your shins.  Are they at vertical?  Or are your knees too bent?
From here, it’s all about the hips. Your hips begin to straighten in accelerated fashion until we reach what is sometimes referred to as the point of explosion. When we explode, the knees come forward, or re-bend, as it were (this is the double knee-bend), and the chest rises to vertical.  This motion of the knees coming forward in the Olympic lifts is also referred to as the scoop.  However, when we teach this movement, we tell you to jump.  Why?  Because when we jump, we complete the entire motion I just described, naturally, without having to think about it (not having to think hard makes my life much more enjoyable, btw). In any case, the knees scoop forward, changing the direction that the hips will move.  How so, and why is this important?

Just before the jump

Well, let’s think about the position of the hips before the scoop.  They are back.  To simply extend the hips would mean that we would thrust them forward, just like we would with a kettlebell swing.  What effect would that have on the bar?  As you can imagine, this would send the momentum of the bar far forward, making it swing away from the body, and making it more difficult to catch over the head. So, by “jumping”, the hips drop under the shoulders and drive vertically.  This will positively affect bar trajectory. As you extend, the glutes and quads should contract, and this contraction should be punctuated with an aggressive shrug.  The second pull ends with the shrug.  Important note: the arms are still straight when the shoulders shrug.

Let’s review.  We have a solid starting snatch deadlift position, weight centered on the middle of the foot, shoulders over the bar, hips down.  We keep this torso angle as we pull our knees back, and extend our hamstrings.  After the bar passes the knees, we accelerate, jump powerfully (knees coming forward, chest rising to vertical), and shrug violently. The heavy lifting has now been completed.  Whatever upward momentum we could muster on the bar has been given.  Now… we must get under the bar.  This is third pull, to be discussed next week….