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The Initial Pull from the Floor

Published: 2021-10-06
The Initial Pull from the Floor
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Coach David Miller shares his insights into the importance of the first pull in the snatch or the clean. Readers may view more exercise technique on the Fortius Weightlifting Coach Miller YouTube site.

Is This a Pull or a Push?

The initial movement of the barbell off the floor is the first, and one of the most critical, technical skills required for successful performance of both the snatch and clean. Although it’s called a pull, in reality it's more like a push.

The biggest mistake is to pull using primarily the back instead of the lower body. Hip extension creates rotational force around the hip joint and causes the bar path to move forward and away from the lifter.

Instead, when using a pushing force through the feet, much like a leg press, the lifter generates vertical velocity to the barbell. This causes an arching bar path back toward the athlete. The line of gravity is directly under the lifter's center of mass while maintaining flat feet on the platform. The longer force is applied through the entire surface area of the feet the more power is applied against the ground, and in turn, onto the barbell.

Check the SportsEdTV Weightlifting Library for more details on the first pull:




Practice this initial first pull movement with a pause just below the knee. After holding isometrically for two or three seconds, return the barbell to the floor. Perform additional repetitions of this truncated portion of the lift. Experienced lifters can practice this lift-off exercise with an overloaded barbell (10-15% over 1RM) to develop strength and confidence to remain in efficient position during the first movement.

Learn to properly perform the first pull and improved lift performance will follow!