T Nation

Critique On My Lifts Please!


Hey guys how you doing? I'll keep it simple. I'm from England. I used to be an international swimmer. Injury put an end to that and I'm now training my olympic lifts because I love it! I know I can lift more but I don't know what I'm doing wrong so hopefully you can help! Here are some videos (not quite HD!):

The snatch is 50kg. My max is 55kg. Clean is 60kg. My max is 70kg.

And don't hold back! :slightly_smiling:


Removed: Trying to get my videos to work!


I'm not the most qualified for critique but one thing I see right away in your snatch is you aren't fully extending and sweeping the bar in and you're hitting the bar off your thighs and pulling it up with your arms instead of using your hips.

Welcome to the forum!


Thanks! That picture is sweet.. awesome tekkers! Hmm, I hadn't noticed that but on slowing it down I can see that my arms bend quite early, however I'm no way strong enough to just muscle the bar up!

Can you expand on your comment on not fully extending?

Also, I can guarantee that the bar isn't bouncing off my thighs, even if it looks like it is! :slightly_smiling:


It looks like you're not getting to the point in the pic at frame 6 and 7 (of the pic I posted earlier of Svetlana Podobedova) but it might just be the video. But someone better qualified will hopefully come along.

Here's another illustration.


I think these Cal Strength "How to" videos will be helpful for you...

Snatch part 1

Snatch part 2

Snatch part 3

Second pull tip

There are some for the clean too, but I'll let you find them on their website...


Bruce, no offense, but there are so many errors in your snatch that it will require a multi-part post to detail them. I see at least 12 major errors. Let's start with your break from the floor and transition to the knees.

In the attached picture, notice that you have lost curvature of the lower back. Your legs are also prematurely extended. What this means is that neither (a) your back nor (b) your legs can contribute properly to the second pull. Your back transmits force to the bar by straightening. Because your back has already lost curvature, you have added that much extra ROM before you can straighten and transmit force to the bar. Because your legs are straightening prematurely, you can not use the force generated by straightening them into the bar. In essence, once the bar passes your knees, you will have to use a shrugging/jumping motion to drive the bar higher. You are using weaker muscles (traps, calves) rather than stronger muscles (legs, back) to drive the bar upwards.

Your problems likely stem from a lack of flexibility in the bottom position. You cannot, as yet, break the bar from the floor properly, perhaps because of tight muscles and postural issues (in which I am no expert).

Practice a snatch-grip deadlift just to learn how to maintain position. Try the SND with your back remaining at a 45-degree angle until the bar passes your knees. If you can keep this degree constant, then your legs will also straighten at the right time.

Can you do that? Post an SND video and let's try to fix your break from the floor. Because, honestly, your snatch cannot be fixed all at once. There are so many technical errors that you should start by learning how to break the bar from the floor before progressing to the snatch.


These are the proper positions for the snatch as the bar approaches the knee. Note that the back is at a nearly 45-degree angle, whereas your back has lost curvature at this point in the pull. Note that the legs have yet to extend. So, from this position, two things will happen: (a) The back will straighten and (b) the legs will straighten at around the same time. The straightening of the torso and the legs will transmit a great deal of force into the bar.

It is this position that you need to develop a feel for. That's why SNDs or RDLs are, I think, good preparatory exercises (perhaps for a few months) before continuing snatches. If you continue to ingrain the wrong motor habits in the snatch, they will be difficult to undo.


Now look at your positions. The green arrow represents where, roughly speaking, your back needs to end up. The red arrow represents how far back your torso has to travel to straighten out. You have a great deal distance to traverse before the straightening of your torso can transmit upward/backward force into the bar.

Hopefully this makes sense. Weightlifting properly is so difficult that most people do it improperly or just give up.


Haha no worries mate I said don't hold back!

I've always thought one of the major things is I tend to over-think everything and could do with just 1 or 2 cues to be thinking about before the lift. However since you're saying it's as bad as I feared, I think going back to basics and squatting, rowing etc 2 x week and flexibility/basic technique 3 x week will be a good idea.

I'll get you the video of me Snatch Deadlifting tomorrow. Anything else you think I should be doing?

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

Thanks pal! These videos and the website in general are great! I'm gonna get working on the technique drills he suggests!



Here's an idea. Work separately on the two 'ends' of the snatch. Use SNDs to practice breaking the bar from the floor while your back remains at 45 degrees. Use your hang snatches to practice getting under the bar. The hang snatches should be full snatches. Don't power the bar; fall into the full receiving position.

Your hang snatches are better by far than your full snatches. Don't ditch them. Use them for speed and positions. Meanwhile, prepare to improve the first half of your snatch by using SNDs.

What do you think?


Sounds like a good idea to me! I really want to increase my squat too. My 1RM is 125kg but that is slow as a snail! I can go 3x 110kg at a good pace. Have you got any suggestions on increasing that? Any workouts?

Thanks again mate and please check out the videos below. First one is me Snatch Deadlifting and then it's the first few drills from the Calstrength guys.


Your hang snatches are looking better. However, you're jumping too much and not bringing the bar into your hips enough. Look at the second frame of the picture above. See how he's hitting the bar with his hips, he's leaned back in full extension, and his toes are still on the ground? His heels only come off the floor because of the explosiveness of his extension, not because he's actually trying to jump.


Hi Bruce,

I like the SND. I'd ask you to make a small change, and then this exercise is ready to be a staple in your routine: Try moving your shoulders a little bit in front of the bar. In the attached pic, notice how the shoulders are slightly ahead of the bar. That's how you want to do a SND. You are not far from this position now.

Now, here's something to think about. You might be more comfortable moving your toes out to a 30-45 degree angle. Are your toes pointing straight ahead during your SND / snatch? Try moving them out a bit. You'll notice that moving them out will make it easier to (a) start with your shoulders ahead of the bar without feeling like you are tipping forward and (b) move the bar past your knees and pulling it BACK into yourself rather than just UP.

In all of your snatch variations: Drop immediately into the low receiving position. Don't do power stuff. If you start dropping, you'll eventually force yourself to hit the right positions.

Other notes: I think your build is excellent for weightlifting, and you have a lot of reserve strength. You've also been very good at taking direction and are quite coachable. Any chance you can make your way to a weightlifting gym like Koing's (I believe you said you are in England)?


Happy New Year everyone!!

Thanks mate. The jumping was just me doing exactly the drills Coach Pendlay has on the Calstrength site. That's the bit that really confuses me. So you're saying it shouldn't be a jump but more of a powerful hip thrust and the bar should make contact with the hips? If so, logically this would translate into the bar going out. How do I make sure that the momentum is mostly vertical?

I was actually thinking about moving my shoulders further forwards when I was doing it but it did feel a bit awkward. I'll try out the tip tomorrow mate, thanks!

Yes I'm in England, I use my university sports gym since it's free for scholars. But depending on where Koing is I'd love to go visit, I'm up north!

Also, I notice you're both from California. I got accepted to a year exchange at University of California next year! I can't wait!!


Sorry - maybe I shouldn't say anything about the jumping just yet, at least not until you post some more videos with weight on the bar and see what happens. It's just that when I first started, I thought I was supposed to try to jump to help get more inertia. I thought it was basically an explosive deadlift with a jump and then throw the bar up with my arms to get it overhead. I see some of that in what you're doing now. What I have come to realize is that the first part of the lift is just to get a little speed on the bar and get it into the right position for the finish (the part where you bang it into your hips to pop it up so you can drop under and catch). Thought of this way, the "jump" is more of a result of the speed of your lift and the explosiveness of your finish - it will lift you off the ground and your feet will come up just enough so you can slide them out slightly and widen your stance for the catch. The "jump and catch" drills with the bar are just drills with an empty bar, so the jump is a little exaggerated. You'll see when it gets heavy, the feet come off the ground much less. Here's a video with some of Jon North's snatches - look at how little his feet actually come off the ground - just enough to slide the feet out.

As for hitting the bar with the hips, I know it seems like it'll just push the bar out - not sure how to explain this one - I guess you just guide the bar more upwards with your arms, but you'll be surprised - it kind of just happens naturally. The bar should hit your lower abdomen, a little below the belt line. This part is key - it's where all the power comes from - if you don't bang the bar into your hips, you're not going to get very far. You'll probably get bruises when you first start doing this - it's normal! :slight_smile: Watch that second pull tip video again:


Also, which UC campus will you be going to? If it's Berkeley, you'd be a 30 minute drive from Cal Strength.


I get to pick a preference of 3 and I'm leaning towards Santa Barbara or San Diego and maybe somewhere north too. Below is a video of me doing the second pull drill. Please take a look at it mate. It didn't feel good and it doesn't look good! As far as hitting the bar with the hips, I ended up making contact with the bar just above my d*ck and I don't think that's right!


Yeah, SB or SD would be nice - certainly nicer weather than up here in the SF Bay Area.

Anyway, the drill looks alright - doesn't need to be perfect, just to help figure out how to make contact with the bar - when you went ahead and snatched it, it looked much better! Hit that bar! Just above your unit sounds a little low - I'd say I hit about halfway between my junk and my belly button. You'll figure it out though - one day you'll hit it just right and it'll feel less painful and more powerful than anywhere else - that's the sweet spot! You can see in that 3-frame pic I put above that the guy is hitting it about where I'm talking about.


Hmm I think that's not the correct way to train the second pull. Start lower (above the knees or mid thigh) and flare your elbows so the bar rises close to your body. As for now the bar goes too far forward.


Agreed, but the point of the drill is not to train the second pull - the only point is to learn to make contact with the hips and the bar. Next step is to bring the bar down to the hang position and snatch from there with that hip contact (which wasn't happening in the earlier videos).