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Deadlift Form and the Oly Lifts

Hello all,

I’ve recently taken a huge interest in some of the Oly lifts; I really want to increase my explosiveness and general athleticism. What I’ve been wondering, though, is this: I’m interested in understanding the form Oly lifters use when doing cleans, snatches, etc. from the floor. If someone were to tell me to lift something off the floor with immense power, I’d set up like I would a deadlift.

However, I can plainly see that this is not the case, and I’m wondering why that is. Based on my untrained eye, I see that the bottom position of a clean, snatch, etc. looks like the bottom position of a squat, versus the deadlift. Can someone explain to me why the setup is different, and the reasoning? Thanks! I’m just curious.

The purpose of the first pull of the clean and snatch is to be in a good position for the rest of the lift. A deadlift is a single pull. If you tried to pull a clean or snatch with the bar as close as a deadlift you’ll be in a terrible position to execute the second pull if you can do it at all.

So even during the first pull the person won’t eventually come into the position similar to the deadlift? I’ve noticed that with some people, they deadlift with their hips very low, but eventually come into the position that they should have started at, so I was wondering if a similar rule applies to a clean/snatch. Unless the Oly lifters are extremely flexible, which is probably the case.

[quote]MikeMezz wrote:
So even during the first pull the person won’t eventually come into the position similar to the deadlift? I’ve noticed that with some people, they deadlift with their hips very low, but eventually come into the position that they should have started at, so I was wondering if a similar rule applies to a clean/snatch. Unless the Oly lifters are extremely flexible, which is probably the case. [/quote]

Yes, olympic lifters are generally extremely flexible (Vasily Polovnikov, a Russian 105kg lifter, can do the full splits). I would say that you should watch some slow motion cleans in order to see the positions you should be in. Generally, at least as I’ve been taught and seen, the first motion is an extension of the knees with a fairly consistent back angle (some people have slight changes, some people have a constant, non changing back angle). This is in contrast to a deadlift which, as I’ve understood and learned that, has both the knees and hips extending at about the same time.

Another thing about coming into similar positions as a deadlift: It’s less about flexibility and more about strength and movement patterns. I’m definitely not very flexible, but my cleans and snatches don’t look like my deadlifts unless the weight is way more than I can clean or snatch.

read about the double knee bend -

as stated above, the first pull is really all about positioning the bar for the second pull, allowing for the “scoop” of the bar inwards. this is also why you need the hips down in the start position.

good first pull = good second pull.