T Nation

Dipping Under the Bar


Any helpful tips or cues would be appreciated. I don't have a coach and currently have no plans in competing but I do want to be able to respectably perform the O lifts. I have just started attempting the full lifts this week as opposed to the power lifts and I find myself only being able to catch in the quarter squat position and then I just ride the bar down to full squat. Is it just a matter of getting faster at the dip?

Anyway I'm sure it will just come down to practice, practice, and more practice. Thanks.

(BTW when i say 'dip' I'm referring to getting under the bar to catch it)


Just my newbie opinion but you also need guts to dip quickly under the bar when the weight gets heavy. The reason is because you need to relax the "pushing" muscle like the quads and glutes somewhat so that they don't inhibit your dip speed. I find that my mind unconsciously don't want to do this sometime because perhaps it fears that the weight would crush my body if I release the tension or something. A lot of practice will fix this.

See in the mirror how fast you can dip without any weight. You should be able to dip at least as fast as that when doing the lifts. Just think that there's no weight after "finishing" the 2nd pull and then hit rock bottom quickly.


You lack the co ordination/ conditioning to do it at this weight. This is why you catch in a 1/4 squat and ride it down.

I'd start on the bar. Work on the bar, make sure you can do it on the bar fast and then start to increase the weights. You will soon know when you have it. You can attack big weights without 'riding' it down.

It's a matter of bar work so that your body is condition to doing it so that your not scared of getting crushed when it's heavy.



What koing said. Bar work helped me a lot in diving under the bar.

I found hang snatches helpful too, but don't get too carried away with them



If the bar work isn't fast, the hang work won't be any better.

Focus on the bar work and then start to lift from the floor and build up your weights.

Make sure you can pull the bar to mid thigh correctly. If your first pull is ropey the 2nd pull will be at a huge disadvantage.



How's your flexibility, can you do a full overhead squat while staying on you heels with arms locked out, can you do a full front squat while staying on your heels with the bar in a good rack position? If you can do these things you can do the lifts properly. When you catch the clean or snatch do you throw you'r legs out wide (lots of beginners do this) if you find yourself having to reposition your feet to get into the full overhead or front squat, then you need to work on your landing position.


Actually, I am not very flexible and have been working on my flexibility everyday for the last week (that's when I decided to commit to learning the full lifts) and will continue to do so. I have long femurs and need the weight of a loaded bar to get ass to ankles. I am sure now that you mentioned it that this is why I am 'slow' under the bar, it's because I am waiting for the weight to throw me down to a full squat.

Thanks for the tips guys. I need to be able to get into a full squat without any weight on me. I think my problem is hip mobility. I have no problem touching my hamstrings to calves when I can hold onto something to maintain an upright position. But as soon as my back comes forward a bit (such is it would in a back squat) my hips shoot up and there is tons of tension there. Tight hamstrings possibly? Dorsiflexion is fine by the way.

Also, what angle is too far when it comes to turning the toes out? I feel like with my body mechanics I just have to, but then I've been watching kelly starrett's Mobility youtubes and he seems to really hammer the idea of keeping toes straight forward. I'm coming from a hockey background so my feet are used to being externally rotated like at the end of a stride. Thanks again.


Toes are not straight inan oly high bar squat or receive position for Sn or Cn.

10 and 2 o clock positions are rough starters. Some go straighter and some wider but not too wide mate. Remember to allow for different limb lengths and body mechanics so you will find a position that is good for you.

Yes hammer the mobility mate!



Thanks Koing! just spent 10 mins sitting in the full squat position with a little help holding on to a door frame. Painful to say the least! I guess sometimes people who point there toes out suffer valgus collapse but I have never head any problems with that so it should be fine.


yes, it can indeed be painful to start with.

i found holding onto a support (door frame or squat rack or something) helpful. i also found this really helpful:

I use a 5kg plate.

holding a plate in front of me with outstretched arms helps, too. I try and look through the center hole. Something about having the weight held out in front of you really helps to activate the abs and engage the hip flexors helpfully.

i guess your aim is to have a comfortable bottom position for front squat with your torso as upright as possible. one thing to make sure of (once you are comfortable in the deep squat position) is that you work on maintaining your lumbar arch / sitting into your hip flexors in that deep squat position. the lightly weighted versions seem to help a lot with that.

once the bottom position is nice and comfortable i found these really helpful:

here is a version of the exercise that you want to avoid (IMHO):

he drives it up before he descends under (which gives him more time to beat the bar). but he still fails to beat the bar. he lets the weight push him down into the bottom position rather than hitting a tight bottom position underneath the bar and having the bar land on him (which is what you need in order to learn to ride the bounce).

an important thing to note: a broomstick falls at the same speed as a bar with n amount of weight loaded on it. in other words: if you can't drop yourself faster than a broomstick you have no hope in hell of falling faster than a loaded bar.

(the issue is complicated by lifters actively pushing themselves down under the bar - but i reckon you should still be able to beat the bar. that way when you learn to push yourself under you will be Even Faster).

the broomstick is also harder to balance than a slightly loaded bar. i think this is because one tends to position the bar to compensate for mobility issues. this will bite you on the ass once you get to weights that are much heavier than you IMHO (that will off balance rather than re balance you). if you are mobile enough for things to feel smooth and effortless with a broomstick and you move weight to the positions you moved the broomstick to then that will ultimately be the most helpful. at least... that is my theory. but i don't know how many agree with that (i mean i guess you can just make minor adjustments as you add weight).


Can you give a brief description what you mean when you say ropey first pull?



could be lots of things... a few include...

letting the hips shoot up too early.
letting the bar swing out away from you in order to get past your knees.
using your arms.
shifting your weight forwards onto the ball of your feet.
pulling too slowly.




Koing gives good advice above. Also, make sure you are finishing the drive (top of the pull) without emphasis on jumping up or shrugging. And, make sure your landding no further forward than you started(chalk line on platform) and on flat feet.



pulling with your arms also meaning they are bending to place the bar to mid thigh, huge no no for a beginner.

OP get a video. I can not tell you how much guessing we are doing to give advice without seeing you life. Post a video of you lifting with an empty bar and at various weights. That is the best way to get feedback.