T Nation

Explosive Pulls (High Pulls, Low Pulls, Chinese Pulls)


#1

Explosive pulling is almost 50% of my training volume. Nothing builds the traps, mid-back, lower back like these exercises. They also allow you to build the same explosiveness as the olympic lifts without the technical difficulties.

Here are the 3 main types of pulls I use.

The first one is the high pull... in that exercise you launch the bar aggressively in the air with the legs and hips. The goal is to pull it as high as possible, shooting for at least lower chest level, and ideally mid to upper chest.

Even though you are pulling high, you should not pull with the arms too early, only when maximum momentum of the bar has been created by the legs and hips.

Here is a video of one of the athletes I train. She is doing a complex of high pulls + snatch. She is starting the high pull from the floor, but I recommend starting it from blocks if you do not have a background in olympic lifting.

Notice the back/shoulder/arm position... thigh mid-back but relaxed arms.


#2

The second is a low pull. You can use a snatch or a clean grip (I prefer using only a snatch grip for the high pulls). The action is the same as the high pull: you are launching the bar with the legs and hips, but you are only shooting to reach the mid-stomach. You can obviously use more weight, which created a nice overload. I like to use this mostly to strengthen the launch to make the high pull stronger.

Again, I recommend doing the lift from blocks for most individuals.


#3

The third one I like is the chinese pull… you still do the same explosive launch with the legs and hips… you pull the bar about to the bottom of the sternum and aggressively go down (think of slamming your heels into the floor).

You can go heavier on those than on the high pulls (but not as high as the low pulls) and for some reason the fact that you have the rebend explosively makes for a faster explosion.


#4

Will these (or what will) help with the catching portion of a clean and snatch? I feel I am the weakest in getting the bar from my neck area up over my head. Now I am not catching the bar in a deep squat position. I literally am just getting into Olympic lifts to build explosive power.

EDIT: After watching the first video I think it really is just getting under the bar is what is limiting me in particular. Not so much a strength issue.


#5

I actually like to do a 3 layers ramp…

  1. Ramp to a max snatch high pull from blocks
  2. Ramp to a max chinese pull from blocks (start where the high pull ended)
  3. Ramp to a max snatch low pull from blocks (start where the chinese pull ended)

Then I’ll do 3 sets of snatch grip high pulls with 80% of the max high pull… 1 rep from blocks, 2-3 reps from hang.


#6

[quote]Fuzzyapple.Train wrote:
Will these (or what will) help with the catching portion of a clean and snatch? I feel I am the weakest in getting the bar from my neck area up over my head. Now I am not catching the bar in a deep squat position. I literally am just getting into Olympic lifts to build explosive power.[/quote]

To strengthen the overhead catch position I like to do overhead supports. Set up the bar high in the power rack, do a quarter squat to get under the bar with arms locked overhead, stand up and support the load overhead for 5 seconds.

photo ct002.jpg


#7

@CT: When pulling from blocks, are you resetting the bar on the blocks in between each rep and then starting each subsequent rep of the set from a dead stop?


#8

[quote]ddelmast wrote:
@CT: When pulling from blocks, are you resetting the bar on the blocks in between each rep and then starting each subsequent rep of the set from a dead stop? [/quote]

Yes I am, an making sure that my position is perferct… wrist slightly cocked, lower back arched, rhomboids tight and chest high, grip solid BUT ARMS LOOSE.


#9

Thanks CT.

Two questions:

  1. When setting up on blocks where should the barbell be in terms of height in relationship to your body at the starting position?

  2. I just for the first time did the high pulls from blocks and was weaker then from when I do them from the hang. Is this normal? Or is it just a matter of becoming proficient from the blocks?


#10

[quote]ddelmast wrote:
Thanks CT.

Two questions:

  1. When setting up on blocks where should the barbell be in terms of height in relationship to your body at the starting position?

  2. I just for the first time did the high pulls from blocks and was weaker then from when I do them from the hang. Is this normal? Or is it just a matter of becoming proficient from the blocks?[/quote]

  3. mid-thigh

  4. it’s quite common… from the hang you have a pre-stretch of the muscles… if you do a vertical jump from a static start you will not jump up as high as if you can dip down.

But with the blocks you can better take a good position, so some people can get even stronger off of blocks


#11

Great, thanks a lot


#12

I think sometimes my ‘ramp to a max snatch high pull from blocks’ turns into ‘Ramp to a max chinese pull from blocks’ towards the last one or 2 sets. Its like im almost cheating with the snatch grip high pull. Is this problematic?


#13

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]ddelmast wrote:
Thanks CT.

Two questions:

  1. When setting up on blocks where should the barbell be in terms of height in relationship to your body at the starting position?

  2. I just for the first time did the high pulls from blocks and was weaker then from when I do them from the hang. Is this normal? Or is it just a matter of becoming proficient from the blocks?[/quote]

  3. mid-thigh

  4. it’s quite common… from the hang you have a pre-stretch of the muscles… if you do a vertical jump from a static start you will not jump up as high as if you can dip down.

But with the blocks you can better take a good position, so some people can get even stronger off of blocks[/quote]

@ddelmast:

Just from my own experience in training the high pull from blocks - when I started, I was strongest from the floor, then next strongest was from the hang, and last was from the blocks.

I had to learn how to have the arms relaxed and to bring the bar into the pocket before exploding thru with the hips.
My biggest technique mistakes were arms too tense, trying to pull too early with arms and exploding a moment too early when coming off the blocks.

Now that I have really worked on my technique, believe it or not, I’m now strongest from the blocks in high pull, then from the floor and last is now from the hang.

Listening to CT’s tips have made all the difference in the world.

It takes some time for the mind to make it all work together without overthinking it - if that makes any sense.

Perfect practice, over and over again with the right weight, not focusing too soon on lbs on the bar…

Cheers,
M


#14

[quote]J Moose wrote:
I think sometimes my ‘ramp to a max snatch high pull from blocks’ turns into ‘Ramp to a max chinese pull from blocks’ towards the last one or 2 sets. Its like im almost cheating with the snatch grip high pull. Is this problematic? [/quote]

Not really… the key with the explosive pulls is not so much the height at which you pull, but the explosiveness produced. I do use pulling heifhts recommendations but mostly to qualify the exercise you are doing for progress measurement purposes.

Here is what I am currently doing:

  1. Max ramp on high pulls from blocks

  2. Max ramp on chinese pulls from blocks (starting where the high pull stopped)

  3. Max ramp on snatch low pulls (starting where the chinese pull ended)

  4. High pull, 80% of the high pull max ramp (no.1), 1 high pull from blocks + 3 high pulls from hang, for 3 sets.


#15

CT

When you do snatch high pulls from blocks, is the bar touching and “scraping” your thigh on the way up? I have a tendency to keep the bar super close in. Seems like in the video the bar isn’t extremely close to the body.

Also in this video of you, is the focus on kind of on keep the bar moving in a straight path upward, while the body stretches back like a bow?

Thanks CT


#16

[quote]bassip21 wrote:
CT

When you do snatch high pulls from blocks, is the bar touching and “scraping” your thigh on the way up? I have a tendency to keep the bar super close in. Seems like in the video the bar isn’t extremely close to the body.

Also in this video of you, is the focus on kind of on keep the bar moving in a straight path upward, while the body stretches back like a bow?

Thanks CT[/quote]

Actually if you look correctly, the bar does brush the thighs. And yes the purpose is to keep the bar as close to you as possible and one launched the bar bar should be straight up or slightly toward you.


#17

Thanks a lot CT


#18

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]ddelmast wrote:
Thanks CT.

Two questions:

  1. When setting up on blocks where should the barbell be in terms of height in relationship to your body at the starting position?

  2. I just for the first time did the high pulls from blocks and was weaker then from when I do them from the hang. Is this normal? Or is it just a matter of becoming proficient from the blocks?[/quote]

  3. mid-thigh

  4. it’s quite common… from the hang you have a pre-stretch of the muscles… if you do a vertical jump from a static start you will not jump up as high as if you can dip down.

But with the blocks you can better take a good position, so some people can get even stronger off of blocks[/quote]

CT im the same way good hip punch and speed form the hang,but weak off blocks.Is this something that I should work on.Ive been doing the layers form the hang,re-setting on blocks for clusters of course but if its better to be good off blocks then ill focus on that.


#19

Coach, 2 questions:

1)OVERHEAD PRESSING FROM PINS: Is having the bar deadstart from chin/lower mouth postion ok? I am a taller lifter @ 6’2’ with long arms. Also, should they be done in a strict, no leg drive style?

2)45degree INC BBELL PRESS FROM PINS: What do you suggest as far as bar positioning/setup from the deadstart.

Cheers


#20

[quote]jppage wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]ddelmast wrote:
Thanks CT.

Two questions:

  1. When setting up on blocks where should the barbell be in terms of height in relationship to your body at the starting position?

  2. I just for the first time did the high pulls from blocks and was weaker then from when I do them from the hang. Is this normal? Or is it just a matter of becoming proficient from the blocks?[/quote]

  3. mid-thigh

  4. it’s quite common… from the hang you have a pre-stretch of the muscles… if you do a vertical jump from a static start you will not jump up as high as if you can dip down.

But with the blocks you can better take a good position, so some people can get even stronger off of blocks[/quote]

CT im the same way good hip punch and speed form the hang,but weak off blocks.Is this something that I should work on.Ive been doing the layers form the hang,re-setting on blocks for clusters of course but if its better to be good off blocks then ill focus on that.[/quote]

As a rule of thumb, if you want to improve you have to attack your weakness… if you are weaker off blocks, start the ramp on blocks. When you hit your max, tried to continue ramping using lift from the hang. And do the clusters from hang but the HDL from blocks.