T Nation

How NOT To Power Clean/Snatch

I recently found Istvan “Steve” Javorek’s new and improved web site. I always liked his barbell/DB complexes, and as the former weightlifting coach for Romania, I figured he knew what he was doing. That is, until I saw the videos that demonstrated the power clean and power snatch. The power clean looks like an upright row/cheated curl combo with a little jump added in just for fun. (I could not run the video in slo mo, but the jump almost seems to come once the lift is completed, which serves no purpose in getting the bar up.) The bar is like, what, 12" from the guy’s body in some portions of the lift? Has Istvan gone senile in his old age, or does he feel that for purposes of training non-OL athletes, this technique is “good enough?” Is this really how strength coaches are teaching these lifts? And if I’m wrong, and that technique is somehow “good,” or that it really is “good enough” for training non-OL athletes then please voice your opinion. Just figured I would get another discussion/rant going on the sad state of OL training.


BTW - T-Jack Admin should consider T-Jacking his upcoming book. Poor technique videos aside, I think the book may have some worthwhile info in there.

It is scary how many examples of really bad technique in the olympic lifts are posted on the internet. If people are trying to teach themselves to lift based on these videos, it explains why there are so many poor/dangerous olympic lifters out there.

I agree with you. I didn’t read the whole post before watching the videos and I had the same reaction…there is no triple extention.

I’ve learned the clean by reading articles and watching videos. However, it always helps to have someone critique your form in the BEGINNING.


I really hope Christian Thibadeau checks this out, cuz I’d really like to know what to think. Yes, there’s no triple extension, but on the other hand, I think I’ve seen this performed before as an acceptable alternative (and yes, I know those people coulda been wrong too.) THe weights you could handle wouldn’t be anywhere near what you could with a full triple extension tho…

Anywya, I dont know crap about the OLs compared to CT or anyone else who’s been formally trained, so I hope he’ll comment.

Both the lifters on power snatch and power clean start the lift with their hips ABOVE parallel. As such their legs are almost fully extended before the bar even gets of the ground. Thus they can get little to no leg drive and thus must rely on their lower backs to heave the weight up.

Also it looks like there is no 1st/2nd pull. Both lifts go straight up from the ground (like a very fast dead lift).

IMHO if you focus on:

1 posture in the set position (i.e. highs lows, back neutral, chin up)

2 pulling the bar normally/slowly to the knees while keep a good posture

And 3 going fast from the knees up

Every thing else falls into place

He still coaches weightlifters I believe. I was chatting with one of his olylifters a year or so ago as well I believe

The video shows a pretty common version of the power clean that many strength coaches employ. Remember, we’re not talking olympic lifts here we’re bastardizing an oly lift for its supposed transferrablity to sport. Coaches teach this method to try and get you to apply as much force as quickly as possible which is why the athletes aren’t reaching full extension. If I recall correctly, speed specialist Gene Noonan proposes using this kind of form on snatches and cleans especially as part of his complexes (which are a lot like Davies’ Bear).

I am no expert, but I agree that the form looks off on these videos. However, in regard to triple extension, (at least for the full olympic lifts) it is a pretty common technique to stay off the toes completely. See Dan John’s Lifting and Throwing magazine “Get Up” archives for more detail on this.

That is some of the oddest “technique” I have ever seen. Really.

I would be open to the idea that the o-lifts can or should be modified so that non-weightlifters can reap some of their benefits without having to invest a disproportionate amount of time and effort learning the lifts.

Looking at those lifts on the video, however, I can’t see how any athlete would derive any real benefit from them. The athletes performing these “lifts” are not driving with their legs, in fact they are hardly using their legs or lower body, are not teaching their bodies and muscles to coordinate in exerting maximum effort, are not involving their traps/upper back etc. etc. You can add plenty more to the list. Its more like lower back snap with a hop.

Moreover, my guess is that the weights they are using are quite light. They would have to be, given the “technique” used. Hopping around with light weights – I don’t think I see any point. And if there is a point, why pretend to imitate cleans or snatches? Better to just do the hopping and jumping efficiently.

So I’m not an expert by any stretch, but aren’t your hips supposed to move at some point in a snatch?

After reviewing the videos I have come to the conclusion that Istvan lost his mind. About 15 years ago I had access to some of his old videos, and they were pretty good.

Yes, some coaches are modifing Olympic Lifts to make them “more transferable” to sports, but the videos at the above link serve only as a horrific example of what not to do.