T Nation

O-Lifters: First Pull Question

I’ve always read about the “second pull” in the clean and/or the snatch, how the “first pull” is not explosive, but then when you get to the knees, the pull becomes explosive.

What I dont understand is, watching the olympics, none of those guys seem to do a slow/controlled/deliberate first pull and then transition to an explosive second pull. it looks (to the untrained eye) more like they step up to the bar, set up, and BAM! full explosion right from the floor to triple extension and coming underneath for the catch. so whats deal, is it two movements or isnt it? Is it a slow controlled movement to the knees or is it pedal-to-the-medal from the get-go?

I think, and this is just my theory based on my experience O-lifting, that when they say a slow controlled pull they mean don’t pull in a way that takes your hips out of play. A lot of people when they pull fast will straigthen their legs and hips, meaning they have nothing left for the second pull. The pull off the floor should be as fast as you can go without taking your hips out of it. Once that bar gets above your knees you need to be able to violently explode your hips through, so if you take them out on the first pull you will be screwed.

Again, this is just my opinion from my own experience and what I have seen.

I just watched a whole bunch of clips on youtube, and I have to say I’m confused how you don’t see two distinct pulls. Maybe it’s because the second pull is so explosive and short timewise, and you’re trying to seperate the pulls into two halves? The second pull is usually less than 1/10 of a second.

It may also help if many olympic coaches would actually describe the purpose of the first pull. The first pull isn’t slow by any means. What they actually mean by “slow and controlled” is “as fast as possible while putting the bar into perfect position for the transition into the second pull.” For experienced lifters, this means a little bit slower than as fast as they can. For beginners, it sometimes means pretty slow.

-Dan

[quote]SprinterOne wrote:
I think, and this is just my theory based on my experience O-lifting, that when they say a slow controlled pull they mean don’t pull in a way that takes your hips out of play. A lot of people when they pull fast will straigthen their legs and hips, meaning they have nothing left for the second pull. The pull off the floor should be as fast as you can go without taking your hips out of it. Once that bar gets above your knees you need to be able to violently explode your hips through, so if you take them out on the first pull you will be screwed.

Again, this is just my opinion from my own experience and what I have seen.[/quote]

I think this is exactly right. I coach high school kids to clean… they know the lift is supposed to be explosive, and many of them will try to JERK the bar off the ground, causing their hips to rise violently and their back to round and then they’re trying to stiff leg a clean with the bar way out over their feet. It doesn’t work very well, obviously.

For what it’s worth, here are some coaching cues that I have found to work: Instead of talking about first pull / second pull, I just teach them to “push the floor away” evenly and in good position (hips low). As soon as they feel the plates break contact with the floor, then explode.

Would this work for an O-lifter? I have no idea. My lifting coach always went into more detail, like “explode when the bar reaches mid-shin” and used all the classic descriptions like first pull, second pull, scoop, etc. I try to keep it as simple as I can. The school power clean record has been broken 17 times this summer, so for football purposes it seems to be working all right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.

[quote]Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.[/quote]

hey, thats awesome, thanks a lot. I had no idea there was so much ironmind stuff on youtube!

and thanks to all the responses “pull in a way that doesnt get you out of position” makes so much more sense now!

[quote]Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.[/quote]

dude that kid’s cleaning 2.2 times his body weight. looks as fast as anybody.

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
hey, thats awesome, thanks a lot. I had no idea there was so much ironmind stuff on youtube!

and thanks to all the responses “pull in a way that doesnt get you out of position” makes so much more sense now![/quote]

Yeah, actually I just figured it out not to long ago myself.

[quote]swivel wrote:
Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.

dude that kid’s cleaning 2.2 times his body weight. looks as fast as anybody.
[/quote]

That little Asian boy is fucking amazing.

-MAtt

[quote]Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.[/quote]

SICK!

I’m kinda confused… What video are we talking here where you can’t seperate the first pull from the second? I think you are just looking for the wrong cues here.

There will be no real “transition” from first to second. However, the second pull will be more explosive (as you said) and will be dictated by the hips coming forward, rather than the legs lifting the rest of the body as in the first pull.

[quote]swivel wrote:
Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.

dude that kid’s cleaning 2.2 times his body weight. looks as fast as anybody.
[/quote]

WTF?!? Those kids make me feel like a giant pussy.

[quote]Chris Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&NR

Check this out. Watch the 50 kilos. Their development is not as good as the others so their first pull is slower then the rest.

They are about half way through the film.[/quote]

Yea, they are ridiculous. If anyone is interested in seeing more photos of the chinese lifters, there was another thread that linked to a bunch of constatly updated pictures of the chinese olympic lifting team. Enjoy -
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dehwang/show/

The first reply regarding taking your hips out of play is spot on.
If you read the Russian literature they speak about ripping the bar off the floor - the benifits of this are negated if you are unable to keep hips moving at the same speed as your knees.

In my experience heavy deadlifs and pulls will strengthen you in this bottom position and allow to keep your hips moving at same speed as bar when you actually attempt to rip lighter weights

Here’s the way I see it. Feel free to disagree.

The first pull, from the floor until the bar is knee height, is controlled, but not neccessarily slow. You simultaneously extend the knees and hips so as to maintain the angle your torso makes with the floor. Your weight should be closer to your heels than your toes and the bar should be as far back as possible, brushing your shins on the way up. Your back should be arched and your chest and shoulders high, with your shoulders in front of the bar. Arms should be fully extended with elbows rotated outwards. In many lifters, maintaining these positions requires the first pull to be fairly slow.

Once the bar passes your knees, you bring your hips forward until the bar hits your thighs (or hips in a snatch). Your back should remain arched, weight still back towards your heels, arms still extended, and shoulders still in front of the bar. During this transition, your hips extend, but your knees will rebend to some degree. This should be done as quickly as possible, since the bar has a tendency to slow down at this point. On the videos, watch the hips and knees very carefully and you should be able to see this happening, just don’t blink or you might miss it.

The second pull follows with the simultaneous explosive extension at hips, knees and ankles and a shrug. Arms should still be fully extended.

Finally your feet should come off the ground to repostion for the recovery, and you pull yourself under the bar with your arms.

Each phase should flow smoothly into the next. Even though the emphasis in each phase is different, they are all just parts of one single motion.

With beginners, I use, “squeeze the bar off the floor and then explode”. It helps to eliminate the jerking it off the floor. With the O lifts, you better have lots of tricks in your tool bag. Everyone responds a little differently to cues. Use which ever tool works.

TNT

There is also an added dimension that everyone else seems to be leaving out and it’s directly related to power generation vs. force generation.

The lifts are ballistic, that is, after the second pull, no further propulsion is provided on the part of the lifter. This being the case, power (work/time) is used to get the weight to catch height.

Knowing;

power = work/time
work = forcedistance
force = mass
acceleration
acceleration = distance/time^2

You can show that;

power = (mass*distance^2)/time^3

So, given a fixed peak power output, in order to maximize the mass lifted you need to minimize both distance and time. Using low(er) power (relying on force) to lift the bar to the knees allows you to still generate the peak power while minimizing the distance. Given two equally powerful lifters, the one who reaches peak power higher in the lift will be able to successfully lift more weight.

The converse is true as well given equal weights, the person who snatches is more powerful than the one who cleans as the snatch has a greater ‘stroke length’ (that sentence is so wrong).

As for discerning 1st pull vs. 2nd pull, as someone else said, they are only part of a full movement so it’s not either/or. But for visualization, seeing people continental clean like in strongman comps. or highland games helped. Also, if you can find traces of the bar path during a lift they can help as well.