T Nation

Power Cleans/Snatches


I have a couple of questions for anyone willing to answer: when/how often should a newb incorporate power cleans and power snatches?

I have been working on the full lifts as much as I can, is this a good approach at least until I have the technique better?


Kinda depends, but I keep my beginners away from the power variations of the lifts simply because if I do they tend to revert to the power variations by default. It is much easier to get someone to do the power variations correctly after doing the full lifts exclusively than it is to transition from the power variations to the full lifts. So it really depends on where you're at if you're comfortable and consistent with the full lifts by all means throw the power variations in. Otherwise, it's not somethin I recommend.


If your goal is to get better at the full lifts, then just do the full lifts. Sometimes some coaches use the power movement as part of learning the lifts and then discard them, but I find beginners have more issues with dropping fast rather than pulling fast, so I dont use them at all for beginners if their goal is to get better at the full lifts.


Thanks for the responses guys. For the time being then, I will leave them out and stick with the full lifts.


This will make Glenn Pendlay happy to know you are going to work the classic version of the lifts and practice 'getting under' the bar form the get go.

He once wrote an article on things he would do differently if he was starting over again - and getting under the bar made his list.


It must be the right thing to do then! Is the article on his site?


Well then, I'm going to be a bit different. Buckets of salt though lol.

I reckon the whole lifts won't be technically wonderful until one has each component sorted with smooth transitions between the components. When one is learning the whole lift is too much - it interferes with sorting out any of the components.

I put off doing the whole lifts for quite some time when I was learning and I think my technique is better than it would have been if I had have spent all that time working on getting the full lifts better.

WIth respect to learning to get under - that is what drop snatches / snatch balances are for. To help teach you that component of the lift.

I reckon it would be easier to learn to get under with the bar starting on your shoulders, then progressing to the bar starting from the hang (incorporating hip drive), then progressing to the bar starting on the floor (incorporating gaining momentum and hip drive) - rather than starting from the floor (and probably buggering up those two other things).

I'm finding that getting under a clean is trivial compared to front squatting / powercleaning.
I'm also finding that when I'm confident I'm pulling nice and straight I'll get under when the bar is heavy enough for me to need to get under (or I'll miss because it simply isn't going to fly high enough to catch with arms extended).

(Perhaps this last thought contradicts the thought about drop snatches / snatch balances... I learned to powersnatch and then learned to get under heavy ones without missing - but I'm starting to think I'd benefit from drop snatches / snatch balances, then moving to hang snatches, then moving back to the floor...)



This is close to what we generally call the top-down approach.
If I remember my lurking correctly, Deb, you've only been doing these lifts for a short time. How many days a week are you training them? I think that the power lifts have their place but not at the expense of the full lifts. If you are only doing 3 days a week or less, then I don't think that pc/ps will do much good at this point. Maybe later depending on what sorts of problems you have with form.
So I throw my hat in with those that say just stick with the full lifts for now. You can always get better at those. Always.


I just started at the end of January, so yeah I'm really new. I've been cleaning for some time but I'm brand new to snatching.

I'm doing them almost everyday but I am far from running out of things to work on during my workouts. I've just been squatting, cleans and jerks and snatches and very little else. Mostly snatches because I suck at them :slight_smile:

I will keep doing what I'm doing then and revisit when I have a better grasp on the basics.


It a forum post, not an article (took a minute or two to find it):

[i] Have spend a while thinking about this. I suppose most of these could apply to someone you have coached and how you would do it differently as well as to your own training... anyway here is my top 10 list, be anxious to hear what others think.

1.) I would spend more time training only 3 days a week before adding more days.

2.) I would worry MORE about learning to go under the bar and LESS about lifting it up.

3.) I would do more overhead squats.

4.) I would be a little more patient about pushing the weights up.

5.) I would get more and/or better coaching right from the start, even if I had to spend money or travel. Its cheaper in the long run.

6.) I wouldn't push through the injuries and aches and pains quite as hard. Took me a long time to realize this this doesnt often turn out well.

7.) I would buy decent equipment a lot sooner. Yes long before I sold equipment, I wasted money on "bargain" stuff.

8.) Given a second chance, I wouldnt go through that one year where I wasted a bunch of money on supplements I'd be embarrassed to name now.

Well thats only 8 and I said top 10, but thats all I can think of right now. Anyone else want to add the last two? [/i]


Thanks NewWorldMan, I found that thread and it was full of helpful info.


Do you have a coach?
Google Olyathelete there's a great beginners program there that will really help you to work the positions so your positions and bar path get tight. You'll be working positions as well as the full lifts in this program, give it a look and a run.


Dont mean to hijack the thread but... whats the difference between a full lift and a power lift? Obviously a noob to Olympic Lifting here.


The power cleans and power snatches are caught with the hips above paralell while the full lifts are caught at the bottom or as far down as you can get.


I will check that out.

I was getting a bit of coaching but I don't know if I'm going to stay with the trainer I've been working with because I'm not sure I'm getting good feedback. I don't have a program and I'm just making it up as I go.


2.) I would worry MORE about learning to go under the bar and LESS about lifting it up.

i guess i take that to mean more / less than he did when he was learning. hard to know what that means without knowing how much time he devoted to each when he was learning.

i mean, i agree with this above completely with respect to my learning...

which is why i'm going to start worrying more about drop snatches than power snatches - but i still won't eliminate power snatches because i find them useful for a bunch of reasons...

(pull slowly, pull the bar back, gain momentum, good hip drive, pull the bar straight)

there do seem to be a whole bunch of different ways that people approach learning the lifts.

it can be hard to know about feedback debra. especially when people tell you different things... i guess unless one is going to simply blindly follow a coach (which might well be the best approach depending) then one is going to have to experiment a little and see what seems to be working (in ones opinion). i think in person coaching is important if you can get it, but you would be in the best position to assess whether it seems more helpful than (or is helpful in conjunction with) the feedback you can get via other sources.

tis hard. but i guess thats at least part of what makes it fun. sometimes.