T Nation

Snatches vs Cleans

I’m new to serious weight training personally and I also work with college basketball players. I am curious about the different benefits from snatches and cleans. Does one build muscle and explosiveness better than the other?
Also, does one gain additional benefits by doing full snatches and cleans as opposed to power snatches and cleans?
Finally, what does one lose out on by doing them from a hang position instead of the floor?
This is a lot I know but I’ve been unable to find good answers to these questions.
I also attached a video of me doing each lift…form tips would be great.

If you’re thinking about building muscle I think there are better options out there than the o-lifts. The brief time under tension and lack of an eccentric makes them inefficient muscle builders for most people. I think CT has been incorporating some derivatives of the olympic lifts (snatch pulls or something, if I’m not mistaken) into some of the bodybuilding work he’s talking about in the livespills, but I don’t know much about what he’s doing there so I can’t comment.

As for building explosiveness, I don’t think you could necessarily say one is “better” than the other. I can’t remember which lift produces the higher power output (I want to say the clean but I can’t back that up), but ideally I would think you would do both. They’re far enough apart on the speed-strength continuum (with max deadlifts on one end and BW jumps on the other) that they do provide two different training stimuli, while the importance of one over the other would be determined by the sport/goals (ie a bobsledder might use more cleans than snatches, a volleyball player the opposite). If you had to pick one for basketball players I would probably go with the snatch, as I don’t think they would need the extra strength stimulus from the clean (providing they’re not abysmally weak at the snatch).

If you’re not intending to compete as an olympic lifter, I don’t think there’s any real benefit to doing full lifts instead of the power versions. While the power output of the full versions might be higher than that of the power versions (ironically), executing a proper lift in that fashion is a skill in and of itself, and learning that skill takes up valuable training and recovery time that can be used on other things. If an athlete naturally pulls him/herself under the bar when the weight gets heavy I wouldn’t discourage that, but it’s not something I would actively promote or try to teach, instead just focusing on everyone doing the power versions of the lifts.

Again, I think if you’re not looking to compete as an o-lifter, there’s no reason to do lifts from the floor. The way I see it, when written into programs for other sports the olympic lifts are used as a tool to develop explosive power through the legs and the hips. None of that explosion happens when the bar is below the knees, so when lifting from the hang you still get the primary benefit of the lift in that regard. You also gain the benefit of a stretch reflex from lowering the bar from the hip to the start position (generally just above the knee to mid thigh ish), and you don’t have to worry about the athlete screwing up their line of pull off the floor because of a lack of flexibility to get into a proper start position, or inappropriate motor patterns that have been ingrained from doing heavy deadlifts.

You can see that in your lifts as well. While it seemed to me that you were muscling up all the reps, the last one you did from the floor was definitely worse, and the bar was significantly further away from your body. I don’t trust my eye for technique enough to say much more than that, but I will say Glenn Pendlay did some videos on teaching the snatch and clean a few years back. The videos do go beyond what is applicable to doing power lifts from the hang, but they should be very helpful nonetheless. You should be able to find them on youtube.

I appreciate your response and info.
If most of the explosive benefit from the two lifts can be derived from the hang position, what is the purpose of anyone doing them from the floor?

Im not extremely technical with these 2 lifts i can only do the power versions but i’ve felt like power snatches have done more for my jumping ability , overall explosiveness ,as well as trap and shoulder development than power cleans.

For someone that has questionable technique with O-lifts (like myself) i find snatching is better at making me use my legs to make the weight go overhead , where with power cleans if im not careful i start just using my erectors and lower back to muscle the weight up, if you see what im saying.

[quote]TheJonty wrote:
If you’re thinking about building muscle I think there are better options out there than the o-lifts. The brief time under tension and lack of an eccentric makes them inefficient muscle builders for most people. I think CT has been incorporating some derivatives of the olympic lifts (snatch pulls or something, if I’m not mistaken) into some of the bodybuilding work he’s talking about in the livespills, but I don’t know much about what he’s doing there so I can’t comment.

As for building explosiveness, I don’t think you could necessarily say one is “better” than the other. I can’t remember which lift produces the higher power output (I want to say the clean but I can’t back that up), but ideally I would think you would do both. They’re far enough apart on the speed-strength continuum (with max deadlifts on one end and BW jumps on the other) that they do provide two different training stimuli, while the importance of one over the other would be determined by the sport/goals (ie a bobsledder might use more cleans than snatches, a volleyball player the opposite). If you had to pick one for basketball players I would probably go with the snatch, as I don’t think they would need the extra strength stimulus from the clean (providing they’re not abysmally weak at the snatch).

If you’re not intending to compete as an olympic lifter, I don’t think there’s any real benefit to doing full lifts instead of the power versions. While the power output of the full versions might be higher than that of the power versions (ironically), executing a proper lift in that fashion is a skill in and of itself, and learning that skill takes up valuable training and recovery time that can be used on other things. If an athlete naturally pulls him/herself under the bar when the weight gets heavy I wouldn’t discourage that, but it’s not something I would actively promote or try to teach, instead just focusing on everyone doing the power versions of the lifts.

Again, I think if you’re not looking to compete as an o-lifter, there’s no reason to do lifts from the floor. The way I see it, when written into programs for other sports the olympic lifts are used as a tool to develop explosive power through the legs and the hips. None of that explosion happens when the bar is below the knees, so when lifting from the hang you still get the primary benefit of the lift in that regard. You also gain the benefit of a stretch reflex from lowering the bar from the hip to the start position (generally just above the knee to mid thigh ish), and you don’t have to worry about the athlete screwing up their line of pull off the floor because of a lack of flexibility to get into a proper start position, or inappropriate motor patterns that have been ingrained from doing heavy deadlifts.

You can see that in your lifts as well. While it seemed to me that you were muscling up all the reps, the last one you did from the floor was definitely worse, and the bar was significantly further away from your body. I don’t trust my eye for technique enough to say much more than that, but I will say Glenn Pendlay did some videos on teaching the snatch and clean a few years back. The videos do go beyond what is applicable to doing power lifts from the hang, but they should be very helpful nonetheless. You should be able to find them on youtube.[/quote]
good post…and very true.

[quote]pre04 wrote:
I appreciate your response and info.
If most of the explosive benefit from the two lifts can be derived from the hang position, what is the purpose of anyone doing them from the floor? [/quote]

because that is where you have to do them in competition

[quote]pre04 wrote:
I appreciate your response and info.
If most of the explosive benefit from the two lifts can be derived from the hang position, what is the purpose of anyone doing them from the floor? [/quote]

Like boldar said, in competition the lifts are done from the floor so any intelligent training program for a competitive lifter will include at least some lifting from the floor. As for programs geared towards other sports, well, I suppose some people may not have thought it through to the extent I outlined or just outright disagree with me. Maybe some people don’t want to lose that range of motion off the floor (though I think strength in that position is probably addressed with other exercises in most well laid out programs). Maybe they use a different thought process when selecting exercises or exercise variations.

Bottom line is that doing the lifts from the floor is not necessarily a bad thing, I just think when using the lifts with athletes in sports other than weightlifting, doing the lifts from the hang is a more targeted and efficient way of training that explosive power, and any perceived loss of training stimulus by lifting from the hang instead of the floor should already be adequately addressed in the rest of the training program.

what Jonty said … I could not have said it better …

actual to the OP, the questions you asked requires book size answers, truly, this is just a board.

my 2 cents

firstly what exactly are you trying to do, think specificty of training.

secondly for some athletes doing them from the floor, works, but the examples I would use are again, from specificty of use,

power cleans, straight leg, muscle cleans, muscle snatches, round back power cleans, they all have a place, depending on what you want.

again to Jonty, I may quote some of that one, day

[quote]pre04 wrote:
I appreciate your response and info.
If most of the explosive benefit from the two lifts can be derived from the hang position, what is the purpose of anyone doing them from the floor? [/quote]

To paraphrase Wendler, it’s more awesome : )

[quote]TheJonty wrote:
If you’re thinking about building muscle I think there are better options out there than the o-lifts. The brief time under tension and lack of an eccentric makes them inefficient muscle builders for most people. I think CT has been incorporating some derivatives of the olympic lifts (snatch pulls or something, if I’m not mistaken) into some of the bodybuilding work he’s talking about in the livespills, but I don’t know much about what he’s doing there so I can’t comment.

As for building explosiveness, I don’t think you could necessarily say one is “better” than the other. I can’t remember which lift produces the higher power output (I want to say the clean but I can’t back that up), but ideally I would think you would do both. They’re far enough apart on the speed-strength continuum (with max deadlifts on one end and BW jumps on the other) that they do provide two different training stimuli, while the importance of one over the other would be determined by the sport/goals (ie a bobsledder might use more cleans than snatches, a volleyball player the opposite). If you had to pick one for basketball players I would probably go with the snatch, as I don’t think they would need the extra strength stimulus from the clean (providing they’re not abysmally weak at the snatch).

If you’re not intending to compete as an olympic lifter, I don’t think there’s any real benefit to doing full lifts instead of the power versions. While the power output of the full versions might be higher than that of the power versions (ironically), executing a proper lift in that fashion is a skill in and of itself, and learning that skill takes up valuable training and recovery time that can be used on other things. If an athlete naturally pulls him/herself under the bar when the weight gets heavy I wouldn’t discourage that, but it’s not something I would actively promote or try to teach, instead just focusing on everyone doing the power versions of the lifts.

Again, I think if you’re not looking to compete as an o-lifter, there’s no reason to do lifts from the floor. The way I see it, when written into programs for other sports the olympic lifts are used as a tool to develop explosive power through the legs and the hips. None of that explosion happens when the bar is below the knees, so when lifting from the hang you still get the primary benefit of the lift in that regard. You also gain the benefit of a stretch reflex from lowering the bar from the hip to the start position (generally just above the knee to mid thigh ish), and you don’t have to worry about the athlete screwing up their line of pull off the floor because of a lack of flexibility to get into a proper start position, or inappropriate motor patterns that have been ingrained from doing heavy deadlifts.

You can see that in your lifts as well. While it seemed to me that you were muscling up all the reps, the last one you did from the floor was definitely worse, and the bar was significantly further away from your body. I don’t trust my eye for technique enough to say much more than that, but I will say Glenn Pendlay did some videos on teaching the snatch and clean a few years back. The videos do go beyond what is applicable to doing power lifts from the hang, but they should be very helpful nonetheless. You should be able to find them on youtube.[/quote]

@TheJonty, what you have written here is very true, and this is a great, great explanation. I want to add also that @preo4 you need to be much faster in these lifts. You can check out some videos that Jonty mentioned, also look at some of Will Flemming’s videos, he is great and explosive in his pulls. Also, it takes years of dedication to get these lifts right, so if you really are up to it, learn a little bit more of how to correctly perform these lifts.

Also, I would like to know your bw as well as your deadlift and squatting maxes, because it seems that you lack a lot of strength. Since this looks the way, you could benefit more from increasing strength in these two lifts, and add some weighted jumps for explosiveness, instead of doing OL in the beginning. Good luck with training.