T Nation

To Alexus and Others: Split Lifts


Hello fellow weightlifters,

I really enjoy the sport (and my back thanks me after long hours of sitting at my desk...) but
I am only a casual weightlifter, so just my 2 cents:
To Alexus: I have just read the training log and I was sorry to see that you have a lot of difficulties with the squat style (squat clean, squat snatch, front squat..). Just curious: have you ever considered splitting instead of squatting?
I actually learned splitting first (from an oldtimer), then I switched to the squat.

Although it might not lead you to the top, I think it is fine and you should lift much more than with the power clean and the power snatch. Especially if you can reach a deep split position (in that case you really don't have to pull much higher than for a squat lift). I think you can reach a quite low position even without any dorsiflexion.

For inspiration see Annika Berntsson (she made it to the Europeans in the B-group):

(beware, most of the split lifts on Youtube are ugly, see the lifts of oldtimers like Baszanowski to see some real nice lifts).
Anyway, information on the split lifts is not to common, but there was a thread this week on the Pendlay forum

A good video to learn the split snatch:

To recover from a split: Remember to push back (leaning back a little with the weight on the back leg) and not up (MUCH easier).

Good luck with your training !


Hi. Thanks so much for taking the time to post that. I've seen some beautiful split lifts on youtube from when the split style was more common. There was a time when I thought I was going to have to split instead of squat, but thought I should give squatting a good honest effort.

I've learned that I have as many? possibly more? problems with splitting as I do with squatting :frowning:

I'm my case my lack of ankle dorsiflexion is a considerable problem, but I also have the considerable problem of not being able to stretch my toes back from the ball of my foot. This makes lunging and splitting problematic for me as my weight shifts onto my back foot with toes that are clawed under. It is too painful for me to train. This has actually resulted in my decision to get serious about training the power / squat jerk rather than the split.

Hopefully your post will be helpful for others that have issues restricted to ankle dorsiflexion. Unfortunately, I don't think I"ll ever be putting up the big weights :frowning:


Well, if you can't flex your back foot you won't be very stable in the split position...
Then I guess you have to get really strong with the power snatch/C&J (unless you create your very own style like Kendrick Farris with his splot :slight_smile: ).
Theoritically you can lift 80% of what you would squat clean/snatch with the full lift, it means for example snatching 40 kg instead of 50 kg. The way i see it, if you lift for fun (like i do), it is probably no big deal.


Those split Sn looked crazy!

A UK lifter has done about 85 or 90 when he was 50yrs old. OLD SKOOL



I can snatch (sorta):

(my technique is a lot shit at the moment after my foray into starting strength)

Have more trouble with cleaning / front squatting because my torso really does need to be more upright. Can powerclean more than full clean (though can't power / squat jerk it yet). Maybe my powerclean always will be stronger than my squatclean... My snatch is stronger than my powersnatch, though.

Why am I jumping forwards?
Was the one lost behind just me freaking out when it actually landed in the right place, or was something wrong with it??

Trying to keep chest up / hips down, finish the pull, hit a good bottom position... etc bloody etc lolz.

That split snatch did look crazy. I reckon it looked cooler than a squat snatch... Dammit... I wanna be able to do that now!


As you said, it would help to keep the chest up and the hips down!
You did it perfectly right with the stick! IMHO, you raise your hips too fast and too much (maybe because of your ankle issues), and "explode" when your back is almost parallel to the floor... then you tend to hit the bar with the hip and you swing the bar in front of you. This makes your lift not so reliable. It would help to be a little more upright.
I you can't keep the hips low because of your flexibility, maybe you could raise the chest after the bar is above the knees (until your back makes an angle of say 45° with the floor) and only then explode UP using the legs (at this point the bar should hit the hips). Don't forget to keep the bar close!
Again, my 2 cents...


yes, i agree with you.

i can keep my hips down / chest up more. if i really really try. helps the bar path be more vertical on the second pull, too. also i keep forgetting to soften my arms during the second pull to keep them / the bar close to me instead of swinging them / the bar out front.


ANU gym im assuming. Those split jerks look hard. You can't drop down too low for those splits they look scary.

Do those screws in your ankle have to stay there forever now?? As in could your ankles function a little better if you got them out??