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In my experience working with so many beginners, there are two huge technical problems involved with teaching the pull from the floor.
- The hips come up faster than the shoulders.
- The re-bending of the knees once the bar rises above the knees is difficult to learn.
One of the approaches that I’ve used quite successfully is to use a set of four reps of four different exercises. They enable the athlete to learn the “feeling” of each segment of the pull as each one becomes progressively more complex. One set of this complex is demonstrated in the accompanying video.
Each of the four exercises should be learned at the beginning stages and can be used as a strengthening exercise once technique is mastered. At the early stages, however, they are teaching tools and something to be mastered individually and then in sequence.
- The Halting Deadlift to the knees is the first movement to be learned and should be perfected with the athlete practicing the simultaneous raising of the hips and shoulders.
- The Halting Deadlift to Power Position is the second movement and adds the shift or re-bending of the knees. This, in my opinion, is the most difficult part of the pull to teach.
- The Snatch or Clean Extension then combines the extension of the hips, legs and ankles with the deadlift and allows the athlete to focus on the actions of the hips and legs, rather than the arms.
- The Snatch or Clean High Pull then adds the arm action with the emphasis on the raising of the elbows combined with a full extension of the hips and legs.
As an exercise combination to teach the pull, I program them to be done twice or three times per week for four sets at an optimal weight. “Optimal” means that I make the call on a weight that will provide the proper “feel”, but is not excessively heavy so as to distort the technique.