Written by Dr. Reena Tenorio
The following drills are just a few accessory movements to add into your usual training program to improve your snatch and clean & jerk. Each drill has a description of what is can be used to correct or augment, its emphasis, basic instruction, and a short YouTube clip of several Juggernaut weightlifters demonstrating the movements.
This drill is used to correct uncontrolled “pulling” or “ripping” of the bar from the floor, sitting the shoulders too far back behind the bar at mid-shin position, or not keeping bar close enough to the body.
Begin in normal start position (clean or snatch) from the floor. As the bar leaves the floor, maintain activation in the lats (as if to drag the bar along the shins), pushing the knees back while keeping the shoulders over the bar to hip height.
Emphasis: Controlled pull from floor, staying over the bar, maintaining lat activation through the lift.
Block work is used to correct a slow pull under the bar, slow elbow turnover, and/or shortened final extension.
Perform a clean or snatch with the bar starting at rest from the top of blocks. Typical heights are above or below knee. Blocks will challenge the lifter to generate enough force and speed, as the bar is starting from a static position.
Emphasis: Speed, full extension, fast elbows to receiving position.
This drill is used to correct the habit of jumping back or forward or slow pull/lack of aggressiveness under the bar to the receiving position.
Start with feet in receiving distance. Perform a clean or snatch, driving through the foot but not allowing the feet to move from the initial position. The lifter must begin to pull themselves under the bar immediately after reaching full extension to make the lift.
Emphasis: Aggressive finishing pull, speed under the bar, avoiding jumping forward or back.
Half cleans can be used with a lifter who has the tendency to bottom out in the clean, a disengaged catch, or slow pull under the bar.
Perform a clean from the floor, receiving the bar JUST below power, but immediately ABOVE full. This ensures the lifter remains active through the trunk and legs upon receiving the bar. Do not allow body to drop any deeper than the height that the bar is received. Immediately upon receiving the bar at the shoulders, the lifter must stand.
Emphasis: Speed under bar, solid receiving position, getting out of the hole quickly.
This drill can be used to correct a slow pull under the bar, bumping the bar away from the body, and poor overhead position.
Perform a snatch using a narrow grip, typically near clean grip width. The more narrow the hands, the more difficult it will be to keep the bar close to the body. This will challenge the lifter to finish extension with elbows high, and pull their body aggressively under the bar. Overhead position will also be more difficult with a narrow grip, challenging the flexibility of the lifter to maintain an upright bottom position.
Emphasis: Aggressive finish, keeping the bar close, stable overhead position/flexibility.
Jerk steps can help a lifter who displays a shortened front foot in the jerk, unequal weight distribution between feet in overhead position, or has difficulty with speed in the jerk.
The lifter begins with bar at the shoulders in front rack, with the feet placed in split position; weight evenly distributed between front and back foot. A 1/2 step back with the front foot will be the start position for this drill. As the lifter drives the barbell from the shoulders, the front foot is to be aggressively stepped forward to the final receiving overhead position. Weight should be equally distributed between both feet with a small bend in the back knee.
Emphasis: Getting front foot out, balance between feet, stable overhead position.
Sots Press/Snatch Press in Squat:
Sots Press: The lifter sits actively in the bottom of a squat with the bar in a front rack position and a clean grip. From this squat position, the lifter presses the barbell overhead with as little additional movement of the body, avoiding rocking forward or back on the heels. Keep the feet and heels flat on the floor for optimal results.
Snatch Press in Squat: The lifter actively sits in the bottom of a squat with the barbell on the back in a snatch grip. From this bottom position, the lifter presses the barbell overhead, avoiding excessive motion at the hips or trunk while maintaining full foot contact with the floor.
Emphasis: Shoulder strength, overhead stability, pressing strength, stability in bottom of squat.
10 Drills to Improve Bottom Position
Fix the Weak Links in Your Snatch
Reena Tenorio, Doctor of Physical Therapy, is a weightlifter/CrossFit athlete based in Orange County, CA. Reena competed at the 2013 American Open in weightlifting, the 2012 and 2013 CrossFit Southeast Regionals (team). Reena’s diverse athletic history and background in physical therapy gives her a unique perspective when examining training.