In the Olympic lifts, there is never a moment when you are not actively pushing or pulling against the bar. You must maintain control of the bar throughout the entirety of the lift.
Typically a disconnect is seen when a lifter is rushing to get to the bottom after initiating the third pull. They pull the bar high but then “fall” under it to catch it. Essentially, they lose connection with the bar during the third pull. This is almost always the reason that the bar crashes on a lifter during a snatch or clean, making it much harder to stabilize and recover in the bottom of the lift.
The movement under the bar needs to remain active throughout. This means aggressively pulling yourself DOWN into position by driving the elbows up, moving the feet, and actively pulling your body underneath the bar until lockout. The third pull requires intention – you're literally tugging yourself down by pulling up on the bar, and there should be no moment of the lift where anything “just happens”.
If you struggle with staying connected, try some tall snatches and tall cleans as a technique primer. The goal is to feel what it's like to “pull down” rather than simply dropping under the bar.
To perform the Tall Snatch: Start from a standing, foot flat and fully extended leg position. Bar in hip crease at snatch grip width. The tricky part is that you do not want to dip the knees at all to initiate the lift. Drive your elbows up, pick up your feet up and pull down into your catch position. Remember : The goal is to pull yourself down actively, not to get the bar high.The same drill can be done with the Clean. Perform with an empty bar or light weight.
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