The Power Position: Stretch Tall!

Snatch Hip


One of my hardest positions to clean or snatch from is the power position.  Personally, the lack of momentum and inability to gain leverage destroys any chance I have at being good at this movement.  My torso length is a great advantage in the snatch and as such I often times rely too heavily on it and do not produce the vertical power necessary from the hips.  The power position, especially off blocks, tends to highlight this weakness.  When the bar gets heavy I find myself doing one of two things:

1) Banging my hips into the bar in such a way that the bar accelerates away from me in a arcing motion.  This looks much more like a Kettlebell Swing than a Snatch.  This cause me to either swing the bar over my head and miss behind OR leave the bar out in front of me.

2) I will over-rotate my shoulders in the second pull and pull them too far away from the bar also leaving the bar out in front of me.

In theory I should stretch vertically in the top of the second pull making sure I get as much vertical power as possible from my body before pulling under into the receiving position.  If I do the second pull right it will have me angled back away from the bar a little bit but NOT near enough to prevent me from pulling under properly.  Furthermore, a focus on a vertical second pull keeps the bar close to my body and allows for a more efficient third pull.

Here are 2 videos of what this looks like if successfully done:

Power Position Side View

Power Position 45 Degree View

Notice in both I make a conscious effort to stretch extremely tall and apply as much vertical power to the bar as possible.  That is why I made these lifts.  Here is a video of me missing one because of the opposite.  I do not stretch tall enough at the top of the second pull and despite how close the bar is I just don’t have enough time to pull under it.

Power Position Miss

Lastly, here is a video of me breaking down the power position from the side view.  Basically, if your biggest problem is finishing in the proper place at the top of the second pull then this exercise is for you.  It forces you to get your shoulders and weight in the right spot and it forces a vertical pull.

Couple pointers when doing this movement: Always put your the weight in your feet just in front of your heel and not solely in your heels.  The majority of the weight needs to be near the middle of the foot.  Secondly, make sure when you set up, your shoulders are exactly even with the bar.  Lastly, cock your wrists and turn your elbows out to allow for proper elbow bend.

Power Position Snatch Analysis



8 responses to “The Power Position: Stretch Tall!

  1. Sorry if this is not the right forum to ask but I’ve been searching for the right answer. As a high school coach I see a lot of athletes sweep the knees forward as soon as the bar gets to the top of the knee. I don’t recall this being addressed specifically in my USAW course. How long should you try and keep your knees back ideally. I am under the impression that a person should keep their knees back as long as possible to put tension onto the hamstrings and creating the torque you talk about as long as a good back angle is maintained. Is this correct?

    • Hey Coach,
      That is a great question and a recurring problem for many lifters. I have weak hamstrings so I can relate to this problem as I do not want to leave tension in them for long and tend to short my first pull because of it. However, there is no perfect answer to your question. The transfer from the first pull into the second is such a dynamic movement that it is going to look different for every lifter especially when torso length and femur length is considered. My suggestion is to coach it two ways. First, make sure they get a good first pull and achieve hamstring tension and then as long as they are getting the bar to their hips with their feet still flat on the floor they are doing it well. The problem is when the bar never gets to their hips and hits their quads OR when it gets to their hips they are on their toes. Second, if you have a lifter with weak hamstrings (like me) then tell them to elongate their first pull as long as possible. This will serve to keep them in their hamstrings and in the first pull for a sufficient amount of time to complete the first pull. I hope that helps. Great question.

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  3. Coach,
    Your post today perfectly demonstrates one of my latest “eurekas” in my developing comprehension of the snatch and all of its technical aspects. From the beginning of my development I understood that an explosive extension of the body along with close proximity of the bar to the hips was required to develop maximum upward force on the bar. But as I progressed, no matter what I tried with regards to bar path and getting the center of gravity back in the first pull I found that on full extension of the hips the bar would move away from the body and out in front, leaving me hopping forward to catch the bar. Then I realized by watching proficient lifters that there is a critical curve of the bar path just after/during hip contact that turns it straight up rather than away from the body. As I watched closer I could see a definite shrug of the shoulders that was obviously pulling the bar back toward the body. Once I introduced that shrug into my lifts I achieved the first lift where the bar stayed completely behind the vertical line. Your “Power Position Snatch Analysis” video shows very clearly a huge shrug during hip extension. Can you please comment on the timing of the shrug relative to hip contact and how that achieves the correct bar path as to catch the bar behind the vertical line.

    • That is a great question. I want to see the ankle, knee, and hip extend immediately after the bar makes contact with the hip. The shrug should happen during that process but only as an agent to pull yourself under the bar. If you watch this video: you can see that at the hips I have not started shrugging yet. That is because the shrug is not used to bring the bar vertical but is used as an agent to get yourself under the bar.

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