Coaching Tip For Consistency in Back Angle

I got a couple responses to my post yesterday about the importance of the back angle looking for two things.

1- Everyone wants to know some good exercises to fix a back angle that changes throughout the first pull

2- Everyone wants to see a lift that shows a consistent back angle.


On the exercises front, there are a couple options available.

  1. First pulls from floor to mid thigh with emphasis given to back angle.
  2. Eccentric top down pulls returning from the floor or top of the knee with a tempo holding the back angle consistent.
  3. Snatch or Clean RDL to strengthen the upper back to enable strength in the first pull.

I read these words today from Bob Takano on the emphasis of the first pull and the necessity for slow pulls and slow returns.

During the segments of the lifts that are not performed with great rapidity, it can be helpful to stimulate motor units that are not normally involved, so that the overall strength of the relevant muscles is increased. One way to accomplish this is with the use of deliberately slower partial movements with an appropriate weight. I found that this is particularly effective if performed during the Preparation phase when speediness is not so much a factor in the training.

Intermediate and underdeveloped lifters often find it difficult to maintain proper position during the first pull phase of the clean and thus a periodic inclusion of slow clean deadlifts up to the power position is especially helpful. I usually program lifts that take 10 seconds to perform from lift-off to power position. The bar is loaded to 80% of the proposed maximum, and then performed for 5 sets of 3 repetitions. Attention must be focused on performing the movement perfectly. A training partner or coach can count off the 10 seconds, and also provides a reason not to “cheat” during performance.

These slow lifts (because they are slow), can be inserted toward the end of the session. Once or twice a week during the preparation cycle is frequent enough to elicit a proper training response that will result in an easier time maintaining position during the first pull. Some quivering is to be expected

Secondly here is a great video of Eric smoking a snatch with as perfect a back angle as I have ever seen.

Eric Rosenstock Consistent Back Angle



3 responses to “Coaching Tip For Consistency in Back Angle

  1. Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for these posts on back angle. Any suggestions as to how tall lifters like myself (6’3″) can get a good setup position for the snatch/clean that doesn’t cause a shift in back angle during the first pull? – the long legs tend to get in the way. It seems like we need to start with our hips higher? Thoughts?

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