T h e P u l l s
Most of you know (or maybe you don’t?) that at CFSBK we cycle through strength movements from 3 pools. Those categories are: Squat Variants, Upper Body Movements, and Pulls. The squats we use are the back squat, the front squat, and the overhead squat. The upper body movements vary more and have included dips, presses, jerks, bench press, weighted pull-ups, handstands, and handstand push-ups. The pulls are the deadlift, the clean, and the snatch. They refer not to pulling a load with the arms, but rather pulling a weight from the floor using the legs and hips. Let’s look at the pulls.
The deadlift is the slow pull. When executed properly it’s a pure expression of raw strength. Most people will be able to move the most amount of weight in the deadlift when compared to any other lift. When going for a PR this lift can grind on for a few seconds from start to finish. The deadlift seems to make sense to most folks. Once you now what a set back is and how to achieve it, it’s just a matter of standing up with the bar in your hands (a bit more complicated but that’s the main idea). With the fast pulls, the clean and the snatch, things can get a bit trickier. Now you are going to aggressively use your legs and hips to do a job that for most of your life you would have done with your arms, i.e.; get an object to either your shoulders (clean) or overhead (snatch).
When first learning the Clean and the Snatch many athletes have a hard time getting over the urge to pull the weight up with the arms. This will always lead to problems with the lift. For one, the bar will tend to get out in front of you leading to a missed lift forward. An early arm pull limits the amount of force you can apply with your far stronger legs and hips, thereby limiting the amount of weight you can pull. Try to envision a pulley system… you’re applying force at one end of a rope and through the pulley the rope lifts an object on the other end of it. To move the object you first take the slack off of the rope (straighten out your elbows and tighten up your torso and hips) and then pull. Viola, the object comes up. What if you don’t take the slack out? The object isn’t going anywhere. What if you used a rubber band instead of a rope? There’d be a lot of slack to take out of that band and you’d have to pull a lot longer and harder to move the object, and if the object were heavy enough it wouldn’t move and eventually the rubber band would snap. This is what it’s like when you bend your elbows early and try to use your arms too much in the pulls. You’re asking the muscles and tendons at the elbow to do work they just can’t do. Either you’ll fail at significant loads or you’ll wind up injured, or both.
Let’s think Snatch. Your arms have 4 jobs in the snatch…
1. They connect the legs and hips to the bar via the torso
2. After the jump they guide the bar into place on the way up,
3. Once the bar is at max height they help pull you UNDER the bar FAST to receive it while it’s weightless
4. They support the bar overhead in the receiving position.
Here are a few things you can be thinking about when snatching during this cycle (see how conveniently that works out?). Pick one or two and focus on them.
- My legs and hips are going to jump the barbell up, NOT my arms.
- I will be FAST!
- Once the bar is at max height my arms will help to pull me UNDER the bar FAST into the bottom of an overhead squat.
- I will receive the bar as strong as I overhead squatted last cycle.
- I am an awesome snatching machine and will dazzle family and co-workers with tales of my snatchtastickness.
Cheers to the snatch!
This cycle's Pull is the Hang Snatch. Catch the bar as high or low as you need to. Ideally, the first few exposures are power (caught above parallel) and the latter are squat Snatches (caught below parallel)
Here is a video from Catalyst Athletics of a Hang (Squat) Snatch
Which is your favorite pull?