During warm-ups on a day when we’re doing cleans or snatches, we usually include muscle cleans/snatches followed by the hang power version of the lift. When we do the muscle version (just the arms involved) we usually see great bar path, nice and close to the body, as well as good high pulls with the elbows high and outside. Then when we switch to the hang power version of the lift (now the legs are involved), the bar path starts to change and often times the high pull goes away. I don’t say this to pick on anyone in particular, the olympic lifts are extremely complex and take a lot of work to master. I am often guilty of excluding the high pull, especially when the weight is heavy and I just want to get under the bar.
For those of you that participated in the CrossFit Games Open, you may remember the “tips” videos posted for every workout the trio of KStarr (mobility), Carl Paoli (body weight movements/gymnastics) and Diane Fu. Diane Fu is a well known olympic lifter and barbell coach, and I follow her page of Facebook called FuBarbell. Her post today included a picture that really caught my eye, and naturally it had to do with the snatch high pull. I happen to be a visual learner, and this picture and instruction really stood out to me.
The weight on the bar for this particular lifter must be fairly light for her considering how high up the bar is at full extension, but you can see that she has her elbows well above the bar. This is the type of high pull we’re talking about. It keeps the bar in close to the body and makes the transition to pull under the bar easier. A common mistake people make is that they pull their elbows back behind them which makes the bar swing out and away from you, or you don’t pull at all and the same thing happens. You’ll know this is happening if the bar ends out in front of you when you try to catch it (or not).
Of course there is a lot more to the snatch than the high pull, but this was a great visual to stick in your brain the next time we say “don’t forget the high pull!” If you’re looking for more tips, follow FuBarbell on Facebook.
Mobility: Shoulders and calves
Skill: Box Squat
Recovery: 15 min tempo run