The First Pull    February 16 2014

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3 rounds for time of:
115 pound Power clean, 21 reps
27 Burpees
27 GHD Sit-ups

The First Pull

In the few months after having a kid, some form and technique issues popped up that I had not dealt with before.  One of the biggest to stick out was the fact that I was “shooting my hips” on the first pull of my clean and snatch.  I would watch video and gasp in shock at what my hips were doing behind my back…

For a great demonstration (and explanation of this) check out the video above from CrossFit Greenwood Village.  Specifically, watch at :56 seconds into the video for a demo of “shooting the hips.”  Do you do this?

After seeing a video of myself I started to focus on the first pull.  I moved incredibly slowly with the bar off the floor to make sure my hips and shoulders rose together.  It paid off, but only to a certain extent.

A week ago I was at a technique camp and a coach pointed out to me that my first pull was now too slow.  He cited the fact that while the first pull is methodical and controlled, it’s only as slow as what allows you to make your shoulders and hips rise together.  He went on to point out that the slower your first pull is, the greater change in acceleration you have to make at the point where you jump into the bar.  If you have more acceleration, or momentum, going into the launch point, it’s easier to put speed on the bar.

In class, the coaches often work a ton on the concept of knees back while the chest rises off the floor.  This cue is to dial in the hips and shoulders rising together.

Check out this article in TabataTimes on the first pull.  Specifically, watch the videos, they are helpful.

Do you see (or feel) your own movement in any of these videos?  Post to comments.

  • Jasmine Yap

    I have definitely been guilty of banging my hips into the bar, causing an arc (instead of a vertical bar path) and looking more like a kettlebell swing than a snatch. It’s something I’ve been working on. Things that have helped me (and it’s still a work in progress) are making sure my start position is solid (knuckles down, elbows out, shoulder back and all that good stuff) and giving myself only one cue through the whole lift. For me, that’s “vertical”. If I think of too many things during the lift, they become more of a distraction than a help.

    I used to do the early elbow bend as well. For me, it was a frustration point because Ryan would cue “elbows”, and I’d still repeat the elbow bend. It turns out that what fixed this for me was something so simple as making sure my knuckles were DOWN when I grabbed the bar. My knuckles used to face slightly forward instead of directly down to the floor, and this somehow threw my elbows off, making them bend early.

    Lately in Oly Club we’ve started using the tall snatch/tall clean (as mentioned in the Tabata Times article). It feels awkward at first not being able to dip before the pull, but after that initial awkwardness, it seems to help a lot with getting under the bar quickly (while not having the bar kick forward).

    Unrelated to this post, is there Open Shop at 1pm this Friday? I went on Mind Body Online and it doesn’t show up on the schedule for this Friday.