Flipping the Switch

In weightlifting there is a unique switch that must be turned on and off.  Athletes need to be able to go from the slower strength movement of the pull, to the more gymnastic speed component of pulling their body under the bar, then back to the controlled strength of the catch.  Load, unload, load.  Being able to turn that switch On, Off, and back On in less than the 3 seconds is a skill that needs to be practiced. If you are having trouble doing it, try these out

  1. Hold the bar with a loose hook grip.  The hook grip does all the work, you don’t need to squeeze the life out of the bar too.  A loose hook grip will help you keep your arms relaxed and fast during the pull under.
  2. Using the Competition Pull or Panda Pull to teach when to turn that switch on and off during the pull.  
  3. Exercises like Snatch from high blocks can help you focus more on the speed under the bar or turning the switch off.
  4. Exercises like Muscle Snatch can help with the muscular development of going under the bar, but if you are really having trouble relaxing the arms or going under the bar fast, it might be worth avoiding exercises like the muscle snatch for a while.  They should be reintroduced as you improve because you have to be strong. 
  5. If you are having trouble turning the tension back on in the catch, I like to have my athletes to pause right at the point they get under the bar, then squat it all the way down. A majority of these reps should be done at about 60%.  This helps the athlete learn how to control the bar in the catch.  The next step is to learn to control the bar faster at this point (position over speed).

What else do you think should be on this list?