Weightlifting: Finding Your Contact Point In The Snatch And Clean
Find Your Contact Point In Weightlifting
Weightlifting is a sport that requires hours and hours of practice to master but it’s not enough to only invest time into the movements to master the skills. Quality and consistency are as important, if not more, as the amount of time you invest into learning weightlifting. In this article, we will talk about weightlifting and finding your contact point in the snatch and clean.
The old saying goes “Practice makes perfect”. But does it? With such a closed skill such as the snatch or the clean and jerk it is easy to pick up faults along the journey and if these aren’t ironed out quickly they could turn into habits which require a lot of work to fix. A more fitting saying may be “practice makes permanent”. If you are within 1-2 years of starting weightlifting, you will know that on some days, the bar feels like paper and you are moving like a fighter jet, with speed and precision. On other days, the weight feels so heavy that you question if you even know what you are doing. When this happens, don’t start changing your technique to accommodate for a case of a ‘super gravity day’, stick to your guns and aim to create some consistency within your lifts even if you have to take some weight off the bar, practice perfect movement and repeat. I see it time and time again, when the bar feels heavy people will give it a good ‘yank’ with the arms to find their contact point early or rush their pull and end up chasing the bar forwards because they have made their contact too low, catapulting the bar forwards, these habits when the bar gets heavy means that there is no consistency when you are lifting, you may hit one perfectly but then can’t replicate it for another rep.
THE VIDEO: Weightlifting: Finding Your Contact Point In The Snatch And Clean
The point that you contact the bar is the last point you will have any influence on the direction of the weight before you attempt to catch it so it is important that you get it right. I am going to show you the correct position to contact the bar in the snatch and clean and jerk and then provide you with two tactics to drill in this movement pattern so you can practice perfect.
Contact at your most powerful position
Take either your Snatch or your Clean grip on the bar, hook grip, stand as tall as you can and keep your shoulders back and down, be long through your neck and have your arms locked straight, hold your back tight and pull the bar towards you with straight arms. For the snatch, the bar should be touching your lower abs at the crease of the hip. For the Clean, you should make contact about a third of the way down your thigh. When you have found your position, make a mental note, the bar should contact you here every single rep, whether it is 50% or 100% of your personal best, you can even draw a line on your thigh with chalk. When you have found this position, bend your knees. Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground and as you bend the bar shouldn’t move from its contact point. If it starts to fall down the thigh as you bend, you are breaking at the hip too much. This is what we call the power position. From here, when you perform your triple extension, the bar will go straight up. Remember this position for the upcoming drills.
Weightlifting is a very fast and explosive skill. It is almost impossible to make small adjustments like placement or the contact on the hip/thigh whilst going at full speed. We need to practice the movements and positions first at a pace we can comprehend then, trust that this movement pattern will translate when we attempt to move at full speed. Here we are going to perform a dead pull from the floor and move through the first pull, transition, contact the bar and perform the second pull slowly ensuring that we have control and that we are aware of where the bar is in relation to the body and what is going on when we make small adjustments. Start with a light load, 30% of your Snatch or Clean, and go through your pull with smooth movements, ensuring that you are patient with the second pull and the arms are straight. The focus is to contact the bar in the correct position, perform your triple extension, keep the bar close as you move upwards. Perform 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and increase the weight accordingly. Again, we are looking for consistency with each pull and aim for 100%+ of your best snatch or Clean and Jerk.
The 3 Position Snatch/ Clean
This complex allows you to perform the lift from three different positions. The focus of the drill is to make the contact point the same with each lift whether you have performed the lift from the power position, hang, or have performed a full lift. We will start with the Top-Down method, meaning you will perform the first lift from your power position that we discovered earlier in the article. The bar should be at its contact point with you standing tall and your arms straight, bend from the knees and perform the lift from your power position. The next rep will be from the knee at the hang position. As you break from the hip, the last lift will be a full lift from the floor. With each rep you should be making the same contact position. Each complex is a set of 3 reps. Perform 3-10 sets of this depending on your training goals. You will need to practice this complex both at the light and heavy end of the scale to see how your positions change as the load gets higher. Ideally the movement should look the same and you should make the same contact position with both heavy and light loads.
Download our free Weightlifting programme you can follow for 6 weeks with the focus on consistency within your lifts, making the correct contact points and drilling and refining your technique to improve your lifts. Otherwise use these drills in your warm ups to prime your skill before moving onto the full lifts, ensuring you have consistency with each lift.