How to Stop Pulling Early in the Snatch – A Complex to Help

July 29, 2018

Photocredit: @beyond.the.script


Have you been told you pull too early or are impatient in the snatch?

Symptoms are…

  • Early arm bend
  • The bar brushing lower on your thigh
  • The bar not making any contact with your body

If you have any of these issues, or just want to learn a new way to intentionally focus on correcting these issues. Check out the video below…


** Is mobility an issue for you, and is weightlifting a goal? Our Free Mobility for Weightlifting Schedule will help you mobilize the right areas at the right time! **

What does pulling early or being impatient do?

Kills our power. The hips are the strongest part of our body. The closer to the hips we can get with the bar in a good position will increase our ability to leverage that power. This can mean a significant increase in weight were able to lift.

Why do we pull early or have trouble being patient?

The Olympic lifts are based in the nervous system. So, part of training is to allow ourselves to build up the motor pattern we need to use in the lifts. To do this, we must find a load that will allow us to move well but is still challenging. This is where the best movement pattern training happens.

When we break down and pull early often we’re responding to one of a few causes…

  1. The load is past our movement threshold and the nervous system is looking to recruit other muscles to try and help
  2. We’re a bit exhausted and our nervous system is looking to recruit other muscles to try and help
  3. We’re moving a bit faster than the nervous system can control
  4. We’re anticipating going overhead vs. reaching the hip

These four causes are common. The magic happens when you identify which one is happening and you program intentional training to fix it.

How can we fix this issue?

If we think of the four causes above as a threshold then we must program training around that threshold to extend it.

An example is this…

Bob is new to weightlifting and the snatch is very frustrating. Over and over his coach is telling him to be patient and keep his arms long. However, he just can’t feel it! What we can do here is the complex explained in the video above.

We can have Bob take a snatch and deadlift it (moving through the snatch positions… not a conventional deadlift) to the hip. During this, he is focusing on feeling the positions and his arms staying long.

Then he returns the bar to the floor to then snatch the bar. During the snatch, Bob’s goal is to focus on slowing down and letting himself move just like he did in the deadlift. What this makes him realize is how he is tightening up differently when it is time to snatch! Now, Bob can start to feel it and make corrections!!

In this example, we use a snatch deadlift + snatch from the floor, but you can use other variations depending on the severity of the issue. Another variation might be from a hang position above the knee or off of blocks.

The goal and magic of this complex are that in the first half of the complex the athlete is able to “feel” the movement and then in the second half they aim to move the same way.

Simple… But, effective! 



This is a guest post from Drew Dillon, head coach and co-founder of Project Lift during his lifting career as
 an athlete Drew placed as high as 4th at a USA Weightlifting Nationals and is a personal coach to 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold. He is also known as a Weber grill snob and will routinely ask you "what is for dinner" during training. You can follow Drew on Instagram and YouTube.