As of late I have done a little bit extra work on the first pull specifically trying to strengthen the positions leading up to the top of the knee. This is my weakest position and by far my weakest link. I am much stronger if I lift off the blocks than I am coming off the floor. Because of this I’ve been doing some exercises to strengthen my pull from the floor and strengthen my stability and strength from the floor to the top of the knee.
One of my favorite exercises and one of the hardest exercises is a snatch or clean with a pause at the bottom of the knee. This lift, while despised by many, creates a situation where you’re forced to be strong and stable with a heavy load, an immense amount of pressure on the back and hamstrings. This forces me to be strong where I am weakest. Since the first thought off the floor should always be knees back and shoulders over the bar then this position is pivotal for a effective and efficient second pull. More often than not my weakness in this area causes me to enter the second pull early and over rotate my shoulders behind the bar the sending the bar out in front of me in a big rotating arc. If you struggle to be strong in the first pull and you struggle getting the bar to come back off the floor efficiently than this is a lift that you should add to your training. It’s hard, your underload for longer, but the strength gains that come from this movement are incredibly effective at making you stronger off the floor. Below are some examples of this movement done well with some misses thrown in. Take a look:
Nick Ruscoe Pause Snatches
Old School Cal Strength
145kg Pause Clean
122 Pause Snatch