Articles  >  Olympic Weightlifting Technique
Stay Connected to the Bar: Snatch & Clean Turnover
Greg Everett
May 8 2014

One of the most common problems I see or hear complaints about is the barbell crashing in the clean (and even in the snatch to a lesser extent). There are two very simple ways to help correct this:

1. Meet the bar wherever it is
2. Hold your grip longer

First, you need to be wherever you've lifted the bar to meet it. People sometimes become infatuated with the idea of getting down quickly into the rock bottom squat. The ability to do so is great, but not if the bar is higher than that level. That is, you need to relocate your body directly under the bar, at whatever level you've lifted it to, not just "down" indiscriminately. I make the analogy to people sometimes that it's akin to either doing a normal front squat or overhead squat, or getting down into the bottom of the squat position and having someone drop the barbell onto their shoulders or into their hands - which is going to be more secure, stable and easier to recover from?

Second, you need to maintain your grip on the bar long enough. This is much more natural in the snatch, particularly if you're a lifter who holds the hook grip overhead. However, you should in any case be punching the bar up into the overhead position with a relatively loose grip, so even if you maintain your hook, you need to transition from a tight pulling grip to a loose pushing grip at some point. That point is ideally as the hand is turned over under the bar.

Likewise, with the clean, where the problem of prematurely releasing the grip is more obvious, the grip needs to be maintained until the elbows are moving up in front of the bar - really as long as possible without preventing a quick and complete fixing of the elbows/shoulders in the proper rack position. If you're flexible enough and built the right way, you can maintain a full grip or close to it even in the rack position--this is fine as long as your turnover is quick and timed properly. In any case, try to maintain your grip until the bar is on your shoulders.

These two things will improve your lifts considerably once you implement them correctly.

Check out this video for more on meeting cleans properly:
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May 8 2014
Nice article Greg! I have noticed this recently and am grateful that you have pointed this out in such a concise, snappy way :-)
Daniel Aipa
May 9 2014
That is a great tip Greg. I find myself releasing the bar real soon which probably takes a lot if force from the pull
February 10 2015
I think this may be my biggest issue in the snatch, currently. Do you have drills or lifts that you recommend to help correct this or is it mainly a mentality and intent fix? Thanks in advance!
Steve Pan
February 10 2015
Muscle snatches, tall snatches, and power snatch + snatch, should be good drills to work on staying connected to the bar and helping you get a feel for meeting the weights in space.
Jason Fletcher
August 9 2022
Hi Greg, I’ve been reading up on a lot of your articles and been following your programming for a bit now and this one definitely relates to me. I’m definitely rushing under the bar in both my power and my clean. What drills or movements would you recommend to aid in correcting this? Thanks
Jason - I would recommend doing some rack delivery drills and tall movements. I would start with tall muscle cleans, then do some scarcrow cleans, followed by tall cleans. With those movements, really focus on maintaining tension on the bar as you pull under and bring the bar directly to your shoulders.

Alyssa Sulay