Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Vertical Leg Drive In The Snatch & Clean - Elevation, Direction, Balance & Proximity

Leg extension in the snatch and clean helps provide both elevation and direction on the barbell.

While it’s not perfectly accurate, it can be helpful to think of leg drive being responsible for elevation and hip extension being responsible for speed. The best lifting occurs when the two work together properly.

Picture a vertical line running through your shoulder, hip and ankle. As you extend in the pull, your hips should move forward into this line and then up along it. They should not cross through it. If the hips move through this line, you’re losing upward acceleration and putting more horizontal force into the bar.

The hips will be hyperextended at least slightly, but this is done by bringing the shoulders behind the hips, not by pushing the hips forward past our imaginary vertical line.

Continuing to drive vertically against the ground with the legs as you extend the hips not only helps accelerate the bar, but guides it in the right direction, maintains your balance, and helps keep the bar closer to the body after contact.

Your knees will not necessarily extend completely at the top of the pull—what matters is that the force against the ground is directed vertically.

To help improve your leg drive and timing, practice snatch and clean pulls, snatch and clean from power position, and a complex of pull + snatch or clean.

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