Fix Your Round Back In The Pull
If you struggle to establish and maintain back extension in the pull of the snatch and clean, listen up. Assuming you’re actually trying to set your back properly, your disgusting squishy back is caused by two possible factors: inadequate hip mobility, and inadequate back strength.
Hip immobility prevents the pelvis from rotating forward adequately to maintain the desired curve of the spine as you flex the hip in your starting position and pull.
You can immediately improve the motion of the pelvis here by moving your knees out as far as possible inside your arms if they’re not there already. This both allows the hip to open more, and effectively shortens the thighs and moves you into a more upright posture, reducing the necessary range of motion.
Long term, you need to improve your flexibility. Don’t become an anatomy expert—just do the obvious and stretch variations of the position like the spiderman lunge and lying bent and straight knee hamstring stretching at various angles.
To strengthen your back, your two biggest weapons will be the back extension and good morning.
When I say back extensions, I mean back extensions. Getting the hips into it is fine, but literally flex and extend the spine. Position the weight behind your neck with a bar or dumbbell and keep your head up at the top to ensure you include upper back extension. Hold briefly at the top of each rep.
Good mornings will train isometric extension along with hip flexion to improve position-specificity and positively influence hip mobility. Perform the eccentric motion with a controlled speed to ensure solid extension and a better stretch, and don’t exceed the depth to which you can maintain that extension.
Finally, we can combine strength, mobility and complete specificity by taking advantage of the eccentric motion of all pulling variations. You’ll be able to better establish the proper extension at the top of a pull—reset that extension completely every time, and forcefully maintain it as you lower the bar back down. It’s far easier to maintain the extension into the position than to create it there.
A final effective tool is to perform floating pulls and deadlifts—lower the bar under control to the starting position, forcefully maintaining the back arch, and stop and hold just before the plates touch the platform. If your mobility prevents the maintenance of the arch all the way down, stop and hold as low as you can get without losing the arch, and work to increase the depth slightly with each rep. Begin lifting the next rep without allowing the arch to soften.