I think if I were forced to name my single most favorite aspect of olympic weightlifting, it would be the element of speed that is required for obtaining a heavy snatch and clean and jerk.
Generally, when people think about lifting heavy weight, they think of squatting and deadlifting. Squatting and deadlifting are amazing!! I LOVE them! They’re two beautiful movements that require some technique and a ton of strength. However, they don’t require much speed.
Our sport is unique and special in that strength is amazing and useful and great to have, but can be overlooked and overshadowed by mindblowingly fast, explosive movement.
So, where does all that speed come from?!
It comes from our legs! It comes from JUMPING HARD against the ground…putting a ton of force straight down into the platform.
BUT, herein lies the issue: when people think about jumping, their body wants to jump HIGH off the ground. Jumping hard through the floor, but only allowing yourself to leave the ground JUST enough to move the feet out, is a REALLY hard theory to grasp and an even harder sensation to feel.
So, what we generally see is people jumping high and long resulting in a movement that is slow and loose and sloppy. OR we see people who TRY to jump hard and fast, but their heels end up lifting towards their butt (donkey kick). Expert coaching advice: don’t do that.
WHAT WE WANT is to have whatever force we put into the ground DIRECTLY transfer over into that barbell moving UP as much as possible. That way, we have LOADS of time (about .03 seconds) to pull ourselves down and around the bar.
Snatch Balance without a dip
Snatch Balance with a dip
All of these movements require quick feet in order to receive the bar in a tight position overhead. Ideally, you will drill these movements before you snatch. Use them as a warm up and focus on your legs driving hard against the ground and your feet getting back onto the ground as quick as possible!
JUMP HARD NOT HIGH! FAST FEET!