Many moons ago, when I was still a moderately average lifter, I was a chronic “C-pull-er”.
Webster dictionary defines a “C-pull-er” as: “someone who spends hours a day working on getting their legs stronger only to discover that he/she does not know how to actually use said legs as his/her source of power…thus relying on hip drive more than leg drive”.
…. or something like that.
Hip drive in olympic weightlifting is extremely important. BUT the hips can only come into play AFTER the legs have completely exerted their efforts.
What does that mean exactly?
Let’s say you’re testing your one rep max vertical jump. You push your full foot STRAIGHT through the ground and exert ALL of your energy into trying to get your body UP as high as possible.
Without even thinking about them, your hips naturally travel up as well!
That’s the drive we’re looking for in the snatch, clean and jerk (without leaving the ground that much, obviously)
The problem is, when we put a barbell in our hands, we forget what it means to jump and we start doing weird things with our legs and hips.
I see a TON of athletes jump with about 50% effort through their legs…and then, they try to compensate for the 50% that was lost by driving their hips THROUGH the bar. When this happens, the bar doesn’t travel UP to it’s maximum height (and it it’s probably traveling OUT too because it’s really hard to keep it close when your hips are pushing it forward). Not allowing the bar to reach it’s maximum height makes our pull under significantly harder! You’ll feel like you’re sneaking under the weight.
One thing that helps me is to think about my actions creating an equal to or opposite reaction (I’m basically a physicist). If I push STRAIGHT through the ground with my whole entire leg.. from my foot all the way up to the top of my quad… AND THEN allow all of that energy to transfer and flow into lifting my hips up, that’s going to create a lot of height on the bar! AND the bar will be moving straight up with great speed and velocity…which is always a beautiful feeling!
That is A LOT of writing (and reading on your part) just to say: if my leg drive is weak and my hips go OUT, the bar goes OUT. If my leg drive is strong and my hips go UP, the bar goes UP.
My coach, Aimee Anaya Everett likes to give me a warm up drill where I do jumping snatch pulls with the barbell and/or light weight. It’s exactly like a snatch pull, but I actually jump high so that I can feel the sensation of using my legs. I focus in and hold onto that sensation and try to recreate it on my actual lifts. Try it out and let me know if it works!