Pull Like the Chinese

By: Leo Totten, MS, USAW 5


OK, I know what you’re thinking!  Here comes another dissertation on how awesome the Chinese weightlifters are and how they have a secret pulling technique that we Americans need to emulate if we are going to attain the same heights that they have attained.

I recently read a blog by Coach Yats, an American who has spent a lot of time in China studying their weightlifting techniques and training methodologies.  He presents some interesting points that we all can learn from.  In this particular blog, he spoke primarily about the Chinese snatch pulling technique as compared to snatch pulling technique in the U.S.

As it turns out, it seems their pulling technique being taught isn’t very different at all from what we teach here.  Well, at least what we should be teaching and coaching.  He says that “on paper”, they say the same thing we say – keep the bar close, use the legs, good back position, extend.  But the difference is in our actual execution, correction, and programming based on weak areas.  In the U.S. we talk it, but don’t necessarily train it.

Here are some of the points stressed by Coach Yats:

  • Bar close means the bar lightly touching the thighs as well as the abdomen, chest and even the face. So, if there is a “bump” to the bar, it isn’t staying close enough.
  • Fast is only important after reaching the perfect power position.
  • Chest is open and back arched throughout the entire movement not just at the start.
  • Proper extension means just straightening at the knee and hip.

The two primary technique teaching tools the Chinese emphasize are the snatch high pull (finish with elbows up) as well as snatch pull (finish with straight arms in full shrug on balls of feet).

Hmmm….kinda sounds like how we train the snatch pulling technique!

Yats goes on to mention the importance of a proper power position.  Again, nothing different than what we should be teaching – shoulders slightly in front of the bar, stay over longer, keep the arms straight without bending prematurely and keep it close.  But his main point here was, think power position every time!!

So, the bottom line is, keep stressing the same, biomechanically sound pulling technique we have been teaching and do all assistance exercises in the same manner to get the most out of the pattern for maximum performance in the snatch!

And, yes, pull like the Chinese!!

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