Cleaning up the Clean: Part 2 by Coach Brett

The First Pull, No Booty Dancing


            When you enter the box, normally you hear the sounds vibrating from the speaker. We use the music to drown out the pain. We use it to enjoy the moments in between workouts. Your booty dancing may be hurting your Olympic lifting though.


            Many, many of you shoot your butt up like a rocket every time you lift a barbell.  You’ve corrected your start position and in all the excitement you can’t wait to get that barbell off the ground. So much that you put yourself in a poor position. Let’s talk about it-


            The first pull is from the floor to the knee in the clean or snatch. We move the bar in a controlled manner, allowing for the hip and barbell to move upwards at same position. We push the knees back, away from the bar, giving the bar an uninterrupted path up the legs. The purpose is to be in the best position to gain speed and power in the second pull, or from knee to thigh/hip. What I see that contradicts the above-


1.     Butt shoots up before anything else-The first pull requires great stability and tension throughout the hip and buttocks. It requires a tight core and back. I would say most people I see try to avoid such tension by raising the butt up and moving the bar primarily with the back. This puts us in a forward off balance position. It cause the bar to typically be out of place in the second part of the lift. It drains us of the ability to generate power. The first pull feels uncomfortable and only strengthening these components will lead to better positioning through the first pull.

2.     We move the bar around the knees instead of pushing the knees back-Once many of you are corrected on your rocket butt. The attempt to keep the butt down results in not knowing how to clear the knees. Instead  of loading the hamstrings, you try to bring the bar out and away from the body, going around the knees. This causes the bar to swing our forcing imbalance.

3.     Not maintaining proper back angle- A rounding or curvature of the back. All that’s needed here is a stronger back. This equates to all parts of the lift but most prominent in first pull.


 Now that we have identified a problem, it may take some extra work to fix it. These are numbered to go with the list above but all build on each other. If you are unsure of what something is google or ask.


Accessory Lifts for above Issues (yes, extra work):

1.      Clean deadlifts-maintaining proper mechanics, not concentrating on lifting bar from ground but on maintaining bar path. Stop pull at thigh, lower slow if possible

Clean Deadlift to knee with a pause at knee- Working on holding tight, clearing knees and loading hamstrings. Also good for strengthening back


2.     Straight Leg Deadlifts- To strengthen hamstring

Glue Ham Raises

Getting use to loading the hamstrings to be able to drive the knees back


3.     Barbell Rows-Strengthen back, make sure you keep a straight tight back angle

Pendlay Rows

Dumbbell Rows

Good Mornings


If you or someone else has another issue please comment below.


1.     Pick an accessory lift to work on

2.     Identify your weakness and focus on its correction next time you lift

3.    Keep that butt out the air, not cute