The 3 Phases of the Pull for Bigger Oly Lifts

Want to become more efficient in the Snatch or Clean & Jerk?

Whether you’re training for a meet or cycling lightweight barbells for time, you’re going to want to nail your positions in the pull in order to use less energy and generate more force.

In the video below, head Olympic Weightlifting Coach, Matt Bruce takes you through each of the 3 phases of the pull in both the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.


The first pull can often be one of the trickiest parts of the lift to master for newer athletes. 

In this phase, the athlete is building tension in the hamstrings in order to generate the most force in the other two phases.

It requires patience and a lot of posterior strength to execute correctly. If you’re gripping and ripping, you’re literally setting yourself up for failure.

This portion of the lift starts at the mid-shin and ends at the knee.

  • Hips and shoulders should move at the same rate
  • Shoulders should remain over the bar
  • Back angle remains the same


In phase 2 of the pull, you’ll notice the athlete’s back angle begin to change.

The major key to executing this phase correctly is keeping the bar nice and close. If you let the bar drift out in front of you, it’s going to make the weight feel much heavier.

This position of the lift begins from the knee and ends when the bar is in the crease of the hip (also known as the power position.) 

  • Hips move slightly forward
  • Bar is swept backwards 
  • Bar should be kept as close as possible (brushing the thighs)
  • Back angle becomes more vertical


The final phase of the lift begins in the power position, where the athlete will then perform a “jump shrug”.

When timed correctly, the hips should scoop just underneath the barbell, generating the maximum amount of force possible, while keeping the bar close. 

This scoop should resemble more of a vertical jumping motion, not an aggressive humping motion – (although there is a time and place for everything.) 

This portion of the lift starts at the hips and ends with a jump-shrug, or “triple-extension.”

  • Bar is scooped by the hips
  • Should reach triple extension – Knees, hips and ankles fully extended
  • Traps should be fully extended

A final note on the pull is to create some awareness around the position of your elbows.

High elbows translate to a stronger pull. An easy cue to keep in your pocket is to keep the knuckles down and the chest out. Think about looking like a Gorilla. Gorillas are strong, right?

After fully extending in the 3rd pull while visualizing yourself as a big hairy ape, punch the bar overhead and think about pressing into it while stretching it like a rubber band. This will make your lockout rock solid.

Now that you have the 3 phases of the pull locked in, it’s time to put it into practice. Dial-in those positions with a pvc pipe and when you fell confident, put some weight overhead. It’s go time.

Maybe you feel like your positions are solid and you just need to build some raw strength to get those OLY numbers up. Our Brute Strength Calculator will quickly calculate how all of your major lifts measure up to each other and give you an accessory program you can use to prioritize your weakest links.

Check it Out