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Olympic-Style Lifts – How to Improve Pull and Catch Phase


How do you increase your power on Olympic-style lifts? If your fitness and athletic goals include speed, flexibility, coordination, force, power, and total body strength and muscle, then Olympic-style lifts are your best training option!

Why should you practice the two Olympic-style lifts – the ‘Snatch’ and ‘Clean and Jerk’?

  • They engage and train all the muscles of your body. For example, the Snatch alone combines the deadlift, barbell shrug, jump squat, and overhead squat, all done in one fluid motion. The Clean and Jerk combine the upright row, front squat, and barbell shoulder press.
  • They increase intensity. Moving more weight faster than standard workouts, these lifts work you harder, boosting your metabolism and building your coordination and power.
  • We performed each repetition at full speed. Also, this targets your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have great potential for size and strength, and people often ignore them in traditional weight training programs.
  • They improve your vertical jump. Olympic weightlifters can jump higher than most people in the gym, which is why Olympic-style lifts are fundamental movements practiced by professional and collegiate basketball players.
  • They build up lean muscle. As you perform these Olympic-style lifts, you will burn hundreds of calories as you get stronger. Follow your training with a high protein and low-carb diet, and you’ll add lean muscle with little body fat. Olympic lifters average only 5% body fat.
  • They improve your flexibility. Olympic-style lifts require a full range of motion. The bar moves from the floor to a completely-extended overhead, 7 to 8 feet high, when performing the Clean and Jerk. As a result, you use every muscle in your body and your stabilizing muscles, all of your joints, and your entire core. As a result, your body becomes a flexible and efficiently coordinated machine.

Olympic-Style lifts comprise two distinct phases: the “pull” phase and the “catch” phase.

During the pull phase, you explosively pull the barbell off the floor and to the front of your thighs. During the catch phase, you hurry your body under the bar and catch your shoulders’ weight or extend over your head.

Increase the power of both phases of your Olympic lifts by training the movements within each phase, using: 

High Pulls

Like an upright row, use an overhand grip on the barbell just below your knees. Keeping your back and arms straight, pull the bar upward in a quick jerk as you push your hips forward and stand. Pull the bar as high as possible, return to the start position, and repeat.

Snatch-Grip Jump Shrug

Start with an overhand grip with your hands twice shoulder-width apart. Then, jump up straight, keep your back and arms straight, and push your hips forward as you shrug your shoulders. Land on the balls of your feet and repeat.

Front Squats

Using an overhand grip, stabilize the barbell on the front of your shoulders. Keeping your back flat and feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, push back up to the start position, and repeat.

Push Presses

Hold your barbell at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Both your hands and feet should be shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and push the bar up with your legs as you press the bar over your head. Pause, then lower the bar to the start position and repeat.

The Last Word on How to Improve Pull and Catch Phase

Olympic-style lifts are a great way to improve your pull and catch phase. You will move the barbell more efficiently but also increase your power output. Remember to keep your back flat and start the lift with your legs–this will help ensure that you get the most out of these exercises. Try them next time you’re in the gym and see how they can improve your performance! What do you think? Please share your response in the comment section below so that others can benefit from your experience.