Technique Work – The 3 Step

When teaching weightlifting, it is usually broken down into manageable pieces.  This makes it easier for beginning lifters to digest the movement.  While it’s important for the lifter to understand the mechanics of the lift, the body needs to feel the groove and get accustomed to the motor pattern.  Typical starting points will include assessing a lifter’s position in the front squat and overhead squat.  After all, you need to be able to hit a proper catch position for a successful lift.  Moving past that, lifters are taught the movements from the top down.  For instance, hang cleans or snatches are done at different heights (hip, knee) before working from the floor.


Weightlifting is an extremely challenging sport.  One of the things that all lifters must do is maintain that sharp edge of proficiency in technique, coupled with the mental strength and confidence to attack a difficult weight.  Advanced lifters sometimes find themselves banging their heads against the wall, thinking, “When did I forget how to lift?”  I’m not talking about a bad day.  I’m talking about a rut.  A good coach will catch when lifters are slipping into a bad groove and work to correct it.  One way to approach it is by going back to the basics and breaking down the lifts.  If a snatch is bouncing away from its vertical path, you need to correct it by using an exercise rather than just telling yourself, “don’t do that.”  For instance, high pulls should help to keep the bar close and focus on finishing that pull.  One of the exercises in our tool belt is the 3 step snatch (or clean & jerk).  I set up blocks at high, mid and floor levels.  The high level is a height that simulates around the top of the pull – the lifter barely has an inch of explosive hip movement before having to pull himself/herself under the bar.  The mid-level is roughly above the knees.  This exercise is just another complex that works the transition from the floor to completion.  We start from the highest point.  This is a tough start, there is no time to think – only do (sound familiar?).   Getting good from this height, builds confidence and a helluva finish.  This could also be its own exercise (

Give it a try.

Train hard.  Train smart.