Pulling the bar from the ground. I’ve often thought that the term used for lifting the bar off the ground was a little misguided.
Our legs will only pull on something if we achieve flexion at the knee - bending the knee - (and sometimes at the hip). You don't flex your knees and hips to stand up, you extend them - straighten them. In the Olympic lifts we're generally standing up aggressively with the bar.
Just stand up...with a push
Let's try and change the way we think of the pulls in the Clean and Snatch.
You need to generate maximum force by pushing your feet against the ground to move the bar. This activates the entire musculature in the legs as you extend the knees and use your hips as levers while you continue to stand up. So why not consider this a push?
Coaches are often heard telling people “push your feet through the floor” or “push the floor away with your feet” and this takes away that nasty pull through the back and shoulders and keeps their position right to achieve the correct hang position.
From the hang positions, we can then revert to the “pull” and “catch” cues to achieve the right speed and continuation of upward force.
Pic: Greg, hang position after pushing through the floor (cue for pull)
Maximal force through the floor
Remember, weightlifting starting “pulls” are about generating maximal force against the ground through your feet to move the bar vertically from a still start position on the floor. To achieve this you need to use your legs to stand up aggressively.
Change the way you think of the pulls and you can achieve some great results.