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Take on Snatch, Clean, and Clean & Jerk Progression Lifts

Power Systems Master Coach PJ Stahl breaks down the basics to achieve mobility, strength, and power through the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Coach PJ provides step by step instructions and videos, along with everything you need to help clients achieve proper placement, form, and technique to get maximum power.

Athletes have developed foundational strength and power via Oly Lift techniques for decades, but the sport has finally hit the fitness mainstream. More clients are finding this training method approachable and yet, they still need quality information to avoid injury and train correctly.

PJ sets you up for success! Get ready to lift like a Pro and help you and your clients achieve new heights in fitness.


Learn from PJ as he teaches three competition lifts, Snatch, Clean, and Clean & Jerk

With Olympic lifting, GO BIG and GO with PJ! PJ Stahl is an impressive Master Coach that is beloved in the industry for his skills, expertise, and for being an incredibly dynamic and knowledgeable fitness coach. He has been teaching this programming most recently at IDEA PTI with sold out sessions each time. But you don’t have to wait in line, you can experience PJ’s Oly Lift programming now.

Power Systems provides a full weight lifting program with products and education, all right here on our site. Shop our Olympic Weights and Equipment and make over your Olympic Lifting program.


Olympic Lift Videos

Olympic Lift FAQ

How do you make a training dowel?

  1. Begin with a section of PVC pipe that is 52" long and 1" in diameter. Some hardware stores will cut the PVC pipe for you into 52" long pieces by request.
  2. Use electrical tape to mark the dowel for grip location points. The outside tape marks should be placed on either end at 8" from the end of the dowel. (I typically use black tape for these markings.)
  3. The inside tape marks should be placed 17.75" from each end of the dowel. (I typically use a tape color that matches the branded color of the gym.)

Why is the hook grip so important? Are there any lifts that don’t use the hook grip?

    A hook grip is important for several reasons:

  • Using a hook grip with the thumb under the fingers creates a "locked" style grip on the bar. This is a stronger grip position than a regular grip. This allows the lifter to be able to lift a heavier weight when forearm/grip strength starts to be the limiting factor of the lift.
  • Using a hook grip when doing Olympic lifts is also for safety. It locks the barbell onto the hands, so when quickly moving a heavy weight through a clean or snatch it keeps the bar "locked" with this grip, so the athlete does not release or drop the bar during the speed of the movement.

Are there any lifts that don’t use the hook grip?

   When performing a snatch some athletes release the hook grip after they turn the bar over and land in their overhead squat position with a regular full grip. I personally do not coach this method and recommend that all athletes keep the hook grip throughout the entire snatch movement.

   When performing the clean, athletes can release the hook grip when the bar meets the body in the front rack position. When re-adjusting for the jerk the athlete may use a hook grip or a regular grip for the jerk. This is a preference grip and I allow my athletes to choose what feels the most comfortable to them.

   The one exercise that I do not recommend training with a hook grip is the deadlift. I find it important to build the forearm and grip strength for the deadlift with a regular grip. This will improve the athletes grip strength, so that when they now use the hook grip in their Olympic lifts their grip will be stronger.

What is the benefit to using Olympic Lifting shoes?

   When training the Olympic lifts I recommend that my clients purchase Olympic lifting shoes. There are multiple benefits to using these shoes that can help the athlete progress in their lifts.

  1. Heel Lift – The heel of an Olympic lifting shoe has a heel lift to increase the ability of the athlete to squat with better depth and overall ankle, knee and hip mobility. Different shoes have different heel lift heights. So, it’s important to find a shoe that feels right for your squat pattern. Typically, people with longer femurs will want to have a higher heel lift because it can help offset the longer lever arm length of the upper leg and allow the athlete to squat more efficiently.
  2. Flat Solid Sole – The bottom of an Olympic lifting shoe is flat and solid, sometimes made with a base of wood. Current designs are typically a combination of wood, plastic and rubber for comfort. This solid flat sole allows the feet to connect to the ground in a solid and stable way to increase the stability in the landing positions and decrease the chances of missing a lift.
  3. Shoe Support – An Olympic lifting shoe should be worn tighter than a regular shoe. You want it to fit snug around your foot for maximum stability when landing in the lift. You do not want your foot to slide or move at all inside of the shoe. It is important to choose a shoe and size that fit very well to limit any extra movement of the foot.
  4. Safety – With the three listed benefits above the Olympic lifting shoe will provide increased safety of the footwork and landing positions in the Olympic lifts. Allowing a more secure shoe for stability and a solid landing position will decrease the chance for injury when progressively lifting heavier weights.

When should you use a weight belt or wrist supports?

   I recommend that all of my athletes train without any wrist supports or a weight belt until the lift cannot be performed without them and it will enhance performance of the exercise by increasing stability for safety. You want to naturally strengthen the core and wrists without any support in as many exercises as possible before adding the use of a weight belt or wrist supports.

   Wrist Supports - Make sure your clients grip is not too wide for the Snatch/Overhead Squat position. If the grip is too wide it can put strain on the wrists. Try having your client move their grip in slightly before moving directly into using wrist supports.

   Weight Belts - It can be extremely beneficial to use a weight belt when performing reps at or close to the client’s maximum weight. When training for position work and strength I recommend not using the weight belt to build foundational strength of the core. When progressing to the client’s maximum weight lifted, only use the weight belt when the athlete must use it for safety and/or a progression to their max weight.

 Which foot goes forward in a split jerk?

   This is a question I get asked all the time and there is no right answer. I make all of my clients perform both a right and left leg split jerk with the dowel when first learning the movement. As they get more comfortable they will have a dominant side for the movement pattern that is more efficient. We then choose the strongest side for their split jerk.

More questions? Ask PJ in the form below.

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