While not as severe a fault as jumping forward, jumping backward in the catch of the clean or snatch is a fault that will prevent heavier loads from being lifted in the future.
A problem such as this occurs due to a cascade of errors: first, either the athlete’s hamstrings are relatively weak or he lacks the awareness of how to move correctly through the second pull. Both of these manifest with the athlete being unable to keep the chest over the bar long enough to get to the strongest power position. You’ll notice in the first lift’s second pull that a premature “scoop” of the knees under the bar occurs. This leads to the hips slamming horizontally into the bar and the torso inclined further backwards at the finish of the extension. With the body’s center of mass now moving so far behind the bar, the legs need to counter balance the weight of the torso to safely receive the bar; the legs reach backwards. However, if the bar path remains vertical and the body is moving backwards, the chances of receiving the bar successfully are reduced.
In walking and running, the motion of the arms and legs are connected. It’s no different in weightlifting. If jumping backwards is a chronic error, the timing and aggression of the third pull (the pull under the bar) is where the solution lies. After the bar reaches it’s highest vertical point through a strong extension of the ankles, knees, and hips, the bar becomes fixed in space before gravity pulls it back to the ground. If you can imagine the lower body and upper body as opposite ends of a scale seeking balance, the actions of the lower body will help keep the upper body balanced with the bar.
To achieve this, actively cue an aggressive “high knee drive” with a hard pull of the arms under the bar. The resulting knee drive will activate the hip flexors and keep the torso more vertical and balanced as the athlete moves under the bar. The focused and active pull under the bar with the arms instead of simply falling, will increase the speed under the bar. Together these two cues will allow the feet to slide out from the pulling position to the receiving position with little backwards movement. You’ll see this in the second lift in the attached video.
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