“Your movement under the bar in the snatch or clean can be slow for a few different reasons, and that will affect what exercises help. If it’s truly the pull under the bar that’s slow, it may be a strength issue, a technique issue, or a lack of aggressiveness. The following discusses the snatch specifically, but it applies to the clean as well with the exception of the overhead position.
Let’s worry about strength first. You can think of the third pull in three basic parts: the initial pull of the body down toward the bar, the turnover of the bar, and the punch up under the bar. Each of these parts can be strengthened best individually because one usually limits the weights than can be used for others, but can also be trained together with certain exercises.
For the initial pull under, it’s an issue of arm, back and shoulder strength—the ability to forcefully pull the elbows up and out. The simplest exercise to strengthen this movement would be a tall snatch high-pull. You won’t be able to use a lot of weight—it’s not a strong movement for anyone—but this is pure upper body strength in exactly the position and movement you want. You may not even be able to use an empty barbell—you may need to use a lighter technique bar or even dumbbells. Stick with 5-6 reps, 3-5 sets.
You can also do snatch high-pulls from the mid- or upper-thigh and use the legs and hips to accelerate the bar initially, then use the upper body to finalize the pull to the top position. This will allow you to use more weight as well as better simulate an actual lift. Stay flat-footed if you want to emphasize the upper body more, as this will force you to limit how much hip and leg speed you can put on the bar. To use even more weight, do snatch high-pulls from the floor with maximal speed.” Contiued…