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The 6 Best Drills to Improve Olympic Weightlifting Technique Without Weights

All you need is a PVC pipe and a band.

Dane Miller, owner and head coach at Garage Strength, breaks down the drills he uses with top and beginner athletes alike to improve their Olympic Weightlifting technique.

Drills to Improve Olympic Weightlifting Technique

Floor to below knee

Start off using a simple PVC pipe (referred to in the rest of the article as bar). Lower the bar to the initial Clean or Snatch position between your ankles and the middle of your shins, then bring it to just below your knees.

Your upper body remains in the same position, and all that happens is your knees will clear back and push your hips upwards. Keep the bar close to your shins at all times and try this drill for 5-10 reps.

What this drill will help you do is push your knees back. Even without weight you should feel your hamstrings working.

Below the knee to hip

Start with the bar from below the knee and bring it to your hips. This is where many people lose feel of the bar, especially during the Snatch.

Your knees should clear back as you go past them and then reciprocate forward. This drill will improve your knee movement, especially as you get into heavy weights. Perform 5-10 reps.

Hip to snatch

Start with the bar by your hips, then bend your knees slightly and lift the bar, catching it in a full snatch. Perform 5-10 reps.

learn how to snatchSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Drills to Improve Olympic Weightlifting Technique with Bands

Once you’ve practiced the knee movement, how to get into the hip, and even how to catch the snatch, it’s time to feel the catch. The following three exercises are performed with a band.

Banded snatch press in a hole

Start squatting with the bar behind your shoulders, a band attached to either end of the bar and your feet over the middle of the band. Then press the bar overhead while you remain in the deep squat. Your feet should remain in a squat stance.

The tension becomes greater at the top, but shouldn’t be much at the bottom when the bar is resting on the shoulders.

This Olympic weightlifting drill with a band will create some tension without the need for weights. It will also get you to feel the press you need to perform as you get into the catch position in the Snatch and enhance your ability to receive the Snatch in the deep catch.

Perform 5-10 reps.

Banded overhead squat

With the band in the same position as the banded snatch press, bring the bar overhead and perform a full overhead squat. Perform 5-10 reps.

These two exercises are especially useful for athletes who struggle to press an empty bar, says Miller, as the load is lightened with a band, but the tension is increased.

Pull below the knee to hip with band

With your feet still on top of the band and both ends of the band attached to either side of your PVC pipe, perform exercise 2 again: pull below the hip to knee.

You should start with the bar below the knee where there is no tension and bring it to the hips. The resistance will encourage you to bring your chest forward a little.

The final drill is intended to provide a lot of tension to the hips. This drill will help you prevent your chest going too far behind from the bar and instead encourage it to stay forward while the bar is by the hip.

This in turn will help you understand what it feels like to be more vertical towards the finish of the Snatch or Clean.

Perform 5-10 reps.


Use these Olympic Weightlifting drills in your warm-ups before you get into Snatch or Clean workouts. The whole purpose of these drills is to feel the body parts and activations you’ll need during lifting.

Read more: 7 Best Snatch Accessory Exercises Every Athlete Needs to Use

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