Session: connection failed

The Power of Dynamic Pulling Exercises by Bill Starr - CrossFit Journal

In Exercises, Olympic Lifts

December 05, 2008

PDF Article

Coach Bill Starr is a legend in the strength and conditioning world. He was a world-class competitor himself, and has been a renowned coach for nearly four decades.

Over the last decade, I’ve noticed that most athletes in the weight room are emphasizing static back exercises like deadlifts, bent-over rows, good mornings, and various machine pulls rather than dynamic, explosive exercises such as power cleans, power snatches, snatch and clean high-pulls, and full cleans and snatches. That’s too bad, as the latter are far more useful for athletics and life. While static strength exercises are good, explosive exercises beat them every time for building strength, speed, balance, and coordination.
Here’s why: when an exercise is done in an explosive manner, the muscles and attachments are worked in an entirely different way than during static movements. The quicker, more synchronized motions required in these exercises forces the nervous system to be involved to a much higher degree. This not only produces greater strength gains, but helps improve other athletic attributes, such as foot speed, timing, balance, and coordination, which are easily carried over to any other athletic endeavor.

Free Download


6 Comments on “The Power of Dynamic Pulling Exercises”


wrote …

"I know this is possible since I learned how to
do not only the power clean and power snatch along
with the high-pulls, on my own, but also the Olympic
lifts (snatch and clean and jerk). I did this by studying
sequence photos in magazines and practicing what I
saw until the movement felt right. (Editor’s note: See
“Exercises and Demos” on the CrossFit website.) So
while a knowledgeable coach is certainly valuable, it’s
not an absolute necessity"

- i can attest to that myself, from watching a lot of vids and reading a lot of articles from crossfit and catalyst athletics, i have been able to develop passable form in the olympic lifts. watching youtube vids of oly lifts too! I'm very grateful for crossfit and related sites for their dissemnination of valuable training knowledge that was previously limited to exclusivel to elite athletes in their specific sports (powerlifting and gymnastics as well).

i remember when i first attempted a power clean of a 135 lbs bar prob less than a year ago - it felt like the hardest thing in the world. at the time i didn't know, but i had a muted hip and a lousy rack due to lack of elbow and wrist flexibility. i can now C&J ~200lbs, power clean or squat clean. i've only seen two people at the university gym C&J more than me, and they both weigh about 30-40lbs heavier than me (i'm a skinny 160lbs at 5'11'', 145lbs as a freshman). i haven't done a lot of snatch work - the WODs don't have a lot of snatching, but i recently worked up to a 1 rep max of about 150 lbs.


wrote …

Thank you, Mr Starr, for an informative article and the awesome coaching advice.


wrote …

I cannot say enough about the value of information of this caliber. We are truly fortunate to have this level of advice and coaching so readily available to us from so many truly knowledgeable sources within this community. I thank you, Bill, and all of the other athletes and coaches that give so much to us!


wrote …

Good article, thanks for some nice pointers.
Now, I just need to find a gym that allows me to drop a weight :(


wrote …

I have been trying to focus on the Oly lifts at least one training day a week and have found them to be very challenging and very rewarding. I too workout alone on these days and it can be somewhat intimidating trying the full C&J and Snatches without anyone with experience around to help correct mistakes. Despite that, I love these lits and look forward to these days on the platform.
This is a great article.


wrote …

Good article, and timely...I was trying to teach an athlete the high pull today. It just seemed to not work or look right. It was good to see it is a next level movement, or one that can be more difficult than the C&J and Snatch.

I did have one question about the quote below:
"(The only exceptions are those who are unable to rack
the bar on their collarbones properly due to a lack of
shoulder flexibility or an injury. In those cases, I use a
substitute exercise that is equally as explosive. I’ll get
to that later.)"
Did I miss that substitute exercise, or is that coming in a later article?

That aside, I might have my athletes read this article to help clear some things up. Thank you.

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)