Bill Starr describes additional drills to help you finish the pull and clean big weight.
Editor’s note: Bill Starr completed this article before he passed away April 7, 2015, in Maryland.
In September 2009, the CrossFit Journal published my article “More Pop at the Top,” which described how to do high pulls, shrugs, isometric contractions and throws to improve the numbers on any type of pulling movement. In this piece, I’ll describe a somewhat different approach to a very basic exercise and explain how to do a few others that are rather unique.
Having a strong finish is critical to moving heavy weights in the full clean. Without a powerful finish, the lifter does not have adequate time to move under the bar and rack it securely, no matter how quick he might be. Plus, the velocity of the bar must be increasing at the top of the pull. I’ve watched many a lifter pull a weight almost up to the neck yet fail to rack it because it had come to a standstill.
Then there is the factor of timing. In order to make a personal record in the clean, the lifter must pull the weight high enough with an explosive punch at the finish, and he must also know exactly when to move under the bar. A nanosecond too soon or too late and the lift is lost. I’ve included a couple of exercises that not only enhance the top pull but also greatly improve timing.