A friend of mine has arms that are so long that when he stands with his hands at the collars, the barbell hangs well below his hip crease. He doesn't know what to do at the explode/second pull. If he does what comes naturally (gets to a power position and explodes) he makes contact with his genitals often enough that he naturally isn't willing to do that anymore.

Should he explode early? Then the barbell is brushing/making contact at his thighs, more like the rest of us when we clean. There's a lot written about this isn't optimal, but perhaps this is a case of you-do-what-you-gotta-do.

Should he bend his arms during the first pull? This is a recreational athlete, so I do not feel comfortable trying to teach him about arm bend. He'd have to practice a LOT to learn to relax his arms at the explode, and I don't believe he'll invest that kind of time.

Are there other options that I'm not seeing?

Note: My question is similar to this question except my athlete cannot possibly widen his grip any more.

  • I've had a similar issue myself. Wearing tight leggings has helped with lowering the number of times I hit myself below the belt. Otherwise he'll need to learn to use arm bend during the first pull, or compromise his snatching ability and extend early.
    – Alex L
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 0:50
  • Maybe it is a very stupid/impractical idea, but are there longer bars available?
    – BKE
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 14:57
  • @BKE: maybe in a gym (but I doubt anyone make bars > 7 ft), but not in any competition environment.
    – Alex L
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 0:57
  • @AlexL the question states he is a recreational athlete
    – BKE
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 6:52
  • @BKE: recreational athletes can't compete? Either way, a bar that's wider than 7 ft would be specially made, so I really doubt there's one available.
    – Alex L
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


So, firstly, its a difficult issue to find good information on, simply because bent arms or "pulling early" is such a common rookie mistake. Generally, bent arms are indicative that a lifter is trying to more or less reverse curl the bar into position RATHER than harnessing the explosion in the hips.

That said, there are plenty of very accomplished lifters who incorporate slight bends in the arm to get the barbell in the optimal position. Anthropometry varies. What works best in the ideal situation doesn't work for your friend, and is therefore NOT ideal. Provided any changes made are purposeful and improve his lifting (both by allowing him to use more weight and/or not crush his junk), they are improvements, even if not classically ideal.

Gwen Sisto snatches more than me... with bent arms!!

There's a discussion of this snatch with the "mistake" of the bent arms pointed out, followed by the acknowledgement that she then completes the lift perfectly.

Weightlifting Academy - Dr. Herrera analyzes Gwen Sisto's snatch technique

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