I was talking to Donny Shankle on the phone last night, and the conversation meandered from our Wichita Falls days and Ayn Rand all the way to current fads in weightlifting. There is one fad that we not only hate, but both think is as dangerous to big totals as ebola. This idea is purposefully letting (or pushing) the bar out in front of you during the pull. Purposefully looping the bar.
One of the few things that all coaches agree on is that the bar should be as close as possible to your thigh as you pull. Some start the bar right off the floor a minimal distance in front of the shin to aid in straightening the bar path off the floor, but it should ALWAYS be touching or almost touching once it passes the knee. And it should stay close. The Chinese are the best at this. On many Chinese lifters there is virtually NO gap between the bar and their skin the whole pull. And because the bar has no horizontal motion coming back into the hip, it also doesn’t bounce out from the hip. The typical Chinese lifter has an incredibly straight bar path. An American that does this as well as the Chinese is James Moser. There are some bar path representations of James snatching at various meets floating around. Look at one and you will see a bar path that is almost perfectly vertical. Keeping the bar right up against the leg and body as it travels up the thigh and into the hip is one of the keys to a bar path without that big loop after the hip extension in the second pull.
One person has said that pulling with the bar away from the thigh allows you to get a bigger “pop” or explosion on the second pull. This is nothing but an illusion. Illusions don’t count for much when it is time to calculate the total. If the bar is away from the thigh as it approaches the hip and the second pull, it will also bounce out away from the body AFTER the second pull. And THAT is no illusion. It is simple physics. A bar path that deviates forward from vertical as little as possible is a key to efficient lifting. Vertical is consistent. Vertical is strong.
Just like ebola purposefully looping the bar is dangerous. This idea should be killed wherever it is found.