Slow from the floor, fast from the knees?
It may seem counterintuitive to be slow off the floor, but in fact, it’s highly efficient, since the interpretation of the word “Slow” is relative to the 2nd pull. The main objective of the 1st pull is for the lifter to be able to find the proper hang position. The hang position is such an essential part of the olympic lifts since it’s following that position that force is applied and the bar will start achieving significant vertical acceleration. Similar to the starting position, it’s about optimisation. Being able to optimise the hang position will positively affect how much velocity the bar will achieve following the 2nd pull.
The hang position is when the bar reaches knee height, specifically above the patella. It is at this position where the transition from the 1st pull to the 2nd pull takes place. To be able to achieve the best outcome of the 2nd pull as possible please make sure the optimal hang position has been achieved before, otherwise, the 2nd pull will be suboptimal.
The shoulders are STILL in front of the bar, meaning that the torso inclination angle has been maintained throughout the 1st pull, which is extremely important. Maintaining the shoulders in front of the bar will ensure that the torso has a greater range to generate force when it comes to the 2nd pull. The elbows are still pointing in the same direction as the bar so it can stay close throughout the 2nd and 3rd pull. The weight has been shifted slightly back to the mid-foot rather than being forefoot heavy, BUT slightly back doesn’t mean you’re balancing your whole body weight on the heels! Your toes will still be planted on the floor, you’ll just be distributing the weight slightly further back. The best way to achieve the backwards shift is by making sure that the bar path of the 1st pull moves slightly posteriorly, otherwise you’ll end up face-planting the platform, breaking your nose, and making a fool of yourself.