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Top 5 Tips to Pull Under the Bar Faster

Lifting heavy barbells is great, but getting under the weights safely and quickly is a real challenge. These simple tips will help you pull under the bar in no time.

Luna Morin
Top 5 Tips to Pull Under the Bar Faster
Table Of Contents

You're at the gym, working on your clean. You've got the barbell loaded, and you're ready to go. But for some reason, you just can't seem to get the bar up fast enough. The clock is ticking, and you're getting frustrated.

Anyone who's ever tried to pull themselves under a bar knows it's not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of upper body strength to hoist the bar up, and if you're not careful, you can end up with serious bruises.

As a CrossFitter, a few key things separate beginners from pros. One of those things is the ability to pull oneself under the bar quickly.

Getting under the bar is one of the most important aspects of weightlifting. It is the second phase of the lift, in which the bar is pulled from the ground up along the body. The pull must be performed with proper technique to avoid injury and maximize the weight that can be lifted.

This requires a high degree of coordination and athleticism, as the slightest mistake can cause the bar to come crashing down. The faster you can pull the bar from the ground to your hips, the more weight you'll be able to lift.

Not only does it help increase the speed of the lift, but it also helps generate more power. As a result, lifters who can execute a successful pull-under can often achieve amazing results. Unfortunately, many lifters struggle to generate enough speed to make significant gains.

For those just starting out, it can seem like an impossible task. But with a few simple tips, you'll pull under the bar with the best of them in no time.

Tips to Pull Under the Bar Faster

Many lifters spend years perfecting their technique before attempting a max lift. To prevent this, we have jotted down the top 5 tips to help you pull under the bar faster.

1. Technique is the Key

As any CrossFitter knows, the key to a successful clean is all in the technique. If you want to move quickly and efficiently under the bar, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • First of all, make sure you have a strong grip. A good way to do this is to wrap your thumb around the bar so that it is touching your first two fingers. This will help ensure you don't lose your grip mid-way through the move.
  • Second, keep your elbows close to your body as you pull the bar up. This will help you generate more power and avoid using too much energy.
  • Finally, make sure you focus on using your lats rather than your arms to pull the bar up. The lats are a much larger muscle group, so they will help you go faster and feel less tired as you move under the bar.

Following the correct technique can quickly improve your performance and pull under the bar faster than ever before.

2. More Squats

Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a gym knows that the squat is king. This exercise works your entire lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. But did you know that squats can also help you to pull the bar faster?

That's right - by building strength and power in your legs, you can transfer that explosiveness to your arms and generate more force when you pull the bar off the ground. So if you're looking for a way to get an edge on your competition, start doing more squats. Your legs will thank you - and so will your coach.

While doing this, keep a few things in your mind. First, make sure that you're using a variety of squats from back squats, front squats to split squats. Second, play around with different stances, such as narrow, wide and split. Finally, incorporate more tempo work into your squats. Get good at controlling the weight at fast and slow speeds.

3. It's All in the Timing

As any athlete knows, timing is everything. One millisecond can be the difference between winning and losing, setting a new record, or coming in last. When it comes to pulling under the bar, timing is just as important.

One of the best ways to improve your timing is to focus on your first pull. This is the initial phase of the lift, where you extend your hips and legs to move the barbell off the ground. The key here is to make sure that your hips and legs are moving at the same time. If your hips shoot up first, it will be difficult to generate enough power to move the bar.

Alternatively, if your legs extend first, you'll likely lose your balance and tip backward. Instead, try to extend your hips and legs simultaneously, keeping your back flat throughout the movement. This will help you maintain a strong support base and generate more power to pull the barbell upwards. With a little practice, you should be able to perfect your timing and pull the bar faster than ever.

4. Use Your Arms

One of the most important pull-up cues is “use your arms.” You’ve probably heard it a million times, but what does it actually mean? And how can you use your arms to pull yourself up faster?

First, think about using your arms as levers. The longer your lever (i.e., your arm), the more leverage you have. So, if you can keep your arms straight, you’ll have more leverage and can pull yourself up more easily.

Secondly, focus on using your triceps (the muscle on the back of your upper arm) to do the work. The stronger your triceps are, the easier it will be to pull the bar up. 

Finally, try to “pull” rather than “lift” the bar up. Think about pulling the bar up towards your chest rather than just lifting the bar up. This will help you engage your arms more and make it easier to pull it up.

So, next time you do cleans, remember to use your arms! Leverage and triceps strength are key and focus on pulling up the bar rather than just lifting it. 

5. Focus on Partial Lifts

This means working on the top half of the lift, from knee to hip, or the bottom half, from the ground to mid-thigh. By doing more partial lifts, you'll build strength in the muscles responsible for pulling the bar faster. Plus, it'll help you develop explosive power and build a stronger foundation for future PRs.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start light:  When doing partial lifts, it's important to start with a lighter weight. This will help you focus on generating power rather than simply lifting the barbell up.
  • Use a full range of motion: Since you are only using the partial range of motion, be sure to use tempo to become proficient in every inch of the movementThis will also help you develop the muscles needed to generate power throughout the lift.
  • Focus on form: As with any lift, it's important to focus on form when doing partial lifts. This will help you transfer the power you develop in your partial lifts into your full lifts.


1. How can I improve my catch when I clean?

Improving your catch will not only help you lift more weight but also make you more efficient and decrease your risk of injury. Here are some tips to help you improve your catch:

  • Stay tight - A good catch is all about speed. How fast, once the bar is pulled can you drive your elbows through to catch the bar. Drill this with an empty bar.
  • Use your legs - When the weight gets heavy you will not be able to pull the bar too high. Be proficient at dropping under the bar fast and receiving/stabilizing in deep front squat. The sooner you can get under the better.

2. How do you do a second pull?

The second pull is when you simultaneously extend your hips and knees to bring the bar up to shoulder level. The first pull, which starts from the ground, involves a more gradual acceleration; on the second pull, you're putting the pedal to the metal. You can think of it as going from 0 to 60 in two seconds flat.

You need to keep a few things in mind to execute a successful second pull. First, you want to ensure that your center of gravity is over the middle of your feet so you have a solid base to work from.

Second, as you initiate the pull, think about jumping off the ground and keep your chest up; this will help you generate maximal force.

Finally, extend fully at the hips and knees, and shrug your shoulders at the top of the movement to ensure that you've lifted the bar as high as possible. Mastering the second pull will take time and practice, but it's a key component of Olympic-style weightlifting. So get out there and give it a try!

3. How do I increase my weight-lifting speed?

There are two main ways to increase your weight lifting speed: improving your technique and increasing your power. Improving your technique means using proper form and focusing on lifting the weight in a fluid, continuous motion.

You can also increase your speed by increasing your power, which means lifting heavier weights and using explosive movements. While both methods can be effective, it's important to find the right balance for you.

4. Do fast reps increase strength?

The debate over whether fast reps or slow reps are better for increasing strength has been going on for years, with no clear consensus. If you are new to weightlifting, your nervous system may not be able to quickly handle the demands of lifting heavy weights. In this case, slow reps will help you develop the correct motor patterns and avoid injuries.

However, once you have mastered the basics of lifting, you may find that fast reps help you push your boundaries and achieve greater gains in strength. Ultimately, the best way to figure out what works for you is to experiment with both fast and slow reps and see what gives you the best results.

Wrap Up

So there you have it, 5 tips to help you pull under the bar faster. But before you go off and start trying to break any world records, remember that these tips are just a starting point. The best way to get better at pull-ups is to practice, so get out there and start training! And who knows, with a little bit of hard work and dedication, maybe you'll be the one setting the new world record.

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Luna Morin

Luna is a freelance writer, passionate about bringing a positive change in people’s lives by producing well-researched content related to health and fitness. She makes sure that her content is relatable to her audience by exploring the latest trends in fitness.

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