One way to think of the human body is to imagine it as a collection of linked segments. These segments move at joints , held together with muscle and tendons while enclosed is a large sack of fascia. Not a very appealing description, but certainly simple.
When the body moves, these segments all move in an ordered sequence. The movement pattern is then dependent on the functionality and coordination of the joints, muscles and tendons, and fascia. I've addressed how to improve the movement patterns of the muscles and tendons in the Train Movements Not Muscles article. Improving fascia was covered in the article entitled Roll With It. Now I'd like to address ways to improve the functionality of joints.
Mike Boyle and Gray Cook have been talking about a joint-by-joint approach to the body for years. Coach Boyle says it this way...
The olympic lifts are great at developing speed and power. Although they take practice to perfect, once you can clean and snatch, you need to decide how to incorporate them into your strength program. Making this decision should depend on the theme of the day and purpose of the program. So we need to understand the differences between the two lifts.
Let's start with a few assumptions. First you have the necessary flexibility and mobility to perform both lifts. If you have shoulder problems, it might not be a good idea to snatch. If you have wrist issues, stay away from the clean. Second you have the technical proficiency to perform each lift.
Beyond the obvious difference in grip and that the snatch is caught overhead while the clean is caught at shoulder height, let's examine the not so obvious differences.