The snatch and clean are excellent exercises to develop power. Lately, I've been getting away from the power and hang version of these exercises and working on the full versions, i.e. catching the bar in a full squat.
The pull that precedes the catch is called the third pull. The first pull starts with the wieght on the ground and continues until it is just above the knee. The second pull starts just above the knee and continues until the bar is at hip height (the power position). The third pull propels you underneath the weight and into the catch position. It is the third pull that gives me the most trouble, so I've been studying it closely and this is what I've found.
Getting underneath a loaded bar in a full squat position takes speed and flexibility. From a flexibility standpoint, you need to be rock solid comfortable in a low squat position with a loaded bar. The speed component enters the equation when you are at the end of the second pull, in triple extension, and you need to quickly pull yourself underneath the bar.
To help get rock solid comfortable in a low squat, I've been doing two different combo lifts
Note: There is difference between combos and complexes. A combo usually consists of only two lifts while a complex usually consists of more than two lifts. Here are my thoughts on complexes and how they fit into a training program.
To address the speed component I've discovered that a bad catch position is usually caused by a prolonged second pull. So, I've been concentrating on a crisper second pull and then "snapping under the bar." Here is what Wil Fleming has to say,
"A short impulse and then a quick movement under will get the job done."
My biggest hurdle the flexibility component is in my ankles. I think I have decent hip flexibility, but my calves and achilles are very tight. To address this I've been loving this routine before every lower body day. Kelly Starrett also has some interesting ideas to attack tight ankles.
I certainly haven't mastered these lifts, but my hope it to make the full clean and snatch a more prevalent part of my strength program.