Speed under the bar is an important component in weightlifting performance. Vital to acheiving this is your positioning at the top of the pull. One simple cue I use to ensure that a lifter finishes their pull and starts the descent under the bar correctly is to instruct them to keep their knuckles pointed at the floor throughout the pull. It’s common for a lifter to anticipate the turnover in either the snatch or clean and start to rotate their hands round to their receiving position early. I call this “lifting through the back of your hands”. I’m not sure if this is a symptom or one of the causes of a looping pull but trying to keep your knuckles pointed down for as long as possible often helps the lifter to keep the bar close and encourages a more vertical pull and correct transition into the receiving position instead of “muscling” the bar round. This is also a great help in getting the elbows up quickly in the receiving position of the clean.
It’s easy to imagine that you can move a lot more weight in a short upright rowing motion than in the start of a reverse curl and this ability to apply more force to the bar through correct arm/hand positioning during the end of the pull and the start of the descent under the bar will propel you under the bar more quickly and give the bar an extra nudge upwards in the process. If your hands flip round too soon, just as the bar is coming off the thighs is common, you’ll loop the bar and lose speed in the transition under.
Below is a series of the master of keeping it close, Liu Xiaojun. He seems to be a bit of an outlier as he’s pulling himself under for quite a way (very nice of him as it illustrates what I’m trying to describe well – thanks Liu!) but knuckles pointing down until you’re well on your way under the bar is common to all the top lifters I’ve looked at. Also shown below are the usual suspects for one of my articles. Salimi, Aukhadov and Illyin showing us how it’s done.