Brad Johnson's Bodyweight Training

Miyake High Pull





By Jim Schmitz

U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team Coach 1980, 1988 & 1992
Author of Olympic-style Weightlifting for Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifters Manual and DVD

Miyake High Pull


Yoshinobu Miyake of Japan was the first man to snatch double bodyweight (118 kg at 58.5 kg), doing so in 1962 in Warsaw, Poland. He won two gold medals at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics and a silver medal at the 1972 Olympics, and set several world records in the 60-kg class. I’ve mentioned Yoshinobu in previous articles and have even discussed the Miyake snatch high pull, but I want to go over it now in more detail.
Yoshinobu came to San Francisco in November 1989 for one year to study weightlifting in the U.S. You might wonder why the United States, since we were not a power in weightlifting. The reason was that the U.S. had been a power during the 1950s and early 1960s, and Japan had been a power in the 1960s and into the 1970s. So, the Japanese Department of Education sent Yoshinobu to research why both the U.S. and Japan were no longer powers in world weightlifting.  
Since I was then president of USA Weightlifting, had been U.S. Olympic Team Weightlifting coach in 1980 and 1988, was then coach of Mario Martinez (our top international lifter), and my club, The Sports Palace, was one of the top training centers in the U.S., Yoshinobu elected to live in San Francisco and accompany me for one year. He came with me to local, national, and international championships. It was a very interesting year for both of us. I never did see his report though.
Yoshinobu would come to The Sports Palace to observe, coach, and work out. He is an absolutely great guy—friendly and fun. Throughout the year, he took English lessons to better understand what was going on.  
In the summer of 1990, Dragomir Cioroslan and Nicu Vlad were in San Francisco for a week on their way to the Goodwill Games in Spokane, Washington. Yoshinobu and Nicu became fast friends—the first man to snatch double bodyweight and the heaviest man to snatch double bodyweight. We had a clinic at The Sports Palace where Nicu snatched 190 kg and clean and jerked 230 kg, and then did his soon-to-be-famous Romanian deadlift (RDL). 


After the workout and clinic, Yoshinobu told Nicu that he also did an exercise very similar to the RDL. Ever since, I have been teaching and coaching the Miyake high pull. I didn’t call it the Miyake high pull initially but began doing so after the RDL became so popular.
Here is how you perform the Miyake snatch high pull (MSHP). Using the snatch grip, of course, you pull the bar to the top of your thighs but do not extend the knees, and stay flat-footed. You now lower the bar to the middle of your shins, the plates about 2” from the platform. Now pull the bar back to the top of the thighs, making sure your knees are bent, arms straight, back flat, and feet flat. 
Next, lower the bar down to the middle of the shins, keeping your back flat and arms straight; now, do a high pull up to your rib cage, and lower or drop (under control) to the platform. That’s one set. Reps 1 and 2 are to the top of the thighs, and rep 3 is to your rib cage—fully extended hips and knees, up on your toes, shoulders elevated (shrugged), elbows up to shoulder height and out while slightly leaning backward.
The main purpose of the MSHP is to learn to push the knees back out of the way as the bar passes, and then to bring the knees back and brush the bar against the thighs so you are in position to explode and fully extend the legs and body. This exercise also really works the low back, glutes, and hamstrings. You can also do the same drill for cleans, using your clean grip, of course. 
I recommend doing this drill after a medium snatch workout with 5–10 kg more than you just snatched or cleaned. Here’s an example:  let’s say your best snatch is 105 kg for 1 rep. On a medium (85%) day where you snatched up to 90 kg, you begin your MSHP with 90x3, 95x3, 100x3x3. After you’ve done a few MSHP workouts, you might build up to using 100% and +100% weights, but take your time and make sure your technique is consistent and your low back can handle the movement. Most people feel this exercise in their low backs; that’s why I caution you not to go too heavy too soon.
This is a great exercise for learning how to pull the bar around the knees, scoop or shift the hips, brush the thighs, and fully extend and finish the top pull. It will improve your consistency and efficiency and how much you snatch and clean.


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Jim Schmitz’s gold-medal articles on weightlifting and weight training are regularly featured in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes.

Take advantage of what Jim Schmitz, absolutely one of the best American coaches in the sport, can teach you in his Olympic-style Weightlifting for the Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifters Manual and DVD.