Let's begin with why bent arms on the first pull are bad. The main reason is because it dampens the power output you can get from your hip drive.
What can you do?
Turn your elbows outwards – when you grab the bar in either your Snatch or Clean grip rotate your elbows so they face outwards. This should not cause you pain. Don’t rotate inwards as that will be detrimental to your objective.
Practice with pulling straps – when doing high pulls, dead pulls or hang Snatch use pulling straps these will help you to relax your arms as it takes away the gripping duties of your arm. Please note do not use pulling straps with hang cleans or cleans.
Visualise – focus on keeping your arms relaxed throughout the lift. See yourself and see your body while you lift and see your arms straight.
Widen your grip –it could be possible that your arms are not wide enough in either the Snatch or Clean. For the Snatch if your arms are too close you will end up having to bend your arms to get to your hips. For the Clean if your arms are so close your arms may have to bend to get around your Knees.
Give these a try and let us know your feedback on Twitter, Facebook or through here.