To Barbell or Not to Barbell?
I use my Power Block bells for db snatches all the time. They are a bit clunky for clean-related stuff, for my taste, but I don't have any issues with others using them. Many implements can be used with triple extension; the barbell is not a sacred cow.
The sport of weightlifting offers partial movements that can help anyone learn to be more powerful. And remember, it is a SPORT in itself; you must respect the complexity of the movements if you are going to use them with non-weightlifting athletes. Using the barbell vs dumbbells allows for maximum resistance, but presents some technical challenges. If the athlete has mobility issues (ankle, hip, shoulder) or is very tall, hitting the appropriate positions can be difficult.
If you are going to teach a novice with a barbell, I find it highly desirable to use adjustable pulling blocks (see picture). I learned this from Derrick Crass (physical therapist and member of the 84 and 88 Olympic teams in weightlifting). This allows you to start with the "power position" and work from there easily. I only start with straight-arm pulls; this ingrains the idea that the legs are doing the work, and not the arms. This is not an upright row.
I am NOT a fan of the "hang" movements with a barbell, with non-weightlifters. In my opinion, a lack of adjustable blocks and subsequent use of the "hang" leads to the many of the horrid movements we see in the high school and college weight rooms in this country. See this example. (I like much of what Mike Boyle does; but I do not believe this type of lifting is beneficial for any athlete.) Instead of a vertical, explosive triple extension, we see a big swinging counter-movement followed by a reverse curl--barely any hip extension. There is no ankle plantarflexion or knee extension. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the STOMP. I could write a whole book on that. Stomping is not necessary in a power clean or a clean. In this sense, pulls alone will keep the athlete focused on the real task. There will be less temptation to stomp. The only sound should be the sound of the plates clanging against the bar at the top of the pull.
I don't have a great clip of pulls from the blocks, but here's a nice clip of weightlifting coach Harvey Newton cueing weightlifter Jason Brown during snatch high pulls from the floor. Most athletes don't need to pull from the floor, but competitive weightlifters must learn this movement.