How to Snatch

satish sivalingham performs snatch

Snatch is the most explosive exercise among all the power drills. The power generating capacity of snatch is even beyond the cleans. But it is also a very complex movement. It requires a whole lot of flexibility, coordination, and power to perform a full snatch from the ground.

Most beginner weightlifters and athletes find snatch very intimidating, and as a result, they put more focus on practicing Cleans for power development. This is wrong.

The performance of snatch is incomparable to clean and its variations. You need to focus much more on practicing snatch and its variations than any other Olympic drills. Because a slight mismatch of timing and performance can wreck havoc on your overall performance of weightlifting. We advise at least 2 to 3 weekly sessions devoted for snatch only.

Snatch Progression

Olympic lifts are best learned by breaking the whole movement into different parts and phases so as to overcome the complexity of movement, and snatch is no exception. It’s far easier to master the lift in the different phases than to learn it as one movement.

You start by learning the simplest part, and as you gain mastery by practice, you proceed to the more complex compounding of movement. When and how these exercises are practiced by different athletes varies individually.

Also, the effectiveness of these exercises can decrease considerably if your execution or practice is not proper. Proper practice is a combination of following factors in the order of their importance:

  1. Position
  2. Movement
  3. Speed
  4. Weight or Resistance

These points are crucial in the initial learning stage of weightlifting. If you or your coach fail to ensure proper practice, then later in your competition career you’ll have to unlearn the improper practice and relearn proper practice. This is very frustrating, time-consuming and a performance killer.

Remember that:


Practice: With load or without load

Many positions and movement of an exercise change with the addition of load on the barbell. As the load is increased, the center of mass shifts which requires changes in the positioning of the body. These changes are minor and do not negatively impact the performance because the guiding principles of the position and movements are same.

For example, when you perform the extension phase of snatch, then at the topmost position your body will slightly lean backward. This is called pulling under the bar. It’s possible only with the weight on the bar, and blindly imitating it with empty bar causes problems like horizontal hip thrust. The simple solution is to keep the proper balance across the foot regardless of weight.

Such differences in practice with and without load should be taken in heed when practicing Olympic lifts.

Splitting the Snatch

The Snatch can be best learned by splitting it into the following sections:

  1. Punching the bar
  2. High pull
  3. Muscle snatch
  4. Hang/Blocks Power snatch
  5. Power snatch
  6. Power snatch with overhead squat
  7. Snatch balance

You start from step 1 and progress forwards as you gain mastery over the movement and positioning. The above steps also have sub-steps which we’ll discuss in the upcoming articles.

For starters, it’s imperative to know that unless your technique and movement are flawless in simpler exercises, there’s no reason to rush forward to learn more complex drills. Typically empty barbell or a broom stick is all you need to ingrain proper practice.

From the desk of Coach Maninder Singh

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