Best Method to Learn the Mid Hang Position in Snatch
The Mid Hang position is the first step in establishing the solid positioning for Snatch. In this position, the bar starts approximately at the level of mid to upper thighs. This puts the lifter in the start position of the second pull. The second pull is the phase of explosive pulling and full extension.
Read the Olympic Lifts article for a basic understanding of the second pull and other phases of Olympic pulling.
The starting position will familiarize you with proper biomechanics and timing for the crucial explosiveness to catch the load in right positioning. It also allows the natural double knee bend reaction.
To learn the first step of learning How To Snatch – that is, punching the bar, you need to learn how to take a proper position to hold the bar at mid hang.
Positioning For Mid Hang
- Assume a Snatch-Grip hand position with a Hook Grip on the bar.
- Feet should be in a proper pulling position at about hip width.
- Wrists should be neutral with elbows pointing to the sides.
- Shoulder blades should be held in a neutral position without any rounding.
Mid Hang Hold
- Arch the back completely and push the hips back with a slight bend in the knees.
- Use lats and shoulders to keep the bar in contact with the body.
- The bar should slide down to the level of mid to upper thighs with solid form.
This is the correct mid hang position for the snatch. In this position your shins are nearly vertical, shoulders are slightly ahead of the bar with your eyes looking straight ahead. Your weight should be on the heels or midfoot, and not on the balls. In this position, you should feel the tension in the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles.
Don’t worry much about the back angle, it can vary among athletes according to their anthropometry.
Learning To Jump
After mastering the mid hang hold, next logical step is to incorporate the proper timing for the extension. The jump from the mid hang position provides an opportunity for an athlete to feel the explosive extension of hips and knees while controlling the bar.
The use of jump should not be interpreted to mean that a lifter should jump during the snatch, but rather it’s to teach the proper timing of explosion.
Performing the Jump
- Start with the mid hang position hold stated above.
- Jump vertically while hyperextending the knees slightly.
- Actively push the bar into hips with the help of your lats and shoulders.
- Weight should be balanced at mid foot.
- At the maximum height of the jump, your shoulders should be behind the hips with the bar pushing into hips.
It is noteworthy that the height of the jump is not that important as the speed of the movement, and proper start and end positioning.
Punching The Bar
Finally, after sufficient practice with the drills above, it’s time to integrate both these drills into punching the bar with a snatch grip. The importance of learning and practicing to punch the bar can’t be stated enough. It’s responsible for the most of the acceleration of bar achieved in the second pull leading to the correct transitioning and pulling under the bar.
Performing the Punch
- Start with the mid hang snatch position with a hook grip.
- Perform the previous jump but in control so that your feet doesn’t leave the floor.
- Push the bar against your body using your shoulders and lats muscles throughout the extension.
- Hips should move aggressively with a slight hyperextension at the top.
- Return to flat feet immediately after the extension of ankles.
Your arms should stay loose and relaxed during the extension as hyper-extended elbows doesn’t allow for a smooth transition between second and third pull.
To Shrug or Not
Commonly coaches and trainers like to reinforce the idea of shrugging the bar up and extending from the toes to the shoulders in order to lift the bar. And shrug is mostly taught as the continuation of the lifter’s complete extension.
Actually, a shrug is not a part of the pulling action which accelerates the bar. It’s a part of the athletes’ motion while trying to pull under the bar, and it should not occur unless an athlete is practicing the third pull. The complete extension of ankle, knees, and hips (triple extension) with a full shrug is only visible in the Power Snatch or Clean.
The key is to focus on the explosive hip and knee extension and not on actively shrugging the bar up.
From the desk of Coach Maninder Singh