In the snatch, the barbell is lifted from the ground to overhead in one explosive movement.
The snatch is usually performed with a much wider grip than the clean. This reduces the distance the bar must travel, and makes it easier to achieve the correct shoulder position with the bar directly over the lifter’s center of gravity (middle of foot). Typically with the correct grip, the overhead position of the bar should be 8–12 inches above the head.
The snatch is not so much a lift as it is an explosive jump. You are literally jumping the barbell as high as you can and then pulling yourself underneath it. The following learning progression follows what is taught by Mike Bergener. It trains the movement starting from the hang position (the top of the deadlift). This eliminates the need to worry about deadlift form, and the transition from the deadlift to the use of the arms.
The following movements should be learned using a pvc pipe as a barbell substitute. Only after you are comfortable with the movements should you add weight.
The snatch starts with your feet in the jumping position. This position is similar to what you use for a box jump—feet directly beneath the hips.
In the landing position, the feet are slightly outside the hips and angled out. This is similar to the foot position of an air squat, which makes sense because you will be catching the bar in a full squat position.
Practice moving your feet from the jumping position to the landing position. First do this by stepping your feet one at a time. Once you are comfortable with that, do it by jumping your feet out. You want to burn this into your brain so that your feet jump to exactly the correct position every time.
With your feet in the jumping position, practice doing a small dip and drive. The dip is more like what you would do before a jump, not the beginning of a squat. Your knees go forward instead of your butt going back. The dip is followed by a vertical drive back to standing position.
Once you are comfortable with the dip and drive, add a shoulder shrug at the end. Your arms should be straight (holding the pvc pipe or bar at the hips). After your legs and hips are fully extended from the drive, the shoulders shrug forcefully, pulling the bar as high as possible without bending the elbows.
Practice the dip, drive, and shrug until you are comfortable with the feeling of full body extension at the legs and hips followed by a shoulder shrug in keeping with the Core to Extremity Principle.
Now we start to bring the arms into the action. At the end of the shrug in the previous movement, you will now raise the elbows high and outside. The elbows will rise to approximately the same height as the shoulders. In this position, the upper arm will be close to horizontal and the lower arm will be roughly vertical. The bar should stay very close to the body through the entire movement.
Now practice the full sequence of dip, drive, shrug, and elbows high and outside. This should be one smooth movement, but be sure not to violate the Core to Extremity Principle.
After you are comfortable with moving the elbows high and outside, you are ready for the muscle snatch. The muscle snatch is nothing more than what you just did followed by a flip of the forearms and hands to the overhead position. The word “muscle” in the name simply means that you are not dropping your body into a squat to catch the bar. You are “muscling” the bar all the way up.
The next movement is an overhead squat. It starts in the position where the muscle snatch finishes. It is described in more detail here.
The snatch balance is a drill isolating the landing and catch of the snatch. Start with a pvc pipe resting on the shoulders behind the head with the hands in a snatch grip. With the feet in the jumping position, do a small dip and drive, jumping the bar up and the immediately dropping into the landing position in a full squat. As you drop, you should press the bar up overhead. Finish by standing up with the bar overhead similar to an overhead squat.
Once you are comfortable receiving the bar overhead in a full squat landing position, you are ready to start linking the above components together into a hang snatch, and then a full snatch. The arm movements in a full snatch are the same as a muscle snatch, except instead of pulling the bar up over your head, you are pulling your body down under the bar into the landing position.
Like the clean, there are four main variations on the snatch.
|Name||Starting Position||Receiving Position|
|Squat snatch||Ground||Full squat|
|Power snatch||Ground||Partial squat|
|Hang squat snatch||Hang||Full squat|
|Hang power snatch||Hang||Partial squat|
When the words “squat” or “power” are not present, a squat snatch is usually assumed.