olympic weightlifting

How to Snatch

How to Snatch

Learning how to Snatch is the most complicated part of Olympic weightlifting. The move is so complex and initially feels so unnatural that it can seem too daunting to even start.

In my opinion, the biggest mistakes you can make are too either break the lift down into too few or too many different segments. It’s like Goldilocks and her porridge; too many segments and it’s overly complicated; too few and the lifter can’t train the correct positioning into the body’s motor patterns. It needs to be just right.

So how does someone without a coach or someone to learn off teach themselves? The below how to snatch video in my opinion breaks the lift down into bitesized chunks that train the correct motor patterns and are simple enough to learn.

Snatch For Beginners: Video

Breaking the snatch down into the below sections will help you learn each section of the lift without bastardising it’s fluidity. And it is fluid when done properly.

  1. Overhead Squat: An absolute fundamental for any beginner trying to learn the Snatch. It’s crucial that the athlete gets comfortable with the bar in the overhead position and in the bottom position of the lift. I would recommend pausing ‘in the hole’ in the bottom of the squat. Remember to stay tight.
  2. Snatch Balance: The next step in the Snatch is more dynamic and encourages the athlete to learn how best to accommodate weight and ensure the bar remains locked overhead. Make sure the scapular are retracted and that the weight of the barbell isn’t just supported by the arms or shoulders.
  3. Snatch Hip to Shoulder: The Snatch hip to shoulder helps to ingrain the snatch movement into the body’s motor patterns, without putting emphasis on the contact point, which can cause the athlete to lose control. The point of this is to highlight how to get the bar overhead and keeping the bar path close, then pushing the head through.
  4. High-Hang Power Snatch: Similar to the above, but includes more power, emphasis on the point of contact at the hips and demonstrating how to utilise momentum. We use a power snatch variation as getting under the bar and incorporating time to fixation is a huge amount to take in for a beginner
  5. Mid-Hang Snatch: Start the bar lower down the thigh, keep the bar close and begin to generate force. Instead of using a power variation, we tart to encourage the athlete to feel what it’s like to get under the bar. The earlier you can start this process, the better.
  6. Low-Hang Snatch: The Low Hang Clean Variation; excellent for more seasoned lifters and in reinforcing the correct starting position. Retracted scapular, chest up, hips down with the bar over the balls of the feet, but not resting on the ground. Then incorporate the (almost) complete snatch.
  7. Contact Drill: I like to end with a contact drill to keep reinforcing staying over the bar for as long as possible, patience in the lift and how best to generate power through the hips.

This is a simple way to begin teaching yourself or your athletes how to snatch. It’s a beginners guide that breaks down the lift into manageable chunks, which, if a lifter is new or has done a lot of pressing movements previously, will be crucial. Muscle fatigue and flexibility will not be your friend here.

The rest of the session should include:

  • Some form of squat
  • Some form of explosive training or hypertrophy
  • Some form of circuit

Its important the new lifter feels tired and feels compelled to come back. If you just focus on technique work, it’ll be mentally exhausting without taxing them too much physically, which isn’t what drives return customers!

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