Assistance training in Olympic weightlifting is a key component to developing a healthier, stronger, and ultimately better athlete. In weightlifting, we can look at the snatch, clean, and jerk as a whole AND through a compartmentalized way. By doing so, we may find a lifter has specific weaknesses and technical faults are a specific point in the movement. By understanding where issues arise, and what causes them, we may work with additional assistance movements to help correct technique, develop strength, and work to minimize injury. The behind the neck (btn) snatch grip push press is such an exercise, as it can help nearly every level of athlete increase technical awareness, strength, and performance in the snatch.
In this article we will discuss how to properly do this movement while also discussing four reasons why it can and should be used by all level weightlifters and CrossFit® athletes at one time or another.
Below are some of the muscles worked when performing behind the neck push presses. Note, this exercise is an amazing movement to increase general overhead strength and stability, specifically in the snatch, as well as in any overhead/jerk movement.
- Trapezius (upper and middle)
- Posterior Shoulders
Snatch Grip Push Press Exercise Demo
Below is a quick video demonstration on how to perform the behind the neck snatch push press. As with most push press variations, a lifter can perform these in a cyclical fashion or reset on the back every time prior to the next repetition.
Why do the Snatch Grip Push Press?
Below are four reasons why you should start doing more behind the neck push presses. Note, in the event you have a shoulder injury, you may need to be aware of the increase stress placed on the shoulder capsule. That said, if you are performing jerks and snatches already, this should not be an issue provided you do them correctly and with manageable loads.
Teaching Beginners the Basics
The behind the neck snatch push press is a foundational movement to increase overhead strength, flexibility of the shoulders and chest, and improve a lifter’s awareness of proper overhead mechanics while placing a barbell overhead. In addition to the behind the neck snatch strict press and the overhead squat, this movement is a next level progression towards snatch balances, power snatches, and soon, the full snatch.
By learning this movement, you can work to increase overhead volume in beginner lifters, add them to barbell complexes, and slowly progress into snatch balances and other technical movements.
Increase Overhead Lockout Strength and Stability
Like any push press, the behind the neck snatch push press increases leg drive and overhead strength, specifically in the posterior shoulder muscles in the identical patterning of a snatch. By doing so, you allow a lifter to increase their strength overhead, enhance overhead stability and lockout, and even start to address fuller ranges of motion in the shoulder joint and chest necessary for overhead squats and snatches.
Improve Lifter Awareness of Proper Barbell Placement
Proper awareness and barbell placement in the snatch and jerk is key to speed, technique, and injury prevention. By regressing the snatch and other variations into this assistance movement, you work to increase a lifter’s confidence and abilities to handle loads (often just as heavy as their snatch, if not more) in high volume (more repetitions), ultimately increasing their ability to feel skillful and in control under heavy snatches.
Adding Volume into Weightlifting Sessions
During off-season, preparation, and even general conditioning phases we look for creative ways to increase training volume and minimize boredom (yes, it is sometimes a thing…). By performing barbell complexes, often ones that include a variety of movements, coaches can increase a lifter’s overall training stimulus without training with high intensities (above 85%) which allows for quality rep work and technique. Adding this movement in complexes or as priming movements can also help to ensure proper mechanics and strength while receiving a snatch overhead.
More on Push Presses…
The push press, both behind the neck and in front, is a great movement. Here are some of our top push pressing articles.