Snatch More Weight with These Simple Tips

The snatch can be your best friend or your biggest foe. To many athletes, the snatch is an elusive movement that requires countless hours of dedicated additional training.

Newsflash: Snatches are tough! They take physical practice, mental capacity to lock in positions, and confidence in your abilities under time-dependent/competitive/heavy situations.

Therefore, in this article, I will share with you four tips that lifters of all levels and sports (functional fitness and competitive weightlifters) can refer to on a continual basis to hone in on their snatch skills.

Drop the Hips

I refer to this poor positioning as the “stripper booty”. We all have seen it, and many of us have done it at some point or another. Maybe in a WOD, or maybe at heavier loads. A lifter needs to fight the hips from rising too fast in the first pull, as this can lead to premature finishing of the pulls (timing), poor balance, early arm pulling, and misses out front (or excessively behind from catapulting the barbell out and back).

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During the pull, the lifter needs to pull up and back on the barbell, driving through the floor like a squat; all while keeping the hips loaded and ready for their time to shine in the second pull. From the floor, the back angle (hips, spine, and shoulders) should rise relatively at the same rate until the knee. Once there, the lifter should sit hard into the mid foot and heels, and drive up and back with the chest/shoulders.

Stay Connected to The Bar

I can’t stress this enough. Many lifters become disconnect from the barbell throughout the first and second pulls, having it drift out way. While there is no need for excessive friction on the body from the bar rubbing it’s way up, there needs to be a close proximity kept between the barbell and the body.

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Worse, lifters often fail to stay connected to that close proximity bar path during the third pull/turnover, as they “fall” or “drop” under the barbell (two terms I personally despise). The action of getting fixated under that barbell in the overhead squat positioning is anything but passive. A lifter needs to finish hard with the arm pull, and actively pull and punch themselves under the barbell, driving themselves downwards into a strong, tension filled overhead squat position.

Finish with a Harder Pull

This is often forgotten when loads get heavier and lifters minds drift towards getting under a load faster as they fear for the worst.

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At near maximal loads, a lifter needs to put everything they can into finishing harder than ever. That means driving with the legs through the thighs, hips, and above the pelvis, finishing with an overly aggressive pull on the barbell as the elbows get ripped upwards and slightly back. Sometimes we can get so caught up with NOT early arm pulling that lifters

forget they DO need to pull hard with their arms at the right time (after the barbell finishes at/above the hip crease/pubis bone). Finishing harder will propel the barbell higher in the finish, and allow the lifter to stay closer to the bar during flight.

Stay Calm

While this tip is key for snatching in general, I really want to focus on the recovery phase after the pull and squat under the bar. Too often novice and intermediate lifters fail to secure a balance, stable overhead positioning deep in the squat recovery; too eager to rush out of the squat to finish the lift. By rushing out of the squat, the weight will often drop forward, and the lifter will be left to run and chase the barbell out front as the center of mass drifts forwards.

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When you receive the barbell in the bottom of the squat, stay down, seated, and stabilize the load. Then, once you are stable and balanced, punch up through the barbell with the arms, simultaneously driving yourself up with the legs.

Want more?

Looking for more snatch specific articles and tips? Check out some of my favorite (and more popular) pieces!

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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