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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for more snatch specific articles and tips? Check out some of my favorite (and more popular) pieces!
- Finish Your Pull: Snath Training Tips and Weight Considerations
- 3 Reasons Why Most Beginner Weightlifters Should Use Static Start Positions
- How To Get Better At Olympic Weightlifting
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