The training hall, where competitors gather to train and warm-up for their competition appearances, is where you’d expect to see some of the planet’s most impressive Olympic lifts. But when world record-holding weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze trains, he can come close to hitting the heaviest lifts of all time. On Dec. 12, 2021, in the training hall at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships, the Georgian super-heavyweight pulled off a 150-kilogram (330.7 pounds) muscle snatch.
At 150 kilograms, Talakhadze’s muscle snatch is just two kilograms shy of Russian weightlifter Vasily Polovnikov’s 152-kilogram muscle snatch in 2018. At the time, Polovnikov’s weight class was -94kg. Talakhadze, on the other hand, is a +109 super heavyweight.
You can check out a video of the lift below, courtesy of Giorgi Tchintcharauli, the Georgian national weightlifting team’s doctor:
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Talakhadze’s Wins and Records
This gigantic muscle snatch is likely unsurprising for those who’ve followed Talakhadze’s decorated weightlifting career. The 2016 and 2020 Olympic gold medalist is responsible for the heaviest snatch ever filmed. His 150kg snatch is also part of a hefty string of in-training in 2021. Talakhadze snatched 225 kilograms (496 pounds) in the spring and clean and jerked 270 kilograms (595 pounds) during training. Both of these lifts are the respective heaviest to date.
Some of his notable weightlifting competition wins include:
- Olympic Games: 2016, 2020
- World Championships: 2015*, 2017-2019
- European Championships: 2016-2019, 2021
- 2016 U23 European Championship
- 2013 World Junior Championship
- 2011 European Junior Championship
- 2010 European Youth Championship
*The IWF restructured the bodyweight categories in 2018. Lasha now competes at +109 kilograms. However, prior to the switch, he competed at +105 kilograms.
What is a Muscle Snatch?
Unlike a full competition snatch, a muscle snatch is a training variation that allows you to drop your elbows and press the weight overhead. This snatch accessory lift features an elbow bend so that you can practice your pull and overhead lockout without dropping under the bar. The muscle snatch can help you refine your ability to keep the barbell close to your body and translate it overhead.
The bar path of the muscle snatch more closely resembles a snatch — hence its name — given that the bar is never cleaned and front racked. Instead, it does travel right over the lifter’s head — granted with more elbow bend than is allowed in competition snatches.
You can see that style in Talakhdaze’s 150-kilogram lift, where it took him a moment with slightly bent elbows to muscle the bar into a full snatch position overhead. But once he settled into position, he adjusted his feet slightly and sank into an easy overhead squat. Because the squat isn’t a necessary part of the muscle snatch, Talakhdaze’s was probably just for fun.
How to Do the Muscle Snatch
If you find Lasha’s movement inspiring and want to take up the muscle snatch for yourself, you need a quick and dirty guide to getting it done. Fortunately, the muscle snatch is a more direct accessory lift than the snatch itself but is great for developing upper body strength and power. Here’s how to do it:
- Set up to lift the bar with a snatch grip. Your back should be flat, shoulders directly on top of the bar, knees slightly ahead of it, and your chest should be up.
- Push against the floor with your legs, keeping your back rigid and shoulders stacked on top of the barbell as it moves past the knee.
- Continue pushing and guide the barbell up towards your hip crease. As it contacts your hip, forcefully drive through the floor with your legs.
- Allow the bar to fly freely upward, close to your torso. As the bar elevates, bring your elbows up as high as you can.
- At the last moment, flip your elbows underneath and press the bar to a fixed position overhead.
Talakhdaze’s dominance in both competition lifts remains clear. The super heavyweight seems ready for his +109kg competition on Dec. 17 at the IWF World Championship. You can tune in to watch the competition on the IWF’s YouTube channel.
Featured Image: @talakhadzelasha_official on Instagram