The snatch. Life’s last great mystery.
The snatch is one of the hardest skills to learn and is even harder to master. It takes time, patience, and reps upon reps upon reps to drill good mechanics into your body, which isn’t used to being asked to throw a load of weight directly overhead and catch it.
The snatch is an ace at exposing any of your weaknesses — big or small — and punishing you with a failed rep, so it’s important to drill your movements, mechanics, and positions at both light and heavy weights regularly. If perfectly executed, a snatch is a thing of beauty, making it a favourite on the ’gram.
Whether you are a bar humper, short puller, or crash-and-burner, these five drills will help build the right mechanics and develop your strength so you’re ready for your next 1RM test.
5 Drills to Improve Your Snatch Technique
1. Muscle Snatch
The muscle snatch is a fantastic strength and position-building drill that will help teach you to keep the bar close to your body and pull it high. The setup for the muscle snatch is identical to a normal snatch and should mimic the first pull. However, once the bar passes the knees and after a strong hip drive, you should focus on maintaining high elbows into a high pull and then aggressively turning your elbows under to press out overhead with locked legs.
2. Snatch Deadlift
A good snatch starts at the bottom. The snatch deadlift teaches proper positioning at the first pull and develops requisite strength in the hamstrings and lats to keep the bar close and into the hips. Start by creating tension on the bar before liftoff and then push the ground away through your feet, actively engage your lats to keep the bar close, and pull into your hips. Maintain this strong position with shoulders over the bar and pressure through your feet.
3. Heaving Snatch Balance
Do you have trouble in the catch? You have a strong pull but are regularly missing at the bottom? A heaving snatch balance teaches aggressive lockout and quickness under the barbell. Start with the barbell on your back and take your snatch grip. Perform a slight dip and drive the barbell overhead whilst stamping your feet into your squat position and dropping under the barbell. Finish with a strong snap of your elbows, pressing up into the barbell with a proud chest and eyes up.
4. Hang Snatch Pull
This one is great for the bar humpers (you know who you are). A hang snatch pull teaches you to brush the hips and pull up rather than bouncing or “humping” the bar out from your hips, causing more of a swinging motion. Starting in the power position, move to the hang, keeping a proud chest and shoulders over the bar, and then sweep the bar up your thighs, finishing with a pop of the hips and shrugging up.
5. Overhead Squat With Pause
If you power snatch more than you full snatch, it may be because you are not comfortable in the bottom position. Getting a lot of time and reps at the bottom of an overhead squat will improve mobility and flexibility and teach your body to be strong in this position. Drill this with both an empty barbell and close to your max snatch.
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