No, this isn’t some new dessert that you are dying to try. This is the good, old-fashioned Olympic Lifting Snatch, something that many trainees practice for years before mastering. That’s not unlike a hard dessert to bake.
You need to have the right equipment, right ingredients, and right order of operations. Messing one of these things up is a surefire way to ruin your dessert or your Snatch technique in this case. So, since the Snatch can be as delicate as a baked treat, let’s look at it as a recipe to set you up for success.
This is the oven, pots, and pans of your Snatch recipe. However, the equipment isn’t as necessary as a baked food. These items are optional, but you don’t see many high-level lifters without them:
- Olympic Weightlifting Shoes
- Weightlifting Belt
- A Barbell designed for Oly Lifting
- Weight Plates at the standard 450mm diameter
If you have these, you are ready to get started. Obviously, the only necessary items are the bar and plates, but the others make life easier, like having a stand mixer instead of whisking everything by hand!
- Starting Position
- 1st Pull
- 2nd Pull
- 3rd Pull
- The Ascent & Completion
These 5 ingredients are actually the 5 different phases of the Snatch. Master them all and you’ll master the technique!
Your feet are to get set first. You want to take a jump-width stance. What this means is that the width of your stance should be the natural width that you’d take to perform a maximum vertical jump. For the majority of people, this means that their feet are going to be between hip and shoulder width.
Next, you need to get your hands on the bar. First things first: if you are serious about baking the perfect Snatch, you should be using Hook Grip. It’s the best way to go. Practice with it until your thumb stops hurting as bad! Your hands should be placed at a width where when you stand straight up with the bar, the bar is sitting right at the crease in your hips with your arms straight. Basically, you should be able to hinge at the hips with the bar at your hips without the bar moving or your arms bending.
A simple addition to proper technique is to engage your lats. Simply squeeze your arms to your armpits as this will flex your lats and keep a tight upper back, which is necessary for the Snatch.
Last, but certainly not least, is your hip and knee angle. Your chest should be up, the bar directly over the balls of your feet, and your shins close to vertical. Keeping this form creates the right angles for your hips and knees.
Getting your feet set, grip set, lats engaged, and the right angle down to the bar is the only way to ensure the perfect baked Snatch!
The 1st pull is the pull from the floor to your knees. Your chest and hips should rise at the same rate with your shins continuing to stay vertical. During this pull, the bar should be very close to your shins as it continues to rise. Your lats should stay engaged throughout.
This is the pull from your knees to your hips. You want to explode your hips forward and create momentum to pop the bar up to make room for the 3rd pull. As your hips are exploding forward, your upper body is moving towards an upright position. The end of this pull is a triple extension, ensuring that your hips, knees, and ankles fully extend at the same time to ensure the most force is being put into the lift.
This is where the bar has already made contact with your hips and you are pulling yourself under the bar to receive it in the full Snatch position. Your feet have probably left the ground at the end of the 2nd pull, so getting your feet planted and squatting under the bar at its peak position is the main concern. Ideally, you want the bar to be at its peak in your lowest Squat position. If you catch the bar high and simply ride the bar down to the full Squat, you are leaving weight on the table with less-than-perfect technique.
The Ascent & Completion
You should be at the bottom of the Snatch with your arms completely locked out. Before you even think about attempting the ascent, it’s time to take control of the barbell. You shouldn’t be wobbly at all when you ascend, so take your time to steady yourself under the weight. Once you are under control, explode up, just like you would in an Overhead Squat. Ensure that your arms stay locked out and hold the final position to lock in the successful lift!
One thing to note: if you mess up one step, the rest of the steps can be perfect and it still won’t result in the perfect Snatch. You need perfection from beginning to end to impress people with your newfound dessert! Master one step at a time if that’s what it takes to ensure success.
Tip for beginners
If you have little-to-no experience with the Snatch, it’s best to start working on technique before worrying about adding on weight. Start with PVC pipe to learn the technique and gradually move up to an empty barbell. Also, another tactic that is useful when mobility is a limiter is to practice Power Snatches and ride it down into a full Overhead Squat before ascending.
Congratulations, if you followed along and practiced as you learned, you just baked the perfect Snatch! Enjoy your treat and continue practicing to ensure that you continue to master your recipe.
Don’t worry if you can’t bake the perfect one on your 1st or even 100th try. You didn’t make the best homemade brownies on your first attempt, and they aren’t half as difficult as a Snatch. This movement is the masterpiece of the dessert table. It’s a culinary wonder. It takes people years to master it, so practice and keep improving. Just as with any recipe, you’ll find slight adjustments that work much better for your personal recipe, like different cues and slightly altered techniques.