So you want to learn how to snatch…well, maybe you do. Either way, after you read this article not only will you want to learn how to snatch (if you don’t already), you will also know how to effectively snatch.
The snatch, as complicated as it may be, is rather simple. It is a lift from ground to overhead, in one fluid motion. But performing the snatch, and talking about the snatch, are completely different.
But first…why should you snatch? Unless you are into Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit, you probably have little experience with the snatch.
- First, my disclaimer, I even threw in s similar disclaimer in One Man One Barbell, in the chapter where I teach the snatch. Olympic weightlifting is complicated, so becoming an expert by reading a post or trying it a few times won’t cut it. It will take multiple articles read, videos watched and months of practice to master the snatch.
Reasons you SHOULD snatch…
If you have any doubts as to which muscles the snatch works or whether or not it is functional, please watch this video. [Watch on Vimeo]
- It’s functional -The snatch is an explosive jumping movement capable of adding serious muscle to your frame while still being completely transferrable to life, as a functional movement.
- It makes you quicker, stronger, faster and more flexible.
- It’s crazy fun!
- It will make others in the gym look at you like a crazy person. If you get looks, just say, “Do you mind…I’m becoming a better human right now.”
I am just now getting to where I feel like I “should” be (my standards) in the snatch, and I still have a ways to go…recently just hit 215 lb and even got 225 overhead, but that has come with A LOT of hard work.
But I was stuck at 165 forever…And the only reason I could even snatch 165 was because of how strong I already was, I wasn’t good at the movement at all.
But just like everything else in fitness, I went back to the drawing board, focused on learning it correctly and executing it as perfectly as possible.
It wasn’t until then that things started to click. I actually starred hitting PR’s weekly once I focused on being a student of Olympic Weightlifting.
So here is what I did…
Step 1: Focus on Mobility
I want you to try something for me…
- Grab a PVC pipe or broomstick and put it over your head.
- Now squat down holding it overhead, butt should be sitting on your heels, or pretty dang close.
Is this difficult for you already?
- Now take notice of your knees, they better not be over your toes at all.
- Hold this position for 5 minutes without moving.
For a lot of people, the answer is, No.
So if this position is difficult for you, do you think taking 100+ pounds in an explosive fashion from ground to this position, then squatting to stand with it overhead, is where you should start?
Your first step needs to be mobility. You need to become flexible to correctly perform flexible movements. I don’t have a specific stretch or exercise for this either. You need to be flexible in the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, chest, biceps…need I go on…
- Start with Episode 01 at MobilityWOD.com
- Then do all of them each day.
- Also, check out my article, The Ugly Cousin of Fitness: Mobility
This was/is a project in which Dr. Kelly Starrett did an episode each day for 365 days to make you more mobile. Personally, I think the site is kind of unorganized, so to start from episode 01 and move through, just use the search box on the side bar of his site and type in “episode 01”, “episode 02”, etc. for each episode.
Step 2: PVC, Broomsticks and Coach B
Alright, you are getting more mobile, so now we can work on the snatch. But let’s practice the smart way…
- PVC Only.
- Broomstick acceptable too.
Now, you will do the Coach B warm-up everyday. If you do not snatch regularly, it is in no way going to come naturally, so you will need to develop the muscle memory. Coach B’s warmup will help you do this.
Coach Burgener Warmup [Watch on YouTube]
Step 3: The Snatch
Broken down simply:
- Jumping position, how you normally jump, if not slightly narrower.
- Feet under hips.
- Wide enough to make the bar about 6-8″ over your head.
- Explode up and have the bar trace your body, never outward, the bar should be moving upward.
- Elbows high and outside
- Feet will rise to your toes from the power of the movement – as if you were jumping.
- Landing position will be slightly wider than your initial jumping position.
- Catch the weight on the heels
- Chest will be upright and your back will be in a solid position.
- Legs will be bent and you should be in a full squat with the bar overhead.
- Now stand up!!
It’s that easy 🙂
Good luck learning and executing the snatch!!
Oh and watching it in slow motion helps too, watch a snatch in slow motion here.