Your Complete Guide To Mastering The Snatch

The snatch is one of the most complex lifts in weightlifting. It requires a high degree of mobility, flexibility, speed and strength to execute correctly. The snatch can be broken down into three major phases: the start position, transition phase and second pull. Each phase requires its own specific technique to get the bar from the floor to overhead in one fluid movement without pausing or stopping.


Before you even think about touching the barbell, warm up your body. You can do this in a variety of ways. If you have access to a foam roller, use it! Or if you don't have one and don't want to buy one (because they're expensive), try smashing your body with tennis balls or lacrosse balls instead.

You should also warm up muscles that the snatch will be working: upper back, lats and traps (upper chest), abs and obliques (side abs), glutes (butt muscles) and quads (front thigh muscles).

Get into the habit of warming up joints, too — your shoulders especially need some attention before you start snatching heavy weight because they're vulnerable to injury when cold out of a resting state; this is why rheumatoid arthritis patients often suffer from shoulder problems after their first flares-up! Warming up joints not only reduces risk but also increases performance by reducing muscle soreness later on in training sessions or competitions alike.

Start Position

The first step to the snatch is getting into position. The start position is a bit different from other lifts, and it's important that you get it right.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead.

  • Grab the bar with a wide grip (your hands should just be outside your shins), and externally rotate your shoulders so that the bar rests across both deltoids.

  • Use your lats to pull your shoulders down and back, creating a shelf for the barbell. This will allow you to lift it vertically off of the ground using power from both legs and arms — rather than lifting it out over one leg and then up with only arm strength as many people do when they first try this exercise.


Transitioning between the catch and receiving position is an important step in completing a successful lift. The transition should be fluid and natural, so that you don’t lose momentum or disrupt the barbell. One common mistake is letting the barbell drift away from your body during this phase of the lift, which can cause serious injury to your shoulder joint if you attempt to pull it back in time for another rep.

To finish a clean or snatch, keep your shoulders relaxed and let them drop as you lower yourself into squatting position with knees bent at 90-degrees angles or less (in case of low-bar squats). Keep your elbows pointing down towards the ground throughout this process because doing so will help ensure that they remain under control instead of going limp at any point during movement execution.

Second Pull

The second pull is an explosive extension of the hips and knees that brings the bar to your mid-thigh. It should be a fast, straight movement with little or no horizontal movement of your body (unless it’s because you don’t have a very good judge of distance). This can be difficult to master if you haven't been practicing this skill already.

To get a sense of what proper form looks like when doing the second pull, watch some Olympic weightlifting clips on YouTube and look for these cues:

  • An explosive extension of the hips and knees followed by straightening out the back leg

  • Straight arms at eye level

Do This Technique To Find Your Snatch

To practice the proper technique, follow these steps:

  • Start by squatting down with a barbell and grabbing it with your hands.

  • Push your hips back, allowing the weight of the barbell to pull you down into a deeper squat position.

  • Once you’re in a full squat, jump up and pull the barbell up to your chest. At this point, most athletes will want to use their arms as much as possible in order to lift more weight before landing on their feet again (which is why powerlifting rules allow straightening out your body during this part of the snatch).

If done correctly, this should look something like this:


At the end of the day, performing a successful snatch is not about moving as much weight as possible. Rather, it's about finding a setup and set of movements that will allow you to move efficiently and keep your body safe. Once you've figured out what works for you, then it's time to start loading up those weights!

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