How to Snatch
How to Snatch
Run faster, jump higher, and improve your athletic performance with the snatch.
We’re all crunched for time when it comes to getting in a good quality workout. Now by quality I’m not talking about the arm pump up you do before a day at the pool (you all know exactly what I’m talking about). Instead, I’m talking about an exercise that encompasses everything it takes to be an athlete; an exercise that develops flexibility, stabilization, strength, and power, and trains the body as a unit. Have any idea what exercise I’m talking about?
Well the title of the article probably gave it away but I’m talking about the snatch. This exercise, though difficult to learn, can be mastered with practice and can take your gains and performance to the next level. Athletes that have a prior shoulder injury may need modifications (see below) until they have gained enough scapular (your back) stabilization to properly execute the lift. With that warning out of the way, let’s get right into it.
The Warm Up
It’s always important to make sure your body is properly warmed up before throwing weight around. Once you have finished your dynamic warm up grab a broomstick. Perform 5 reps of over and backs. Follow 5 reps of overhead squat and finish with 5 squat jumps. Remember here that the broomstick is very light, so it should be moved quickly but also technique should be emphasized.
What is the Snatch?
Remember that the snatch is much like the clean except that your hands are wider and the bar goes all the way over your head. A trick to find your hand placement for the snatch is to pick up a bar with a shoulder width grip and walk your hands wider until the bar has reached your hip crease. If you don’t know what that is, your hip crease is the point where you bend at the waist.
As you walk up the bar, keep your feet hip distance apart (feet turned out a bit is ok). Set up just as you would for the power clean, though since your hands are wider you will have to sit your hips lower than normal. As you rise off the floor keep your chest up while extending upward. The bar should be kept close to your body as it rises up your legs towards your hip.
As the bar approaches your hip crease attack the bar with your hips by popping the bar off of your hips causing it to shoot overhead. In your overhead catch lock the elbows out by pressing upward and squeezing your shoulder blades together. At the top the bar should be over the ears. That’s a lot of words to understand (sorry about that) but check out the video below as it should helpful in understanding how to put everything together.
*This exercise needs to be performed at 100% effort to move the bar efficiently. In most sessions I would do no more than 1-2 reps per set due to how taxing this exercise is on your entire body.
So you know how to do a snatch, but here are some variations that you can do that can help you improve your technique
This is the exact same exercise as the snatch without the squat at the end. This exercise is less taxing on your legs that can be done before a squatting session. For off-season workouts shoot for 5-6 sets of 4-5 reps at 50-65% for the first few weeks then progress to 3-6 sets of 2-3 at 70-85% of a 1RM.
This is a great exercise for in-season because it takes pressure off the back. Choose a much lighter weight than you would with a power snatch. For in-season workouts shoot for 3-4 sets of 2-3 reps at 60-75% of a 1RM.
This is a great exercise for in-season athletes, injured athletes (that are not yet ready to hold a bar overhead), and even former athletes looking to get back into playing shape. Pick a moderately heavy dumbbell and place it between your feet (which are at hip distance if you remember right). Sit your hips down until your arm is fully straight and attached to the dumbbell. From there the exercise is all the same. Make sure to do the same amount of reps with each arm and you should be good to go.
And there you have it; a full tutorial on one of the best total body exercises on the market if you want to build muscle, gain strength, and improve your athletic performance. Now go out and practice it so that you can really maximize its benefits and maximize your results. If you find a muscle that you don’t think is being worked by the snatch, you let me know.
To maximize your gains with the snatch 1R would recommend the following supplements:
- Cytosport Fast Twitch – This preworkout supplement made of creatine, nitric oxide, and natural energy boosters will give you the push you need for your most intense workouts
- Optimum Nutrition BCAA 5000 Powder – Adding this product to your pre or post-workout routine will help build lean muscle mass, increase protein synthesis, and improve energy levels
- Cytosport L-Glutamine - Needed for immune system support, energy production, and the building and protection of the lean muscle mass when stress is increased on the body
About the Author
Nate Hemphill is an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of California-Davis where he oversees the training protocols for Men’s Soccer, Field Hockey, Women's Lacrosse, Golf, Tennis, and Women's Water Polo while assisting with Football. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2011, he was a graduate assistant strength & conditioning coach at Seattle University from 2009-2011. A 2005 graduate in Exercise and Movement Science from Missouri State University (MO), Nate worked with numerous sports at MSU as well as working with the St. Louis Cardinals in their Minor League affiliates (Rookie, AA). Nate is currently a certified CSCS from the NSCA. He is working to finish his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration and Leadership from Seattle University.
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