Snatch best techniques/ warm ups

What is a snatch?

The snatch is a competition lift, with the snatch the bar is lifted from the ground to above the head in one switch continuous movement. The lift is performed with a wide grip on the bar and it’s referred to as a gymnastic ability due to how extraordinary some people’s lifts can be. For example Naim Suleymanoglu managed to lift 152.5 kg from the 60 kg category he was in which means he lifted more than double his body weight. The heaviest snatch ever performed competitively is 216kg by Bulgarian Antonio Krastev.

Muscle groups used in the Snatch


There are 5 muscles groups used during the snatch:

Gluteus Maximus- The Gluteus maximus also known as the bum is the first muscle used in the snatch, the Gluteus maximus is used when you initially pull the bar of the floor and again when you extend your hips to go into the final position with the bar above your head

Hamstrings- The Hamstrings are a group of muscles on the back of the thigh which consist of three muscles called the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris, these muscles work together in the snatch, to help flex the knees when you originally squat to pick up the bar in the and again when you catch the bar once you have swept it up midway through the transition of the snatch. The hamstrings are also used to aid the hips extension in the final standing phase and the initial pull.

Quadriceps- Arguably the most used muscle group during the snatch is the quadriceps made up of the the vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis and rectus femoris, they are used massively throughout the snatch to extend and stabilize the knees. The quads are used during the initial pull, the catch and the final standing motion.

Calves- The calves made up of the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus, are used during the second sweep of the snatch where you lift the bar and jump upward and lift you heels of the floor, the main role of this muscle group in the snatch are to Plantar flex the foot.

Trapezius and Deltoid- The only primary upper body muscles used in the snatch are the Trapezius and Deltoid, these muscles primary roles of the snatch are to help stabilize the shoulders during the initial pull of the snatch. The trapezius is used again during the second pull of the snatch where it shrugs the shoulders upward. Finally they both work together to help your body pull under the bar and then catch the bar and hold it overhead.

Snatch Technique


 There are 8 phases in the snatching technique as followed.

  1. Start position- The start position is potentially the most crucial part of the lift, if the setup of the snatch is incorrect, the results can end with anything between and missed lift or an injury, and therefore it is important that this position is correct. For this position you want the bar in the middle of the platform and you want to take a deep squatting position and take a wide grip on the bar.
  2. First sweep/pull – The first pull of the bar is where the bar ends up at the top of the knees, after the bar is pulled from the platform. For a snatch you want a rearward drive of the knees, this step finishes once the movement of the knees has stopped     
    3. Transition period
    – The transition period is where the lifter changes there position into a position where they are more advantaged in terms of getting power, this position would be best described as a position which allows the lifter to push as much force into the floor to allow the second pull to be more powerful.
  3. Second sweep/pull – The second pull consists of a large exertion from the lifter into the ground to allow the maximum momentum to send the bar upwards, for this part of the lift to be complete the bar must reach at least the sternum
  4. Unweighted phase- The unweighted phase is where the bar needs no more force from the user as the momentum of the bar is taking the bar overhead and the gravity holds down the lifter, which means that they are weightless to each other.
  5. Receive-Once the bar reaches its peak height the bar will have lost the momentum and gravity will start to take over once again, by this point the user should be underneath the bar with their body changed to a deep overhead squat to help receive the bar and stop excessive bar drop which may result in a missed lift.

6 .Recovery- This is where the lifter goes into a standing position with the bar still overhead, the lift may need to adjust their feet’s position to stay within competitions ruling.



Best Snatch warm ups exercises

The Burgener Warm Up- The burgener warmup is always performed in the following order with, a light pole of some sort for example a pvc pipe and wooden poles, anything which is lightweight and bar shaped. The order of the warm up is:

  1. Down and up– this is where you start in a high position with your head up, bum back and the bar close to your hips, then you drop back to a quarter of a squat position before you jump forward like you would in a second pull of the snatch.
  2. Elbows high and outside– this is the same as the other position where you start in a high position with your head up, bum back and the bar close to your hips, then you drop back to a quarter of a squat position before you jump forward like you would in a second pull. But once you have jumped you want to lift your elbows high and outside the bar.
  3. Muscle snatch– this drill focuses on the upper body side of the snatch, where you pull yourself under the bar and receive the bar, it is an extension to the elbows high and outside, where you go into the finishing position of the snatch.
  4. Snatch land- This Drill is to train the proper landing technique of the snatch, they are to be landed in the quarter squat position but can be landed in the full squat if necessary. The movement begins with the bar locked directly over the lifters head with a snatch grip. Then the lifter dips the knees and hips and pulls his body under the bar into the quarter squat position, this actually gets the lifter familiar with how they need to receive the bar in the power position.
  5. Snatch drop- for this you will need to start with the same position as the snatch land with the bar locked directly over the lifters head with a snatch grip, this time though there is no jump before the drop, this time you just receive the bar at a full squat, after the bar is received you will need to push right up back into the start position. This drill is supposed to be a footwork drill, so it can be beneficial to draw an outline of where you want your feet to be going.
  6. Hang power Snatch – For this you need to start in the high hang position and propel the barbell through the full motion of a snatch and land in the quarter squat position with the bar completely overhead, before you straighten your legs and complete the snatch by finishing in the up straight complete snatch position.

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