A proper, technically flawless, and explosive snatch is a laborious work of art, especially if the athlete works with two or more BIG plates on the barbell. Mobility, flexibility, strength, and speed are the factors that make this lightning-fast movement so unique. Athletes who had previously trained mainly on a high bar, are only used to doing squats and have never heard of an OHS usually find an explosive pull a difficult move to master. But in this article, we’ll determine whether it is still possible!
- One small error in the starting position, one giant problem in the overhead position.
Athletes new to weightlifting often ignore the significance of the starting position. They like to think that their goal is to secure the barbell overhead as quickly as possible. So let me share this secret with you: the starting position is what the snatch mechanics depend on entirely. You must have your starting position checklist and go through all the points before starting the move: balanced feet, open chest, arched lower back, relaxed arms, shoulders positioned over the barbell. This last element is key for the snatch as it is quite long. By ensuring that their shoulders are positioned over the barbell during the pull, the weightlifter will be able to develop maximum hip power during the explosive and final acceleration phases.
- “Top to Bottom”
This often confuses the athletes in my seminarsbut the most effective way to learn the snatch is to start with the problematic elements following the “top to bottom” principle. As you may have guessed, the starting position that we’ve already talked about above will be studied almost at the very end. First, the athlete has to understand what exactly they need to do with the barbell in the overhead position, how it gets up there, what an explosion is, and how to stick all of these elements together into a single flow. is also first practiced above the knee level, and only then below the knee.I’d say it is not such a good idea for beginners to perform the snatch off the platform all the time. It is way better to add some variation with power snatches, hang snatches from a range of comfortable and uncomfortable positions.
- Work on your weaknesses.
Even the most technical, strongest Olympic-level weightlifters have their Achilles’ heel, and that’s ok. But this is something that requires constant work and improvement. Just think of it that way: your pull and explosion may be fantastically powerful, but if you are as slow as a snail while diving under the barbell, you can’t start boasting your badass snatch and kilograms yet. An athlete’s weak point may be their constant “companion” or appear out of nowhere one day, but the thing to remember is: hard work during every training session will help you deal with it and improve your snatch!
- Your strength training background matters.
Weightlifting is a sport where strength is of paramount importance. But one must develop it proportionally and systematically. There is a correlation between the snatch and squats, it is quite relative and fluctuates in the range of 60-68%. The legs of a true weightlifter should not only be strong, but also explosive. Just think how strong you need to be to not just lift the heavy barbell off the ground, but also make it accelerate and fly up over your head. If your goal is to build strong legs and improve your lifting results, I recommend alternating front and back squats and practicing them 2-3 times a week.
- The choreography.
That’s what our coach called technical training with an ordinary PVC. Sure, without technical, strength, or mental preparation, you won’t develop a strong snatch. But a deliberate and slow work on control and quality of movement with stops in key positions is what will help you learn how the snatch feels. Many beginners avoid technical training because they don’t understand the goal and don’t feel the effect. Working with a light staff will not get you ready to break a world record, but remember this: it is still important for your progress. I recommend practicing the “snatch choreography” and its various elements with a PVC at least 1-2 times a week, 5-8 sets with 3-6 reps.
My tips for the snatch are not the only snatch tips in existence. I’m sure that other coaches and experienced athletes will gladly share their useful knowledge and experience. This is completely normal because everyone’s approach and vision are different. Good luck to each of you in developing a powerful and explosive snatch!
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