Looking to improve your snatch? Start here
Interested in learning how to snatch but don’t know where to start, how to progress, or how to make sense of the snatch?
Most people are generally confused about how to move in the full snatch. A lot of people come to me with questions about programming or different styles, or slight technical ques. Mastering this simple drill should be a higher priority over confusing yourself about different styles and programming.
During my first trip to a Chinese Training Base, a coach dictated to a translator their idea of “ideal technique”. The description included:
“AFTER EXTENSION, THERE IS A SLIDE/SHUFFLE ON THE BALLS OF YOUR FEET TO EXPLOSIVELY MOVE INTO YOUR SQUAT POSITION. THIS ACTION SHOULD BE PRACTICED HUNDREDS OF TIMES.”
But most lifters looking to improve overlook the simplicity of perfecting footwork and the speed, accuracy and confidence of getting under the bar!
No matter what your problem or ability level, this simple drill can help improve your overall rhythm, timing, and feel for the lift and will allow you to reclaim some of your natural athleticism if you are feeling lost or confused.
THE SQUATTING WIDEOUT:
1. TO START:
– STAND NORMALLY- comfortably with feet about hip width apart, arms hanging straight and relaxed
– BALANCE – weight should be distributed on the center of your foot throughout the movement
– POSTURE – should remain similar to your standing posture as you enter your squat.
2. EXTEND AND SQUAT:
-EXTEND your body up (head and shoulders) towards the ceiling and in ONE motion, immediately DROP and FIX yourself in a strong squat position while maintaining a similar posture.
– THE SQUAT – feet should land between hip and shoulder width, and resemble your back/front/overhead squat. Your toes, the ball and heel of your feet should be in contact with the ground.
When you can accurately secure yourself in a strong/balanced squat, begin to challenge your motor patterns by performing for reps. Think 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps at a brisk tempo.
3. ADD THE PVC and/or EMPTY BARBELL:
– Try adding this exercise every other day for 5 weeks
-Building to 5 sets of 12 PERFECT REPS with an empty barbell is a great goal to start with
AS YOU PROGRESS AND THE WEIGHT INCREASES – more strength, tension and aggression are required to control your balance and movement. The heavier barbell pulls you forward, and pushes you down much harder, this requires a tighter core, tighter grip, stronger lockout position etc.. basically it has a different FEEL. But the speed, rhythm, balance and timing of the extension and catch should be practiced in a consistent manner regardless of the weight.
If you aren’t moving well on a given day, take weight off the bar and move how you are supposed to!!! Snatch is about speed, timing, and technique. Moving slowly is for strength movement. Build strength in these positions with classical strength exercises, but building your speed with increasingly heavier weights will carry over into the power and explosiveness in the snatch.
Here is me snatching 146 kg from the floor, and snatching 150 kg from the blocks… compare to the squatting wideout from above.
Over the years we have worked with athletes of ALL ability levels looking to improve their weightlifting. If you were to ask people what they thought they needed to work on, the typical response would be “I NEED TO PULL HIGHER” or ” I NEED TO SHRUG WHILE HEEL SHIFTING TO TOE PANDA CATAPULT” or something that just indicates they are lost. We start by helping them move LIKE ATHLETES, NOT MALFUNCTIONING ROBOTS!
If you aren’t moving with speed and balance, are confused and lonely when it comes to snatching, start with this! Watch how elite weightlifters move with the barbell, they stand up-extend-catch. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
As always, please find someone that knows how to teach the Olympic Lifts. If you hit any road blocks along the way, there are people out there that can help.