The snatch is one of the most complicated barbell exercises to master but these 4 best exercises to improve your snatch should help you fix common mistakes and feel more confident under the bar.
“The olympic lifts train athletes to effectively activate more muscle fibers more rapidly than through any other modality of training,” writes CrossFit.
“Practicing the snatch teaches one to apply force to muscle groups in proper sequence — i.e., from the center of the body to its extremities (core to extremity). Learning this vital technical lesson benefits all athletes who need to impart force to another person or object, as is commonly required in nearly all sports.”
Max Aita, coach as Juggernaut Training Systems, shares his 4 best exercises to improve your snatch.
4 best exercises to improve your snatch
While there are many exercises you can use to improve your Olympic weightlifting, coach Aita believes these are the ones that will make the biggest difference.
Snatch without hook or feet
This exercise has you execute the snatch just like you would the normal snatch, but without accelerating the bar excessively with the hips, as you’re not using a hook grip and your feet aren’t moving.
Place your feet a little wider than you would in the snatch setup, to the position in which would you catch the weight, and grab the bar with a simple grip.
“This is a great exercise for improving the trajectory of the snatch,” says coach Aita. It’s especially good for people who kick the bar too far forward with the hips or don’t do a good job of getting close to the bar.
This exercise is relatively harder than the normal snatch as you’re limited by the grip, so use it to refine your technique close to a competition or early on in your season to nail the technique before you ramp up intensity.
No contact snatch
“This is a great exercise for straightening out the trajectory of the bar, especially if you miss behind,” says coach Aita.
Set up just like you would in a normal snatch but ensure you don’t make contact with your hips as you pull.
This exercise prevents athletes from swinging the bar too much, which is very useful for those who are very aggressive with the hips.
Hang Snatch from Below the Knee
This version of the snatch emphasises and isolates the transitional phase from the first pull to the second.
Stand up, lower the bar to below your knees, and then extend through the legs to pull the bar past the knees to the full snatch.
This exercise is great for athletes who have a hard time keeping their feet flat against the ground or those who struggle with the transition from the first to the second pull, as it emphasises exactly on that part of the lift.
“If you have a hard time maintaining that position around the knee – maybe you don’t straighten your legs enough, maybe you swing the bar around a little – going from the hang below the knee allows you to really lock in your back position and get your shoulders exactly where you want them before you actually start the lift,” says coach Aita.
Read more: 6 Alternative Snatch Exercise Variations
This exercise to improve your snatch has you not catching the bar in the full squat. Instead, set up like you would for a normal snatch but only squat under the bar for around a quarter of a squat.
“This exercise is great for people who have a really hard time generating the force to get the bar high enough in the snatch,” says coach Aita.
The power snatch is a great exercise to build power, strength and speed in the top of the pull.
You can include power snatches all the way through your training.