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How To Do A Barbell Snatch | Performance Ground
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How To Do A Barbell Snatch

How To Do A Barbell Snatch

How To Do A Barbell Snatch

Technique For Snatch – Learn How To Barbell Snatch

In this article, we are going to show you how to do a barbell snatch, go over its technical components and the progressions that lead into the snatch. In previous articles, we went over the clean and jerk so check them out if you are interested in learning more about them.

THE VIDEO: How To Do A Barbell Snatch  – Technique For Snatch – Learn How To Snatch

The barbell snatch

The snatch occurs in one fluid motion ion contrast to the clean and jerk which, occurs in two parts. It starts with the bar on the floor and finishes with the bar overhead with the lifter standing upright.

The barbell snatch grip width

Before we get into the lift itself, we first need to figure out our ideal bar grip width. For a snatch, this is wider than that of a clean. The bar needs to be sitting in the hip crease with our arms fully extended. A simple way to do this is to hold the bar in a clean grip, narrow. Then, start marching on the spot and the bar will begin to bounce off your legs as you do so. Take your hands wider and wider until the marching no longer affects the bar and you will feel the bar sitting in that hip crease.

Snatch positions

Start Position

The bar starts on the floor. We walk up to the bar centrally with our feet approximately hip to shoulder width apart. When standing over the bar, it covers our first shoe lace. This is a gauge of how far away to stand from the bar. We then, get our hands down to the bar, grip it using our previously determined snatch width grip. Here, our hips will be higher than our knees and our shoulders higher than our hips. Our shoulders will be over the bar. The weight distribution will be in the middle of our feet with arms fully extended and elbows pointing along the bar. The shoulder blades will be pinched together, spine will be in a neutral position with the head up and eyes looking forward.

First pull into hang

After setting up in the start position, the movement of the bar begins. This is known as the first pull. This movement starts from the floor and finishes with the bar above the knees, known as the hang position. Here, the bar is going to move upwards and backwards as the knees extend, not fully extend. During this movement, the weight will remain in the middle of the feet, the torso angle will stay the same, as the bar begins moving up and the shins will be vertical in that hang position.

Transition into power

The next phase goes from the hang position into the power position. To get from the hang into the power position, the hips will extend, not fully extend. As the chest moves upright, the bar will move up the legs until it contacts the hip crease. In the power position, the hips and knees will be partially flexed and shoulders over the bar.

Triple extension into 2nd pull

The triple extension is the most explosive component. It involves the extension of the hips, knees and ankles. This is a rapid movement in order to accelerate the bar upwards. Here, the bar will contact the hip crease. As we triple extend, the bar will begin to rise. We keep the bar as close to the body as possible. Our elbows begin to bend pointing them to the ceiling. This portion finishes when the bar stops moving upwards.


Once the bar has reached its max height, we rapidly drop underneath the bar to catch it in an overhead squat position. As we drop underneath the bar, the feet will move into a squat width stance. The arms will lock out to ensure that when the feet contact the floor, the arms lock out. The bar will be held in line with the crown of the head to ensure stability in the catch position.


In the recovery position, we stand up from the overhead squat. We push through the middle of our feet to stand up, keeping the chest upright, the bar over the crown of the head and core braced.

The barbell snatch is a rapid movement, which requires each position to be hit technically well. Imagine each component as a link in a chain. If one is out of place, the efficiency of that chain is less. It requires good mobility, overhead strength and stability and co-ordination in order to be performed well and in a safe manner.

Snatch progressions

We are now going to see a list of progressions to get to the perfect barbell snatch.

  • Overhead Squat 

This will help with the catch position of the snatch, helping keep bar stable overhead and work on strength in the upper back to support heavy loads.

  • Snatch Balance 

This will help with speed underneath the bar, timing of arms extending as the feet contact the floor and stability of a catch.

  • Scarecrow Snatch

This will help with the same points as above however, it is harder as it requires rotating around the bar from a high pull position.

  • Hip High Pull into Catch 

This will help with the triple extension of the bar and keeping it close. This can then, transition into catching focusing on extending and catching the bar.

  • Hang High Pull into Catch

This will help with the movement of the bar from hang into power then, onto triple extension of the bar and keeping it close. This can transition into catching focusing on the same points as above adding stability into the catch.

  • Snatch High Pull

This will focus on all elements of the snatch up to the triple extension/second pull without having to focus on catching. 

The snatch is the final piece of the puzzle. Ensure to run through the progressions list and get competent in each movement. Also, run through the technical components of the snatch to learn the positions that are meant to be hit. Film yourself and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. In regards to sets and reps, keep the reps low. This is a powerful movement where technique is important. Fatigue will reduce technical understanding. However, at the start, as we want to get better we must put in some more time. Therefore, perform more sets. This way we are getting a lengthy enough amount of work in, minimising fatigue.


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