T Nation

Building up a Powerful Snatch


#1

Wondering if anyone has any tips for increasing snatch strength.

I lift 4 days a week with the following template focusing on the Olympic lifts. I just can't seem to break any barriers in the snatch. I am stuck at 135ish lbs at a body weight of 250.

I have only been doing the Oly lifts for 3 years and before that I trained mostly power lifts so I am not a stranger to high intensity.

Any ideas on supplemental work I need to do? My main weakness seems to be in the shoulder though I can max out a push press at 225#.

Training Schedule:
Sunday

1a) Heavy snatch -- progressivly heavier loads of 3 rep sets until I cannot complete more than 2 reps.
1b) light overhead squats -- 4 - 5 sets of 8 - 12 reps
2a) Overhead pushing exercise -- 5 x 5 with about 80% 1RM
2b) Pull ups -- I max out at about 6 deadhangs and then I kip until I cannot get my chin over the bar (I am 250 lbs so give me a break here!)
3a-b) Supplemental shoulder work

I usually change up the starting position of the cleans/snatch. When I start lower to the ground I can lift more but I get worn out much quicker and conversely when I start higher up I cannot lift as much but feel like I have more energy at the end of the set.

Monday

1a) Light cleans (+ press) -- 5 x 6 - 8 at moderate weight; sometimes at the end of the set I do a pressing movement depending on how I feel.
1b) Heavy Front squats -- progressively heavy sets of 3 reps in the same fashion as I do snatches
2a) Heavy Upper pushing movement
2b) Light Upper pulling movement
3a-b) Single limb supplemental work if I am up for it.

Wednesday

1a) Light Snatches (dumbbells sometimes) -- 4 - 6 x 5 - 8 at about 75%1RM
1b) Heavy backsquats -- same method as all heavy work
2a) Light upper pushing movement
2b) Heavy upper pulling movement
3a-b) abdominal/lower back work

Friday

1a) Heavy cleans
1b) Light/moderate RDL or any other bending movement
2a) single limb pushing
2b) single limb pulling (I like the cable machine here!)
3a) Light shoulder work
3b) machine arm work.

Amazingly I have seen some progress in the clean and other pressing movements. I can clean my body weight but not jerk it.

I just do not know how I should be approaching the snatch to increase strength, though I have seen some progress in the last six months. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions to address snatch specific weaknesses that I might be missing.

thanks,
lift


#2

Self taught? Sounds like technique flaws to me but I could be wrong.

135# snatch or power snatch? Are you having any problems getting under the bar? Where are you failing on your 135#+ attempts?(in front, behind, just whatever…etc)

What is your OHS in relation to your snatch?


#3

[quote]Backlash79 wrote:
Self taught? Sounds like technique flaws to me but I could be wrong.

135# snatch or power snatch? Are you having any problems getting under the bar? Where are you failing on your 135#+ attempts?(in front, behind, just whatever…etc)

What is your OHS in relation to your snatch?
[/quote]
Yes and no, self taught for the first two years and then I took a one-time 2 hour seminar coarse where I was given more hands-on instruction. It was at this point that I started making bigger gains – that was about 8 months ago.

I rarely snatch from the floor and I mix it up with power snatches – there is really no difference in the amount of weight I can lift with the various techniques but rather is dependent on how much acceleration I can get. I can lift more weight when I start lower.

I can overhead squat about 10% more than my max snatch – again it seems my shoulders are the weak link which messes with my balance. I seem to drop the weight forward when it gets to heavy. Sometimes, I cannot even get under the bar without my shoulders failing.

The problem is I do not have a real weightlifting gym to train in so I cannot “miss” a lift.

Thanks for the reply!


#4

whats your clean (specify full or power version), backsquat, frontsquat, and deadlift?

from the sounds of your pushpress, getting stronger is going to help you as much as anything, however you do have some form issues to sort out probably…best thing (assuming you already know proper form/technique inside and out on paper, and its just applying it on this point…otherwise thats #1) if there really is no one to help you is video tape yourself over and over, and compare it to a pro that you find with similar body structure, limb lengths and the like and actively search for weaknesses and pick it apart until your form is smooth, explosive, flawless and consistant

of course mobility + flexability should be addressed but most of that i’m assuming you already know full well since you’ve been doing these for 3 years


#5

just reading the last post there, make sure you’re pulling back, the weight should not be in front of you, and if you get full hip extension and follow it through where you’re pulling back rather than up, that should help your numbers And make sure its not falling in front


#6

Strength won’t help your snatch at this point. Flexiblity and technqiue will. I can snatch 107kg and I definitely can’t push press 225. If you’ve done a lot of powerlifting training then your shoulders and hamstrings are probably inflexible. Once you can get into the right positions under the bar then catching and standing up with it will be no problem.

You say you can clean 250, so your snatch should be around 200. What’s your best jerk? It could definitely be a shoulder flexiblity problem. Do some dislocates (look them up).

You also say your shoulders “fail.” I guarantee that with a 225 push press you can snatch 200lb (like I said there’s no way I can push press 225). The failure is your shoulders finding themselves in a position they haven’t felt before because they are inflexible. Get them more flexible and you will definitely feel more stable in the snatch.


#7

I’d try to get some more hands on coaching, without being able to see what you are doing I can guess on what your doing but even a video will be helpful.

A quick terminology clearing up so that we are on the same page:

Power snatch is a snatch where you catch not in a full squat, the “power” stance.

Hang snatch is when you pull from anywhere other than the floor, typically they are below knees, above knees, or mid thigh.

Not being able to miss is a problem. Trying to recover a bad snatch can be ugly.

Keep the bar close to your body, if you are missing in front a lot it could be because you are letting the bar drift out from you.

I forgot to mention previously:

Starting position - you should try to stay consistent and use the same starting position for all attempts. You should experiment with what feels best but once you find the best stay there.

Snatch Balances - I’d say these would be worth throwing in your routine.


#8

Yoda-X, would you mind going into a little detail on how to go about getting the numbers you’re talking about, ie squeezing bigger numbers besides just getting stronger overall like i was mostly advocating?


#9

I agree with yoda, I’d be willing to bet the limiting factor is either technique, flexibility, or a combination of the two rather than strength.


#10

[quote]Yoda-x wrote:
Strength won’t help your snatch at this point. Flexiblity and technqiue will. I can snatch 107kg and I definitely can’t push press 225. If you’ve done a lot of powerlifting training then your shoulders and hamstrings are probably inflexible. Once you can get into the right positions under the bar then catching and standing up with it will be no problem.

You say you can clean 250, so your snatch should be around 200. What’s your best jerk? It could definitely be a shoulder flexiblity problem. Do some dislocates (look them up).

You also say your shoulders “fail.” I guarantee that with a 225 push press you can snatch 200lb (like I said there’s no way I can push press 225). The failure is your shoulders finding themselves in a position they haven’t felt before because they are inflexible. Get them more flexible and you will definitely feel more stable in the snatch.[/quote]

I think you are on to something. Flexibility is something I am probably lacking. Other than just stretching and the above exercise you mentioned is there any other flexibility drills I can do?

I don’t jerk very often but the last time I did it was 230 for 3 reps and I felt like I could have gone heavier. I am really loath to max out because I do not train somewhere where dropping weights is acceptable.


#11

[quote]Backlash79 wrote:
I’d try to get some more hands on coaching, without being able to see what you are doing I can guess on what your doing but even a video will be helpful.

A quick terminology clearing up so that we are on the same page:

Power snatch is a snatch where you catch not in a full squat, the “power” stance.

Hang snatch is when you pull from anywhere other than the floor, typically they are below knees, above knees, or mid thigh.

Not being able to miss is a problem. Trying to recover a bad snatch can be ugly.

Keep the bar close to your body, if you are missing in front a lot it could be because you are letting the bar drift out from you.

I forgot to mention previously:

Starting position - you should try to stay consistent and use the same starting position for all attempts. You should experiment with what feels best but once you find the best stay there.

Snatch Balances - I’d say these would be worth throwing in your routine.

[/quote]

Thanks for the tips and the link.

I probably should look into getting some more formal training.

I agree about the recovery of a bad snatch – ugly indeed!


#12

Snatch, ideally is 80% of clean and jerk. There are a bunch of ratios in the Russian texts found on EliteFTS or from Bud Charniga. Pressing strength has essentially no correlation to the clean and jerk or snatch, although bigger lifters will do more pressing and slightly less jerking to help their jerk.

More strength helps bigger lifters more than smaller lifters because to be big you need muscle, and to build muscle you need to press more, do more assistance, etc. which means less work on the classic lifts overall. Of course, in order to do that you need good technique and flexiblity, otherwise you’re wasting your time doing much else.

if you have the strength (if you can squat more than 125% of your clean) you should be working on explosive strength. Again, the ratio is from the Russian texts. World champions tend to squat 125%-130% of their clean and jerk. The ratio is higher (closer to 130%) for heavy lifters and for lifters of low classification (better lifters utilize a greater percentage of their leg strength on their cleans).

Being flexible is the most important thing. If you can cantch the bar in a full, ass to grass snatch then you can definitely stand up with it. Leg strength is NOT a factor. Chances are you can squat a weight equal to your snatch for like 10 reps (for the original poster, I bet you can do 135 for like 40 reps). I hope you can stand up with that once.

Also, strength is not a factor in holding a weight overhead in the snatch. You’re locked out already, so your muscles are not doing much work. Can you hold 145 over your head in the snatch position standing? Then you can snatch it, provided good enough flexiblity to squat with it ass to grass.

Olympic lifting, and especially the snatch, are all about positioning. Pull the weight overhead and fix it in the right position. Then stand up. You are certainly strong enough because relative to the squat the weight is super light (even in the clean for a world champion the weight is something like 80% of his squat, something you can do for 5 reps).

Look at the strongmen at the Arnold doing axle muscle snatches or whatever. They are doing 250lbs or 300lbs. Yes they are very strong but it hasn’t got them a 400lb snatch. A highly qualified lifter half their weight can snatch around 300 because if their technique and flexibility even though in every other respect they are WAY weaker than a 300lb strongman.


#13

For flexibility you should work positioning on overhead squats. Hold the bottom position for time. I’m sure the weight is light for you so just go down and hold it there for 10 seconds, then stand up, rack the bar, rest, and go again. Close grip overhead squats help a lot too. I can overhead squat with a jerk grip with 100kg.

As you get better in the overhead position narrow your grip when you work flexibility to keep improving. Overhead squats with a pvc pipe, the bar, or whatever are good too just for flexibility work. You need to be VERY comfortable in the bottom position.

Drop snatches are a good idea too. Anything that teaches you proper postiion at the bottom, BUT you have to make sure to work the bottom position itself instead of just bouncing in and out on a snatch or drop snatch.


#14

Your training split looks ok btw. Make sure you MAINTAIN YOUR STRENGTH while you work flexibility. There’s no point in taking a step forward in flexibility and 2 steps back in strength. It’s much better to take a step in flexibility and no steps anywhere in strength. Then you’ve made forward progress overall.


#15

Wow, this is some really good stuff. I cannot wait for tomorrow.

I am not really worried about losing strength because I was forced to take off a whole six months when I broke my leg about 5 years ago. My strength came back almost immediately because I was eating well during the recovery process :slight_smile:

I know what you mean though about one step forward and two steps back.


#16

Yep, its flexibility and balance. I could barely handle 60# doing snatch balance presses.

I am going to work some more on those.

To be continued…


#17

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Wondering if anyone has any tips for increasing snatch strength.

I just can’t seem to break any barriers in the snatch. [/quote]

I guess it’s immature, but I laughed.

Yes, my mind is in the gutter.


#18

i worked up to 175 on the muscle hang snatch and the limiting lift would have to be OHS if your technique is legit. Mine never was though. Not enough outside help on it.

If you posted a vid we could critique.


#19

wow, that hitler gif avatar was like headbobbing perfecting in tune to my music! crazzy!