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Catching a Power Snatch

I’m able to pull the bar high enough. The issues I’m having right now is consistently pulling the bar straight up to the same place and even when I do I having some trouble keeping my shoulders steady when I catch it.

I’m only doing 145lb for 5 doubles starting the bar a little above my knees. This is what’s giving me trouble.

Another day, I do hip snatches. I can do 115 for 5 very snappy and clean triples and I consider this basically part of an extended warm up and priming for my squat day.

What helped click this lift for bar path was really trying to jump upwards, and then focusing in my mind to do a complete high pull before diping under.

The shoulder instability could be caused by several things. First of all, try to really bend the bar like a horseshoe (external rotation will engage your back) and shrug upwards when the bar is over your head, you don’t keep them packed down like a bodybuilder doing military presses. This should make you way more stable.

If your shoulders are in need of reinforcement, I suggest: military presses, HBT military presses, Bottoms up KB presses (slow tempo, even add a band later), Savickas presses, OVH squats


A drill that cleaned up my catch was to catch the power snatch up on my toes, rather than on my heels

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Widening my grip helped me a lot with the catch and it instantly upped my numbers because I could catch it lower.

Never tried catching it on toes but for bar path, nothing ever was better than muscle cleans/snatches on toes

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I wonder if we’re talking about the same thing? The drill I’m describing involves a normal 1st and 2nd pull, but once my ankle is plantarflexed from the second pull I don’t let the heel come back down. Does that sound like the drill you’ve done before?

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Yes exactly!

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Remember to catch the bar behind your head, not just up above your head. And stick your head through as you dip so the bar is way back there.

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Do you still bend your knees to catch it, or catch it straight legged?

I kept all the cues and tips in mind. I also did the catch on the toes bending my knees to catch it and OH squats for several sets w/ the just bar before doing my lighter hip snatches. I also did some muscle snatches no leg drive with just a mini band to get my RC and upper back activated. I stuck w/ 115, but this is the snappiest and most consistent I’ve been w/ power snatches that I can remember.

I’ll warm up like that before every session to up the frequency of the drill and do the mini band muscle snatches everyday for a while. I think on my horizontal press dominant session I’ll do some snatch grip carries too w/ some OH squats interspersed in there.

If you bend your knees, you’re more likely to lose balance. Once you triple extend (hips, knees, ankles), you stay in that position for the catch


I had a similar problem when I started my Oly lifting. Its is such a technical movement and requires really good mechanics that can’t be cheated (for the most part) If your doing a high hang snatch as you described, and are struggling with consistency, drop the weight. IMHO the HHS or “hip snatch” is the easiest of them to perform technically ( below knee, full etc). What really helped me with shoulder stability was an enormous amount of Turkish get ups. Were talking sessions which included 100 at a time (I worked up to 70 lbs and would often take me an hour to complete)

When I snatch, even for the lighter days, I always prime the system with a few heavy sets of something. for example a set of 10, 6, 3 and a heavy single OHS, I found that this also made the catch not feel so heavy as OHS are always more than your snatch. Little psychology on myself.

Do you have any videos you can upload or link?

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No vids but I’ll try to get one and upload it when I do my next lower body session.

I don’t have any plans of competing, but I luv powerful explosive movements and I’d like to be able to do something that takes some finesse in addition to just using brute strength and power to muscle a squat up.

Keep at it! Upload a vid when you get the chance.

2 Power Snatch Vids:

1 Snatch Grip High Pull Vid

Even if SGHP is something Oly lifters don’t actually do I’m keeping it for the way it lights up the whole backside especially the upper back and traps. Maybe I’ll post that vid in thibs forum too.

I’ve cleaned up my form a ton, but I’m sure there’s room for improvement. I think that snatch and finish standing straight up on the toes and doing some things to get more comfortable and stronger in the OH position helped a lot along with some external rotation work.

Edit: I dunno why, but you have to watch on youtube to be able to watch the vids. Sorry about that.

Late commenter!

Snatch pulls at any variation is something Olympic lifters do, all dependent on their strengths and weaknesses.

If your bar path is very vertical, you are only fighting the downward vector of gravity. When there is sway/drift… w/e, you also have to continue to pull with rotators or put the brakes on with lats. No bueno.

I think you’re not too bad. Good really for a newer lifter. But in addition to bar path, you might be lacking shoulder strength. OH squats are great, front squats great. You’ll also want to work in some bro sets if you’re not a naturally strong upper body dude.

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Thanks for taking the time to post the video of them. I did this for about a year straight until my form was “better” - perhaps turn a light on next time so we can have a bit better viewing opportunity. its hard to provide feedback when you can’t see what your looking at. Specifically starting position, and a view of your knees/hips. 45 degrees front to the bar usually works well.

My limited thoughts(for what its worth):

  • slow down. its not a race, its about timed explosive power.
  • your feet are in different receiving positions
  • you’re not using your hips.
  • it doesn’t appear as if your scap/lats/back is engaged. its almost as if the bar is just hanging.

One cue I give to some folks when coming under the bar, is to push their butt back rather than bend at the knee. Even tho pushing your butt back inst truly correct, it typically puts the lifter into a much better receiving position and bends the knee where it should be.

Nice job either way, keep working! ( and keep posting videos PLZ)

EDIT: sorry just saw tibideaus reply which is similar to mine.

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Which advice applies to the snatches and which applies to the sghp?

For getting used to handling heavier loads in the OH position I’m already doing standing presses and OH carries.

For maybe some overload do you think push presses or muscle snatches might be a good idea?

Here’s some hip snatches. They weren’t totally consistent, I’m not sure what to do about that.

I would try to make these as close to a full snatch as possible. To that end, don’t jump your feet any wider than you would if squatting under the bar. Rather than jumping the feet out to get lower, bend your knees a little bit, like a high or partial squat.

In other words, instead of going into a full snatch, with a full squat, everything Is the same except the weight is light enough that you can pull it high enough so you can catch it “high” in a partial squat.

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