I'll Be the First: Squat, Snatch, and Bench Critiques

Hoho, I think I’ll be the first. In another topic, a fellow forum member suggested that I put videos on my lifts. I put 3 of them.

I know it’s not good to throw the barbell around my neck after SQ, as I obviously did. I also know that I’m not explosive in the second video. This was another reason to do it this way and it was my first or second time doing this exercise.

I am an absolute beginner here.

On the BP, I think I have nothing more to do. This is the most comfortable for me and I feel comfortable.



Bench Press

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I’m not enough of a technique guy to critique these but this line of thinking isn’t going to get you very far.

Also, your gym has some wild music lol

I meant that I found the best shape for myself, from which I would not have pain in the Shoulders, Back, Elbows and at the same time to be able to lift more pounds. I am not a strength athlete, for example, to apply a wider grip, to shorten the distance / amplitude, to make an arc in the Back, just for the sole purpose of being able to lift more pounds. Of course, someone can make remarks that they can do even better.
In my gyms, only such music is usually played. Now I’m back in my old gym and there you can hear 100% only Rap.

Lower your j hooks when you squat. I don’t like you coming on your toes to unrack the bar. A good starting spot for the bar in the hooks would be around the middle of your sternum or slightly higher.


That is how I follow this recommendation. In this case, the weight was not large and I was too lazy to adjust, as the height must be adjusted manually. For this reason, I finally threw the bar higher on my neck so I could leave it :slight_smile:
In the current gym legs problem does not exist.

@Christian_Thibaudeau is a fantastic snatch coach. I sent him a message to check out your vid.


Regarding the snatch. And keep in mind that I’m doing this to be helpful. I will be harsh because I do not believe in sugar-coating things to make people feel better. It only make it harder to improve.

So do not be offended, I have no bad intentions.

That having been said, the snatch form is pretty horrible. I honestly feel that you need to scale back down to an easier, segmented, version of the power snatch and then work your way back up to the snatch as you get better technically.

There is essentially pretty much nothing done correctly in the lift, except that your acceleration past the knees is less bad than the rest.

The biggest issues are

  • Your set-up is incorrect. Your hips are too high and your back (lower and lats) are not set properly. In a snatch from the floor (which you should not be doing at the moment anyway) the hips need to be as low as possible while the shoulders are still VERY slightly in front of the bar. The lower back needs to be tighter and the lats engaged (imagine trying to squeeze lemons in your armpits)

  • You don’t clear the knees out of the way during the first pull: When you perform a snatch or clean (even a proper deadlift) the knees must not be in the way as the bar reaches them. This means that the shins must be perpendicular to the floor. Yours are still angled forward, which means that the bar stays more in front of your center of mass and it will stay there during the second pull (explosion) rather than moving inward toward the hips (instead you move the hips forward toward the bar). This is not only a week lever but it will make the bar stay forward for the whole lift.

Look at what a pull from the floor should look like in a snatch. Obviously, this is a sweeping deadlift, but these are the mechanics you should be using from floor to knees. Focus on how the knees move out of the way and get the shins parallel to the floor. Look at the hip and shoulders position in the start.

  • During the explosion, you bring the hips to the bar: In reality, the bar should be moving inward toward the hip crease. But for this to be done smootly the lats need to me tight and engaged from the start and the bar should already have a slightly inward path, which is made possible from the knees moving back (and the shins being perpendicular) as the bar reaches them. The lats need to be tensed and tight right from the start position, because if they aren’t you will use your arms when trying to bring the bar to the hips, which is a power killer. Because you left the bar forward, what you do is bring the hips forward to the bar which essentially kicks the bar forward and away from you; very inefficient path to get overhead. When the bar is launched to the overhead position, it should stay as close as possible to your body at all times. In your case, when the bar is launched it gets as much as 1 foot away from you (estimating).

  • Your overhead position is wrong: In a proper catch position you should receive the bar essentially in a “linebacker” position: hips back, torso angled around 30 degrees forward, chest forward, bar close to being in line with the middle of the hips, knees bent 90 degrees and over the middle of the feet. You are in the exact opposite position: torso completely upright, hips under your torso instead of being back, knees pushed too far forward, bar too far forward. This could be, in part, due to the bar being pulled WAY forward but I rather suspect poor mobility in the thoracic spine, shoulders and hip flexors.

My recommendations

  1. I commend you from wanting to learn the snatch. It is a great exercise once you do it properly and it is a great challenge. BUT at the moment you are not ready for it. And trying to do it might lead to poor habits that will be almost impossible to fix in the future.

  2. If you are serious about learning the snatch you need to go back to the basics. Scale down the movement into simpler segments, master them and gradually progress in the difficulty as you get better.

  3. You also need to work hard on improving mobility and proper body positions. Until that is done, you will not be able to execute a correct and efficient snatch.

  4. To be able to do a proper snatch (even a power snatch like you are doing) it is absolutely imperative that you master the following two lifts:

  • The overhead squat (yes, even if you don’t intend to work up to a full snatch received in the full squat position… being able to be comfortable squatting with the bar overhead, you will not have the mobility to assume a proper catch position)

NOTE: you will likely have to do a lot of shoulders, thoracic spine and hip flexor mobility to be able to eventually be able to do overhead squats.

  • The snatch-grip deadlift. A snatch-grip deadlift is not a regular deadlift with a wide grip. It is a deadlift with a wide grip where your hips start as low as possible while still having the shoulders in line with the bar, or slightly in front. The chest is high, the lats are engaged from the start. Then you do the first pull by maintaining the torso angle and pushing the knees back (imagine doing a leg extension) to clear the path for the bar. And as you pass the knees the bar should keep brushing the tighs and the shoulder stay above or even slightly in front of the bar for as long as possible.

These two lifts must be automatic, mastered, comfortable and done with proper positions before even thinking about doing the snatch itself.

  1. As for the first snatch “segment” you should focus on, it should be the snatch-grip high pull from the hang

This will help you learn to pull while keeping the bar close to your body.

Do not try to go too heavy, you’ll just end up pulling with your arms.

  1. The second step in the progression would be the muscle snatch from the hang. BUT you should only move to that one once:
  • You can do a proper overhead squat set
  • Can do explosive high pulls properly

It is important to keep doing the snatch grip deadlift all the while you are doing this progression. It is necessary to eventually move to the snatch from the floor.

You can even try the Roy/Sweeping snatch grip deadlift to work on keeping your lats engaged and pulling the bar toward your hips:

  1. The third step in the progression would be the power snatch from the hang, focusing on catching the bar in the proper position. At first, I recommend doing a complex of 3 muscle snatches + 1 power snatch, to more easily transfer the skill of keeping the bar close to you.

Then you can move on to doing only power snatches from the hang in your sets.

  1. And finally, you can go from the floor which, at this point (if you have been doing the snatch-grip deadlifts, overhead squats, and proper progression) should be pretty automatic.

But, and this is important, for you to have any shot at being successful, you need to see this as a long-term progression. Do not skip steps, do not move forward before you are ready, especially from a mobility perspective.


You have elite bench pressers, doing 2 - 2.5x their bodyweight (or more) still working on improving bench press technique.

I train a female who has the world record on the squat (she is 67.5kg and squatted 262.5kg in competition. raw, and 270kg in training) and she still does a lot of technique work.


Wow! That’s priceless feedback @Christian_Thibaudeau !

Thank you.

I’m not gonna lie, that one felt good.


Thank you very much Coach :slight_smile: You have always given your recommendations in detail, as you did this time. Everything you say and illustrate is worthy of a great article. It was much more than I expected.
This is a great exercise and worth doing. I assumed that my form of performance was bad and there would be a lot of criticism. However, as I said, I do this exercise several times in my life. In the beginning I will not do it from the floor as you recommended and I will work on the other problem areas.
Be healthy and happy :slight_smile:

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Absolutely incredible feedback and great advice for anyone considering to learn this movement. Thank you for taking the time to share this CT.