T Nation

Incorporating the Snatch


Hello all

I've been trolling the OL forums for a while now and have decided to incorporate the snatch into my training. I've been working on my technique with embarrassingly light weight as has been suggested...and is basically necessary with my level of ability haha

My question is, when using weights like this, how do you work on the actual lift? It's so light that you can't really put your full force into it or it just flies up and almost rips your shoulder off. Now I've tried a bit heavier...that was a bad idea.

It just doesn't seem like you're getting real practice on this explosive lift if you have to monitor how hard you lift the weight because it's so light...or am I completely wrong and it's best to just start controlled and build into the speed as you start going heavier and heavier?

Hopefully I made sense, thanks for the help all.


i think it is supposed to fly up and almost rip your shoulder off. since the weight is light you want to move it FAST.

what do you mean by 'a bit heavier'? just increase the weight a little bit. until you can't move it properly and / or you can't move it fast.

that being said... i'm having a bit of trouble moving light weights fast for snatches, too (mostly because it feels like they will crash down on me funny if i get under since it is such an easy powersnatch). i've been thinking that i do move it more forcefully as the weight goes up. i only seem to extend properly(ish) when i'm close to max and i NEED to extend properly to get the necessary height on the bar for the catch. but i've been thinking i may be doing it wrong...

so I'd be interested to hear what other people think...


Thanks for the reply.

Just looking for some insight as to how the first few weeks should be handled. When I launch light weights it just feels out of control. I've been reading it should be more of a lift where you pull yourself under the bar more than throwing the bar over your head. When using these light weights it just feels like the bar is being thrown over head and you can't get the feeling of pulling under the bar.

I did move the weight up, made it a bit heavier, got the weights up no problem, but trying to control it was a total disaster.

Guess I'm looking for advice of how it should feel at first, there's plenty of videos to watch people with working weight, but haven't found any for the initial getting the form down work.


Add 5kg per session or 10kg. Just keep progressing, you'll find a limit that will push you a bit too much and just drop 5kg. Progress as fast as your technique can take it.

If you can post videos we can see what your doing.

I always hammer technique with my new lifters but some learn the lifts much faster then others and I can push them harder.



75 pounds...been adding 5 pounds per session, this is the 4th one. Everything looks awful. There's not hip explosion at all, but since the weights are so light it gets way out of control to really get into it. I've used power cleans a good bit and I can feel the hip snap in that, in this, it's just not there since it just doesn't feel comfortable.

Thanks in advance for the harsh beating I'm about to take


Well there was a video but it didn't load obviously...

and now I'm a liar...


Video showed up!! Have you watched any teaching vids yet?? Cal Strength has alot of teaching vids for technique. You really need to go watch those!!!


IMO you're not that awful at all bro, I was probably worse. One thing that limits the speed in beginners IMO is that they (we) hold onto the weight too much fearing something bad happens. This can be alleviated somewhat with training with bumper plates. BTW this may not related to your current technique.


looks like you're not finishing the pull properly, and instead you're pulling the weight up with your arms, to my less than experienced eye that is


I agree, I'm definitely using my arms after the initial pull from the ground.

Thanks for the tip for Cal Strength, that's what I'm lookin for.

My goal is 135 sometime in July, weak as hell but seems so far away at this point.

Thanks for the help all


Had a similar problem when learning to power clean, too much arm and not enough hip. Increasing the weight forced me to use my hips so maybe just go for it and use a weight that forces your technique to improve?


Making ok progress, up to 115 pounds so far, doing them 3 times a week and adding 5 pounds each time. So far I'm really enjoying the lift.

Have a question on hand placement, I'm 6'1" with a 6'3" wingspan. I'm not putting my arms out to the ends, I'm about an inch and half away on each side. Feel comfortable at this point, but it seems like as the weights get heavier, it'd be easier to control it if your hands were just as far out as the bar lets them be.

What's everyone's preference on hand placement?



I'm 5'6 and I take a grip that's probably only a couple inches away from the edge of the bar. If going collar to collar feels comfortable and you can still grip the bar, then go for it. It'll shorten the range of motion a bit. I think Pendlay suggests taking a grip that makes the bar sit in the crease of the hip. So if you stand up and raise one of your thighs while holding the bar, it should sit right in that fold, about the height of the hip bone.

Also, like Yarni said, you're not finishing the pull. Really focus on using your hips. Try to extend them as hard as you possibly can. You'll find you get loads more power when you extend your hips all the way. I used to have the same problem. For me it was when when I stopped worrying about my feet, and actually tried to keep my feet glued to the ground and focused on only extending my hips, that I learned how to finish the pull.


i'm not terribly sure about this, but i'll have a go...

i think there is a difference between vertical and horizontal hip drive.

if you horizontally drive it then it will fly out horizontally and around over your head in a big arch (guided by your arms)...
if you vertically drive it then it should mostly fly up.

i find hang power snatches good for working on finishing the pull.
load as much as you need to for it to feel like work for you to move it snappy fast without tearing your shoulders off.

then once that seems good either do power snatches from the floor (work the first pull - second pull transition) or
do hang snatches (work the second pull - catch transition).

then run them together.

that is kinda what i do anyway.


Hi Fuseven,

It's been a little while since I've power snatched or cleaned but I've watched you're video and there are a couple of pointers to note.

You are squatting and placing the weight down which is a no no. The fact that you're having to move the weight around your knees as you squat down tells you you're not in the correct position.

The weight should go down ONLY as a consequence of you sitting back and keeping the shins vertical. You'll know when you do this correct as your hamstrings will feel extremely tense and pre-loaded with energy.

Try this technique from DAN JOHN

1 stand up straight with bar with strong grip but relaxed arms.
2 keep weight on heels
3 start pushing hips back while keeping shins vertical. (imagine trying to touch your butt on one wall while trying to touch your chin on the opposite wall). It's what DAN JOHN calls the bow and arrow effect and you'll feel you're hamstrings shake when you get it right.
4 with the bar about mid shin or above level, start extending the legs at about an inch a second while keeping the tension on the hams and back at the same angle until the bar reaches the knees, then jump straight up in the without actually snatching the weight.

Read DAN's stuff and if I can find his teaching video online i'll post it.

Hopefully the post wasn't too long.

Found the vid



good old Dan John on oly technique. fucked me up for a long time :frowning:

maybe different things work for different people???




well it is possible i have misunderstood him (in which case i'll put it down to my own stupid fault)... but the following ideas harmed my lifting technique more than helping it:

  • start with your shoulders over (in front of) the bar (to be fair Kono is also a fan of this so even if it isn't optimal for me it might be optimal for some)
  • bow and arrow second position (horizontal back)
  • the hip hinge for the snatch is the same as the hip hinge for the kettlebell swing
  • and then jump! like an arrow being released!!

don't get me wrong - i have a lot of respect for him and he played a significant role in my getting into oly lifting... he does offer things to get you 'kind of sort of doing stuff okayish' relatively quickly. he was a godsend with my squats (though he didn't emphasize the lumbar curve component of that which kinda fucked me over too). and he got me doing powercleans and snatches reasonably quickly... but the horizontal back position for the second pull... well i fatigue injured my back a couple times when i wouldn't have if i'd have aimed to keep it more upright... and i'm having a bitch of a time keeping my hips down / chest up now after ingraining the other way of doing things... and i had lots of problems with the bar moving in a big freaking arch because i thought the second pull was a horizontal rather than vertical hip drive (hey hip drive is hip drive - right!?). he says don't worry about the arch it will stop when the weight gets heavy but of course it is inefficient technique...

might come down to differences in technique styles... but anyway... those are my thoughts.



i tried this way. don't get me wrong, i'm still trying. but the weights are going up better for me trying to do it this way. might be peculiarities of levers or whatever...

i simply couldn't figure out how to avoid my knees before, too.


I think there definitely has been a misunderstanding

1 the bow and arrow does not mean horizontal back. This position is used to activate and bring the hamstrings into play. I like the feel of that position as my body feels tight as a single unit.

2 Horizontal back? I've not known Dan to emphasize that position. This position is very specific for each person as it can be dependent on arm length and hand spacing i.e. the wider your hands are apart the closer your body will be to the bar. Also, as your back angle shouldn't change until the bar passes the knee the back would be flat from the first pull which makes no sense as it's a weak position for the back to be in.

The hip drive as I see it comes from a vertical drive as that is where you want the bar to go and as efficiently as possible keeping the bar as close to body as possible.

Anyway, the most important parts for me was the "bow and arrow" position, weight on heels and for the first pull imagining I am trying to push my feet into the ground.

I didn't have to think of hip drive or triple extension as the initial setup did the job and it just worked.