T Nation

Power Snatch vs Power Clean


which one would you think is reccomended more so for power development?

If i improve my clean will I improve my snatch? How about vice versa?

I can definitely handle more weight while doing a clean than I can a snatch, does that count for something as far as growth and power production?





From the article:

[i]Olympic lifts can lead to great increases in the capacity to generate power in sporting activities! For example, power output during a max effort bench press would be 300W for a 100kg man. ("W" meaning a measurement of work.) The squat and deadlift would be 1100W. How do the Olympic movements stack up? Check it out:

Snatch (to max velocity): 3000W

Snatch, 2nd pull (explosion phase): 5600W

Clean (to max velocity): 2950W

Clean, 2nd pull (explosion phase): 5500W

Jerk: 5400W[/i]

There isn't a whole lot of difference in power output between the two lifts. I'd say if you have to pick one or the other, pick which one you like better.


how was the work calculated for the olympic lifts?


I understand what you're saying here.

The snatch is harder to do, and recruits more muscles and needs to be done at a higher speed, so it is more effective for developing power. But on the other hand, one can handle more weights with a clean, and more weight is better.

A snatch with 135 would be a hell of lot more beneficial than a clean with 135. In my opinion a 135 snatch and a 225lb clean are similar in difficuly for myself. I would have to side with the snatch for power after thinking about this. My logic behind this is that
a)it's more fun than a clean
b)it has to be done a lot quicker
even though the weights are like 60% or whatever of a clean, a quicker rep trains your cns and muscles to adapt and help you become more powerful, I read that somewhere.

I do both and I love both!! I haven't yet done the dumbell snatches with alternating hands yet...soon though, the video of the stud doing 150lb dumbells inspired me to but down the oly bar and grab a dumbell.

Kir Dog


depends on what you want to work on. snatch is obviously more difficult. typically you can only snatch ~80% of what you can clean and jerk. snatch is more technical, clean is easier to do more often. overall greater athletic gains could probably be seen by implementing the snatch...I say cycle through both.


Power is a function of the speed used in the exercise, and as the snatch movement has to go through a greater distance in about the same amount of time the speed is greater (the snatch often regarded as the fastest movement in sports), hence the power would have to be greater.

The fact that you can use more weight in the clean could sway the argument somewhat i.e. the extra force applied to move a greater weight could make up for a slower speed and have equivalent power output. But I think the snatch is regarded as a better power producer.


I would do both. Here's my rationale:

The snatch allows you to develope a larger bar speed with a smaller absolute load, making it more about speed-strength.

The clean allows you to use a greater absolute load while still moving "quickly" making it emphasize strength-speed.

That's my impression of the two lifts. I like to do them on separate days. I've used the power clean on a "heavy" day (12x3, for example) and the power snatch on an "explosive" day, using a 70ish percent load for 12-20x3.

Hope that makes sense.


Very good summary. I still like the clean better as its more specific to my sport (wrestling) and I have a better feel for it.


Holy Hell, 20 triples? Either:
A)You're in fantastic cardio shape.
B)Your workouts take 3hrs.
C)You're very weak in these lifts (weight or technique).
D)You're not very close to your true 1RM.
E)Any combination of the above.

Other than that, your advice is on target, I would recommend the consideration of sport specificity and movement patterns as well, a football lineman might benefit more from a clean whereas a thrower might benefit more from a snatch.


Do you mean measured or calculated?
They use a dynamometer that basically measures how far and fast the bar moved. Using weight, distance, and time, you get power output in Watts. I think the popular dyno model is made by Tendo.

1 Watt=.737 ft.#/s.
So, if you lift .737# one foot in one second (or 1#,.737ft., 1s, etc.), you do 1 Watt of work. Fewer seconds, more #, and/or more ft. All increase the wattage.


I have no idea which one is more productive. I just love them both.


work = force x (distance)

i believe a watt is actually a measure of power, but i'm not sure on the units.

power = work / time


I wish A was the case, but D is the most accurate. When I do a very large volume like that I am no where near failure. Something like a 5-8 rep max load. Probably closer to 8rm...

I also use a very short rest period. Something like 45 seconds to a minute. I'm a "gym-pacer" so I pace around a piece of equipment or to an end of the gym and then I'm ready to go again.

Very astute observation though.


Watts are the unit for power. Work is measured in Joules (energy). Therefore using your power equation:

Watt = Joules/second, or energy per unit of time.

Hey, good to see I still remember part of my engineering degree 7 years down the track, LOL!


SNATCH, you just can't beat it


Check out this preliminary research. Take a look at the squat and power clean numbers.

Preliminary VertiMax Study Results from Southern Utah University
1. (Matthew Rhea, PhD., Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, Physical Education Department, Southern Utah University)
-----Original Message-----
Subject: Vertimax study
I wanted to update you quickly on the findings of the first round of data collection with the Vertimax. I have two different groups of athletes involved in this study: college and high school athletes. This summer, I have had 60 high school football players divided into two groups with each group participating in the same training program over a 12 week period. The only difference between the two group's training regimens was one group added vertimax training to their regimen. I just finished post-testing with this group and I wanted to share some of the findings with you. I have had a group of 30 college athletes training this summer as well, however, I want to wait to analyze the data until I get another training group this fall when more athletes return from summer break. I have also been in contact with the strength and conditioning coach at Arizona State University where they have two units and they have agreed to get some of their athletes involved in this research starting in the fall.

As for the high school group, overall the findings reflect very positively on the vertimax. The group using the vertimax improved an average of 4.5 inches on their vertical jump and 217 watts on lower body power testing. The group not using the vertimax only improved 1.8 inches on their vertical and 49 watts on their lower body power. This represents a significant difference between groups in favor of the vertimax.
I also calculated transfer from the vertimax to lower body power (telling us how much of the vertimax training influenced power improvements) and calculated it to be 1.57. This is a very good transfer. A scale that I proposed at this years NSCA conference listed 1.0 and above as excellent transfer. In comparison, I have calculated transfer from the squat and power clean exercises to lower body power improvements in high school athletes to be .48 and .22 respectively. In other words, the training with the vertimax transfers to improvements in lower body power and vertical jump over three times as much as the squat and about 7 times that of the power clean. Consequently, I am replacing a lot of squats and all of the power clean work with work on the vertimax in these high school athletes.
This is good stuff. I really like the equipment and I am sure that the data will look equally impressive with the college athletes once I get it all collected.

Matthew Rhea, PhD
Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Physical Education Department
Southern Utah University


From my exp. the snatch will improve your clean .However it really takes time to learn to snatch. It seemd that one can teach themselves to clean with ease. However those who teach themselves to snatch dont have the same success. The end result is alot of wasted time.
I ve noticed that success with the snatch seems to depend more on body types,as opposed to the clean.
You are covering more distance with the snatch( from the ground to the over head squat position) ,probably working more muscles.Therefore Id have to guess that the snatch is better for power and growth even though one use less weight.
More weight isnt always better.(I realise that I 'm getting off topic )I can lift more in a 3/4 squat however I think ass to the ground squat is far superior.This again is from exp.I find that when doing exercises that require a great ROM( range of motion), such as ass to floor squats , one is much stronger in all the other lifts. I know that I will get a million replies talking about partials and what not.ButI still say the lifts with greatest distance are the best.



What kind of strength training program were the athletes doing, and what was their lifting background?

How does he calculate the carryover?

Its interesting if his findings are true. It is weird however, that according to his calculations, vertimax 3x better then squat and 7x better then power clean in producing vertical jump height. But I was under the impression that powercleans were generally better then the squat for that purpose.