T Nation

Snatch / Clean Questions

I tried snatching for the first time tonight. Did it from the hang. I can snatch dumbells fine, but this was my first attempt with a barbell (2 hands snatch grip). Did my first attempts with just the bar to learn movement and so forth. Felt fine and moved similar to a DB snatch. Once I started adding weight onto the bar my snatch soon became a clean to an OH press.

Is this because I had too much weight for the movement (for me)? (IE are snatches normally done at a lower weight than a clean / press?) or is it just because the movement is so new to me I was reverting to a more familiar movement?

Should I just stick it out with lower weights (weights that I can snatch) and eventually move up or am I perhaps doing something else wrong?

I know it is hard without a video, but I don’t have that possibility. If anyone else has experienced this maybe you can chime in.


First of all congrats on pursuing the snatch its a lift that too many people stay away from because of its complexity. As someone who just started OLing 4 months ago I understand your troubles at this point. At the beginning my form was literally SHIT, so

You definitely want to stick to lower weights and progress from there, go from the hang for a while, then eventually progress down to going from below the knees. The snatch IS ONE SINGLE, FLUID MOVEMENT. Also as my coach told me at the beginning, try to make it a fluent movement, DONT RIP THE SHIT OUT OF THE BAR, the movement should look smooth.

Doing it with a bar is much different than with dumbbells, and requires much better form. You shouldnt be able to snatch as much as you clean and jerk/press.

I would suggest that you start by just doing your work from the hang with the bar at first and practice that way. In the meantime work on lots of overhead squatting and drop snatches. These will help you get a better feel for the movement, and will also help you keep the bar up there in the catch phase, and they will improve you bottom position flexibility for later.

Just take it slow, avoid the tendecy to sacrifice form for weight with the snatch or you will stall very quickly.

Hope that helps. If you need anymore help just shoot me a PM. Good Luck.

Definetly stick with the lower weight. in fact I 've read in many instances where people wold practice an hour a day with only a broom stick just to get the motion right. O.L. movements are great but you need take your time learning them because you can easily hurt yourself otherwise. just suck up your pride for a bit and stick with the low weight, half the people in your gym probably aren’t even athletic enough to know what you’re doing let alone attempt it…so no worries!

Awesome! Thanks guys. Ya I don’t mind sucking it up and going light, I just want to learn.

I studied the videos from the http://www.uwlax.edu/strengthcenter/videos/video_index.htm
link and I think I was also forgetting to raise my elbows out. This action of keeping my elbows in was dropping the weight into a clean as well I think. I think losing that elbow out action was probably a direct result of the weight being too heavy for me.

Gonna do one armed DB shatches for now for my workout and then hit the barbell unloaded for 2hand BB snatches to learn form. I think I need some wrist flexibility as well, looking back I can remember my wrists feeling confined at the point where the movement is transfering (the drop under the bar moment) and I think that is because of the BB forcing my wrists into one plane of movement, unlike a DB where you have freedom for small adjustments like that thru the act.

Thanks again for the thoughts / comments. it helped a lot and got me thinking.

I found this video to be very helpful. I’ve had trouble getting my form back after not oly lifting for a year (I was never extremely proficient to begin with). These are helping me get it back.


For something more humbling, watch this guy:


edit By “this video”, I meant the Chad Ikei video and not the one you linked to. The examples of the lifts in the video you linked are definitely not prime.

You definetly have to find another video example than this one. (the uwlax.com one)

That guy has his back rounded, thats already a big drawback. It causes injury and a lost in power.

Try to learn the drop snatch first, then some snatch pull.

Just like the usual snatch but instead of pulling it over your head, you pull and shrug and raise your calf at the same time. Remember that the explosive part is not at the beginning of the movement but when you hit the bar on your thights. It has to look like one movement, there is no pause at the thighs either.

You can do the same thing for Clean (Clean pull).

Whenever i start leaning too forward on the snatch, my coach tells me to keep my back arched and to try drop snatches in my spare time.

Good luck

The videos are fine. The first one is of Chad Ikei, an accomplished weightlifter and hodler of many American weightlifting records. He gives a pretty good talk through demonstration of the snatch.

The second is Pyrros Dimas, 3 time Olympic gold medalist and arguably one of the all-time greats of weightlifting. His technique and execution are superb, and he is real exciting to watch as well

Don’t confuse dumbbell snatches with barbell snatches. The movements are not all that similar. In fact, today you can find a diagram displaying the differences at crossfit. Take a look at it. Good luck with your training.

You’re right, the one of Chad is definetly the best video explanation of a snatch i’ve seen.

And the one of Dimas is not even from this world. He did C&J 218kg+ with a jerk press (not even split jerk).

The reason your snatches were becoming a clean and press out is because in the snatch you have to learn how to jump under the bar to catch it with straight arms. Practice the overhead squat, drop snatch, and snatch grip deadlifts to start.

[quote]Krollmonster wrote:
The reason your snatches were becoming a clean and press out is because in the snatch you have to learn how to jump under the bar to catch it with straight arms. Practice the overhead squat, drop snatch, and snatch grip deadlifts to start.[/quote]

You are right. After watching the chad video, it was immediately apparent I was not dropping down to get under the bar and instead trying to “wet noodle” the whole thing up my body. I think what I am going to do instead now is work on technique at home, broom stick style and do low pulls or high pulls for my workout for now. Dropping down for the clean is “easier” if I dare say that, but I think it is mental more than anything else at this point. Droping under the weight that low just seems scary.

Oh well, broom sticks don’t hurt hah.

Thanks again all, and really thanks for those videos, the chad video is a HUGE help.