The Power Snatch has become a popular exercise amongst athletes and ambitiously training people.
The Power Snatch is difficult to learn and master, but once you have mastered the Power Snatch form, the potential to become strong and powerful by including the Power Snatch into your training is tremendous.
However, the question stands out ‘How often should I do Power Snatches?’
This article discusses
- How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to improve my Power Snatch technique?
- How often should I do Power Snatches if I want to become stronger and more powerful?
- How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to build muscle mass?
- How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to improve my strength endurance?
- Other important considerations on how often to train Power Snatches
- A practical example how often to do Power Snatches
How often should I do Power Snatches? The answer to that is dependent on what is your training goal. Do you want to become stronger? Do you want to become more powerful? Do you want to become bigger? Or you just want to last longer.
Once you have defined your training goal, you need to look at your strength training session structure, as well as the structure of the week and the training cycle.
Ok, let’s have a look at some general outlines. These outlines are not written in stone and they need to be adjusted depending on the athlete’s need and training goal.
How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to improve my Power Snatch technique?
If you want to improve your Power Snatch technique, you can do Power Snatches with a higher training frequency.
Generally speaking, the physical exertion during technical work is low to medium, and the training intensity is lower (usually between 60 – 80% of the 1RM). This doesn’t lead to any interferences with recovery, which allows you to work with a higher training frequency.
The training frequency for improving your Power Snatch technique can, therefore, be up to 4, 5 or even 6 Power Snatch technique sessions a week.
How often should I do Power Snatches if I want to become stronger and more powerful?
If you want to improve your strength levels and power levels, you can do a total of 2 or 3 strength training sessions per week.
Out of these 2 to 3 strength training sessions per week, you can add the Power Snatch into 1 or 2 of these sessions.
A word of caution here, for most athletes the shoulder girdle is the weakest link in the entire Power Snatch chain, therefore, I recommend limiting the Power Snatch to 1 or 2 times a week and work with variations of the Power Snatch or a different exercise selection depending on your goal in the other sessions.
I have outlined that below under ‘considerations’ and ‘practical approach’
How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to build muscle mass?
If you want to work on muscular hypertrophy and gain additional muscle mass, the Power Snatch is not the best exercise to stimulate a hypertrophic response.
Why is that?
In order to maximize muscular hypertrophy, there are two main drivers, as I have also discussed in a recent article on the topic How to build muscles with Plyometrics
The 2 main drivers are
- The mechanical load
- The time under tension
The mechanical load isn’t the problem, considering, that some athletes can lift notable loads in the Power Snatch.
But, due to the nature of the lift, a fast explosive movement, followed by an inter-serial rest, combined with a low number of total repetitions, the time under tension is quite low to maximize muscular growth.
In addition to that, if you do more than 2 or 3 Power Snatch repetitions, the technique breaks down quickly and it becomes very difficult to do more repetitions, which you actually need for the required time under tension to stimulate muscular gains.
However, if you are an athlete and you have the Power Snatch in your regular strength training program, like most of my athletes have, I would keep the Power Snatch in the program even during a hypertrophy cycle.
The Power Snatch is such a technical lift and if you stop doing it, I have found, that the technical decrement is too large and it takes the athletes too long to get back to their technical proficiency level. Therefore I keep the Power Snatch in the program so that they can maintain their technique level.
Making sense of the conflicting information, how often should I Power Snatch, if I want to gain muscle mass?
If you want to gain muscle mass, you can do up to 3 to 5 total strength training sessions a week.
Out of these 3 to 5 strength training sessions, you can include the Power Snatch once or twice a week at the start of your training session, before you start working with longer times under tension during the following exercises.
How often should I do Power Snatches, if I want to improve my strength endurance?
Similarly to the discussion Power Snatches and muscular hypertrophy, the Power Snatch is also not the best exercise if you want to improve strength endurance.
For the same basic reason, in order to improve strength endurance, you need to work with higher repetitions. Check out the guidelines for strength endurance training it’s a different context (strength training and weight loss), however, the guidelines, like training intensity, repetitions, rest periods, etc. remain the same.
If you want to improve your strength endurance, you can do 2 – 3 strength training sessions a week, where you can add the Power Snatch once or twice a week.
As I mentioned before, the more repetitions you do, the more difficult it becomes to maintain proper technique, therefore you can consider a variation of the Power Snatch, such as Snatch Puss as an alternative for your strength endurance cycle.
Other important considerations on how often to train Power Snatches
Now that you have figured out your training goal and the right training frequency how often to train Power Snatches, you are all good to go, right?
Unfortunately, some strength exercises require some special considerations. The Power Snatch is one of these strength exercises.
The Power Snatch offers a lot of benefits because you are catching and stabilizing the weight over your head, which targets shoulder integrity and stability, vertical stability and as well as strengthening the posterior side.
However, with these benefits also come some disadvantages.
In the entire chain of movement, the shoulder is also the weakest link. Which means you need to have a certain level of upper body strength to do the Power Snatch. Also, check out T-Nation’s article Mastering the Snatch emphasizing that 50% of the entire Snatch happens above your shoulders.
In addition to that, the shoulder joint is one of the most movable joints in the human body, but also one of the most vulnerable joints.
Taking the last two points into consideration I am always careful with the total volume of Power Snatches. Also, check out Breaking Muscles article Snatch By Numbers: Why You’re Snatching Too Much And Too Often highlighting that Olympic Weightlifters are very careful with the total Snatch volume in their training.
So, what does that mean?
What is the answer to the question ‘How often should I do Power Snatches?’
Let me outline, what I do and my thought process behind it.
A practical example how often to do Power Snatches
I explained before, that it is important to start with a goal.
When I use the Power Snatch in training my athletes, my goal is to make them more powerful for their sport and also to teach and train a powerful triple extension (extension of hip, knees, and ankles).
The goal of our strength training is to improve sports performance, we are not Olympic Weightlifters, where the goal is to improve the Olympic Lift in itself.
My athletes compete in the cycling disciplines B.M.X. and Track Cycling and therefore the goal is to use the Power Snatch as one tool to improve the performance on the bike
The Power Snatch, therefore, is not the goal in itself, it’s a mean to an end.
There are different strength exercises to teach and train the triple extension, such as the Power Clean and Clean Pulls and Snatch Pulls. Also, check out Bar Bend’s article Power Snatch – Exercise Guide and Benefits about programming the Power Snatch and Catalystathletic’s extensive exercise library around the Snatch
Consequently, I do program the Power Snatch in one or maximum two sessions a week and use another variation to training the triple extension in the other strength training sessions.
A sample 2-day strength training program could look like this
Goal: Triple Extension Pattern
Goal: Squat Pattern
A sample 3-day strength training program could look like this
Goal: Triple Extension Pattern
Goal: Squat Pattern
|Bulgarian Split Squat|
I have also added a second exercise to demonstrate, how I apply the same thought process, as I use the second exercise to train the squat pattern and the exercise selection then changes from strength training session to strength training session.
Concluding How often should I do Power Snatches
How often you do the Power Snatch primarily depends on your training goal.
Whilst, the Power Snatch is one of the best strength exercises to improve strength and power, however, the movement also has a few drawbacks, that need to be considered carefully in the training planning.
As I have outlined, in our case, where our main goal is to improve sports performance we use the Power Snatch as a means to an end and also use a variety of different strength exercises that fulfill the same training goal.