How many Power Snatch reps should you do?

How many Power Snatch Reps should you do? Is there an ideal repetition for the Power Snatch? Should you do Power Snatches for time, or is it better to stick to a set number of repetitions?

As there is a lot of conflicting information out there, this article and video discusses

How many Power Snatch reps you should do is dependent on your training goal, and less dependent on the exercise you chose.

How many Power Snatch reps can you do

But wait, there are a few exercises that are not really made for higher repetitions. There are also exercises, that are not made for lower repetitions.

The Power Snatch is one of the exercises, that isn’t really made for higher repetitions. The same is true for most variations of the Olympic Lifts, the Front Squat or Overhead Squat, just to name a few. Check out a good article from T-Nation The Fallacy of High-Rep Olympic Lifting discussing this topic.

Am I contradicting myself?

Just read on, I will clear up the confusion.

How many Power Snatch reps should I do

So, how many repetitions should you do in the Power Snatch?

The number of repetitions is dependent on your goal.

The Power Snatch is a great exercise of choice if you want to become stronger and more powerful, but it has limited applications if you want to gain muscle mass and or want to improve your strength endurance.

I do know, that the Power Snatch is used in Crossfit for higher repetition, however, the purpose of this article is to outline, how the Power Snatch is used in the physical preparation of athletes.

The Power Snatch is used as a means to an end to make the athletes stronger and more powerful.

Therefore the training intensity is 85% of the 1 RM or higher if you use the regular Power Snatch from the ground. If you use variations from the hang or from the block, where there is a shorter range of movement the training intensity is lower, whilst the repetition range remains the same.

So, the next question is ‘What is the ideal repetition range for a Power Snatch?’

How many Power Snatch reps are ideal

In my opinion, as well as in the opinion of most coaches, the ideal repetition range for the Power Snatch is between 1 and a maximum of 3 repetitions. Please check the article from the International Youth Conditioning Association Three Keys for Programming and Coaching Olympic Lifts outlining the rep ranges for Olympic Lifts, as a maximum of 3.

With some exceptions, you can do more, but then it’s advisable to split up the repetitions.

How do you split up the repetitions?

For that it is important to understand the different rest periods, you have an inter-serial rest and intra-serial rest

  • inter-serial rest is the rest between the sets
  • intra-serial rest is the rest in between the repetitions

Usually, the intra-serial rest is 0 seconds, which means you perform one repetition after the next until the completion of the set.

If you want to split up repetitions, you need to increase the intra-serial rest.

The intra-serial rest is the rest of a set, between the repetitions and refers to the time between one repetition and the second repetition. This intra-serial rest can be somewhere between 0 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on training intensity, length of the set and the total number of repetitions.

As I have outlined, for the Power Snatch, the ideal repetition range is 1 to 3 repetitions, if you choose to do more you better split it up by increasing the intra-serial rest.

As an applied example, if you choose 4 repetitions or 6 repetitions, you can do cluster sets, where you do  2 Power Snatch reps by a rest period of 20, 40 or 60 seconds, followed by another 2 Power Snatch reps. Check out the example of Koen van der Wijst, performing such a Cluster set of a Hang Power Snatch and a Power Snatch, followed by 20 seconds rest, followed by another Hang Power Snatch and Power Snatch

This video was actually cut short, as Instagram only allows for a total of 60 seconds. The original set had 6 Power Snatch reps, clustered into 3 * 2 reps with 20 seconds in between.

Now that I have defined, how many Power Snatch reps you should do in a set, the next question is how many sets or how many Power Snatch reps should you do within a session?

How many Power Snatch reps should I you do in a training session

Ok, now you have done 2 reps at 90% 1 RM, but how many sets should you do?

Multiplying the number of repetitions with the number of sets will give you the total volume for a particular exercise.

This total volume is highly depending on the training intensity. As an example, you can do more total repetitions and a higher training volume, if you train at 85% 1 RM than if you train at 95% 1 RM.

Please check out the article The Holy Grail of Strength Training – Sets and Reps where I have outlined this concept with specific examples.

How does that unfold in the Power Snatch?

If you train at intensities of 95% 1 RM or above, you can do 1 rep or maximum 2 reps and the total training volume is somewhere between 15 and 20 repetitions.

Training at intensities of 90 – 95% 1 RM allows you to do 2 or 3 reps and the total training volume is somewhere between 20 and 30 repetitions.

And if you are training at an intensity of 85 to 90% 1 RM, you can do 3 to 5 repetitions, please remember to split them into clusters, and the total volume is 30 to 50 repetitions.

relation between training intensity, number of repetitions and training volume in a strength training

Outlining the relationship between strength training intensity, repetition ranges and total training volume of a strength training program

OK, let’s put that in perspective.

If you aren’t making these numbers, there is no reason to freak out, these numbers are a guideline and you don’t have to meet them. It is also dependent on the total amount of exercises if you do 3 exercises in a session the total training volume per exercise can be higher, than if you do 7 exercises in a session, where the total training volume per exercise needs to be lower. It also depends whether you are in the competitive season, training volumes are lower or in the preparatory phase, where training volumes are higher.

The concept I want to bring across is, that if you train at higher intensities, the total volume needs to be lower, and if you train at a lower intensity, the total volume can be higher.

You should also be aware of what your total volume is within a session so that you can track your training volume over time to see what is the total volume within a week and within a training cycle.

Check out the image below, how this relation can unfold over time. At the beginning of the training period, the training volume is high, and with increasing training intensity the training volume reduces.

the relation between training volume and training intensity in a strength training program

The image shows the relationship between training volume (as the total number of repetitions) and training intensity (as % of the predicted 1 RM)

The image also outlines that in a training week, there is a modulation and variation in the total training volume of each strength training session, where typically the first strength training session has the highest volume, whilst the second session has the lowest volume.

Concluding How many Power Snatch Reps

The number of Power Snatch reps are dependent on your training goal, however, the Power Snatch isn’t the best exercise for higher repetitions.

The ideal number of Power Snatch reps is 1 – 3, if you want to do more reps, it’s advisable to split the repetitions up into clusters.

The total number of repetitions within a training session is dependent on the training intensity and you need to track the total volume over time to ensure progress.