The Power Snatch is a highly valuable strength and power exercise, that should be part of every strength training program or power training program aimed to improve sports performance.
The question stands out ‘How much should I Power Snatch?’ What is reasonable? What is good?
This article and video covers
- Why you should dominate the Power Snatch technique
- How much you should Power Snatch in relation to your bodyweight
- The ratio between Power Snatch and Power Clean
- Training considerations for the Power Snatch
How much should I Power Snatch? First, get the Power Snatch technique right!
Whilst the Power Snatch is a great tool in your toolbox to increase speed and power, you need to get the Power Snatch technique right if you want to reap all the benefits of this exercise.
For more information about the Power Snatch technique, have a look at the article and video tutorial
How much should I Power Snatch?
To answer the question, how much should I Power Snatch, there are a few different angles to look at the question, which I will discuss, such as
- How much should I Power Snatch for my bodyweight
- How much should I Power Snatch compared to my Power Clean
There is not much of a point to look at an absolute weight in the Power Snatch because athletes with a heavier body weight usually can lift a higher absolute weight.
It might sound like a no-brainer, however, it was a question that went on in my head when I was a young student studying sports science.
So I went to my professor of training and movement science and asked him why heavier athletes can lift absolutely higher loads than athletes less body weight?
He was always able to simplify questions, so also this time he just mentioned ‘Because they carry their training weight 24 / 7.’
A light bulb went on…
How much should I Power Snatch for my bodyweight?
Once you have mastered the Power Snatch technique and you train the Power Snatch regularly, you will realize, that you are able to increase the weight over time.
The next step, you want to know some benchmarks, whether you are doing ok or can do better.
I have outlined some benchmarks I use with my athletes in the article
|0.6 – 0.7 time bodyweight||0.7 – 0.8 times bodyweight|
|0.7 – 0.8 times bodyweight||0.8 – 1 times bodyweight|
|0.8 – 1 times bodyweight||1 – 1.1 times bodyweight|
|More than 1 time bodyweight||More than 1.1 times bodyweight|
These benchmarks are based on my experience and are not written in stone, however, they can provide a good guideline to where you are in the training process, as well as giving you some targets to strive towards.
How much should I Power Snatch compared to my Power Clean?
This is probably very similar to what Bodybuilders refer to when they talk about Broscience, which basically means that anecdotal reports of experiences are valued higher than science. To get that right, it is less the idea, that anecdotal reports are valued higher than science, the idea is, that in the absence of scientific findings, athletes rely on training experiences.
The same is true for calculating the Power Snatch from the Power Clean or comparing the Power Snatch weight to the Power Clean weight, but there is a time and a place to do that.
I have outlined my thought process on that when I explained how to calculate your Front Squat max from your Back Squat max in the article
Whilst Olympic Weightlifter refer to a ratio the Snatch being 80% of the Clean, I found that this ratio is too high for athletes, due to the high technical demand of the Power Snatch technique compared to the Power Clean technique.
I have found over and over again, that the ratio between Power Snatch and Power Clean is 0.7 – 0.75, which means the Power Snatch max is around 70% to 75% of the Power Clean max.
Why is the Power Snatch to Power Clean ratio helpful?
Since my athletes are very rarely Olympic Weightlifters or come from an Olympic Weightlifting background, in most cases they are not familiar with the Olympic Lifts.
Very often I am faced with the situation, that they have hardly to no experience in strength training, so I focus on teaching the fundamental movements first before progressing to complex movements such as the Olympic Lifts.
What do I want to say with this?
In most cases, I just don’t have enough time to teach the Olympic Lifts, so that they dominate the appropriate technique.
Taking it a step further, I have been faced with situations, where an athlete can Power Clean 130 kg and Power Snatch 80 kg. And we are talking about athletes that are amongst the best in the world in their sport.
If you now make your calculations, you will see that 80 kg from 130 kg is 61%!
So, the question arises ‘How much does he get out of a Power Snatch with 80 kg, if he could do Power Cleans with 130 kg?’
It’s probably difficult to answer, however, my conclusion in these instances is. If I don’t see that there is substantial room for improvements in the Power Snatch, the athlete and I are much better off focusing our energy on improving the Power Clean and getting even better at it, than doing Power Snatches.
There are a few more considerations with regards to the Power Snatch, that are important for an optimal training process.
How much should I Power Snatch – Consideration Training Frequency
Have you heard the saying ‘A chain is only as strong as its’ weakest link.’
The idea is, that you can have the strongest chain if there is one weak link in the chain, the strength of the entire chain is limited by the strength of the weakest link.
The same is true for the Power Snatch.
What does that mean?
The simple fact of bring the weight over your head and stabilizing the weight over your head the strength of your shoulder girdle often becomes the weakest link. I have outlined this principle on the example of the Overhead Squat and that in an Overhead Squat, your lower body is able to squat much more, than the upper body can carry
The shoulder is one of the most moveable joints, but also one of the most vulnerable joints. For that reason, I would recommend doing Power Snatches not more than 2 times per week.
For us, it is fairly simple, I use the Power Snatch to train an explosive triple extension, which transfers to the triple extension that athletes have in their sport itself. Whether it is running, jumping, throwing, hitting or the start motion of my BMX cyclists or track cyclists.
Therefore we are not married to the Power Snatch and can also use different variations to train the triple extension, such as Snatch Pulls, Power Cleans, Clean Pulls, the list can go on and on…
What is the bottom-line?
If you are not an Olympic Weightlifter, limit the training frequency of the Power Snatch to a maximum of two times a week.
To read more about training frequencies, check out
How much should I Power Snatch – Consideration Reps and Sets
The Power Snatch technique can deteriorate quickly, due to the high coordinative demands of the Power Snatch.
When I started out, practicing and learning the Power Snatch myself, I trained in one of the most successful weightlifting clubs in Germany and I realized that the Olympic Weightlifters only performed 1 or two repetitions of the Olympic Lifts and their derivatives.
I asked one of the coaches if they never do 8 reps or 10 reps?
He replied, that due to the high technical demand of the Olympic lifts, they never do more than 1 or 2 reps. He also explained in his simple words, that you won’t see a gymnast doing 10 repetitions of the most difficult coordinative tasks in gymnastics.
Another light bulb went on…
What does that mean for our strength training program?
I personally don’t prescribe more than 3 reps in a set, most of the times not more than 2 repetitions.
If you want to do more repetitions, there are different options.
One option is to reverse the set and rep scheme. For example, you want to do the classical 3 sets of 10 reps, you can reverse it to 10 sets of 3 reps. One benefit of reversing the set and rep scheme is, that the volume is equated, which means you are doing 30 total repetitions.
I have outlined how to use the information of total volume and the effect training intensity has on total volume in the article
Another option is to break down the multiple repetitions into a so-called cluster set. Where you perform 2 repetitions, have a short intra-serial rest of 20 – 40 seconds and perform the next cluster.
How much should I Power Snatch – Consideration Training intensity
Unlike any other strength training exercise, the Power Snatch has the highest acceleration, that is applied to the bar. The bar velocity of Power Snatches is much higher than the bar velocity of Power Cleans or regular squats (the only exception are ballistic exercises, those have even higher bar velocities).
What that means is, that the lighter the load or the lower the training intensity in 5 of the 1RM, the more the bar can be accelerated. Which is a good thing! Where it becomes tricky, is something that is accelerated, also needs to be decelerated (if it’s not performed ballistically).
From a practical standpoint, as well as from a science standpoint, loads with lower intensities than 80% of the 1RM have a substantial part of deceleration in the last part of the movement. And the lighter the load, the greater the part of the deceleration.
In simple words, if you Power Snatch with 60% of your 1RM, so much effort needs to go into the deceleration, that it almost defeats the purpose of the exercise.
As usual, there is an exception to the rule, such as Olympic Weightlifter who are very skilled at modulating their forces and they can effectively do Power Snatches with these lower intensities.
Bottom-line, training intensities should be above 80% of the 1RM (always assumed you dominate the Power Snatch technique!).
If you want to train at lower intensities, you can shorten the range of the movement and do Hang Power Snatches or Power Snatches from the block.
The difference between Power Snatch vs Hang Power Snatch? Check out
Concluding How much should I Power Snatch
The Power Snatch is one of the best exercises to improve strength and power, however dominating the correct Power Snatch technique is the basis for continuous improvements in the long run and performing a reasonable benchmarking process of how much you should Power Snatch.
However, the uniqueness of the coordination and technical specificity of the Power Snatch and the high velocities applied to the bar require specific considerations and adaptations to the training program with regards to rep and sets, as well as training intensity.
More Power Snatch information
or the Power Snatch video library