How to do a Power Snatch
Have you ever tried to do a Power Snatch? Even though the movement looks so smooth and simple, it is difficult to execute.
So, how to do a Power Snatch?
In my opinion, everyone can learn how to do a Power Snatch, if you understand the technical key points and practice the Power Snatch.
This article and video explain
- How to do a Power Snatch
- The technical execution of a Power Snatch
- The different phases of a Power Snatch
- The key points in every phase to successfully master the Power Snatch technique
The Power Snatch is one of the best exercises to develop power, speed, and explosiveness. And if you commit yourself to learn how to do the Power Snatch, you will reap the benefits. I have explained the benefits of the Power Snatch in the articles
How long does it take to learn how to do a Power Snatch?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, athletes and people have different skill levels and also different abilities to learn a new skill, such as the Power Snatch technique.
I have mentioned before, that the Power Snatch technique like no other exercise requires you to work what I call ‘precisely’. You have to bring the bar into the exact right position overhead to receive and catch it, a centimeter too far to the front and it will fall right down in front of you, a centimeter to the back and you will lose the bar behind you.
With other exercises, you will always be able to ‘muscle’ the exercise a bit, which refers to using your strength to compensate for technical deviations, the Power Snatch will not allow this.
I spent a lot of time with my athletes in learning and consolidating the Power Snatch technique before we load the exercise up. And even at a later stage, when we load the Power Snatch, we always have phases where we are spending the time to deliberately consolidate the Power Snatch technique.
So, how long does it take to learn how to do a Power Snatch?
In most cases, it takes multiple weeks to months before I prescribe to load up the exercise.
How to do a Power Snatch step by step
To understand and learn how to do a Power Snatch, it is important to understand the Power Snatch technique.
As a short side note, there are different models of the Power Snatch technique out there, depending on coach or author, country, and training philosophy. However, most Power Snatch technique models come back to the same key points.
Let’s have a look at the different phases of the Power Snatch technique and the different phases of the Power Snatch
- Start position
- First Pull
- Second Pull
In the start position, the feet are between hip width and shoulder width apart. As a general coaching point, I advise the athlete to think about a maximal vertical jump and use the same stance in the start position.
The reason for that is, that you want to maximally accelerate the bar upwards, similar to a vertical jump.
Position your feet under the bar, if you look down the bar should be over your mid-foot.
Grab the bar with a wide grip and keep your arms straight and relaxed.
Keep your chest up and out (think about a gorilla), if you look at the start position from the side, your shoulders should be over the bar or slightly in front of the bar.
The so-called first pull refers to the moment the bar leaves the ground (some call it the moment of separation) until the bar is below your knees.
During this phase, it is important to keep the bar close to you, if you look at the movement from the side, lift the bar in a straight line.
Your back remains straight, the chest is still up and the shoulders stay over or slightly in front of the bar.
The movement during the first pull should be controlled, accelerating the bar will come at a later point.
The transition phase is also called ‘knee passage’ and is that tricky phase where the bar passes the knees (hence the terminology ‘knee passage’).
The only aim of this phase is to bring the bar and body into the right position to maximally accelerate the bar upwards.
If you initiated the first pull correctly and keep the bar close to you, your knees will make room for the bar to pass when you are extending your legs. For most athletes, this phase is difficult. They tend to stay too far on the front of their feet, which results in the bar moving away from the body, as opposed to keeping it close to the body.
Once the bar has passed the knees, the knees re-bent and are brought forward under the bar again to allow a powerful upward acceleration.
This re-bending is also referred to the ‘Double Knee Bend’ or ‘Scoop’ and happens unintentionally if the movements before have been executed the way they should have been executed. Have a look at this video from Catalystathletics, that explains it well
Remain with your arms relaxed and extended, the literally heavy lifting is done by the hip and the legs.
Keep your back straight, the chest is out and your shoulder remains over the bar.
The movement remains controlled, biomechanical analyses could show, that proficient lifters even have a 5 – 10 % decrease in bar velocity during the transition phase.
What I really want to say, no need to rush.
The main idea of the transition phase is to get the bar into the right position for the second pull. So, focus on ‘positioning’.
Now, the action starts.
Keep your arms relaxed and extend your hips, knees, and ankle to accelerate the bar maximally upward – think about a maximal vertical jump.
Usually, the bar makes contact on the height of the hip, therefore some coaches are cueing ‘bring the bar to your pocket’.
Due to the maximal acceleration, the hip extends fully (up to 180 – 190 degrees) and the shoulders move behind the bar. The ankles are fully extended and the heels come off the ground.
The goal of this phase is to fixate the bar safely overhead.
After you have maximally accelerated the bar, bring your body quickly and actively under the bar by bending the knees and catching the bar in a quarter squat (120-degree knee angle) or half squat (90-degree knee angle).
In order to do that, the feet have to do a small side shuffle to go from the hip width position from before into a shoulder width position to receive the bar. The stance should be the width of your squat (ideally the Overhead Squat, if you are doing Overhead Squats).
During this phase, the arms are starting to bend. Use your arms to get yourself under the bar and to guide the bar into the right catch position.
The moment the bar is fixated and controlled overhead, the recovery starts, which simply refers to standing back up into the end position, where you stand fully erect and the bar right over your head.
I guess no one has made that end position and spectacular as Pyrros Dimas have a look
The video quality could be a bit better, but hey, it’s 1992…
It is important to see the different phases as part of a whole and train the Power Snatch as a full movement rather than broken down into chunks.
However understanding the technical key points of each phase of the Power Snatch technique will help you identify the weakest link in the chain and address this weakest link with appropriate corrective exercises.
Concluding How to do a Power Snatch
The Power Snatch is one of the best exercises if you want to become faster, more explosive and more powerful.
The Power Snatch is a technically very demanding exercise and it takes time to learn the Power Snatch technique.
Once you have mastered the Power Snatch technique you will surely reap the benefits of being faster, more explosive and more powerful.
More Power Snatch information
The Importance of Power Snatches
The Ultimate Guide to Power Snatches
Why Power Snatches are important for Athletes
How often should I do Power Snatches
or the Power Snatch video library