The Ultimate Guide to Power Snatches
The Power Snatch offers unique benefits for athletes and ambitiously training people. However, the Power Snatch requires time and effort to learn until you can fully reap the benefits.
What are Power Snatches
Power Snatches are a derivative of the competitive exercise Snatch in Olympic Weightlifting. Olympic weightlifters use the Power Snatch as one of the training exercises to improve the Snatch.
The Power Snatch has made its way into Strength and Conditioning or physical preparation, because it is easier to learn and execute than the regular Snatch, but offers the same benefits of a Snatch.
Power Snatch vs Snatch: What is the difference between a Power Snatch and a Snatch
The Snatch is one of the two exercises in Olympic Weightlifting, where the weight is brought from the ground overhead. Usually, the weight is caught in a full and deep position with the bar fixated overhead before the athlete stands back up.
The following video shows a Snatch.
The only difference in the Power Snatch vs the Snatch is that the weight is caught in a higher position, roughly speaking with a knee angle of 90 degrees or above parallel (this terminology refers to the upper part of the thigh being parallel with the ground).
The following video shows the same athlete as above performing a Power Snatch, have a look you can clearly see the higher catch position compared to the video above.
Power Snatch vs Hang Power Snatch: What is the difference between a Power Snatch and a Hang Power Snatch
Now you know the difference between a Power Snatch vs Snatch, the next question that I hear often is ‘What is the difference between a Power Snatch and a Hang Power Snatch?’
The difference between a Power Snatch vs a Hang Power Snatch is the start position, in the Power Snatch you start the movement from the ground, in the Hang Power Snatch, you start the movement from the hang. The bar is literally ‘hanging’ in front of you. Check out the video
The same athlete as in the previous videos, notice how she gets the bar in the start position and starts the Power Snatch with the bar above the knees.
You can vary the hang position, depending on your desired goal. You can do
- Hang on height of shins
- Hang below knees
- Hang above knees
- Hang on height of mid-thigh
- Hang from hip
What Power Snatches Do For You
The Power Snatch has numerous benefits, which I have outlined in the article The Importance of Power Snatches
In a nutshell, the Power Snatch works on fundamental movements, such as bending and extending, squatting and stabilizing.
The Power Snatch trains the so-called triple extension, which is the extension of hip, knee and ankle, which is important for all sport where running, jumping or throwing is involved.
But not only does the Power Snatch work on expressing force, as in the triple extension, during the catch phase of the lift, the Power Snatch also works on absorbing forces effectively. This is important in sports where athletes have to decelerate and accelerate quickly, for example when changing direction, landing, etc
And an often overlooked aspect of training the Olympic lifts or their derivatives, such as the Power Clean or Power Snatch is the psychological aspect, I have outlined that in
Because the athlete does not only have to commit to the lift within milliseconds, furthermore the athlete has to bring his body under the weight to control the weight, which can be very scary. The fact, that the athlete has to commit to bring his body quickly under the bar enhances their ability to express courage. Believe me I have seen athletes grow over time with this challenge and I have also seen the opposite.
Have a look at Justin, how quickly and committed he brings his body under the bar.
How to do a Power Snatch
In order to train the Power Snatch, mastery of the Power Snatch technique is a pre-requisite. Have a look at the video tutorial on how to do a Power Snatch, emphasizing the different phases of the Power Snatch and its’ technical execution.
In order to understand and analyze the Power Snatch technique, let’s have a look at the different phases of the Power Snatch technique.
- Start position
- First pull
- Second pull
the feet are hip width apart, the back is straight and the chest is up. The arms are straight and grab the bar with a wide grip. The shoulders are over and slightly in front of the bar.
the bar is lifted off the ground until below the knees, during this phase it is important to keep the bar close to the shins. The back remains straight, the shoulders are still in front of the bar and the chest is up.
now the athlete has to get the bar past the knees, which isn’t always as easy as it seems to be. The bar is kept close to the legs and the knees extend making room for the bar to pass. Once the bar has passed the knees, the knees are brought forward or re-bend back under the bar to allow a powerful triple extension in the next phase, the second pull. The action of bringing the knees forward is sometimes called ‘scoop’ or ‘double-knee bent’ and there seems to be a big debate whether it really exists or not and whether it is useful or not. During the transition phase the arms remain extended, the back is straight and the shoulders remain over the bar.
the bar is maximally accelerated upwards by extending hip, knees and ankle. The bar usually makes contact on height of the hip (as opposed to mid-thigh in the Power Clean), some coaches use the cue ‘bring the bar to your pocket’.
the body is brought actively under the bar, the bar is fixated and stabilized over the head. In order to do that, the bar needs to stay over the midline of the foot and body.
once the bar is fixated and controlled the athlete stands back up.
Technical mastery and learning the Power Snatch technique takes a long time. We invest a lot of time with our athletes to really learn and master the technical aspect. What that allows us to do, is that we see the benefits later, when the athletes are just progressing and progressing.
How much should I Power Snatch
After you learned and mastered the Power Snatch technique, it’s time to start training the Power Snatch.
As I have outlined before, technical mastery and being able to perform the Power Snatch safely is more important than the actual weight being used.
One more word on the safety aspect, since the weight is directly over your head and gravity works in a vertical line, part of safety and also part of the Power Snatch technique training should also be to know how to lose the bar safely.
Once the Power Snatch technique is mastered, the following numbers can serve as a benchmark to evaluate where you are and where you want to be.
|Achievable||0.6 – 0.7 time bodyweight||0.7 – 0.8 times bodyweight|
|Good||0.7 – 0.8 times bodyweight||0.8 – 1 times bodyweight|
|Very good||0.8 – 1 times bodyweight||1 – 1.1 times bodyweight|
|Excellent||More than 1 time bodyweight||More than 1.1 times bodyweight|
Please note, these numbers are just an indication and to perform the exercise safely is more important than achieving a certain number. I have listed the reasons why technical execution trumps chasing numbers in the article The Ultimate Guide to Power Cleans
Please also note, that these numbers are from my experience over the years of working with athletes that participate in a sport, which is not weightlifting. For athletes participating in Olympic Weightlifting or training for Olympic Weightlifting, these numbers do not apply.
The Ultimate Power Snatch Conclusions
The Power Snatch is a training exercise from Olympic Weightlifting to improve the competitive exercise the Snatch. It has made its way into the training of athletes since it offers unique benefits for athletes that are engaged in sports where they need to run, jump or throw.
Invest time in learning the Power Snatch technique to enjoy the benefits of being more powerful in your sport.
More Power Snatch information
The Importance of Power Snatches
Why Power Snatches are important for Athletes
How often should I do Power Snatches
or the Power Snatch video library