What are Power Snatches

This video answers the questions

  • what are Power Snatches
  • where Power Snatches come from
  • how Power Snatches are used
  • an overview of the technical execution of a Power Snatch

Power Snatches are one of the primary exercises to improve speed and power for your sport. A detailed overview of the unique benefits of the Power Snatch is outlined in the article The Importance of Power Snatches

Where do Power Snatches come from?

Power Snatches originate from Olympic Weightlifting training, where the Power Snatches are used as a training exercise to improve the competitive exercise Snatch. Olympic Weightlifting consists of two disciplines, the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. In an Olympic Weightlifting competition, the Snatch is the first exercise and the Clean & Jerk the second exercise. The weight lifted in the Snatch and the weight lifted in the Clean & Jerk are summated to a total weight. In a nutshell who lifted the highest total wins the competition (if two lifters have the same total weight, the lifter with a lower body weight wins).

What is the difference between a Power Snatch vs Snatch?

The definition of a Power Snatch is, that the weight is caught in a higher position than the upper thigh being parallel to the ground, which coincides for most people with a knee angle of 60 degrees or more (considering standing fully upright refers to 180-degree knee angle).

Conversely, a Snatch is where the weight is caught in a full squat or deep squat, with a knee angle of below 60 degrees.

So the take-away message, Power Snatch vs Snatch is only defined by the catch position, nothing else.

What is the difference between a Power Snatch vs Hang Snatch?

Often you hear the question ‘what is the difference between the Power Snatch vs Hang Snatch?’ essentially that is like asking ‘What is the difference between apples and oranges?’ Power Snatch vs Snatch are two different exercises, even though it has a lot of commonalities.  The information ‘Hang’ just refers to the start position, where the bar is ‘hanging’ in front of the body and not resting on the ground.

Due to the higher catch position in the Power Snatch vs the Snatch, the load lifted in the Power Snatch is less than in the Snatch, but the movement velocity of the bar is higher since it has to travel a longer distance.

Why Power Snatch?

The Power Snatch has made its’ way into Strength & Conditioning and the physical preparation because of its’ unique benefits The Importance of Power Snatches

But also, because the Power Snatch technique is easier to learn than the Snatch technique, due to the higher catch position. Not that the Power Snatch technique is easy, nothing could be further away from the truth than that. The Power Snatch technique is actually quite difficult and demanding to learn, that’s also the reason, why a lot of coaches and experts are opposed to Power Snatches and Olympic Lifting for athletes in general because it needs too much time investment to learn or it’s too difficult to learn.

Well, this is the argument I had with my math and physics teachers in school. Math and Physics were just too difficult to learn and took me too much time. I guess I don’t need to tell you what the result of this discussion with my teachers was, right?

Anyway, back to the topic. The Power Snatch technique is easier to learn than the Snatch technique, however, it needs time and effort to master the technique, but once you master it you will reap the benefits of the Power Snatch.

How to do a Power Snatch step by step?

This will be part of a later video and article, so stay tuned

From a technical analysis standpoint, there are different phases of the Power Snatch.

Those phases are in the order from start to finish:

–              the start position

–              the first pull

–              the transition

–              the second pull

–              the catch

–              the recovery

In the start position, the bar is on the ground, the feet are hip width apart, the back is straight and the chest is held upright. The arms grab the bar with a wide grip and are fully extended. The shoulders are over the bar and slightly in front of the bar (if you look from the side).

During the first pull, the bar is lifted from the ground until a position just below the knees. During this phase , the bar moves vertically upwards and stays close to the shins. The shoulders are still in front of the bar and the chest is up. The back remains straight, actually the back is straight throughout the entire lift.

During the transition the bar moves past the knees, which is  more difficult than it seems. For the bar to move past the knees, the bar needs to stay close to the legs, while the knees extend making room for the bar to pass. Once the bar has passed the knees and is above the knees, the knees re-bend and are brought forward and under the bar. The action of bringing the knees forward is sometimes called ‘scoop’ or ‘double-knee bent’, which is a strongly debated topic.
The reason for re-bending the knees and bringing them back under the bar is, that it allows a powerful triple extension in the next phase, the second pull.
During the transition the shoulders remain over the bar, the arms continue to be extended and the back is straight.

With the second pull the athlete extends hip, knees and ankle powerfully (also called triple extension), which maximally accelerated upwards. The bar usually makes contact on height of the crease of the hip (as opposed to mid-thigh in the Power Clean)

The catch is initiated by bringing / pulling the body actively under the bar, fixating and stabilizing the bar over the head.

Once the bar is fixated and controlled overhead, the athlete stands back up. This is the recovery phase.

This is in a nutshell how to do a Power Snatch step by step, fairly simple to explain, but learning the Power Snatch technique takes time and a lot of practice.

For a more detailled and visual analysis of the Power Snatch and the different phases of the Power Snatch technique have a look at the video below


What Are Power Snatches Wrap-up

Power Snatches originate from Olympic Weightlifting and are used to improve the competition exercise the Snatch.

The Power Snatch is easier to learn and execute than the Snatch (easier, not easy! Please read the full text), but offer similar benefits, when it comes to improving speed and power for your sport.

Learning the Power Snatch technique will take time and a lot of effort, but is worth the investment. Understanding the different phases and how to do the Power Snatch step-by-step can accelerate the learning process.

More Power Snatch information

The Importance of Power Snatches

The Ultimate Guide to Power Snatches

Why Power Snatches?

What Power Snatches Train

Why Power Snatches are important for Athletes

How often should I do Power Snatches

or the Power Snatch video library

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