Developing a Strong Snatch


The snatch is an exercise where the athlete lifts a barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. A unique difference between the snatch and other movements where the athlete must bring the barbell overhead, such as the strict press, push press, or push jerk, is that the athlete uses a pulling motion versus a pushing motion to move the barbell overhead. The snatch can be performed in a variety of ways, such as the power snatch or squat snatch, and it is often broken down into three different positions to allow for the athlete to progress into fully completing the movement as he/she gains strength and mobility. Regardless of which position or variation is used, athletes will feel the lower body and upper body activated in unison as they complete the snatch.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.



  1. Hands Wide: To set up for the snatch, place your hands wide on the barbell. If you are a beginner and are unsure of how wide to place your hands, start by holding onto the bar and then bend your leg upward toward your stomach to find the place where the barbell sits nicely in the hip pocket. This is how far up the torso the barbell should be when holding onto it properly with arms wide and without any bend in the elbows.
  2. Feet Beneath Hips: While it may seem logical to place feet a bit wider into a squat stance, you want to keep your feet right below your hips. This is actually where you will generate the most power from the movement to help you get the weight of the barbell overhead. If your feet are wider than hip-width apart, you will actually shorten the range of motion of your hip, and you ultimately will not get as much power from your legs.
  3. Extend Knees and Hips: You will start by pushing your knees forward and slightly outward, keeping your back upright and behind the bar, with heels down on the ground. Often athletes will bend forward over the bar, but this bend at the hip actually causes you to push the bar forward and up overhead in a rainbow motion, versus allowing the bar to travel straight up the torso as it should. To begin to generate momentum to lift the bar, focus on squeezing your butt as you extend your knees and hips. This will start to move the bar upward along the line of your body.
  4. Shrug and High Pull: Just as with the clean, as the bar lifts upward, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, while keeping arms straight. Once you’ve shrugged, complete a high pull by lifting your elbows upward toward your ears. The shrug and high pull will continue to create power to lift the barbell upward above your head.
  5. Get Under the Bar: Finally, as the bar begins to move upward overhead, turn your arms over and drop your body weight underneath the barbell with arms fully locked out at the top. Instead of thinking about pulling the bar up, think about pulling yourself under the bar. That will help you improve the speed and position as you move your body under the bar.
  6. Drop into a Squat: If you are performing a squat snatch versus a power snatch, you will move directly into an overhead squat movement once the barbell has gone above your head with your arms fully locked out. Drop down with the barbell overhead and stand fully upright from the squat to complete the snatch.


  1. Position 1 – At the Hips: By far the most important of the three progressions of the snatch, position one has the athlete start the movement with the barbell resting in the crease of the hip. Again, keep the torso behind the bar, the knees slightly forward, and the weight in your heels as you begin to lift upwards and complete the sequence of small movements in the snatch.
  2. Position 2 – Just Above the Knees: The second position for the snatch progression starts with the barbell just above the knees. The position feels similar to a deadlift where in you will feel tight in the backs of the legs, the weight in your heels, and your back flat. From this starting point, pull your torso back behind the bar and let your knees come forward. This will bring you right back into position one where you can complete the rest of the snatch.
  3. Position 3 – From the Ground: The third and most advanced progression of the snatch is starting with the barbell on the floor. Keep the same grip as in other positions, but now drop your butt down to grab the bar while keeping a flat back, your weight in your heels, and your knees over the bar. Your body will be directly over the bar and you should have your shoulders and elbows will be directly in line with the bar. Now, as you lift the bar upward, sweep your knees back and out of the way until you reach position two. From there, move through position two and one to fully complete the snatch movement.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.


Fierce Play’s Barbell Olympic Lifting Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.