Learning The Snatch 

Don’t be so hard on yourself the snatch is THE MOST difficult movement you could perform in the gym. I guess that’s why it’s in the Olympics!
Athletes spend countless hours year after year making minute adjustments aiming to perfect this exercise. That’s a hell of a lot of commitment to perfect a movement that is over in just the blink of an eye!
We recognise you are not Olympic Athletes and our needs are quite different from theirs, yet of utmost importance to us is your SAFETY
Not only is this the most technical lift you can perform it is also the most demanding. The limits to what feels like every joint in your body are tested. Any weak links in chain is an invitation for injury.    
   5 Step Process To Learning The Movement 


Seriously, if you spend more time improving your range of motion around your joints than you do trying to ‘learn’ the snatch you will improve MUCH faster


You need to know these like the back of your hand, every time you pick up the bar for the snatch it needs to look identical. You need to know what each of these positions looks and feels like:

  • Grip on the bar
  • Width of your hands
  • Foot position
  • Foot width
  • Set up position
  • Hang position
  • High hang position
  • Extension
  • Scare Crow
  • Catch or Squat position

In addition to all this you ALSO need to know the ideal positions of the body itself

  • Neutral Spine
  • Neutral shoulder
  • Core engagement
  • Knee alignment
  • Foot Position


It’s one thing to know what these positions look and feel like but to then be able to move interchangeably between them is another. Before you even try to tie the snatch together work on moving from one position to the next briefly stopping at each position.
As you now know what the positions look and feel like you can see at what point they break down for you, the point where you are constantly correcting yourself or being corrected.


What we have found best is to begin joining the movements together or ‘snatching’ in reverse order, i.e. reverse engineering the movement, starting from the end positions and working backwards:

  • Scarecrow to snatch
  • High hang to scarecrow
  • High hang to snatch
  • Hang to scarecrow
  • Hang to snatch
  • Floor to hang
  • Floor to high hang
  • Floor to scarecrow
  • Snatch

It is important NOT to use a heavy load during this process as this will take away from the fundamental positions learnt, and ingrain poor movement habits lengthening the time required for you to learn the skill.

When “reverse engineering the snatch” remember to perform the movement slowly at first because:

1. You will not be using a heavy load therefore do not require the speed
2.  If you can’t perform a movement slowly you DEFINITELY can't perform the movement quickly

The speed will come, trust the process. It takes time to develop the complex neuromuscular coordination required to perform THE MOST difficult movement, allow you body this time.


Not really but now it is time to tie everything together into ONE movement, the only positions others will see is:
1. Your set position
2. Your finish position

  • Step one can literally take years to achieve. YEARS no joke
  • This does not stop you learning the positions but it most definitely will stop you from achieving them
  • With this in mind it is extremely dangerous to attempt snatching with load prior to achieving the full (range of motion) ROM required


  • Can you stand with both feet straight, hip width apart and squat down without your heel lifting off the ground?
  • Can you sit against a wall, keeping your back flat and arms straight comfortably touch the wall overhead with both thumbs?
  • Can you lie on your back, place your elbow at 90 degrees from the body and lower your forearm down to the height of your hip?

"The snatch, clean and jerk should be active movements from start to finish. There should never be a moment when things are simply happening; you have to make them happen at all times."