3 Exercises to Develop Your Barbell Snatch Technique

Before you start incorporating the Barbell Snatch into your training, master proper form with these three exercises.

Barbell Snatch

The Barbell Snatch, an Olympic lift in which an athlete pulls the bar up from the floor or a platform and lifts it over his head in one fluid movement, is commonly used to increase strength and power in resistance training programs. It's a more complex movement than the Clean because the bar is displaced a greater distance. The better your ankle and hip mobility, the better your initial setup. The same goes for your shoulder mobility in the overhead catch phase.

The following exercises are aimed at developing Snatch technique. If you're a beginner, you can incorporate them into your program until you're ready to perform a full lift.

Snatch grip varies depending on arm length, but a general rule is that the bar should sit just below the crease between the thigh and torso from the power position.

Overhead Squat

Improves shoulder and back mobility so you can safely catch the bar overhead.

  • Arms locked overhead, snatch grip, bar above midline of the foot
  • Neutral spine, head up, eyes looking forward
  • Feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Controlled descent, maintaining bar over midline of the foot
  • Full squat depth, or as deep as maintenance of neutral spine allows
  • Ascend in controlled manner, to full hip extension

Snatch Balance

Develops the triple extension movement needed to propel the bar into the air, while practicing the catch position.

  • Bar rests in high position as in Back Squat
  • Snatch-width grip, head neutral, eyes looking forward
  • Go onto toes in a controlled manner
  • Rapidly descend into full depth overhead squat
  • Arms locked out with neutral spine
  • Aim is to drop with the height of the bar remaining at the same level or lower than during the start position

Straight Leg Snatch

Starting the Snatch from a hang position allows you to master the movement without pulling the bar from the floor, which is one of the most challenging aspects of the exercise.

  • Perform this exercise standing tall with your arms locked out with a snatch grip
  • Aim is to pull the bar up with your arms
  • Rapidly descend into a deep squat
  • This works on rapidly descending from the second pull
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