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Venus Weightlifting Movement Library: The Snatch

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Articles/Movement Library/Venus Weightlifting Movement Library: The Snatch

The SNATCH is the first of two lifts contested in the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The athlete lifts the barbell from the floor to a stable overhead position in a single action.

Snatch Execution Phases

The snatch is performed through five (5) distinct phases. In each phase, we have broken down the movement to provide the athlete with clear objectives and cues for each of the different stages of the lift. Each phase can be tackled in training on its own, or in combination with other in-sequence phases to help athletes improve weaknesses.

Establish your Snatch Grip*

Firstly, understanding what your snatch grip is, is fundamental to getting a successful lift. For a movement that brings the bar straight from the ground to overhead, we must ensure that the width of our grip is optimized to allow the bar to be lifted with the most force that our body can possibly generate.

There are two important points to note:
1. Ensure the barbell gets in contact with your hip crease at the point of extension
2. Ensure that the barbell is able to clear your head in the overhead position

It is important to note that while this is general prescription, every lifter is different and you need to find a grip that helps you optimize your lift! If you’re not too sure about your snatch grip, or feel as though something is off, check in with your coach, or book a 1-on-1 assessment session with us.

Phase 1 - Preparatory Position

1. Hands should be snatch-grip width apart;
2. Feet in a power stance, hip-width apart, toes turned slightly outward;
3. Balance: heels in full contact with the ground, with 70% of your weight on the balls of your feet;
4. Shoulders slightly over the bar, arms lengthened, elbows soft, bar hanging on your hands, back in a straight or slightly arched position, spine lengthened & kept rigid. Head up, eyes forward!

Phase 2 - Pushing

Floor to Mid-Thigh:
Push your legs into the floor to let the bar hang on your body and lift off of the floor to around mid-thigh height, back angle stays almost the same.

Phase 3 - Extension

Mid-Thigh to End of Pull:
Legs still pushing hard against the ground, continue to open up the angle of your hips until your hips are fully extended. Arms upward rotated to send the bar up to the highest place to be caught.

Phase 4 - Catching

End of Pull to Catching Bar at Bottom:
Pull yourself under the bar and drop quickly into a squat, shifting your feet into a squat stance. Catch the bar with fully extended arms in an overhead catching position.

Phase 5 - Standing Up

Maintain the bar in a fully locked overhead position and ensure that you maintain control as you stand up. Once you’ve stood stably to full extension with the bar securely locked out overhead, you can lower the bar in front of you safely, having completed the lift!

Why should I train the Snatch?

For Olympic Weightlifters

Since the snatch is one of the two competitive lifts in Olympic weightlifting competitions, it is an essential lift to train. Lifters have to train the snatch often for the purpose of improving their snatch numbers.

For Sports Performance

While the Snatch is a very specialised olympic lift, its training has transference to other sports as well. In a sport that trains maximal power and speed, the Snatch can be used in training to develop power output and coordination. However, the Snatch is not as often adapted into training as the power clean, because the snatch has more prerequisites for one’s mobility and flexibility.

  • Sequence in Training: Start on your dynamic lifts (Snatch, Clean and Jerk) right after warming-up, and before additional strength training accessory work such as deadlifts or squats.
  • Weight/rep/set: The general training weight would be prescribed around 70-100% of the best lift depending on the desired adaptation for the training session.
  • Rest: We recommend anywhere between 90 - 120 seconds of rest. If you are in a heavy training day, up to 5 mins of rest can be considered.
  • Frequency: 2-3 times/ per week.


The primary variations of the snatch include power snatches, hang snatches & snatches from blocks, etc.

Want to improve your snatch and other lifts? Check out online Programs!

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Hi, I Am Gaby

Head Coach of Venus Weightlifting

Greetings! I'm Gaby, Head Coach of Venus Weightlifting club, the first of its kind in China. Curious how weightlifting can advance without exhaustive efforts and stiff bodies? I've unraveled this secret by integrating Chinese medical training and my innovative BAT (Body Alignment Training), catapulting thousands to their personal bests.
Ready to get your new PRs without pain? Let's embark on this journey of transformation together!

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