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, providing the athlete clear objectives and cues for 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.

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 solid on the ground, 70% of your weight on 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 & 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, increase hip extension until hips 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: Drop yourself down with feet moved into a squat stance, lower your body, dive down fast to squat at the bottom.  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 then stand up as stable as possible. Once at the top in a stable overhead position, you can drop the bar in front of you safely having completed the lift!

Why 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
It can be used to develop power output & coordination, yet not as often as being adapted as the power clean, because the snatch has more requirements for one’s mobility & flexibility.

How to Program for the Snatch

Sequence: Right after the warm-up, before additional strength training such as deadlifts or squats.

Weight/rep/set: The general training weight falls to 70-100% of the best lift depending on desired adaptation.

Rest: 90-120 sec is recommended. If training really heavy, 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.

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