It’s an unfortunate fact of gym life that the barbell snatch has for decades now been relegated to the scrap heap of exercises you never see anyone doing. This is borderline tragic, but it makes sense because snatching is hard work, it’s a relatively difficult move to learn, and most people don’t understand what it does or how it can help.
We suggest you take another look. In terms of building strength and power, as well as placing a ton of focus on your hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, the snatch easily rivals the squat, deadlift, and clean. In fact, based on its all-or-nothing nature— either you can get the bar moving to lockout in one piece or you can’t—it may, in fact, be the most effective explosiveness builder of all.
To learn the snatch the right way, start with a barbell-length dowel or piece of PVC pipe. Like the clean, the snatch consists of two major pulls— from the floor to knee level and from your knees to a locked-out position over your head and behind it. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands as far apart as you can hold the bar and follow this four- step approach to snatching.
Quick Tip: Place collars on the bar when doing any Olympic lifts.
How to get the bar overhead in one smooth, powerful motion.
1. HEEL SPURRED: Once you’re holding the bar, place all your weight on your heels and keep it there until the bar is over your head.
2. BACKWARD HIPSTER: Keeping your shins perpendicular to the ground, push your hips back to return to the start position.
3. FIRST PULL: Keep the barbell near your shins. Use your hamstrings and lower back to raise it to a point just above your knees.
4. SECOND PULL: From this point, jump, shrug, and pull, exploding the barbell in a straight line through to the top position.