Learning and Training the Proper Technique for the Barbell Snatch

The barbell snatch is one of the most popular Olympic weightlifting movements. It is performed using a barbell (or similar object) with which a person lifts weights overhead.

Barbell Snatch Technique:

In order to perform the barbell snatch properly, it is necessary to have good technique. The bar must be positioned so that it does not interfere with your neck or shoulders while performing the lift. A proper grip position is essential; otherwise, the lifter will experience pain when attempting to pull the weight up from its starting point. It is also important that you do not over extend yourself during this movement. If you are unable to keep your arms straight, then you will not be able to complete the lift.

It is also important that you do not let your knees collapse inward at any time during the lift. Doing so may cause injury if done repeatedly. Also, it is advisable that you do not allow your body to rotate forward excessively while performing this exercise. Barbell snatches can be dangerous if not performed properly, so it is recommended that you practice this movement with an experienced weightlifting coach or personal trainer before attempting to perform them under the supervision of a coach. Tense your entire body and keep it still at this point.

To begin the movement, first lift your heels off the floor and squeeze your knees together. Next, push upward with your legs and pull with your arms so you can lift the barbell from the floor to a position directly in front of your upper chest. As you approach the completion of this movement, swing your elbows under the bar (this is where many people will experience pain if their elbows are not in proper alignment). When the bar reaches your upper chest, rotate it so that it is gripped firmly by your hands. At this point, quickly rock your body back and forth in order to generate enough momentum to push the barbell over your head (this is commonly referred to as “jerking” the weight from your chest to over your head).

As you are doing this, it is important that you do not let go of the weight at any time during the lift. If you do not feel comfortable jerking the weight from your chest to over your head in one smooth motion, you can use a rocking motion in order to gain momentum. Keep in mind that this type of movement is generally frowned upon by many weightlifting coaches, so you may want to discuss this technique with a coach first. Once the barbell has been “jerked” over your head, quickly tuck your elbows into your sides and lower the weight slowly to the top of your chest. When the barbell has reached your upper chest, use your leg drive to push yourself into a standing position.

It is very important that you keep your shoulders back and your chin parallel to the floor during this lift. It may also be helpful to look up when you perform this movement (although some people feel more comfortable looking at the floor). The back must remain as straight as possible at all times during this movement.

Sources & references used in this article:

Changes in bar path kinematics and kinetics through use of summary feedback in power snatch training by JB Winchester, JM Porter… – The Journal of Strength & …, 2009 – journals.lww.com

The effects of two different correction strategies on the snatch technique in weightlifting by C Milanese, V Cavedon, S Corte… – Journal of sports …, 2017 – Taylor & Francis

Modeling record scores in the snatch and its variations in the long-term training of young weightlifters by A Czaplicki, P Szyszka, J Sacharuk, J Jaszczuk – Plos one, 2019 – journals.plos.org