Snatch First Pull

Snatch First Pull Clean Technique:

The Snatch First Pull (SFP) is one of the most popular and effective snatch technique variations used by Olympic weightlifters. The SFP is also known as the “clean” or “snatch”. A few years ago, I was asked to write a book about the SFP. So here it is!

What is the Snatch First Pull?

It’s basically a variation of the snatch where you start with your feet wide apart and then move them closer together. You will need to keep your knees bent throughout the movement. Your hands are still gripping the barbell at all times, but now you’re using your hips instead of your legs to lift it up. This makes it easier because you don’t have to bend over so much when lifting it up off the ground.

Why do I want to use the Snatch First Pull?

As mentioned before, the SFP allows you to get into better position for your second pull. When you start out with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, it takes longer for your body to reach its full height. If you have a long torso like me, this can take quite awhile. By pulling with the SFP, you can shorten this time by at least half.

How do I perform the Snatch First Pull?

During the lift-off, your shoulders should be back and down while keeping your chest up. Once the bar leaves the floor, move your feet as close together as you need in order to keep the bar over your feet and still keep it close to your body. You should continue to bend your knees. With the bar close to your body, you can now extend your knees and hips to lift it upward. Your shoulders should remain back and down during this part of the movement.

How do I correct my mistakes?

Since you’re starting out with your feet closer together, it’s much easier to correct mistakes since you have more control over the bar. If you start to lose control of it, just pull your feet in a little bit until you get that feeling of “sticking” again.

What are some advantages to the Snatch First Pull?

As mentioned before, it allows you to get into a better pulling position. It also helps you keep the bar closer to your body, but you still need to learn how to keep it over your feet in order to reap these benefits.

What are some disadvantages to the Snatch First Pull?

It can be rough on your knees if you don’t have your knees bent enough. You want to make sure they’re not locked, but you also need to keep your heels on the ground. You can lift more with this technique, but you might be sacrificing some of your knee health in order to do so.

Is the Snatch First Pull allowed in competition?

This technique is allowed in powerlifting competitions, but not allowed in olympic lifting competitions. In fact, it might get you disqualified if you try to use it.

Where can I use the Snatch First Pull?

You can use this technique when you’re lifting heavy objects or during certain athletic movements. You want to make sure that you don’t use it all the time. Since it takes stress off of your back, it will also take stress off of your weaker muscles such as your grip and your arms. Be sure to not use it all the time or you’ll never get stronger in these departments!

What sports require the Snatch First Pull?

This technique will help you in any sport that requires you to jump and then land. Think of jumping and landing like a power clean movement, except you’re just jumping instead of lifting the barbell. Since jumping is involved in so many athletic endeavors, you’ll be able to use this in quite a few situations.

How does the Snatch First Pull work?

When you jump into the air and land, you’re using a little bit of power from gravity to help you. Since you’re not pulling as hard with your arms and back, it’s easier to use this gravity to help you accelerate in the upward direction. The trick is to use this acceleration to your advantage by continuing to pull upward on the barbell or object that you’re holding.

Does the Snatch First Pull use special equipment?

No, you can apply this technique to just about anything. You don’t need any equipment other than the thing you’re lifting. It’s a good idea to wear shoes when you perform this technique since you don’t want to get hurt when you land!

Which muscles does the Snatch First Pull use?

Since you’re using your legs to jump up in the air, your legs are going to do most of the work. If you’re using a heavy object or barbell, make sure that you’re bending your knees and keeping them bent! You’ll also be using your abs to keep that object or barbell close to your body and to keep your balance.

What are some common mistakes when performing the Snatch First Pull?

There are a few common mistakes that people make when performing this technique. You want to make sure that you don’t fall into any of these holes:

Forgetting to bend your legs before jumping. You need to bend your knees while keeping them straight. How far you bend your legs is up to you, but the more you bend them, the higher you’ll be able to jump.

Bending your legs too much. While it’s good to bend your legs when you jump, you don’t want to bend them so much that you’re actually curling the weight up towards your body. If you do this, you won’t be able to get the most out of this technique. Remember, you need to keep the bar as close to your body as possible in order to give yourself a chance at lifting it.

Letting go of the weight. This one is pretty obvious. If you don’t hold on to the weight, you’re just going to drop it! You want to make sure that you have a firm grip on the bar when you jump.

Not bending your legs before jumping. Some people try to use this technique by jumping straight up in the air. While this will work to an extent, it’s not going to allow you to get as much height as bending your legs will allow you to do. You’re going to need all the help you can get!

Applying this to Other Exercises

You can use this technique with a lot of different exercises. You don’t have to use it just for the deadlift, you can use it for a lot of other lifts, such as the squat and overhead press if you’re curling a barbell. Obviously, you shouldn’t try to use it for exercises that require a lot of speed, such as the bicep curl, or exercises that require very little force but done quickly, such as with the calf raise.

Snatch First Pull - Picture

While the Snatch First Pull might be a little tricky at first, it’s something that anyone can get the hang of with a little practice. You don’t need any additional equipment either, which is always a plus!

Why don’t you give it a try the next time you’re lifting. Try using this technique and then try to lift more than you did before. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this technique can help you!


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Sources & references used in this article:

Kinematic analysis of the barbell during the snatch movement of elite Asian weight lifters by T Isaka, J Okada, K Funato – Journal of applied …, 1996 –

Kinematic analysis of the snatch lift with elite female weightlifters during the 2010 World Weightlifting Championship by H AkkuS – The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2012 –

The clean pull and snatch pull: proper technique for weightlifting movement derivatives by BH DeWeese, AJ Serrano, SK Scruggs… – … & Conditioning Journal, 2012 –

Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch of elite Greek weightlifters by V Gourgoulis, N Aggelousis… – Journal of sports …, 2000 –

Unsuccessful vs. successful performance in snatch lifts: a kinematic approach by V Gourgoulis, N Aggeloussis, A Garas… – The Journal of …, 2009 –

Kinematical analysis of the snatch in elite male junior weightlifters of different weight categories by J Campos, P Poletaev, A Cuesta, C Pablos… – The Journal of …, 2006 –