PULLING POWER

To help your clients reach their strength potential, deliver this step-by-step technique for the power snatch.

Power snatch (and hang power snatch variation)

This exercise consists of quickly and forcefully pulling the bar from the floor to over the head with the elbows fully extended – all in one movement. Although the ascent consists of multiple phases, the upward movement of the bar occurs in one continuous motion without interruption. The hang power snatch is similar, except that the initial position of the bar is not on the floor, and it does not return to the floor between repetitions.


A. Starting position (previous page)

  • Stand with the feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointed slightly outward
  • Squat down with the hips lower than the shoulders and grasp the bar evenly with a pronated grip (if a stronger grip is needed, use a hook grip)
  • The grip width is wider than for other exercises; a way to estimate it is to measure one of these distances for spacing the hands: (1) the distance from the edge of the clenched fist of one hand to the opposite shoulder when the arm is straight out at the side; or (2) the elbow-to-elbow distance when the arms are straight out at the sides
  • Extend the elbows fully and point them out to the side
  • Place the feet flat on the floor and position the bar approximately 3cm in front of the shins and over the balls of the feet
  • Position the body as follows:

— back neutral or slightly arched
— scapulae depressed and retracted
— chest held up and out
— head in line with the vertebral column or slightly hyperextended
— feet flat on the floor
— shoulders over or slightly in front of the bar
— eyes focused straight ahead

  • All repetitions begin from this position

B. Upward movement phase: first pull

  • Lift the bar off the floor by forcefully extending the hips and knees
  • Keep the torso-to-floor angle constant; do not let the hips rise before the shoulders
  • Maintain the neutral spine position
  • Keep the elbows fully extended, pointing out to the side, and the shoulders over or slightly ahead of the bar
  • As the bar is raised, keep it as close to the shins as possible

C. Upward movement phase: transition

  • As the bar rises just above the knees, thrust the hips forward and slightly flex the knees to move the thighs against, and the knees under, the bar
  • Keep the back neutral or slightly arched, and the elbows fully extended and pointing out to the sides

Note: The transition phase is similar to the Romanian deadlift; in fact, weightlifters use the Romanian deadlift to strengthen this movement pattern.


D. Upward movement phase: second pull

  • Rapidly extend the hips, knees and ankles (it is important that the heels stay in contact with the floor for as long as possible in order to maximise force transference to the barbell)
  • Keep the bar as close to the body as possible
  • Keep the back neutral and the elbows pointing out to the sides
  • Keep the shoulders over the bar and the elbows extended as long as possible
  • When the lower-body joints reach full extension, rapidly shrug the shoulders upward with the elbows still fully extended and out to the sides
  • As the shoulders reach their highest elevation, flex the elbows to begin pulling the body under the bar
  • Due to the explosive nature of this phase, the torso is erect or slightly hyperextended, the head is tilted slightly back, and the feet may lose contact with the floor

E. Upward movement phase: catch

  • After the lower body has fully extended, pull the body under the bar and rotate the hands around and under the bar
  • Simultaneously, flex the hips and knees to a quarter-squat position
  • Once the body is under the bar, catch the bar over and slightly behind the ears, ensuring:

— fully extended elbows
— an erect and stable torso
— a neutral head position
— flat feet
— bodyweight is over the middle of the feet

  • After gaining control and balance, stand up by extending the hips and knees to a fully erect position
  • Stabilise the bar overhead

F. Downward movement phase

  • Lower the bar from the overhead position by gradually reducing the muscular tension of the shoulders to allow a controlled descent of the bar to the thighs
  • Simultaneously flex the hips and knees to cushion the impact of the bar on the thighs
  • Squat down with the elbows fully extended until the bar touches the floor, or drop the bar to the platform if rubber bumper plates are being used

Feature republished courtesy of www.fitpro.com