Easy Ways to Improve Your Snatch
The snatch is one of the most complicated lifts, and it would be hard to do it justice with just one blog post. We see a lot of articles that go through specific drills for the snatch, which are awesome. Although there are no shortcuts, we also think there are some crazy simple changes you can make to benefit your lifts too.
Here are five things for you to try:
1. Work On One Goal at a Time
The snatch is arguably one of the most complicated lifts out there. With so much going on, you need to figure out how you want to improve and set one goal at a time.
For example, if you know you need to dial in your technique on the first pull, work on that. You might really want to add 10kg onto your lift - but trying to work on both goals at the same time isn’t going to work. You’ll be tempted to cut corners and play the numbers game - but that isn’t going to benefit you in the long term.
Here are just a few of the areas you might want to work on:
If you’re unsure where you should be focusing your efforts, ask your coach! Get them to watch you lift, and provide feedback to give you more focus.
2. Break it Down
When you’re dialling in your technique, the best thing to do is break the lift down. The snatch is made up of distinct movements. If something isn’t quite right with one of the components, it will throw the whole lift off.
Instead of trying to learn the whole lift, in one go, try breaking it down. Repeat drills to learn the technique of each component individually - and move on when you feel like it’s clicked. Some people prefer to start at the beginning - with the start position and first pull. Others find it better to start at the end of the lift, dialling in the snatch balance to improve speed and stability.
There’s so much to cover when it comes to movement, technique and positioning. Here are a couple of our favourite articles from elsewhere on the web:
As always, if you’re unsure about anything - ask your coach, or find an Olympic weightlifting coach near you that can offer some guidance.
3. Warm Up Those Shoulders
If you don’t have good range of motion in your shoulders, you’re going to struggle to make any real progress with this lift.
Whenever snatches are programmed - whether as a strength component, or as part of your WOD, get to the box earlier to spend more time warming up the shoulders. A PVC pipe is the most popular weapon of choice for this. Shoulder dislocates, pass throughs and the Burgener warmup are all a good place to start.
When you’re warming up your shoulders, don’t forget about your upper back. Tension in the upper back is often linked to range of motion in the shoulders.
4. Go Lighter
The temptation with any lift is to go as heavy as possible, every time you lift. If you want to be able to perform well in WODs that include snatches, this isn’t always the best approach.
When you perform the snatch as part of a workout, it requires a different level of skill. Trying to do this with too much weight on the bar can be ineffective at best, and dangerous at worst. You need to be able to cycle through the lifts quickly, but maintain good form throughout.
Spend some time perfecting your movement with an empty bar, moving seamlessly from rep to rep. When you can do this well, without compromising your form, start to build the weight on the bar - but take it step-by-step.
The snatch is a complex lift, and you should never try to perform high reps close to your max lift. Use your common sense with this one!
5. Build Your Confidence
Confidence is a HUGE aspect of Olympic weightlifting. There’s a lot that can go wrong during this lift. So, if you don’t believe you can make it, you probably won’t.
Remember, failing a lift doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Every missed lift is an opportunity to learn and refine your technique. Go after it confidently and, if it doesn’t happen, taken a moment to look at what went wrong.