Why do we snatch?


Why do we snatch?

Snatch. Squat Snatch. Power Snatch. Dumbbell Snatch. Kettlebell Snatch. PVC Snatch. The list goes on and on. This Olympic weightlifting movement is arguably the most complex lift we teach at Bellhouse CrossFit. There are individuals who dedicate their lives to maximizing the snatch. Those Olympic athletes are very impressive not only to watch, but also to learn from.

Why do we snatch? If it is so complicated… why not leave it to the professionals? Well the snatch can be an extremely useful functional movement for the general population. Of the ten physical traits we are preparing you for… the snatch hits them all. Want to improve your cardiovascular endurance and stamina? Complete a volume of snatches for time. Want to improve your strength and power? Work up in loading on the snatch. Want to improve your flexibility? The snatch requires good overhead and squat mobility. Speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy? Complete light loads for sets and dial in your form. The nuance of the snatch can be even deeper. Check in with a coach at the gym if you are ever curious.

You snatch when you pick anything up from the ground and go overhead with it. Get a kayak to the top of your car. Get your holiday decorations on the top shelf. Pick up your clothes to carry overhead as you wade through water. You can see the snatch finding itself out there in life. Do you have another example? Let us know in the comments.

Let us use the barbell snatch as an example to move through some progressions. We begin with a specific warm up.

  • 10 PVC pass thrus
  • 10 PVC around the world
  • 10 PVC snatch grip deadlifts
  • 10 PVC behind the neck press
  • 10 PVC overhead squat

    After the specific warm up, we go into teaching with either the PVC pipe or the barbell. Use whichever weight is pain free for you and maintain perfect technique. 

  • 5 empty barbell snatch pull
  • 5 empty barbell hang muscle snatch
  • 5 empty barbell hang power snatch
  • 5 empty barbell overhead squat
  • 5 empty barbell squat snatch

    These movements are preparing your body for the workout. Whatever the loading or volume, we want to make sure that when we snatch, we are practicing wonderful technique during our teaching section. The coach is looking for a myriad of items, and at each lesson we will usually pick one thing to focus on. For example,

  • Heels planted in start position
  • Knees back in pull 
  • Shoulders over the bar during pull
  • Hips below shoulders in set up
  • Timing of hip extension after pull
  • Shoulders shrugging after pull
  • Hips fully extending after pull
  • Elbow bend timing during pull
  • Full squat depth under bar 
  • Bar path during pull
  • Feet spreading during catch
  • Standing upright out of squat catch
  • Arms locked out overhead
  • Elbows straight in the catch position

    These are just a few things the Bellhouse coaches are looking for during snatches. Hopefully this blog is helpful in understanding a bit more about the snatch and why we perform it under loading or for time. If you want personal training on the snatch, reach out to [email protected] to set up a time for individual attention.