The snatch is a movement that can be intimidating for coaches and because of this it is often times avoided. The snatch however is the most athletic movement that can be done in the weight room and can have amazing benefits for athletes of all types.
It can build strength, power, coordination, agility, flexibility, and is even capable of improving an athlete’s muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory endurance when using the controversial higher rep schemes often found in CrossFit style programming.
Here are 5 drills that, when executed correctly, will have your athletes lifting like champions in no time at all. Complete 3 sets of 3 reps of each. Use a PVC pipe or an empty barbell. For a true beginner, I would highly recommend the PVC.
Learn to Snatch Step 1: Down and Up
Keeping the torso completely vertical, perform a very shallow downward motion pushing the knees forward and out and staying on the heels. Jump and shrug the shoulders at the top of the jump. This will be initiated almost completely by the knees. If the hips push back, the torso will lean forward and the bar may be pushed forward resulting in a lot of missed weights.
Learn to Snatch Step 2: Elbows High and Outside
Jump, shrug the shoulders just as we did in step 1 and then follow through with the elbows bending high and outside. Don’t think about it as a pull with the arms but more as a follow through because the order of events is very important. The arms can’t bend before the hips and knees extend and the shoulders shrug. The wrists should never be higher than the elbows. Make sure the bar stays very close to the body
Learn to Snatch Step 3: Muscle Snatch
Jump, shrug, follow through with elbows high and outside and continue to pull the bar overhead to a locked out position. The bar should take a straight path overhead, staying close to the body. When overhead, the armpits should be facing straight ahead and not down and the arms should be pocked out. This will externally rotate the shoulder making it much more stable.
Learn to Snatch Step 4: Snatch Land
The Bar starts overhead in a locked out, externally rotated position and the feet start hip width. Quickly move your feet out to your squatting position landing with your hips and knees bent. The first rep should be just a few inches down. The second, a little lower. The third rep should be about a parallel squat. Be sure to maintain a good overhead position.
Learn to Snatch Step 5: Snatch Drop
With the bar still overhead, drop all the way to the bottom of a squat with a good overhead position. If the back cannot stay flat or the knees cannot keep from buckling in or the heels cannot stay on the ground you have gone too low. Only go to a depth in which you can maintain a good squat.
Now put all the steps together into one smooth motion. Jump, shrug, and pull yourself down into the bottom of a overhead squat with you elbows being sure to go high and outside. What do you know? You’ve got a pretty decent snatch. I have had hundreds of athletes learn how to snatch using these 5 simple drills alone. Take a beginner through these 5 drills a few times and they usually catch on pretty quick. Will it be perfect? Of course not, but it is a great place to start and you will be well on your way to developing a much better athlete.
By the way, I did not invent any of this. I borrowed these tips from one of the best weightlifting coaches in the world, Coach Mike Burgener.