An Honest Snatch


If you’re using the olympic lifts in your program which variation(s) do you choose and why? I’m not going to get into different initiations (floor, box, hip, hang, static, dynamic, complex, etc..), but will focus on the quality and the carry over of the snatch and the clean. Often I see athletes with PRs and work weights in the power clean that are almost double what they work with if they do snatch. I’ve seen coaches estimate 1RM in variations of the snatch at 50-60% of same variation clean maxes (competent olympic lifters are usually more along the lines of 80% and fairly well taught athletes can usually achieve at least 70%).

Often, if you watch the clean dominant athlete lift their pull on their cleans is frankly, not very clean. Common issues of forefoot roll, quad dominance, poor posterior chain usage, back dominance and arm pull are the norm. This is precisely why they can’t snatch more appropriate loads. The snatch is generally a much more honest lift in this regard as the greater demand for elevation of the bar demands more properly directed, timed, and applied force. Largely for this reason, for most athletes, I find focusing on a quality snatch to be a boon to both their lifting and its transfer to other sporting action. While rolling back domination and an arm pull rack may get the numbers up, it doesn’t do much for ground reaction forces or the very valuable joint coupling and flexion/extension responses inherent to quality lifts.

Matt Gardner
As a track and field coach Matt has produced school record holders and state champions in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and middle distance events. He has coached athletes from a wide variety of sports including Professional Football, World Cup bobsleigh, Swimming, Track and Field, Olympic Weightlifting, Baseball, Tennis, and Golf. Matt has extensive experience consulting and collaborating with high level sports medicine professionals to help rehabilitate injured athletes and optimize the performances of healthy ones.