The snatch is the mother of all lifts, an impressive combination of strength and technique. Your job is to take the bar from the ground to overhead in one motion. With heavier loads, this involves lifting the bar up as high as possible and then pulling yourself underneath it to receive the bar at the bottom of an overhead squat position, then standing. Like the clean, the snatch can be broken into three separate stages or pulls.
1. The First Pull
With the bar on the ground, squat down and start in a position similar to a deadlift but with a wide grip. Keep your back tight, your arms straight, shoulders over the bar, and your chest up as much as possible. Look forward and slightly upward. And if you’re comfortable in this position, you’re probably not doing it right.
Straighten your legs as if you were performing a deadlift. The bar should come off the ground smoothly and continually accelerate, staying close to your body. Do not lift with your arms or bend your elbows at this point. The first pull ends as the bar passes the knees and reaches midthigh. At this point, your hips are still partially closed.
To determine proper grip width, hold an empty bar while standing. Keeping your arms straight, spread your hands wide enough to allow the bar to rest at the crease in your hips if you were to bend slightly over.
A common verbal cue is to keep your weight back toward your heels. The distribution and transition of weight during the lift is actually subtler than this, but it’s a good cue for beginners.
2. The Second Pull
The second pull is an aggressive, explosive movement. As you straighten your legs, open your hips explosively. Keep the bar close! Complete the motion with a shrug of your shoulders while keeping your heels on the ground as long as possible. At the end of this movement, you might drive yourself up onto the front part of your foot.
At this point, your hips are fully open and you have completed the most powerful upward movement of the bar.
3. The Third Pull
Think of pulling yourself under the bar. Let your elbows bend out to the side so the bar stays close to you as you pull yourself down into the bottom of an overhead squat, your feet moving quickly from a jumping stance to a wider squat stance. Receive the bar with straight arms and stand up with the bar overhead.
As you receive the bar at the bottom of your squat, keep your back tight to stabilize the weight.