Week five (for those keeping track at home) of our current wave of snatch technique complexes and once again we see the snatch pull make its way into our barbell work.

Last week we covered a bit about the “snatch pull” exercise and its value in teaching a complete extension and leg drive on the snatch (or power snatch), and even talked a bit about the importance of keeping said extension and leg drive (and thus bar path) as balanced and straight “up & down” as possible. If you didn’t read that post last week I suggest giving it a quick once over as it may help you wrap your head around some of the mysterious language sometimes used in Olympic-style weightlifting, particularly when describing the pull of the snatch.

If you’re a more visual learner here are a couple of good videos of world-record holder Kuo Hsing-Chun first doing snatch pulls as an accessory/technique exercise… AND THEN snatching 3 attempts ending at 105 kilos (yes, she is snatching 231 pounds at just under 128 pounds bodyweight!).

She starts with snatch “high” pulls (basically continuing to pull the bar higher once the leg drive is finished) on the lighter weights and adds a few high hang pulls to finish some of the sets, but what’s most important is that you get a clear picture of what we mean by “set your back > push with the legs > keep it close > extend tall > and finish balanced.”

Now, does she snatch like that? Well no, not exactly. She does start her actual snatch lift in much the same way - set back, push with the legs, keep the bar close, extend fully - but once final extension is reached she actively pulls herself under the bar to receive overhead and complete the full snatch. The final destination is different but the first few steps on the runway are basically the same. And that’s what we’re doing when we use “snatch pulls” as a technique exercise in complexes like Tuesday’s first piece below — we are drilling a good first few steps on your runway to lifting heavier weights.

It’s a lot to digest, especially if you are newer to the lifts, so don’t fret. Even the best weightlifters often feel like they’re not sure what they’re doing on the snatch — which is why I sometimes liken it to the “golf swing of strength sports (or of CrossFit).” There’s a rhythm to it, a cadence, a system of balance, and measured amount of aggression and timing… and, of course, it also pays to be strong, fast, and flexible.

The cool thing at Arena Ready is that you have some of the best snatchers (and cleaners, and jerkers… are those words?) around to help coach you and train with you. It’s not often that such experienced & seasoned competitive weightlifters (and CrossFitters) are also such approachable and patient coaches as well. So ask them your questions! Tell them what you “feel” on the lifts and what you're trying to do — they’ll give you some good feedback, and the best of them will keep it fairly simple so that you can make actionable changes and see improvements.

And if you ever want to talk about the lifts in greater detail than we’re able to in class then come into Open Gym on Sundays and let’s geek out on weightlifting! You’ll often see others in the gym snatching and clean & jerking also… it’s fun and contagious.

WOD For 10-23-18:

Snatch Pull + Power Snatch + 2 Hang Power Snatches:

10 Minutes to Build to a Top Set (not a max)


Against a 5-Minute Clock For MAX POUNDS LIFTED:

40/32 Calorie Row

30 Wall Balls @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft

Max Reps Hang Power Snatches @ pick load

… Rest 3 Minutes, Then…


*Score = total poundage lifted (e.g. 17 reps x 75 lbs = 1,275 total lbs)

*NO, you may not change the weight after the first attempt... so choose wisely!!!