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How to perfect the barbell snatch
The barbell snatch is your ticket to a seriously impressive workout. Considered as one of the more difficult lifts, the snatch involves raising a barbell from the floor to overhead in one fluid movement. It’s a full-body integrated move that targets almost every major muscle group.
Below you'll learn how to master the barbell snatch exercise with Andy Phillips, head of training at Escape Fitness.
What is a barbell snatch?
The barbell snatch is one of my favourite lifts. It’s such a complex movement that the best way to approach it is to break it down, giving tips and tools on how to get the best out of it. This exercise is about patience, technique, taking your time and not adding weight too quickly.
So, let’s break this lift down…
Knees should track over the toes in the squat position. The best way to hold the bar is with the ‘hook grip’ as its designed to maintain a relaxed form through the arms as the weight rises. Pick up the bar, sitting it in the crease of the hip. At extension, the bar should be overhead, not in front or stretched back and the arms should be level. Drop down into a squat and drive up, squeezing the glutes.
Tip: work on mobility exercises if you have restrictions in this range of movement. Build up the range of motion and depth progressively. Feet should be under your hips, facing at 10 and 2 on a clock face.
THE SNATCH BALANCE:
This is where you get speed and power through the body, it’s about your moving under the bar at speed, not the bar itself moving. Find the hand position with the bar overhead and take the bar down onto your shoulders. Pull yourself under the bar, drop into the squat, locking the elbow. Perform the lift. Keep repetitions low, 3-5 reps.
Tip: Feet position is key. Don’t go into your squat pattern, bring your feet a little bit closer, under your hips so that when you initiate the movement, you should stop the squat in your squat feet pattern position.
THE REVERSE CHAIN METHOD:
Soften the knees, feet under the hips and pull the shoulders back. Generate power through the lower body as you push the ground away, hip extension and squeeze the glutes, driving the bar up overhead and pulling yourself under the bar. Then lower into the squat.
Tip: Pick the spot just above eye level and keep that constant throughout the entire lift.
Soften the knees, hinge at the hips lowering the bar down to mid-shin. Work through the position.
Tip: The lifts are quick, but when learning the lifts, speed is your enemy. You accelerate the bar from around your hips, if you start the lift too quickly you’ll throw the head back and effect the lift. Check your weight distribution, don’t be too far on your toes or too back in your heels.
Think of the bar as part of you. Take the ‘chink’ off at the start of the movement to create tightness through the body to gain control of the bar as you lift.
Tip: Create tension through the body but be able to still move with efficiency and fluidity. Have the bar touching the shins when you’re setting up to start the lift.
Trust the process, work through the positions to benefit from this amazing exercise.
About Andy Phillips.
Andy Phillips, head of training and content development for Escape Fitness, has presented around the world to inspire others with his passion for training and performance.
He has worked across the fitness industry for 20 years in roles ranging from personal training, to leading fitness activity in gyms, inspiring movement through military fitness outdoors, and educating trainers to better serve clients and gym members alike.
With Escape Fitness, Andy drives the exercise programming and digital fitness initiatives, as well as leading face-to-face training and instructor courses.
Andy knows the importance of consistency for improvement, using quality equipment to get the best from clients and customers.
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