Power Snatches Power Snatches

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Thread: Power Snatches

  1. #1
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    Default Power Snatches

    Hey Mark, I started my 2nd go at the novice program you describe in SS last Monday and ran into a problem. Apparently, I can't get the bar into the rack position due to me being stiff as fuck and having long forearms. If I elevate my elbows past ~45 degrees it sends the bar into my throat.

    I searched around for a bit then found a thread on these forums where you said that power cleans can be replaced with power snatches. That is awesome and I've done my 2nd workout with power snatches today, but I'm unable to find a good guide for the exercise. I'd ask one of the instructors in the gym but I saw one of them teaching some girl how to half squat on a bosu ball so...


    Do you know where I can find a more in depth description of the power snatch?

  2. #2
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    Since you have failed to read Starr's article, I shall provide a description. We teach the power snatch the same way we teach the clean, sometimes concurrently in a seminar if somebody presents with your problems. Like the power clean, it is a jump with the bar in the hands that terminates in its rack position. The differences in the two lie almost entirely in the rack position -- over the head at arms length as opposed to on the shoulders. The wide grip is designed to facilitate a shorter bar path to lockout. Take a grip that places the bar in your lap, between your pubis and your hip pointers, when you are standing erect with your chest up and arms straight. We teach both movements from the top, and then tack the deadlift onto the actual snatch or clean.

    Now, get the bar up over your head with your elbows straight and the palms of your hands facing the ceiling. The bar will be in balance here when it is directly over the shoulder joint. In this position, shrug up with your traps like you are not through pushing the bar up. This is the rack position for the snatch. Lower the bar from this position by unlocking the wrists first, then the elbows, and dropping the bar down your chest as close to it as you can get. Drop it and catch it, don't slow it down. This is the bar path it will make on the way up, and now you have practiced it on the way down. It must stay close.

    From the hang position (same terminology used in BBT for the power clean) unlock to the jumping position, in mid-thigh. Elbows are straight, in internal rotation, eyes forward and slightly down, feet in a jumping stance. Internal rotation reminds you to keep your elbows straight. From this position, jump up in the air as high as you can WITH STRAIGHT ELBOWS. Just let the bar follow the jump straight up. You should do this by sliding the bar up your thighs to the same position in your lap it touched in the hang position, and it will leave your body from there as it flies up. After you have determined that the snatch is in fact a jump with the bar in your hands WITH STRAIGHT ELBOWS, jump and catch the bar in the rack position. The elbows bend AFTER THE JUMP, as the bar passes out of the ROM where the elbows can stay straight, and you will see that you really lead this movement with your wrists. Wrists lead the bar up, and they are the LAST thing that extends. This must not be a pressing movement. Do this a few times, and then incorporate the "drop" under the bar as it passes close to your chest and then your face. Watch a few snatches to see what this looks like.

  3. #3
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    Great description!

    you mention that the jumping point is mid-thigh, and this is where the 'explosion/pop' occurs.

    Before this point is it just a 'slow' deadlift/knee extension UNTIL this mid-thigh jumping point?

  4. #4
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    It's where it starts. The force applied to the floor stops when the feet lose contact, and that point, which coincides with the bar leaving the belly, is where force application peaks. The floor pull just delivers the bar to the second pull, and many people try to make the floor pull happen too fast, thus getting out of position.

  5. #5
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    I was able to post a question about the power clean, but this thread seems just as appropriate. I'm wondering where the power comes from? A lot of people describe the bar hitting their thighs. Does the power come from extending and then that fast momentum sends the bar flying? Or does some of the power come from your thighs actually hitting and pushing the bar hard (from a hip drive) and then your back pulling to keep it close/pull it up a little? I guess I'm wondering if focusing too much on hitting my thigh against the bar hard will interfere with jumping or if thrusting hard (someone described this part of the movement to me as "prom night") with the bar against my thigh is a good way to think about doing the movement.

    I reread SS, am I correct that the power part of the movement comes from hip drive. At one point you say the bar should just brush the thigh though, so I take it that hitting the bar isn't creating the power? Is thinking about hitting it a decent way to get started, but something to correct once I get bigger form issues worked out?

  6. #6
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    Yes, i've been very guilty of that.

    And as a result, in the past, i have had a loopy bar path, that combined with my very narrow clean grip caused wrist issues when i screwed up the lift.

    It actually amazes me that the old soviets used to routinely aim the bar just above the knee, under the impression that this was good technique?

    In fact both rigert and urik vardanian did this.

    Vardanian's bar path is fantastically bad:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2nKyDcppV0

    And yet his total has yet to be beaten despite and increase in weight classes.

  7. #7
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    Thanks a lot!

  8. #8
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    Rip,

    I tried doing some power snatches yesterday. I never quite "agreed" with power cleans, they always felt awkward even with decent technique, add to that the fact that my gym doesn't like that I drop them, the fact that lowering the weights always left my wrists hurting in ways that did not feel normal and that the bars at my gym are some crappy bars with rubber sleeves that don't spin and end up rolling up my neck, I ended up not doing them. Power snatches felt way more right, even my training partner who has the motor coordination and athletic skills of a jellyfish managed to do something you could call a power snatch with a straight face, with 10 minutes of practice. Plus, I found power snatches to be way more fun, if anyone cares.

    Is there any downside in replacing the power cleans for power snatches? I know you are of the opinion that power cleans are better because you can use more weight due to the shorter bar travel, but isn't it said that the second pull of the snatch is the movement with the largest power output in all of athletics? If one is doing o-lifts to increase power generation, wouldn't it be better to use the exercise that requires to most power to be performed?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanRug View Post
    Does the power come from extending and then that fast momentum sends the bar flying? Or does some of the power come from your thighs actually hitting and pushing the bar hard (from a hip drive) and then your back pulling to keep it close/pull it up a little? I guess I'm wondering if focusing too much on hitting my thigh against the bar hard will interfere with jumping or if thrusting hard (someone described this part of the movement to me as "prom night") with the bar against my thigh is a good way to think about doing the movement.
    The bar hits your thighs as an artifact of a hard hip extension. The bump, if excessive and uncontrolled, will push the bar path forward, and vertical is the mechanical ideal. The power comes from a simultaneous knee/hip extension and the linear velocity on the bar that results from the rigid spine whipping through the angle from second pull to full extension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randle McMurphy View Post
    Yes, i've been very guilty of that.

    And as a result, in the past, i have had a loopy bar path, that combined with my very narrow clean grip caused wrist issues when i screwed up the lift.

    It actually amazes me that the old soviets used to routinely aim the bar just above the knee, under the impression that this was good technique?

    In fact both rigert and urik vardanian did this.

    Vardanian's bar path is fantastically bad:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2nKyDcppV0

    And yet his total has yet to be beaten despite and increase in weight classes.
    He was very strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Daniel View Post

    Is there any downside in replacing the power cleans for power snatches? I know you are of the opinion that power cleans are better because you can use more weight due to the shorter bar travel, but isn't it said that the second pull of the snatch is the movement with the largest power output in all of athletics? If one is doing o-lifts to increase power generation, wouldn't it be better to use the exercise that requires to most power to be performed?
    It would be better to do some of each, so that the benefits of lighter weigh/more power and heavier weight/still lots of power could be incorporated into your program.
    Last edited by Mark Rippetoe; 09-02-2010 at 08:54 PM.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    [QUOTE=Mark Rippetoe;160342]He was very strong.[QUOTE]

    Yup, can you imagine what he could have done with 'good' technique? I hear he is involved in american weightlifting these days, and his son lifts in the same manner.

    Rip I think there has been something left out of the substitution of power cleans for power snatches...

    ...And tell me if i am wrong...

    ...but i find maintaining a hook grip as you catch the bar overhead during a power snatch is better for the wrists.
    Agree or disagree?

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