Snatch technique

After reading a few books and watching some videos I can get the bar overhead, but some critique would be great. Thanks!

Joel, looks good. Excellent for being self taught.



Nice start. Good news is you are obvouly flexible enough to do the lifts well and so far you are doing pretty well.

In terms of your lift and with reference to the article at the following address:




Start position is OK except that you need to keep your chest up even more.

The first pull is characterised by your knees moving BACK the angle of your back staying the same (see 2nd article) - pictures 1 to 2.

Next AND MOST IMPORTANTLY your knees move forward under the bar. This is known as the double knee bend. See article 3.

At this point the bar should be in the “groove” in your leg between the pelvis and your legs - see picture 3.

From here you shrug violently upwards and triple extend your hips, knees and ankles. Picture 4

The bar will move upwards and you will PUSH YOURSELF under the bar (this you seem to already be doing pretty well) See the rest of the pictures after picture 4.

You need to work on the double knee bend. at the moment your legs don’t come forward under the bar so you loose all of the elastic energy developed by this movement. If you can master this movement the amount of weight you can lift and the power you can produce will increase significantly.

Here’s another look at the snatch in slow motion and everything is summarised again in article 1.

Read all the articles at the site provided.

I hope this helps.


I respectfully disagree with this statement. Well, i agree with most you say after “you need to work on the double knee bend”. I feel trying to force the DKB during movement can mess things up. Keep in mind he is still learning the movement, thus as his technique becomes more refined, the DKB should naturally occur.

What he can do to work on the “power position” or where he really should be hitting that “pop” during the second pull is to do some power snatch from blocks with the bar position being at mid-thigh, or hang snatch from mid-thigh (at the lowest). Work on moving the bar as fast as possible. This has helped me in the past.

Ditto to forcing the DKB. It will usually imerge by itself if all the other components are present.
I’ve seen alot of beginners get really frustrated by being forced to learn the DKB.

Your back is rounded in the set-up. Someone standing in front of you should be able to read what’s on your T-shirt. Force the chest up and the butt out. Squeeze the bar off the floor and then explode. The rest looks not bad.


Ashby, TNT

No offense taken. This is a controversial area. I learned from Mike Stone and he was all for it. He believes from his “scientific” research that unless you teach it there will be problems getting correct technique in the future.

I’ve had no problems teaching it (i’ve always done it that way) and I’m not sure if it makes much difference. So I’m not going to debate the issue because my position on it is flexible. :slight_smile:

As for all the other advice (pulling from blocks etc) this is essential to develop a good second pull from the jump position. Seeing the logo on your shirt is also a good cue to keep your chest up. Starting position in the snatch is very hard to achieve initially. You could try pulling off of 2 plates placed on the floor intially and then as you get better reduce the thickness of the plate until you can achieve a good position pullin straight from the floor.



could you briefly describe how you progressed teaching your self the lift? Up/down, down/up?
Also, if you are performing the Clean as well, which of the two did you start with first?

It would be good to have some background information, if you don’t mind.


I get where you are coming from. I have talked to Stone a few times in the past and i like his ideas, although i have never directly spoke to him on this topic.

So, out of curiosity…how do you personally teach executing the DKB?

If you watch videos of 2 dozen elite lifters you will probably see 1 dozen different techniques and all of them work. There are lifters with “ideal” body proportions for lifting and there are lifters with gawd awful proportions and they manage to overcome. OL is one place where 1 size definitely doesn’t fit all. In OL speed can make up for lack of strength and strength can make up for lack of speed, unlike sprinting.

If it works, use it. If it doesn’t work, don’t use it.


Thank you everyone for the input!

tc0710 - I do see a difference in my knee position and that in your pictures. He seems to be getting scooped under the bar a lot more and keeping it closer to the body throughout the pull. I’ll work on that and getting the chest out and head up more, as you also mentioned TNT.

asbury park - I’ll try some pulls from the blocks. I built a couple out of wood that are in front of me in the video. Starts the bar just below the knee; perhaps I should elevate the boxes so the bar is above the knee and in the beginning of the power position.

Nikoluski - I read about some of the different approaches to learning the lifts in The Weightlifting Encyclopedia by Arthur Drechsler. I sort of settled into my own bottom to top approach as follows:

  1. Using a broomstick in slow motion while trying to recreate the body angles shown in pictures.
  2. Snatch/clean grip deadlifts while trying to “scoop” the bar (still not doing this well, I guess).
  3. Explosive hang shrugs while coming up on the toes
  4. Overhead squats so I wouldn’t drop the thing on my head the first time snatching.
  5. The full snatch movement.
    The clean is not coming as easily as the catch position is still very uncomfortable. I started both clean + snatch together, but am giving the clean a break while I work up the front squat numbers and the wrist flexibility/strength.

Go to and use the search engine. Just type in DIMAS and watch the training video from '93. Simply amazing. See if you can spot his “miss”. He does a good cover-up.


id not worry about a DKB as yet.

your first pull is good to your knees, back is flat, shoulders hips move at the same rate.

your problems start at the second pull above the knee. you need to “scoop” the bar back in close to your thighs. as the bar touches mid to upper thigh you should explode with triple extension and shrug. the bar is miles away from your body. also you are pulling too high with your arms. note the way your are standing in an almost upright row position. you dont do this. you should be pulling your self under at this stage.

When learning any technical skill the most important movement is the first movement, this is especially true with explosive and ballistic skills.
In OL the ability to elicit the stretch reflex is of paramount concern, and due to the high velocity of the stretch reflex there is little feedback for the athlete, it becomes a feel and not a voluntary action.
Working pulls from the ground and teaching proper positioning and bar trajectory, set up the second pull (DKB).
Key point would be:

  1. solid lift off position, with the athletes shoulders slightly in front-of-or over the bar
  2. weight on middle to pad of foot
  3. the first movement will be to extend only the knees and attempt to maintain starting hip angle (stay over the bar with your upper body)
  4. the lift off should be smooth - bar trajectory should sweep towards the shins
  5. athlete attempts to stay over the bar as long as possible with shoulders (bottom of the RDL)
  6. weight moves from front-middle of foot backwards toward heel
  7. this should create much tension in the hamstrings eliciting the stretch reflex (causing knees to scoop under the bar and the shoulders to rise)

As you can see by the excellent pictures provided in this thread, look how long these athletes can stay over the bar (this creates much tension in the hams) athletes then only need to learn the timing (an individual skill) as to finish.

The danger (slows learning not physically dangerous) of teaching the DKB is that athletes become erect too early (bend knees prematurely) and miss the enormous energy provided by the stretch reflex.

Pulls from the floor, getting the bar just past the knee teaches the athlete how to ‘WAITE FOR IT’ then to just let it go. It is important to allow the athlete to feel the position you want him to get into, and the potential energy when done correctly.

I teach it from day 1 with the pull from the floor using the basic pattern:

  1. Knees Back
  2. Knees Forward
  3. Jump and shrug

So starting from the floor. Weight over mid foot. Bar about 1 inch from shins. Back stays rigid, hips slightly above knees - flat back. First thing you squeeze the bar off of the floor by pushing knees backwards transfering the weight to your heals until the bar is slightly above the knee. Bar and the athlete move together - Mike calls this the “zen of weightlifting”.

Repeat this many times - for people who havn’t done this before it also works thier lower back and hamstrings to some extent.

Then add stage 2. From bar above knees the knees come forward back under the bar and the torso straightens up until the athlete arrives in the jump position (PICTURE 3). The weight is not once again returned to the midfoot ready for the second pull. You can use loads of different cues (hips under, knees forward) etc. All you are trying to do is get the bar back close to the body and the athletes back upright so they can produce a violent shrug and full extension.

I just go through these movements loads of times. I do lots of different variations and complexes of points 1-3.

At the same time I am teaching the 2nd pull from the Jump position (hang and from blocks). Eventually the two merge together. There is usually a bit of difficulty in getting the timing of the transition right but within about 8 sessions they have the full double knee bend down and can clean/snatch (all be it poorly). Then its just a point of working on getting position better and better and getting it all smooth.

In case you are wondering Mike Stone’s basic arguement goes something like this:

The reason why the OLs are so good for sport is because they allow the athlete to produce more power than in any other movement.

The reason why the OLs are capable of creating this power is because of the double knee bend. Without it power levels are reduced massively. Therefore, unless you perform the double knee bend the value of the exercise reduces immensley.

From his coaching experience/research Mike believes that once the athlete has learned “incorrect” technique they will find it “almost impossible” to change. As a nock on affect they will also reduce thier ability to produce power. Therefore, Mike believes that you should teach the double knee bend from day 1.

This is the general position of the UK Strength and Conditoning association and all coaches accredited through it are taught the same thing.

Now since I have never taught it any other way I don’t know if it i just happens naturally or not but having learned to teach it this way and had success I just keep doing what I have done.

Hope this helps… Thanks for the debate.


Sure, that is all well understood. I understand the mechanism of the DKB. What i was getting at was does TC walk into the weightroom saying “ok, today we are gonna work on the DKB”? If so, how do you exactly teach it (if that is what he does)? I am just asking because i never thought to teach it. It just happens as a result of everything coming together.

Ok, forget my last post. I guess you just posted yours right before mine.

Some good points in your response. So, are you advocating a bottom to top teaching progression?

Hi Joel,

As per my description of begining technique of the OL, your first movements are the most important ones.
When you set up at the bar your weight should be in the middle to front of your foot.
Upon lift off the weight will shift back towards your heels and the bar should sweep slightly towards your shins.
Watching your video, the bar does not move back towards your shins and you do not stay over it long enough. This causes a number of problems, the bar moves to far from your body (difficult to control), you do not stay over the bar long enough (weak stretch reflex), knees bend prematurly (no explosiveness), bar has then to be lifted instead of thrown (loss of bar speed).
Fix the bottom position and the rest will take care of itself.

I doubt it really matter too much.

I just work from both ends and meet in the middle because the 2nd pull is quite different from the first and they seem to complement each other. E.g. you can use a lighter weight to teach the second pull (so they don’t get tired) and a heavier weight to teach the first pull (because it actually helps the athlete get into good position) and works on strength. Its the transition period that is the problem but once they get that to click then boom everything becomes easy.

To be honest my biggest problem is getting ROM in the shoulders and hips for deep overhead squatting. I’d like ideas on how to improve this!

Have you tried PNF / ballistic stretches with Olympic bar + weight (for the hips)

manual manipulation of the thoraso-scapular complex (ability to reverse the thoracic spine) helps

Hey Nap, if you could go into more detail that would be good. I’m always keen to learn.