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Chandler Walker 5 Ways to Create a Magical Snatch

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In the CrossFit community there are a ton of people who move beautifully and can perform the Weightlifting movements like they have tiny little angels strapped to their shoulders, but there are also people whose Weightlifting movements look like a zombified, foot dragging, head cocked to the side horror story. This post is for the latter of the two and includes some common mistakes I’ve seen in the Snatch.

  1. Pulling with the weight on the heels. Why is this bad and how do we fix it?

    • In order to perform an effective Snatch we have to create what we call an S curve or backwards S curve. This allows the bar to begin to travel back into the hips and prevents it from going around the knees.

    • A proper start in the Snatch begins with the weight on the midfoot or ball of the foot. After the bar is lifted off the ground the weight shifts to the rear of the foot.

  1. Not using your lats AKA golden wings of power.

    • Once you pick the bar off of the ground and you shift your weight to the rear of the foot it is important to begin to pull the bar backwards (not up) using your lats. We want to pull the bar backward to continue to take advantage of the backward momentum we have created by shifting our weight back.

  1. Not moving your knees back, because smashing a barbell into your knees is kinda painful and not very fun.

    • Once you’ve figured out how magical the first two recommendations are you’ll start to bang the bar into your knees. Why? Because the bar is moving backwards and if your knees don’t move back they provide a nice cushion for the bar to crash into.

    • To fix this drive your knees back as you pull the bar off the floor, but be sure to keep your chest up as well. If you don’t drive your chest up you’ll start doing a stripper Snatch and that creates a host of new problems plus no one want’s to see your favorite dance moves while Snatching.

  1. Extending early AKA jumping forward AKA doing a Snatch broad jump AKA the bar crashing down on your neck.

    • This problem should be alleviated by the above techniques, but the easiest way to stop doing this if it isn’t is to keep your knees back for as long as possible in the pull. Wait until you feel the bar touching your pelvis then extend your hips forcefully then pull up. If you don’t pull up you will bang the bar out in front of you and have to chase it. So don’t hump the bar bro, wait for it to come to you and then extend your hips.

  1. Lazy catch position or how I learned to press the bar out in every Snatch and became incredibly strong, but technically inefficient.

    • You should be thinking about a couple of things when you pull yourself under the bar in a Snatch. As soon as you are under the bar you need to push the bar up and pull it apart like your life depended on it and at the same time you should be driving your head through hard this activates the upper back and allows for a much more stable overhead position. (if you can actually pull it apart please put it on YouTube as I would enjoy watching it.)

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Thats it for this post I hope these fixes to some common Snatch errors help you get out of the zombie Snatch horror story and into the godlike golden Snatch zone.


Chandler Walker is a Coach at StoneAgeFuel for both CrossFit and Weightlifting. He is a USA Weightlifting Club Coach and CrossFit level 2 instructor (he holds many certifications and his full bio can be found HERE). Chandler is a National level Weightlifter and coaches both a competitive youth and adult Weightlifting team at StoneAgeFuel Barbell Club in addition to remotely coaching many others around the world. You can contact Chandler at Chandler@stoneagefuel.com and follow him on instagram at chandler_saf.