The perfect Olympic snatch or “Snatch” is a spectacle of athleticism with a hallowed history in feats of strength dating back thousands of years. The task involves picking up an incredibly heavy barbell and raising it up over your head with a swift explosion of power.
This maneuver has persisted over decades in Olympic competition, and it now stands as one of two lifts in the event along with the clean and jerk.
The Equipment You Need To Do An Olympic Snatch
Well, before you run off trying to pick up a really heavy Olympic set, we have a few words of caution and preparation first. It is wise to hire a qualified coach to monitor form and ward off injuries caused by bad habits in your lift mechanics. If you can’t get a coach them start by finding a gym that practices the two primary lifts; the Olympic Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. That way you can learn from experience lifters.
If you are getting started the proper equipment, is a must when training for the Olympic Snatch. You will want to review the options on the market. This includes
- Olympic Weight Set: This is the most important equipment you will need. The Olympic barbell weighs 20 kilograms for male competitors and 15 kg for female lifters. It accommodates the weights, known as discs (or “bumper plates”), weighing as much as 25 kg each. The discs are held in place by “collars,” which are the weight caps, weighing 2.5 kg per.
- Lifting shoes: A MUST, don’t under estimate the importance of quality lifting shoes. Read any of our reviews and you will understand why
- Knee sleeves: Not essential but needed as your weight increases
- Wrist supports: Not Essential but can be useful
- Belt: for back support, this helps prevent the number one career killing injury
- Chalk: A must for any seriours lifter
- Lifting Straps: Not Essential but can be useful
Performing an Olympic Snatch: How is it done?
Step by Step Guide
In the snatch, the barbell must be raised from the floor to overhead in a single motion. This requires a full-body exertion including tremendous power from the legs and core in addition to arm strength.
- It begins with feet set slightly wider than the shoulders, and the barbell aligned above the joints on the toes. The body drops to lift the bar as if sitting in a chair, keeping the back straight (which is easier with a belt). The grip should be set wide along the far knurling (the textured grip on the bar) so the arms can be locked to finish the lift.
- The lift begins with a squat as the feet push down into the floor, as if the lifter is about to leap into the air. Proper weightlifting shoes are crucial here, as they will help preserve stability and allow for a deeper squat due to the slightly raised heel.
- The bar must be raised in a controlled motion close to the legs until it reaches the thighs. Balance gets transferred from the heel in the squat to the balls of the feet as the bar is raised. The elbows must not touch the knees for a valid lift.
The below image details the Olympic Snatch process to this Step:
- Now comes time for the explosive exhibition of strength, as the legs push down and the lifter springs out of the seated pose.
- The elbows should be kept out and above the bar for as long as possible, as the energy from the legs powers the bar upward. The feet must spring out to be nearly as wide as the hands. With shoulders shrugged back, the lifter moves underneath the bar and locks the arms, returning to a squat.
- All that’s left is to remain balanced and stand up with feet in line, displaying the ponderous barbell for all to see.
A perfect Olympic snatch is a beauty to behold. Any video of Pyrros Dimas in competition will serve as an excellent primer. Born in Albania to Greek parents, Dimas collected three gold medals and a bronze over four Olympic Games with the Greek national team from 1992 to 2004.
Dimas stands at the pinnacle of the sport, but any execution of the Olympic snatch is impressive. In just a few seconds, copious athleticism, raw strength and hard work are channeled into an incredible feat.
Step by Step Coaching: How to Snatch (Great Resource)