Your Guide to Master the CrossFit Snatch
Here is a look at Snatch CrossFit exercises, how to do them, their benefits and so on. There are several different types including the use of kettlebells, power snatches, barbells, squat snatches and kettlebells. Besides the Deadlift exercise, Thruster and Air Squat workout, one of the most epic exercises we regularly include in our Perth CrossFit training, is the CrossFit Snatch WOD. The snatch is basically a move that involves flinging a weight from the ground over the head in one fluid motion. It is a hard move and one that needs a lot of practice to pull off. But it comes with a number of great benefits linked with strength and mobility. The CrossFit Snatch is not the only place athletes use it. You can also find Snatch weightlifting in the Olympics too. But even if you are not training weights for competition, including Snatch weight lifting in your exercise regime is a great idea. Let’s learn more about the snatch exercise.
What is a Snatch in CrossFit?
What is a snatch in CrossFit? CrossFit training works on several areas and it is not just a cardio workout. Part of its focus is strength training which includes learning various weight lifting moves. A snatch might also be your WOD. This is the workout of the day, where you focus on an exercise or a series of them and do multiple reps. With the snatch, it can be done using a variety of forms and weights including the kettlebell, barbell and dumbbell. You fling that weight in one motion over the head. Unlike other exercises, this one uses multiple muscle groups and is a dynamic and complex lift.
Snatch Exercise Benefits
As mentioned above it uses a lot of muscles so its benefits are not just in your arm or your legs for example. The benefits of a snatch workout are varied and with the help of a coach or personal trainer well worth learning and taking advantage of. You work on your core, your hamstrings, traps, quads, forearms, calves, glutes, shoulders and triceps. You learn better control and balance, improve your posture and you impact your ability to kick, throw, lift, punch and so on. The benefits of doing the snatch regularly are building muscles mass by means of hypertrophy and speeding up your metabolism. That means despite it being weight training one of the snatch exercise benefits is more calories burned.
How to Snatch Properly
It is important when you decide to learn this movement that you learn how to snatch properly which means preferably seeing a coach or train at a reputable Perth CrossFit gym. Experienced CrossFit coaches can best ensure you use the correct form and methods so there is less chance of an injury and so that you get the most out of it. There are different variations too so you need to learn the right way for each one. Have a look below to get an idea of the kind of technique you should be using.
Crossfit Snatch Technique
The more common CrossFit snatch technique is to use the Barbell so in our outline of snatch technique we will focus on that. When learning how to snatch in CrossFit the barbell is the most likely variation for a number of reasons including the fact you can also do squat snatches and power snatches with it.
- Start with having the loaded barbell on the ground with you standing so your feet are under it and place them hip-width apart with your toes pointed outwards just a little.
- Squat and place your hands in the snatch grip position making sure it is wide enough so when you stand with your arms out straight the bar is at the crease of the hip. The best grip is a hook grip.
- Get yourself into position engaging lats, lifting hips and pushing your knees out.
- As you pull the barbell up straighten your legs and when it brushes your mid-thighs drive your hips forwards, with the feet leaving the ground.
- Pull the elbows high and drive the barbell up and over your head and land in a quarter squat position then quickly move into an overhead squat under the bar.
- When you have the bar stable stand up to complete the exercise and then controlled your lowering of the bar down to the ground.
How to Improve Your Snatch
The snatch is a complex movement and athletes looking to improve how much weight they lift should look at ways on how to improve your snatch. This means focussing on technique to perfect each moment and to also improve the strength and development in the arms, back and legs. The easiest way to do that is to have an expert help you and assess you and offer advice. Basically, in order to lift more (weight), you need to lift more (practice)! Some things to avoid are;
- Doing an overhead press. Forcing the weight without the right technique puts pressure on the back and can lead to injury and the snatch does not have an overhead press.
- Putting on too much weight before you have learned the technique.
- Not having the barbell as close as you need to. If the bar is too far away you will not be able to complete the lift correctly.
- Landing with your feet too far apart. Your foot position is very important if you are too wide it is hard to get under the bar and finish the snatch movement. Keep them just a little more than hip-width.
Popular CrossFit Snatch Types Explained
Here is a look at some of the more common types of snatch exercises and what they look like.
✦ Crossfit Power Snatch
If you are wondering about what is a power snatch, this is where when you are in the partial overhead squat position as described above in the barbell snatch you then do not go into a full squat but move the bar high and the idea is to do a very fast change of direction with a complete knee and hip extension.
✦ Crossfit Hang Snatch
As well as changing the weight you use when you practice the snatch you can also change where the rep begins and that is what is a hang snatch. Where a full snatch starts with the bar on the ground, this is where you start the rep with the weight between your hip and knee. Often in CrossFit, this uses a lighter weight so you can move quicker.
✦ Crossfit Dumbbell Snatch
If you are looking to do the snatch routine but you either are not ready for the barbell or not able to access one you can learn how to do a dumbbell snatch instead or as well. Using a dumbbell is a great way to improve unilateral strength. Single-arm movements in a db snatch are good for working on your weaker side. You do the same kind of movement in a dumbbell snatch exercise but with a single hand.
✦ Crossfit Kettlebell Snatch
When you are looking at how to do a kettlebell snatch it is very much the same as with a dumbbell snatch but you have to learn how to work with the position of the handle at that point where you point it to the sky. Otherwise, you can hurt your wrist.
✦ Barbell Snatch
Look above to learn more detail about how to barbell snatch. It is the most common variation you will see being done at the gym and in your own training. Before you start learning with a barbell with weights it is a good idea to use one with no weights or even just some other long pole like a pipe or broomstick so you can first get the form and technique correct.
✦ Hang power Snatch
This is quite a simple version of the hang snatch outlined above. You basically are initiating a power snatch but from a different starting position. Different hang positions include mid-thigh, below the knees, upper thigh, at the knees, just above the knees.
✦ Overhead Snatch
This is a combination of two lifts, the snatch and the overhead squat. You need to have or develop good balance, stability and power. Start with lighter weights and practice over time to get better at it!
What muscles does the snatch work?
This is not an exercise you will master in just a few days, in some cases, it might take weeks or even years. A number of muscles used in snatch exercises will get stronger over time. Snatch muscles worked include the legs, back, shoulders, glutes, core, arms and upper chest. It really is one of the best whole-body exercises so whatever muscle snatch workout you choose is up to you.
When you are looking at learning the snatch exercise keep in mind that in order to be safe you need to really be exact about learning and practicing the technique. If you learn how to snatch in CrossFit you get the bonus of expert trainers who can make sure you are doing it right and can help you progress as you get stronger. Be patient as it is a very technical movement.