Exercise Library
Block Snatch

AKA Snatch from blocks, snatch off blocks
The block snatch is an exercise that can serve a number of purposes depending on the lifter’s or coach’s goals.
The block snatch should be performed identically to the snatch except that the bar begins resting on blocks instead of the floor. The most common block heights are knee and below the knee.
When lifting from the blocks, the pressure on the feet prior to the bar being separated from the blocks will need to be farther back toward the heels than it would be during a lift from the floor when the barbell is at the same height, or in the starting position of a hang power snatch from the same starting height.
The block snatch will force the lifter to accelerate the bar more rapidly because of the limited distance available to accelerate, and because it’s beginning from a dead stop with no prior stretch or tensioning of the lifting muscles as would occur from a hang position. This means it can be a good choice for training speed and rate of force development. It can also be used during periods of time when the loading on the back and legs needs to be reduced somewhat. Additionally, lifting from the blocks rather than from the floor reduces the loading on the back and legs, meaning that it’s less taxing on the lifter.
The block snatch is appropriate for lighter training days as a secondary exercise, or it can be a primary snatch exercise if performed heavy. Some lifters will be able to snatch more from certain block heights than they can from the floor—this is not necessarily a problem, although it can be an indicator of technical or strength issues in the pull from the floor.
The block snatch may be used as a way for a lifter who has a problem lifting from the floor to train the snatch heavy while this problem is being addressed; it can also be a way to train the snatch heavy but with somewhat reduced loading on the back and legs to reduce the overall fatigue of the training. Use 1-3 reps per set.
The block snatch can be performed from blocks of any height. It can also be combined in a complex with snatch pulls. Straps may or may not be used depending on what’s appropriate for the athlete at the time.

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Justin Niles
July 12 2016
For block snatches at the knee, is the "at the knee" referring to where the bar is or where the bottom of the plate is resting, at the beginning of the lift?
"At the knee" referrs to where the bar is when you start the movement. 

Alyssa Sulay
Justin Niles
July 12 2016
Alyssa - Thank you kindly.