Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting



Drills For A Better Muscle Snatch

If you’ve decided to perform the muscle snatch in a way that actually resembles the turnover of the snatch, here’s a series of drills to help you get the feel for how to do it well.

The key is maintaining continuous tension on the bar—that is, continuing to pull it up and preserve as much speed as possible even as you’re transitioning and turning it over. Never allow any slack in the system by relaxing that tension, and never move the elbows forward under the bar—pull the bar back over the elbows.

Start with the tall snatch high-pull. From a standing position, use the upper body only and lift the elbows up and out as high as possible, squeezing the shoulder blades up and back together at the top. Focus on lifting the elbows rather than the bar to keep the elbows higher than the bar.

Next move to a tall muscle snatch—use a lighter bar if needed. Initiate the motion with the same pull up and out of the elbows, and shrug the shoulders up and back as you turn the bar over to keep it as close as possible. Continue pulling up on the bar as you turn it over so the elbows never drop from their elevated position at about shoulder height. Complete the turnover with a forceful, vertical punch up into the bar over the back of the neck.

Once those movements are consistent, move to a complex of high-pull + muscle snatch from power position. This will give you the chance to connect a vertical leg drive like you should have at the top of the pull with the upper body motions, continuing to emphasize the high pull of the elbows prior to the turnover.

Finally, perform the same complex from the floor. The goal is to finish the pull with an aggressive vertical leg drive and continue moving the bar up as close to the body with as much speed as possible by pulling the elbows up and out. Replicate that high-pull motion in the muscle snatch, continuing to lift and move the bar as fast as possible through the entire turnover and never letting the elbows drop.


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