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SNATCH BALANCE: What It Is; What It Is NOT?

SNATCH BALANCE:  What It Is; What It Is NOT?
Published: 2021-01-03

What is a “Snatch Balance” and why do we do them?  This might sound like simple questions because everyone knows the answer.  But do they really? 

We always start with the “why”.  What is the purpose of doing the exercise?  In the case of the Snatch Balance, we are looking for proper speed going under the bar and practicing a quick lockout to meet the bar overhead at the same time of hitting the bottom of the squat.  Timing is crucial so that the athlete is working on meeting the bar when it weighs “zero” instead of having the bar “crash” causing an unstable finished position.  This exercise is a staple of our training for developing maximum efficiency in the Snatch.

Check out the little video I put together explaining the how and why of the Snatch Balance 

As a review, then, here are the technique pointers you are looking for in performing a proper Snatch Balance:

  • Start with the bar on the shoulders with hands in the snatch grip
  • Feet start in the pulling position
  • Short dip and drive (to mimic the triple extension action during the snatch movement)
  • The dip and drive is not excessive vertical bar upward movement
  • Quick “press under the bar” while dropping into a strong squat position
  • Arms lockout at the same time as the athlete hits the bottom
  • Tight catch, stabilize and stand to finish

That is what a Snatch Balance IS.  Here is what it IS NOT!: 

The Power Jerk plus Overhead Squat is a great exercise in and of itself.  It builds shoulder and core stability, leg drive, balance and confidence in the overhead position.  We use this exercise, as well as Power Snatch plus Overhead Squat, particularly in the early stages of learning the full Snatch and in the early stages of the periodization plan. 

The key difference between those exercises and the Snatch Balance is the “receiving” or “catch” position.  The Power Snatch or Power Jerk are each received above parallel and then ridden down into the full overhead squat position.  With a properly performed Snatch Balance, the athlete receives the bar overhead below parallel in the full squat position. 

If you go back to the “why” for executing Snatch Balances, you will see it is much different than for the Power Jerk plus Overhead Squat.  Both are great exercises and we utilize them both throughout the training cycle, but for different reasons.

For all of you internet trolls out there, don’t be fooled when you see someone has posted what they claim to be a PR Snatch Balance – maybe it is not actually a Snatch Balance!