The Power Snatch
The power snatch is a modified version of weightlifting’s first competitive lift, the snatch. There are three snatch “styles” that can be used in competition to quickly lift a barbell overhead in one continuous motion:
- the squat style (most popular, most efficient)
- the split snatch (barbell is caught overhead in a lunge position)
- the power snatch (a semi-squat version that uses less weight)
Most novice lifters want to learn to squat snatch. Since balance and mobility are vital for effective squat snatching, it is common to first learn how to perform the easier power snatch style. In a progressive path over several weeks of coaching the lifter evolves to performing a power snatch, followed immediately by an overhead squat. After some successful weeks of this training the lifter moves to a full squat snatch.
Don’t be confused by the term “power.” This partial squat snatch was originally known as a “flip” snatch. This means the lifter performs the usual pulling motion, but ends catching the weights overhead with a simple flip (extension) of the wrists without squatting or splitting. To qualify as a legitimate power snatch, the lifter’s thighs should remain well above parallel to the platform.
The power snatch is not necessarily a more powerful lift than either of the other two styles, it’s only a simple name applied to the exercise. Elite weightlifters seldom specialize in the power snatch; it is used more for speed development. Since the power snatch requires lighter weights, training for greater speed can be a natural benefit of the exercise.
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