THUR: Why You Should Show Up On Snatch Day

When I started out as a coach in 2010, the snatch was a movement I didn’t understand. It was still relatively new to the functional fitness landscape, weightlifting had not yet taken off to the point it is today, and when I looked at the snatch, I saw high risk and low reward. So, I ignored it in training and programming. I told myself that overhead pressing variations achieved the same objective, and because they were more controlled, they were better for the everyday person.

Accurate logic, but a huge mistake in limited thinking.

Most think that you need to be a performance junkie to care and focus on your snatching ability. While the snatch is a competitive lift in the Olympics, this is like saying that you need to compete in running, swimming, tennis, basketball, sprinting, and skiing to enjoy their benefit. Why would most agree that is ridiculous, but not hold that same logic when it comes to weightlifting?

We’re scared, and we don’t understand how it benefits us.

At 16%, snatch days are our lowest attended barbell day in the gym (compared to back and front squats which are highest around 20%). This obviously means that people like it least or are least sold of its benefit. I think that both factors are at play, but I think that the latter drives the former so I’ll speak to that today.

Athletically, the basic benefit of the Olympic lifts is to train aggressive hip extension, since every upright sport on Earth demands that. However, nearly all of us in the gym are training for life, not sport, and in that realm of everyday progress the benefits of the snatch include:

Rapid Activation
Unlike the more controlled overhead press that I mentioned, the snatch forces our muscles, tendons, and ligaments to all activate in an explosive, powerful manner. This creates different adaptation on our body than slow, controlled movements. It drives the further develop of muscle and body composition changes, and it teaches our connective tissue to be strong against stronger forces, not just a slow, controlled, perfect environment. That isn’t life.

Core Strength
Everything goes through the core, especially movements that travel overhead. Our core absorbs force and then works to keep our spine and pelvis in proper alignment. Nothing better trains the core than movements that travel above our head. When we think core we think six-pack (rectus abdominis), but that’s not what core is. It’s three hundred and sixty degrees of muscles around our spine and glutes. The snatch forces activation of all of them.

Leg Strength
The legs create all of the strength and power. There is no strong snatch without strong legs.

Complete Kinetic Chain
Many perceive the snatch to be an upper body movement due to it’s finishing position, but it is quite literally a total body movement. It begins from the floor with movement generated from leg drive, travels from the knees past our hips with the help of our core strength and stability, we drop under in a fast, athletic movement and finally, we receive the bar with elbows extended and we stand up.

The lower body starts it. The upper body finishes it. The core is involved in the entire process.

There are many reasons to become competent in the snatch, but those five stand out for their far reaching application and their broad benefit across populations.

My hope for 2019 is to see more of you in the gym when it’s on the board, and more of you getting the wonderful benefits this weightlifting provides.


Thursday, 12.20.18

First. For Strength.
2 Hang/ or Power Snatches
Reset Grip
2 Hang/ or Power Snatches
10 V-Ups
Complete 1 set every 4′ for 20′

Then, For Conditioning.
500m Row
500m Run
20 Burpees
Track Your Time