How to snatch ... CORRECTLY – Garage Strength

How to snatch ... CORRECTLY

Putting weeks upon weeks of training. Months upon months of training. Ready to go out on the stage and snatch a huge PR. But what ends up happening? Little soft in the catch and the judge rightfully gives a red light from that elbow shake and all of a sudden all that hard work is for naught because the snatch is pressed out. 

So what actually causes snatch press-outs? Believe it or not, it comes back to the pull and understanding how the pull needs to be executed. For instance, a more effective pull means the bar is tighter and will get into the catching slot more effectively when receiving the snatch.

We also have to think about what happens from a muscular perspective. Typically if we are thinking about press-outs in the snatch and the bar is forward, we need to think about what we can do to save the lift and not press out. We have to think about what is going on in the shoulder and the elbows when in the overhead position. In most cases, if we are talking about elbow extension, it will come back to the tricep.

We need to think about the overhead lock-out position and what contributes to shoulder stability and the elbow extension. It comes back to the long head of the triceps, the rhomboid, traps even, and the deltoids. We need to look at those muscle groups and what is going on in the pull to help stop pressing out in the snatch.

If we can isolate the long head of the tricep, improve the strength in the rhomboids, and get better scapula retraction we now know what we need to do and train to eliminate snatch press outs.

Quick Description Of How To Pull Effectively

We want a nice tight position in the snatch pull when we pull off the floor. We can pause just below the knee and then pause at the reciprocation point above the knee to train the body to keep the bar nice and tight during the pull. The goal is to keep the bar nice and tight to increase the likelihood the bar ends ups in an ideal receiving position.

It is really important to understand the actual effective way to pull a snatch movement to make sure that we are not leading to positions where the bar is a little out front or behind then leading to a press out. Ideally we want to look for a really, really technically sound position off the floor into the hip.

A quick summary of the workout that is going to help you snatch correctly, and avoid the press out.

First set of exercises

Miracle grow (3 sets of 10-15 reps)

Snatch press in the hole (3 sets of 5-8 reps)

Second pair of exercises

X-band tricep extension (3 sets of 15-20 reps) 

Snatch push press (3 sets of 3-5 reps)

Third pair of exercises

Rhomboid fly (4 sets of 10-15 reps)

Clockwork tricep extension (4 sets of 17 reps)

1. Miracle Gro

The miracle gro is almost like a combination of a dumbbell pull-over with a skull crusher. What we are looking for here is having the shoulders retract to get nice and deep to lengthen the lats into an overhead position. Then we will get into full elbow flexion to lengthen the tricep, stretch, and then come back over top and extend the elbows to really improve the lockout position in conjunction with scapular retraction and the lengthening of the lats. The dumbbell is gripped with an open palm.

Really focus on locking out over the face. Try to get the dumbbell as deep as possible to lengthen the entire range of motion of the exercise. We also want to focus on squeezing the abs as well performing this movement. Do this movement for two to three sets of ten to fifteen reps.

2. Snatch Press In The Hole

Now we will super-set this movement with a snatch specific exercise. The idea is to utilize a tricep exercise with the snatch specific exercise. In this case, we are using a snatch press in the hole.

Get the bar up and over head, onto the shoulders. Move the hands out to establish the snatch grip and go ahead and squat nice and deep into the hole. We will then drive the bar up. We want to see the scaps retracted and the elbows extending just over the hips while driving through the full foot. Do two to three sets of five to eight reps.

We will see that the fatigue from the miracle gro will positively impact this position. The cool thing about the snatch press in the hole is that it teaches the athlete where to be when receiving the bar in the snatch. It not only improves the lockout, but improves the mobility in the ankles and hips. It also makes us extend the thoracic in the spine to help improve the lockout.

3. X Band Tricep Extension

We need to stand on the bands and put the band behind the back. The band will be crossed. Go two fingers in and two fingers out with the grip. Palms face forward and we pull the bands up over top. We then extend through the triceps out.

Think about bending the bar down when performing this movement with the bands. It will force the retraction in the shoulders, targeting the long head of the tricep and focusing on the lockout. As fatigue adds up, we can add speed on the movement and pause a little bit during the lockout. Do this for fifteen to twenty reps and then rest for thirty to forty seconds while setting up to do snatch push presses.

4. Snatch Push Press 

Typically we want to be doing the snatch push press on jerk blocks to overload the movement quite a bit. We want to see the transfer of the tricep and shoulder stability from the X band extensions transferring over to this movement. We want a little bit a of dip followed by a long drive. Really extend and drive the shoulders and elbows. Performing three to five reps will work. Some of the big benefits behind this movement are it utilizes the snatch grip and that as we get better at the movement, we can really overload the weight.

Pairing these two movements together will dramatically increase the strength of the lockout. Performing two to three sets of the two movements in tandem is a great place to start.

5 Rhomboid Fly

The rhomboid fly is a little different from a reverse fly. This can be done on an incline bench or the chest can be put forward about forty-five degrees. The palms will be facing forward. We want to see the dumbbells come back where we are squeezing the scaps so they are hugging the spine. Squeezing all through the upper back to try to really strengthen the rhomboids. We want to do ten to fifteen reps and then move over to the next movement. 

6. Clockwork Tricep Extension

This movement is performed while sitting. We will grab bands. Powerlastic bands work great. The knuckles will be together like gears on a clock. The knuckles will be rolled as we extend out to the top. This movement improves the long head of the tricep. Using the gear position with the knuckles will isolate the long head even further to lead to good tricep strength. Do seventeen reps. Get three to four sets in of both movements in tandem.

The beauty of this pairing is that the rhomboid flies will help improve the upper back, and then when getting back over to the clockwork tricep extensions, we can feel the rhomboids and scaps retracting and in turn we can feel the triceps extending in the overhead position. This help us receive a lot more weight overhead without getting red lights.   


Remember the key factor behind not pressing out the snatch is understanding how to effectively pull with proper technique. Precise technique means the bar will be tighter off the hip into the receiving position. Learn how to pull the sntach effectively. Once that is done, utilize these six exercises to improve the strength of the deltoids, rhomboids, and triceps, especially the long head of the tricep. The exercises will dramatically help the lockout in the over head position. 


Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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