Improve Your Snatch - Fix These Common Mistakes! – Garage Strength

Improve Your Snatch - Fix These Common Mistakes!

Let’s start with the technical aspects around the snatch to create a blueprint for what we want to see as an ideal movement in our technical model.

With the bar at the shins, from the floor, as the pull of the snatch is initiated, we want the knees to come back. As the bar goes over the knee caps the knees will come forward (this will be done as the hips, hamstrings, and quads help the knees flex forward) and we will push through the feet as the heels stay grounded to keep the weight back behind the bar while the chest is over. Then we will bring the hips through and finish with the tight upper body. We want to think shrug, rotate, and punch into the catch position.

And that is the technical model that everything needs to be overlaid upon to have a solid grasp of the snatch movement.

Problem 1: Missing Behind

The first style of miss is missing the bar behind. This style of miss typically happens because the butt comes up too quickly while all the weight is on the toes. It happens pretty frequently. Often athletes get onto their toes and to get the weight back into position athletes will bring their chest all the way behind during the finish to cause a miss behind.

The Fix: Pause Below The Knee For 5 Seconds

One way to fix this is by pausing right below the knee caps for 5 seconds and then snatching. Pausing below the knee will really strengthen the lower back, help the athlete feel the position with their knees back without being too far forward, and the whole foot will be applying force into the ground. It is also an isometric action for the hamstrings. The position helps athletes get the feeling of keeping their chest in a good position while the knees are in the proper position.

snatch training

Problem 2: Missing Forward

This is a miss that occurs with the bar forward. Such a miss forward happens from athletes throwing their head back and then jumping back off the hip, leaving the bar forward. Athletes with really long legs will at times shoot their hips to shoot up, then throw their head back, displacing their center of mass. Their feet then have to go back 6-12” as well, missing the bar forward.

The Fix: No Feet Snatch

One of the best movements to fix the jump back requires a movement that makes a better connection with the ground for the athlete. That is where the no-feet snatch comes into play. We want the feet in the catch position during no feet snatches, not in the pulling position. This movement is also excellent for getting athletes to slide their feet. The movement also creates better tension into the upper body, leading to an aggressive upper body and a good tight finish.

Problem 3: Pressing Out

Athletes tend to press out the snatch when they catch. This happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it happens because the bar isn’t high enough position off of the hips. It also happens sometimes because of weak shoulders and weak coordination between the triceps and shoulders. Typically that is what we end up seeing, the lack of coordination between the tricep and shoulder to rapidly catch.

The Fixes: Snatch Press In The Bottom Position / Miracle Gro

The first fix is being deep in the hole of a squat with the feet in the catch position. Think to drive the hips down into the heels while focusing on a rapid extension of the elbow through the triceps into the elbow.

Usually, we super-set the snatch press in the hole with the greatest tricep of all time: the miracle gro. We use the miracle gro because it forces the body into an overhead position, the shoulders will lengthen, and then as the elbows flex to bring the weight back over the forehead, the triceps and shoulders are all coordinating together.  

The two movements used together allow athletes to feel the position of rapidly accelerating the elbows when catching to lead to better reception of the bar.


We have to remember that there might be some technical issues as well. Not all misses are related to strength.

Missing behind? Pause below the knee. Loop the bar? Jump backward? No feet snatch starting with the feet in the catch position. Press out the snatch? Do snatch presses in the hole super-setted with miracle gro’s. Really push the weight with the snatch press in the hole.


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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