The Forgotten Snatch Variation
Often times weightlifting coaches and throws coaches alike have asked why I use close grip snatch as a variation. They want to know where the transfer can be found from the strength side and if there is even a transfer from the technical side of the movement. Then the never ending question arises….who did I learn the movement from?
I first remember learning about the close grip snatch during my college years, reading forums like “The Ring” and seeing articles about Yuri Sedych and his training. My first recollection was of Andy Bloom doing close grip snatches with 270lbs for a triple as he prepared for the 2000 Olympic Games. He liked the movement because of the speed involved/needed to get the bar to the required height for catching. Later on, the Ring had posted articles of Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk using close grip snatch to teach hammer throwers to have a long finish on their throw. Later on, I was fortunate enough to train under Bondarchuk and experience the constant use of Close Grip Snatches in our training. He insisted very few movements could teach speed like the close grip snatch and it had a great transfer to the throws.
Fast forward to 2014. I hired Norik Vardanian to do a weightlifting seminar at my barn and he brought up the close grip snatch or mid-grip snatch as one of his favorite tools for teaching technique. Norik loved them for the speed, they force the athlete to keep the bar tight and force the lifter to smash a long finish into an even quicker catch. By this time, I was thoroughly convinced of their efficacy! Norik had told me he knew when his snatches would be on fire when his close grip snatch would be over 140k, creeping up to 150k (I’d like to verify this).
What I have found: the ONLY downfall I have seen from the close grip snatch is some athletes deal with a little arm bend when they first start the exercise. This isn’t a downfall as it teaches them how to be patient with their arms and tight with their lats through the pull. There are numerous benefits that close grip snatches provide in many sports, especially throwing and Olympic weightlifting.
- Dramatic mobility improvements in hips and thoracic spine.
- High return of investment...It is a long pull so speed is key...loads are lighter, therefore it doesn’t beat up the body while still creating excellent gains.
- Anti-Jump tool...If the thrower jumps early in the circle, they’re likely to do so in the weight room. Jumping decreases the period of acceleration and jumping decreases the period of deceleration as well. These are key components to big throws!
- Slight change in start position forces slight strength adaptations off the floor.
- Patience with arms to the contact point.
- Helps create a stable catch for snatches, improves thoracic spine mobility and stability.
- Not only does it improve speed in the snatch, it also improves speed in the clean because of grip similarity.
- It’s easy on the body.
As you can see, this is an excellent tool for any power sport. Try these out today and discover new movement patterns to improve your ability.