How to Do Barbell Snatch Properly

A barbell snatch is the ultimate weightlifting exercise, far more intense than even the push jerk, barbell thruster or power clean.

This is a workout that will test your fitness and even, your sanity because of just how much it takes to fully master it.

When you watch someone from a distance doing it with ease, the technique and time taken to master it may be lost on you.

Despite its very rough exterior, this exercise has very big rewards too. It will take you quite some time to fully master what exactly is needed to execute it, but once you have it, it will be a smooth ride.


This exercise can be divided into three separate pulls, each one just as important as the last one. Each pull requires something different from a different part of your body working in tandem to finally get the bar where it ought to be. You will essentially be lifting the barbell from the ground and over the head, and setting it down.

  • Start with the barbell on the ground, resting around your shins. If it is too low, and this can mostly happen if you opt to use just the bar with no weights, place it on a raised surface or platform such that it stands at shin level. Lift the weight and as you do so, thrust your hips forward and squeeze your glutes. Keep the bar close to the body without bouncing it, slightly touching your hips as you pull it up.
  • In the second phase of this exercise, shrug your shoulders and keep lifting the barbell. If you find yourself on your toes, that is okay.
  • For the final stretch, bring your elbows up and flip them in such a way that your palms face forward. You have to hold the bar into place and prevent it from rolling backwards and hurting you. To do this, lock your shoulders and elbows, otherwise, the momentum may cause the bar to continue on its path.
  • Finally, grip the barbell in a power stance, more or less a quarter squat. Bring your feet together, as you would stand naturally, and while doing this tighten your core.
  • Lower the barbell to the ground. Repeat as required.


This exercise mostly works the upper body, especially the shoulder muscles.


The trapezius and the deltoids are used during the first and second phases of this exercise. They are mainly used to stabilize the shoulders and their blades.

Other muscles worked are the calves and forearm flexors.



This exercise works multiple muscles at once and improves overall body strength. If it is you wish to get to a point where lifting no longer scares you, you just have to perfect this one exercise.

It will make other exercise that involve lifting much easier to do.


To do this exercise properly, you need every ounce of control. Each and every phase requires you to coordinate different body parts as you lift and when you return the barbell to the ground.

At no point can you have jerky movements, and even when you have completed a set, you cannot just drop the bar down. It is controlled till the last minute.


Power is an important element for all explosive movements. When you do this, you will soon find that you can run faster, jump more without getting tired because of the latent explosive power.



If you are a beginner, it might be hard to go straight to lifting weighted barbells while doing the barbell snatch, because truth be told, this is not an easy exercise.

You can use a PVC pipe in the beginning, as you master the technique and the right form. Using a barbell with no weights is an alternative, but it can hide some mistakes.

Using a very light bar will make them more pronounced and you will be able to correct them better.


Many people might find the barbell a little intimidating. In this case, use dumbbells. You can vary the intensity of the exercise by varying the weight of the dumbbells.



Lifting weights is so addictive, as such, at some point it stops being about the technique and more about how much someone can lift at one go.

The moves involved in this exercise are very risky, and one wrong move can result in injury. The need to master the technique can never be overemphasized.


There is a reason why beginner athletes would rather start with the PVC variation instead of going straight to weighted barbells.

Too much weight will definitely hurt you, and that is if you even manage to make it to the height that is required.

The barbell may roll backwards and hurt you in the process, or pull your body backwards. You also need weight that you can comfortably set down once you are done with a rep.


A barbell snatch is the ultimate expression of power. It is lifting the world on your shoulder with grace and not letting its weight crush you.

This Olympic lift will require you to pay utmost attention to the correct form so you can reap the benefits from it.