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Olympic Weightlifting - Master the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk With Our Step-by-Step Guide

Nothing can match Olympic lifting for overall power and strength development.

The Snatch

For the snatch, the lifter takes the barbell from the floor to an overhead position in a single motion. it’s one of the most explosive and athletic movements in all of sports. Looks can be deceiving, though; the snatch is a finesse lift. When executed perfectly, heavy weight feels light.

The Setup

Start with your feet hip-width apart directly under the bar. Bend over and grab the bar with a wide grip—30-plus inches, depending on your height and shoulder flexibility. many competitors use the full length of the bar. get into a squat position with your back flat, arms straight, and hips higher than your knees. look forward.

The Pull

Lift with your legs, glutes, and back, keeping the bar very close to your shins but not contacting them or your knees as you lift the bar; it will brush your thighs on the way up. once the bar is above your knees, accelerate with all your power as you extend your ankles, knees, and hips—aka triple extension—rising onto your toes.

 

Receiving The Bar

As you extend, shrug your shoulders and “pull” yourself under the bar, going into a full squat. as the bar passes your head, turn your wrists over and push the bar to a full lockout by driving with your shoulders and triceps. your feet may jump out to shoulder width. you are now in a full squat position with your torso erect, your arms locked out at the elbows, and the bar directly over or a little behind your ears.

The Stand

Once you have secured control of the barbell, stand erect, extending your knees and hips. the bar must always stay directly over your ankles and hips. Like the clean and jerk, the snatch is not considered complete until the lifter is completely motionless. you should aim for the same goal. lower or drop the barbell under control.

The Clean and Jerk

This lift starts with the barbell on the floor and sees the lifter take it overhead in two separate motions, cleaning it to the shoulders, pausing, and then jerking (or thrusting) it overhead to a full lockout. the clean and jerk is probably the single best lift for developing strength and power, as it requires a big pull for the clean, a big front squat to rise out of the squat position, and a tremendous effort to complete the jerk with a heavy weight.

 

 

The Setup

Set your feet at hip width, directly under the bar, then bend over and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Drop your hips into a squat position with your back flat, arms straight, and hips higher than your knees. look straight ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pull

Explosively pull the bar with your legs, hips, and back, keeping the bar very close to your shins, however, the bar shouldn’t make contact with your shins or knees as it rises, though it will brush your thighs. Triple-extend your ankles, knees, and hips, rising up onto your toes.

 

 

 

Receiving The Bar

With your body now extended, shrug your shoulders and “pull” yourself under the bar, going into a full squat as the bar passes your chest. Thrust your elbows out in front of you, turning your wrists over and receiving the bar on top of your clavicles and deltoids.


 

The Stand

Once you have the bar under control, stand erect, driving your heels into the floor. This portion of the lift is simply a front squat. your torso might lean forward slightly and your hips may shift backward, but the bar must always stay over your ankles.

 

 

 

The Jerk

Dip down by bending your knees and hips about two to four inches, then explosively extend your knees, hips, and elbows, thrusting the bar overhead. lean your head back as the barbell rises above your shoulders. as the barbell passes your head, split one leg forward and the other backward. both feet should land at the same time as your arms lock the bar overhead. your head returns to the neutral position so the bar is directly over your ears or a little behind them. Then bring both feet back together side by side, about hip- to shoulder-width apart, and stand fully erect.

Get this and more for free in the web version of the Muscle & Fitness 2014 Training Trends Special Digital Issue.

by Jim Schmitz, Head Coach of Team USA (’80, ’88, ’92)

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