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Muscle Snatch

By Sean | In Olympic Weightlifting | on April 1, 2013


The muscle snatch is an excellent skill transfer exercise for the snatch. The muscle snatch mimics the upper body movement during the third pull of the snatch, but the lifter never actually pulls oneself under the bar, so to speak. To do the muscle snatch, think about performing a snatch without squatting or bending the knees at all to receive the bar. The knees are bent in the start position only, but instead of rebending the knees to pull under the bar, one simply continues pulling the bar overhead, finishing in a standing position. The final movement does involve a push up on the bar. The movement looks something like this when done correctly:

Donny Shankle, one of the Team USA’s top lifters, uses the muscle snatch as a primary element in the instruction of the snatch because it strengthens the shoulders and the overhead position in a snatch grip, and it teaches lifters to come off their hips powerfully during their pull. I couldn’t agree more. Jon North, another top US lifter, also likes the muscle snatch because it helps develop an awareness of bar path while breaking up the monotony of a typical weightlifting training program. Again, both are great reasons why the muscle snatch is a useful addition to our training.

A big reason why the muscle snatch is today’s hot topic is because a large percentage of our CrossFit athletes lack an active third pull. The part that the muscle snatch forces us to perform if we don’t rebend our knees to pull under and receive the bar. ¬†The lifting (first pull) and jumping (second pull) usually develops quickly but the idea of continue to pull bar instead of letting it passively float to its final position overhead is something many Intrepids struggle with. ¬†Adding some muscle snatches into your warm-up routine and your skill days will go a long way to reinforce the power, sequencing, and the strength necessary for successful snatching.

WOD 4.01.13

Snatch 1-1-1

3 Rounds For Time:
3 Rounds of “Cindy”
3 Reps of the “Bear” complex (with empty bar)

*1 Round of “Cindy” is 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, and 15 Squats*
*1 Rep of “Bear” is a power clean, front squat, push press (from front), back squat, push press (from back)*

2 Comments to "Muscle Snatch"

  • Patrick says:

    April 2, 2013 at 4:05 AM -

    Hey guys, quick question. Is this supposed to be a total of 9 rounds of Cindy and 9 reps of Bear by the time you are done? Shooting for like a 12-15 min finish?

  • Sean says:

    April 2, 2013 at 6:44 AM -

    @ Patrick: That’s right.

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