The clean-grip snatch is a variation of the Olympic snatch movement that helps to increase power output. As the name implies, the clean-grip snatch is a snatch performed with a narrow grip (about the width of the grip the athlete uses for their clean in most cases).
With a narrower grip, the bar will contact the body below the hips in hang position and the athlete will need to work even harder to keep the bar close to the body as they snatch. Additionally, the bar needs to travel further during the movement, and the body may need to descend further when receiving.
We will typically program the clean-grip snatch on lighter training days. It affords us the opportunity to keep an explosive, power-based movement in our training session while keeping the load lighter. We will also use it as a temporary substitute for snatches during a period of recovery, in-season training, or injury.
Two Considerations Before Starting
A few things you may want to consider before implementing a clean-grip snatch:
- Make sure your athlete has a sufficient background in the Olympic movements. Subsequently, spend adequate time in teaching proper technique.
- Be sure your athlete demonstrates good mobility throughout their shoulders and are able to complete the movement without discomfort. We do not typically see the lack of shoulder mobility as an issue, but we also are working primarily with athletes between the age of 16-23 years old. The clean-grip snatch can put pressure on the shoulder because of the extra mobility requirement. If this becomes an issue, don’t be afraid of dropping them off your movement list.
How to Perform a Clean-Grip Snatch
Basic technique for the clean-grip snatch will look very similar to the teaching of the clean or the snatch.
- We will almost always start from the hang position. There is nothing stopping a person from doing this movement from the floor, but again we tend to do this movement on a day of recovery or as part of the in-season workout.
- Place your hands in the same position as they are when you are preforming the clean.
- Start in a standing position, (bar at the pockets) be sure that your feet are in a shoulder width position. A great starting position for the feet is the same position as one would use for a vertical jump.
- Head should be in a neutral or ever so slightly upward position, chest out, shoulders back.
- As the bar descends, flex the knees, push your hips back, with the weight being towards your heals. Your chest should be “covering” the bar, the back in a strong position.
- Once you reach the point just above your knees you will apply ground force, keeping the bar close to the body and receiving the bar with arms fully extended overhead, dropping your hips underneath enough for this to occur.
- Be sure not to press the bar out.
The clean grip snatch is a valuable tool in the box that will assist your athletes in their overall power development. If you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comment section below.
The 2009 Strength and Conditioning Professional of the Year, Jeff is in his 16th year at Winona State University as Strength and Conditioning/ Director of Fitness. He is responsible for 10 Division II teams. Previously he was the head strength and conditioning coach for Olympic sports at Iowa State University, an assistant at the University of Memphis, and an assistant at the US Olympic training center in Colorado. Reinardy was part of two men’s basketball national championships in three appearances, numerous conference championships, and several individual national champions at both the Division I and II levels. He also holds club coach and sports performance certifications through USA Weightlifting, and is the former ADFPA American Squat record holder in the 148 weight class and four Minnesota state ADFPA championships.