The snatch is one of the two lifts in the sport of Olympic weightlifting, demanding a blend of strength, speed, coordination, and flexibility from the athlete. In this complex movement, the weightlifter lifts the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion, requiring impeccable technique and a profound understanding of the lift’s biomechanics.

Biomechanics of the Snatch

The snatch can be divided into several phases, each with unique biomechanical characteristics:

  1. The First Pull: Initiated from the ground, this phase involves the lifter pulling the barbell to just above the knees. The focus here is on maintaining a strong back angle and utilising the legs to drive the movement.
  2. The Transition or Scoop Phase: Here, the lifter repositions their body to optimise leverage for the second pull, involving a slight re-bending of the knees and a shift of the bodyweight.
  3. The Second Pull: A rapid extension of the hips, knees, and ankles (triple extension) propels the barbell upwards. This phase requires explosive power to achieve maximum bar height.
  4. The Catch: The lifter pulls themselves under the rapidly ascending barbell, receiving it in a full overhead squat position.
  5. The Recovery: The final phase where the lifter stands up to full height, completing the lift.

Optimal performance in the snatch requires a synergy of these biomechanical elements, ensuring efficient force transfer and minimising energy wastage.

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Analysis of Joffe et al. (2023) Study

The study by Joffe and colleagues aimed to explore the relationship between lower-body strength, assessed through isometric and dynamic tests, and snatch performance. This meta-analysis sought to identify which strength variables could reliably predict performance in the snatch and clean and jerk.

Why It Was Done

Despite the known importance of lower-body strength in Olympic weightlifting, there was a need to systematically review and quantify its relationship with performance. This study aimed to fill that gap, offering evidence-based insights to enhance training and talent identification.

How It Was Conducted

Joffe et al. aggregated and analysed data from various studies that measured lower-body strength through isometric and dynamic neuromuscular assessments and their correlation with snatch and clean and jerk performances. This approach allowed them to identify strength variables with significant predictive value for weightlifting performance.

Results and Conclusion

While the specific results and identified variables were not detailed in the available summary, the study concluded that certain lower-body strength measures could indeed predict snatch and clean and jerk performances. This finding underscores the critical role of lower-body strength in weightlifting success and provides a foundation for targeted training interventions.

Practical Tips for Strength & Conditioning Coaches

  • Comprehensive Strength Assessment: Incorporate both isometric and dynamic lower-body strength assessments into athletes’ training regimens. This approach can help identify strengths and weaknesses, guiding personalised training interventions.
  • Focus on Lower-Body Strength: Given its predictive value for performance, prioritise lower-body strength development, particularly exercises that mimic the biomechanical demands of the snatch.
  • Explosive Power Training: Emphasise exercises that develop explosive power, such as jump squats and Olympic lift variations. The second pull phase of the snatch, reliant on triple extension, can particularly benefit from such training.
  • Technical Proficiency: While strength is crucial, the snatch’s technical nature requires careful attention to form. Use video analysis to critique and refine technique, ensuring efficient movement patterns.
  • Individualised Programming: Leverage the study’s insights to tailor training programmes based on individual assessment outcomes. Recognise that the optimal mix of strength and technique training may vary between athletes.
  • Recovery and Flexibility: Incorporate adequate recovery strategies and flexibility training into programmes. The snatch demands not only strength and power but also a high degree of mobility.


  • Joffe, S. A., Price, P., Chavda, S., Shaw, J., & colleagues. (2023). The relationship of lower body, multijoint, isometric and dynamic neuromuscular assessment variables with snatch, and clean and jerk performance in competitive weightlifters: A meta-analysis. Strength & Conditioning Journal. Click here to review the full research article
  • Cao, W., Dan, L., Yan, J., Li, J., & Liang, Z. (2022). Kinematic Characteristics of Snatch Techniques in an Elite World-Record Holder of Weightlifting: A Case Study. Applied Sciences, 12(19), 9679. MDPI. Click here to review the full research article
  • Kipp, K., Cunanan, A. J., & Warmenhoven, J. (2024). Bivariate functional principal component analysis of barbell trajectories during the snatch. Sports Biomechanics. Taylor & Francis. Click here to review the full research article
  • Sandau, I., & Chaabene, H. (2022). Validity and reliability of a snatch pull test to model the force-velocity relationship in male elite weightlifters. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Click here to review the full research article

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Dive into the world of Olympic weightlifting with our Strength & Conditioning Exercise Specialist Course, designed for those looking to elevate their coaching techniques and understanding of complex lifts, such as the snatch. Drawing on the intricate biomechanics and the latest research, including the insightful analysis of “Unravelling the Snatch“, this course offers an unparalleled deep dive into the essential phases of the snatch lift—from the initial pull to the dynamic catch. You’ll gain expert knowledge on optimising performance through targeted strength assessments and training strategies, guided by evidence-based insights into the pivotal role of lower-body strength. Whether you’re looking to refine your technique or enhance your coaching arsenal, this course provides the tools and knowledge to excel in the demanding discipline of Olympic weightlifting, ensuring you and your athletes achieve peak performance with precision and power.

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