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The Snatch And Clean With The Barbell. Weightlifting Exercises

The snatch and clean are classic weightlifting exercises. They require physical strength and a high level of coordination. When working with large weights, understanding the physics of movement and practicing the correct technique is very important.

Barbell snatch and clean are complex multi-piece exercises. Each phase of the barbell movement during its execution has its name. It’s all for convenience, to make it easier to understand the physics of movement. Let’s consider these phases.

The snatch and clean phases

The snatch and clean are performed in the same way. Therefore, they can be considered together. These two elements include the following phases:

  • Start. The first and the second pull. Lift the barbell off the floor and lift it to above the knees

  • Drop. Give the bar a sharp upward acceleration

  • Receiving and Squat. Sit under a barbell and lock it on outstretched arms (or on your chest for a push)

  • Lift with a barbell

  • The end of the movement


If you are holding the barbell on your chest and you need to perform a push, proceed as follows:

  • Get into a half squat position

  • Briskly push the bar upward

  • Lift with a barbell on straight arms

  • Fix the position

Barbell snatch technique

Let’s take a look at the first exercise, taking place at every major powerlifting event. Next, we will discuss the snatch technique, including each phase separately.


Exercise “snatch”


Stand in front of the bar with your shoulders directly over the bar and your toes underneath. The feet should be shoulder-width apart, take your pelvis back. Bend your lower back slightly and look forward. Minor differences in starting position are allowed depending on height and body proportions.

“Take the barbell in your hands. Your legs, body, arms, and barbell should all form a rigid frame.”

The first and second pull

Lift the bar off the floor at the expense of your legs and back and lift it above the knees. Move the bar along your legs, not vertically, but slightly towards you. Keep your arms and back perfectly straight. Raise the barbell from the platform calmly, then sharply increase the speed of the barbell.


Give the barbell acceleration by fully extending the legs and straightening the body. The effort should be sharp and powerful. Don’t bend your arms. During the movement, you should tilt your torso back and raise your shoulders.

Receiving and Squat

Thanks to the acceleration from the previous stage, the bar literally flies up. During the phase, you must quickly “sit” under it. Bear in mind, that it’s much more difficult to receive the bar after it loses its acceleration and moves down.

The back remains slightly arched, the pelvis laid back. Hands actively interact with the barbell. Take the barbell on outstretched arms (when performing a snatch) or on your chest (if you plan to push further).

The legs can be in different positions:

  • Low bar squat, hips pressed to the stomach

  • Barbell split squat, one leg in front, the other in the back

A quick and correct squat creates an optimal “base” for the next lift.

Rising from the squat

Using the powerful force of your legs, lift yourself to an upright position. The pelvis moves from the bottom up and a little back, the back remains arched.


Take the final position, fixing the bar on outstretched arms (in the case of a snatch) or the chest (if a push is planned further).

Barbell clean technique

This is the second exercise in a weightlifting competition. To jerk, rise after the squat and lock in this position. Your body must be strictly vertical. Maintain an arch in the lower back, with your feet wider than your shoulders. Such a body position will give you maximum stability. Bring your elbows forward and pull your pelvis back a little. The bar, in this case, should lie on the chest. Take your head back slightly, look slightly above the horizon.


Exercise “clean”


Sit down slightly, pulling your pelvis back, but keeping your body upright. The movement should not be carried out too quickly, as in this case the bar will come off the chest and there will be no powerful push. Use the elasticity of the barbell. A deep squat will also make the pushing out much more difficult, so do not bend your knees too much.

The first and second pull

Immediately from the half-squat, with a sharp and powerful movement, push the bar straight up. The phase ends with an almost complete extension of the legs and the lifting of the shoulders. The bar is given a sharp acceleration, as in the case discussed earlier.

Drop, receiving and squat

From the half-squat, with a sharp and powerful movement, push the bar straight up. The phase ends with an almost complete extension of the legs and the lifting of the shoulders. The bar is given a sharp acceleration, as in the case discussed earlier.

Rising from the squat

Return to an upright position. Move the barbell behind your head with outstretched arms. Keep the body straight. Bend your lower back slightly, and pull your pelvis back slightly. Look straight horizontally.


The athlete completes the exercise.

Working muscles

In conclusion, we can say that weightlifting deserves its name. The point is that the snatch and clean requires excellent physical fitness, well-developed musculature, and good coordination skills. The whole body works in these compound exercises. The muscles of the back, legs, arms, and shoulders are most stressed.

“Novice athletes should refrain from performing these competitive exercises. First of all, it is worth starting to master the deadlift, bench presses, and squats.”

Variations of different strength exercises are used in CrossFit. In this case, much less weight is used than in weightlifting.

I'm a professional fitness instructor and nutritionist, runner, husband and father. I do my best in providing the right guidance when it comes to the grounds of sexual health, nutrition and common fitness.

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