The snatch is the first of two lifts contested in the sport of weightlifting (also known as Olympic weightlifting) followed by the clean and jerk. The objective of the snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. There are four main styles of snatch used: snatch (or full snatch), split snatch, power snatch, and muscle snatch. The full lift is the most common style used in competition, while power snatches and muscle snatches are mostly used for training purposes, and split snatches are rarely used. Any of these lifts can be performed from the floor, from the hang position, or from blocks. In competition, only lifts from the floor are allowed.

In the snatch, the lifter lifts the bar as high as possible and pulls themselves under it in a squat position, receiving the bar overhead with the arms straight, decreasing the necessary height of the bar, therefore increasing the amount of weight that the lifter may successfully lift. The lifter finally straightens to a fully upright position with the bar above their head and arms fully extended.

In the split snatch, the lifter lifts the bar as high as possible and pulls themselves under the bar similar to the squat snatch but in the split snatch the lifter "splits" their legs, placing one foot in front of them and one behind, allowing themselves to receive the bar lower as in the squat snatch. The split snatch has become much less common but is occasionally performed by some lifters.

In the power snatch, the lifter lifts the barbell as high as possible and receives the bar overhead with only a slight bend in the knee and hip, increasing the height that the bar must be lifted and decreasing the amount of weight that may be successfully lifted.

In the muscle snatch, the lifter lifts the bar all the way overhead with arms locked out and the hip and knee fully extended.[1]


While the snatch is commonly referred to in three phases, Arthur Drechsler identifies six distinct phases of the pull in the snatch.

First phase

The lifter begins the first phase of the pull, or "Pre-lift off", with the feet placed approximately hip width apart, toes turned out slightly with the bar above the midfoot. The shins will be inclined toward the bar so that the shin is touching or close to the bar. Hips are placed so that the top of the thigh is approximately parallel to the ground but may also be slightly higher or lower depending on the lifter.[2] The lifter’s back should be straight, no excessive curvature or rounding in the lumbar spine, with slight extension of the thoracic spine and shoulders slightly pulled back.[2] The shoulders should be positioned so that they are directly over or slightly forward of the bar.[2] The bar is gripped with a very wide grip. The neck should be positioned in line with the torso or slightly more vertical. During the first pull, the lifter begins to exert force on the bar, separating the weight from the platform.[2]

Second phase

The second phase of the pull, or "preliminary acceleration" begins with the weight separated from the floor. In the second phase, the lifter begins by extending the knee and moving the hip upward while maintaining a constant back angle relative to the floor.[2] During this phase, the lifter pulls the bar closer to their body and the center of gravity of the lifter shifts toward the heel.[2] During this phase, the lifter begins to accelerate the bar and towards the end of the phase, the torso begins to assume a more vertical position.

Third phase

During the third phase, or "adjustment phase", the lifter begins to position their body appropriately for the final explosive pull. The knees typically perform a "double knee bend", where the knee bends from the previous extension of the knee during the second phase, and the torso continues to become more vertical.[2] During this phase, the lifter doesn't apply as great a force on the bar as in the previous phases.[2]

Fourth phase

During the fourth phase of the pull, or "final acceleration" the lifter performs the final acceleration on the bar. This is executed by explosively extending the hip, knee, and ankles (or plantar-flexing). This is followed by an upward elevation of the shoulders (the "shrug"),[2] and simultaneously lifting the heels or the whole foot off the ground. The lifter’s torso will usually lean slightly backwards during this phase, and the bar is accelerated upward with a slightly arced trajectory.[2]

Fifth phase

The fifth phase of the pull, or "unsupported squat phase", occurs when the lifter has fully extended their knees, hips, and ankle. The lifter bends their arms at the elbow, pulling themselves under the bar. Simultaneously they move their feet slightly apart into the squat position and begins to move downward into the squat position.[2]

Sixth phase

The sixth phase, or supported squat under, occurs when the lifters feet have landed flatfooted on the platform and the lifter pulls themselves into a squat position. The lifter then receives the bar overhead with the arms completely straight. From this position, the lifter recovers by squatting the weight to a fully erect position while maintaining the bar position overhead.[2]

Application to other sports

The snatch is also commonly used as a tool for training athletes in a variety of sports especially with athletes in sports where powerful full body movement is required such as throwing, sprinting, running, and jumping. The triple-extension in the snatch (simultaneous extension of the knee and hip, and plantar flexion at the ankle) mimics the movements previously mentioned while requiring the athlete to produce large amounts of power at high velocities. The snatch has an average velocity of 1.52–1.67 m/s.[3] This makes it a quality lift for training speed-strength in which the athlete aims to move a light weight (25–40% 1RM) at its fastest velocity (1.1–1.65 m/s)[3]

World records

See also: List of world records in Olympic weightlifting

These are the official records in the new weight classes:[4]


Weight class Name Lift
55 kg World standard 135 kg (298 lb)
61 kg Li Fabin 145 kg (320 lb)
67 kg Huang Minhao 155 kg (342 lb)
73 kg Shi Zhiyong 169 kg (373 lb)
81 kg Li Dayin 175 kg (386 lb)
89 kg Li Dayin 180 kg (400 lb)
96 kg Lesman Paredes 187 kg (412 lb)
102 kg World standard 191 kg (421 lb)
109 kg Yang Zhe 200 kg (440 lb)
109+ kg Lasha Talakhadze 225 kg (496 lb)


Weight class Name Lift
45 kg World standard 085 kg (187 lb)
49 kg Hou Zhihui 096 kg (212 lb)
55 kg Kang Hyong-yong 103 kg (227 lb)
59 kg Kim Il-gyong 111 kg (245 lb)
64 kg Deng Wei 117 kg (258 lb)
71 kg Angie Palacios 121 kg (267 lb)
76 kg Rim Jong-sim 124 kg (273 lb)
81 kg World standard 127 kg (280 lb)
87 kg World standard 132 kg (291 lb)
87+ kg Li Wenwen 148 kg (326 lb)


See also


  1. ^ Starr, Bill (January 2010). "Learning How to Do Full Snatches" (PDF). CrossFit Journal: 1. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Drechsler, Arthur (1998). The Weightlifting Encyclopedia: A Guide to World Class Performance. Flushing, NY: A is A Communication. pp. 23–28. ISBN 0965917924.
  3. ^ a b Ajhan, T; Lazar, Baroga (1988). Weightlifting: Fitness For all Sports. Budapest, Hungary: Budapest International Weightlifting Federation. ISBN 9632538072.
  4. ^ "World Records (new bw)". International Weightlifting Federation.
  5. ^ National Strength and Conditioning Association (2016). Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training (3rd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics. pp. XV, 12–14. ISBN 978-1-4925-0692-8.