olympic snatch

Demystifying Crossfit Injuries: The Snatch

If you've seen the Olympics, this is one of the strength sports with the largest followers; but also one of the Olympic sports with the highest injury rate.

The essence of this event is to lift a barbell from the platform to the closed arms above in a smooth and continuous movement.

The bar is pulled as high as the lifter can handle (typically mid-chest height) (force) at which point the bar is flipped overhead.

As is done in contests, the weight is always heavy enough to require the lifter to receive the bar in a squat position, while at the same time turning the weight so it moves in an arc directly over the head of the arms closed. When the lifter feels secure in this position, he or she rises (snatch squat), completing the lift.

The lift requires not only great strength, but mastery of technical skills, a high degree of shoulder / back / leg flexibility, excellent balance, and speed. However, power and strength play an important role in differentiating competing athletes, especially at advanced levels, where most competitors have mastered the technical aspects of lifting.

This lift requires coordination, torso (core) stability, and explosive leg power to generate snatch and clean and jerk required to snatch hundreds of pounds overhead. It takes tremendous speed to get under the bar after the second pull.

Although the Snatch is performed in a single continuous movement, for the purpose of practice and learning the technique, it can be divided into several stages or movement patterns that you must perfect to avoid injury:


An approach to the bar with a straight back, the lifter squats low and grabs the bar, with the balls of the feet directly underneath it.

The legs are bent with the buttocks close to the heels. While any grip can be used, it is standard to use a wide grip, with your hands near the ends of the bar.

The chest opens and the shoulders move slightly forward of the bar.


The hips, shoulders, and barbell move at the same rate. The lifter pushes from the toes and slowly transition the weight to the midfoot. The angle of the torso in relation to the ground remains constant. The bar is kept close to the legs, rubbing a little on the way, which ensures the correct alignment of the body.


When the weight is in the mid-thigh, the bar is accelerated upward by a powerful explosion of hips, knees and ankle extension until the body is fully erect. This is done in conjunction with an explosive shrug.

This part of the lift is known as the 'scoop' or 'second pull.' Often times, a lifter will slightly bend the knees and bring the torso to the upright position before the second pull. This is called the 'double knee bend' style of lifting.


At the apex of the bar height, the lifter squats are placed under the bar while continuing to push up on it (or visualize pushing your body down).


The bar is captured with a closed arms overhead at the bottom of the squat movement. This part of the movement requires a developed sense of timing and coordination, and is the crux of the entire lift.


The arms remain locked with the weight on top and the lifter rises from the squat position.

A mastery of the snatch technique ensures that the risk of injury is minimized, so it is important that you always have a certified trainer from a recognized crossfit box by your side.

If you suffer some kind of injury such as a muscle tear or a contracture take the time to recover, receive Massage and rest before reloading.

Likewise, before starting this intense practice, it is necessary that you consult your doctor and verify your physical condition to rule out that the incidence of injuries prior to the start of weight lifting or weightlifting, or the crossfit practice; do not generate any type of injury in your lumbar area, which is one of the most common areas with injuries derived from the high intensity and effort of this activity.

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