Introduction: How to Perform a Power Snatch

The power snatch is a complicated lifting technique performed by Olympic lifters and CrossFit athletes. It requires a great deal of strength to efficiently move the barbell over the athlete's head and is used to help improve the lifting capabilities of the snatch (also known as the full snatch).


  • a barbell
  • plates (weights)
  • proper exercise attire
  • a safe environment to workout

Step 1: Starting Position

  • place your feet shoulder width apart
  • grab the barbell with a wide grip
  • ensure your back is flat
  • distribute your weight on your heels


  • for proper hand placement, you should stand with the barbell at your waist and be holding it with straight arms
  • your toes may even be slightly off the ground because the weight should be on your heels

Step 2: The Pull

  • lift the barbell off the ground, while keeping it very close to your legs
  • keep your back flat (do not hunch as this can cause injury)
  • continue the momentum of the barbell up your legs

Step 3: The Pop

This is the most important step in performing a power snatch and can be the most difficult:

  • once the barbell reaches your waist, you need to drive your hips forward with a lot of force
  • the barbell should shoot off your body and it needs to go straight up
  • keep the barbell close to your body as it moves over your head


  • many people tend to pop the barbell straight out instead of up. This makes it difficult to maneuver your body under the barbell

Step 4: The Receive

This is where a snatch and a power snatch differ:

  • maintain a straight or even slightly hyperextended back
  • arms should be straight and knees bent slightly (if the knees are bent more than 90 degrees, the lift would then be considered a snatch)
  • receive the barbell a little behind your head (the reason is because this is where your center of gravity is)

Step 5: The Finish

This is the final step in the power snatch:

  • once you have received the barbell over your head, all that is left is to stand straight up
  • the lift does not count unless you stand up with the weight over your head
  • feet should still be shoulder width apart
  • the barbell can either be dropped if over proper flooring (such as a lifting mat) or returned the same way to the floor as was lifted

Step 6: Considerations

Before performing this movement, you should be very comfortable with lifting weight. A PVC pipe is a good starting point to learn the mechanics of the power snatch before advancing to a barbell (which weighs 45 pounds). Plates (weight) can then be added as the athlete is able to lift heavier amounts.

This is not a simple lift and should be practiced with minimal weight. The athlete should also know how to properly bail out of the lift in case he or she is unable to safely perform the movement.