Snatch efficiency

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Level 6 Valued Member
Slowly getting to grips with snatching and really beginning to enjoy it.

Most of the strongfirst snatch teachings tend to align with hardstyle power production and doing things like SFG snatch tests seem to be just dialing the power back a bit.

Found doing this fine and pretty comfortable (ss much as can be with a snatch test!) with up to one hundred reps in five minutes - doing mpre than this to me seems not only to do with power and staying power/endurance but about speeding up a rep in order to fit more in the alloted time.

Just trying to go faster works but in a limited sense as it also adds more fatigue. Anyone got tips on rep turnover time to improve efficiency or speed of reps?

Hope that makes sense


Level 6 Valued Member
@Terry McCarthy has had serious success training for speed by using a cadence that results in the number he is aiming for in 5 minutes. I would PM him for information.

I think to put up the big numbers those like Derek Toshner use what is called the drop switch. I would check into that too.

Good luck!


Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks. Been thinking about it more and yhe aim is just to do my best but it would be silly not to optimise performance.

My thoughts are
*Minimise hand switches thinking 15 per hand before switching
*drop switch to minimize change time
*if need to rest do so at the top to cut out time hiking to get going again.
*minimise hip hinge to just enough to complete rep quickly

Looking at top performers its about a rep every two seconds so pretty much no rest which is damn impressive

Terry McCarthy

Level 7 Valued Member
Glen, I would agree with your points.
  • Switching hands consumes time. The less you switch, the better.
  • Longer backswings consume time. When I'm going really fast, the movement almost feels like a one handed shoulder shrug.
  • Tame the both directions. Big arcing upswings and downswings consume time.
  • Drop switch
  • As soon as your elbow locks overhead, unlock it and start the downswing. Don't hesitate overhead.
  • Take your goal rep count and pace it out. Don't start too fast and burn out and don't relie on a "sprint to the finish" to make up for starting too slow. Even and steady is your best bet.

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Longer backswings consume time.

I would qualify this somewhat, in that there is a distinction between a shorter back swing and cutting the back swing short.

My experience with snatching at a high cadence comes from doing the VWC program with sets of 9 snatches in 15 seconds. I recall Brett Jones once posting that to increase speed without leaving the lockout short, think about being faster out of the bottom. So I experimented with different ways to be faster out of the bottom.

At first I was just cutting the back swing short. In other words, I initiated my forward hip drive sooner instead of waiting for the full back swing to complete. Even though it felt like I was rushing and saving time on the back swing, my reps were not actually faster by the clock. There was also a much greater impulse stress on my grip and shoulder out of the hole. I concluded that I was wasting a lot of power by starting my hip drive while the bell was still moving backward. A lot of the hip drive was going into braking the downward/backward motion of the bell and reversing it, instead of into propelling it forward.

So I started waiting until the back swing full completed, right up to the point where the bell would be about to passively pendulum forward, to initiate the hip drive. Subjectively, this felt a lot slower, but surprisingly was actually faster by the clock. Another benefit was that there was much less of an abrupt jerk on my grip and sholder at the bottom.

But I was sill taking a pretty long back swing, so I tried to find ways of making the back swing naturally shorter without CUTTING it short. I tried just using a more vertical drop, with the bell closer to my body. This caused a couple of problems. First, the abrupt jerk on my grip and shoulder was back. The bell was falling or being actively pulled down out of the lockout, and then I would have to absorb all that momentum in catching the bell at the bottom. Bad news for grip fatigue and stress on the skin of my hands. Second, my snatch became much squattier, without enough of a hinge and so I was generating a lot less power. Again, it subjectively felt like I was going faster, but it wasn't faster by the clock.

So the next thing I learned to do was counter balance the drop by leaning back and creating some space between my body and the bell on its way down. That way, I could pull the bell down more vertically, but still have some space to pull it back into the hinge. It also allowed me to keep some tension between my arm and the bell on the way down, absorbing some of the downward force of the drop before the bottom and putting me in good position to absorb the rest of the bell's momentum with my hips. I thought of it as "playing tug o' war" with the bell on the way down. I've since learned that counterbalancing is a standard GS technique, but at the time I had to stumble into it by trial and error.

This alleviated a lot of the abrupt stress on my grip/arm/shoulder, and allowed me to brake the bell more smoothly with my hips. Combining counterbalancing with being patient before initiating my hip drive enabled me to be objectively much faster, while subjectively feeling more relaxed and smooth.

Hope this helps.


Level 6 Valued Member
Makes sense and will require a lot of practice but I think I get what you mean. Thanks

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Our judging standard requires a vertical arm and at least a brief, motionless pause. Because the TSC is a grass roots competition, we don't certify our judges and therefore cannot speak to how each person judges, but that's the standard.

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