A fundamental approach to improve your snatch and clean and jerk.


The snatch and clean and jerk are complex yet simple ways to move a heavy barbell from the ground to overhead. As we all know the more time we dedicate ourselves to our important endeavors of choice, the better we will become with deliberate practice as Anders Ericsson discussed in his book “The role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance”.This blog post is going to give the beginner lifter some guidance on what to incorporate into a  simple routine on how to build a foundation for the Snatch and clean and Jerk.

1. Learning  the proper set up for your body. Everyone has different proportions and different strength levels. So learning the proper set up with your stance and grip width (snatch grip is wider and should be inl-ine with the hip for an ideal power position0. The clean grip is about hip width, balance positions such pushing off from mid foot and receiving the bar in both the snatch and clean are highly athletic skills that require coordination,balance,courage and strength. These are qualities that will be utilized continuously throughout your weightlifting career. Keep in mind that there are lots of variables when finding and working on these starting points. We are all built differently so you must learn to find and find out what works best for you. Getting a coach can help you determine your positions and set. Also let me introduce the hook grip. The hook grip is the strongest grip we can use besides using straps. The hook grip is placing the index fingers over the thumbs and, yes, it really really hurts. After a week or two the pain will subside and will feel natural. False grips have a tendency allow are hands to stay on the bar with heavier weights by using momentum in a circular pattern, which results in missed lifts out front. The hook grip allows for us to pull up and under the strongly and swiftly.

2. Address any and all mobility and flexibility  issues that may lead to injury or missing positions during execution of the lifts. In order to lift the most amount of weight. You must be able to get into a very deep squat and do an overhead squat. Age will also determine if specific ranges of motions should be avoided or  worked on with stretching and mobility exercises that can help eleviate any pain that comes with tight muscles from learning new movement patterns. The older you are, the kinder you must be on your body while learning how your body responds to weightlifting. Lifting on a regular basis also helps with increasing your body’s ability to learn the snatch and clean and jerk. Start getting familiar with the foam roller and la crosse ball, they will be your friends that will help keep your muscles free of restriction and will help your body prepare for your next workout. Check out some of my stretching videos on  my youtube channel at midtown strength and Camilo Gutierrez.

3.Basic  Snatch/clean drills  and fundamental strength movements that can help with building up durability  and teach the body the weightlifting positions to handle weight lifting:

  • Hang Power Snatch …jump , pull under bar focus on pulling your hips down through the floor rather than using your arms to pull bar to overhead position and catch with the body directly underneath. Allow the body to go under into a squat if that is a natural reaction.
  • Hang Power Clean.rom hip position,jump,drive up and pull under bar then catch with body, or front rack position which is your shoulders rounded forward, creating the rack. If your body naturally goes under the bar then let it. Each person has thrown starting point when taking on weightlifting. .jump , pull  under bar focus on pulling your hips down through the floor rather than using your arms to pull bar to overhead position and catch with the body directly underneath. Allow the body to go under into a squat if that is a natural reaction.
  • Front squats help with the receiving position and getting to a low catch position and it trains the shoulders, wrists, elbows and core to handle heavier cleans
  • Back squats will help with increasing overall strength and power with everything.
  • Push press will help with developing strong and healthy shoulders and a solid dip drive that we will use once we start incorporating the jerk.
  • RDLs develop hamstring power and strength in the power position of both snatch and clean
  • Bent rows help  with developing a strong back and grip which helps keep the bar close to the body, this exercise will help you squeeze the lats rather than the hands and shoulders which allows you to maximize leg drive.
  • Reverse lunges keeps your legs healthy by isolating the quads and hamstrings.
  • snatch grip push to create shoulder and lat mobility/flexibility and strength
  • Bench press will help with shoulder health when going overhead a lot for jerks or presses.
  • Utilize overhead squats help with learning the overhead position and works the the core very well. This can be used as a mobility exercise or as an accessory movement to help the snatch.

4.Patience, Deliberate Practice, consistency, dedication and setting up a goal to improve is a must for improving on the classic lifts.  Take time at least once a week for non competitors and or fitness based programming  to get in your repetitions that will add up at the end of the year. Spending time on the bar will dramatically increase your understanding of the snatch and clean and jerk and how to move your body more efficiently and effectively.

Check out these videos for the details of how to improve your snatch and clean and jerk








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