By: Leo Totten, MS, USAW 5


What is a “Snatch Balance” and why do we do them?  This might sound like simple questions because everyone knows the answer.  But do they really?  I have seen many posts on social media and YouTube of weightlifters and other athletes doing what they call a Snatch Balance that really isn’t a proper Snatch Balance.

It is always important to start with the “why” when doing any exercise.  What is the purpose of doing the exercise?  In the case of the Snatch Balance, we are looking for proper speed going under the bar and practicing a quick lockout to meet the bar overhead at the same time of hitting the bottom of the squat.  Timing is crucial so that the athlete is working on meeting the bar when it weighs “zero” instead of having the bar “crash” causing an unstable finished position.

Proper technique pointers to look for:

  • Start with the bar on the shoulders with hands in the snatch grip
  • Feet start in the pulling position
  • Short dip and drive (to mimic the triple extension action during the snatch movement)
  • The dip and drive is not excessive vertical bar upward movement
  • Quick “press under the bar” while dropping into a strong squat position
  • Arms lockout at the same time as the athlete hits the bottom
  • Tight catch, stabilize and stand to finish

However, some lifters and coaches miss the point of the exercise.  Instead of meeting the bar with a strong lockout while hitting the bottom of the squat, they do more of a “push jerk plus overhead squat”.  While that exercise is fine for working the dip and drive, developing a strong lockout as well as performing a strong overhead squat, it is a different exercise with a different goal in mind.

But, it is NOT a Snatch Balance!

As a general rule of thumb, we expect the lifter to be able to perform a “proper” Snatch Balance with at least 5% more than they plan on Snatching.  The speed and technique of the exercise correlates to the speed and technique of the Snatch itself.  It is a great confidence booster as well.  The Overhead Squat is another great exercise in and of itself and we expect the lifter to be able to do a minimum of 10% above the Snatch goal for strength, balance and, again, confidence with having the bar over your head!

When you see a big Snatch Balance posted on the internet, take a close look.  Would you consider that a proper Snatch Balance?