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This is an excerpt from Explosive Lifting for Sports-Enhanced Edition.
Because of its popularity and relative ease of learning, I will reference thesquat style for both the snatch and the clean throughout this book. The split style, while not seen to any great extent in competitive weightlifting arenas today, is a viable method of lifting greater weights than by simply using the power style. The power style of snatch and clean implies that the athlete has little interest in achieving maximum lift performance but still wants to gain the benefits of training in an explosive manner.
The squat snatch is the preferred manner for lifting the most weight in the snatch. After your legs and hips lift the weight from the floor, you execute a powerful jump, immediately followed by a pulling motion with your upper body and arms. With a sufficiently heavy weight, the barbell cannot be pulled completely overhead, so you actually pull yourself under the bar while the weight continues upward. The barbell arrives at arms’ length about the time you arrive in a squat position under the bar. Stand up from the squat position to complete the lift.
Before the more efficient squat snatch technique was perfected, lifters used the split style. This requires a similar pulling motion, but at the height of the pull one foot is moved forward and the other rearward while still pulling the body underneath the barbell. As we discussed earlier, you can’t actually pull yourself against the barbell with your feet off the platform, and generally the split style requires your feet to remain in the air longer than in the squat style.
This style requires you to pull the bar a bit higher but results in a “catch” at arms’ length similar to the squat style. Recovery to a standing position is accomplished by bringing your feet back in line. Although the split style has nearly disappeared from the competitive platform, it is quite easy to learn and has many applications for athletes of all sports, particularly those who use “lunge” positions similar to the split, such as ice hockey or tennis players.
The power snatch is similar to the squat snatch, except you don’t lower into a full squat position. Athletes with flexibility restrictions, particularly in the wrists, shoulders, lower back, hips, and ankles, may choose this style of snatching. Very tall athletes often have trouble performing the squat snatch either due to limitations on their grip width (even when collar-to-collar on the bar) or combined flexibility concerns. The power snatch is a suitable alternative.
The final receiving position for the power snatch is a half-squat with the barbell fixed overhead. Since the body is not lowered as far as in the squat snatch, the barbell must be lifted higher, so lighter weights are used. The power snatch is easy to learn and is a common part of the training program for weightlifters and athletes from other sports. Any strength or power athlete should benefit from the use of the power snatch.
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