If you’ve been an avid olympic weightlifter, or even Crossfit athlete for a while you definitely know who Oleksei Torokhtiy is and if you don’t here’s a little about him:
- 2x Olympic athlete (Beijing 2008, London 2012)
- 2x World championships medalist (2009, 2011)
- Max Snatch: 440lbs/200kg
- Max Clean and Jerk: 528lbs/240kg
So he obviously knows a little bit about strength, and specifically the snatch where most lifters struggle. Almost always people have an easier time cleaning than they do snatching as its obviously a little less technical.
Luckily Torokhtiy recently shared with us his top 3 most common observations as to why people fail to increase their snatch, as well as his advice to solve them.
He states below:
1. Receiving position should be as low as possible
Receiving position in the snatch requires an extreme level of squat depth, even more so than an average back squat for most people.
“It should be as low as possible so as not to fail.“
“When dropping into your snatch receiving position, your thigh MUST touch the calf muscle. The major idea is to come up with the max height of the barbell’s peak. Do your best to get out of the lowest position in the shortest period of time (explode up). Even the tiniest lack of squat depth may ruin the entire snatch.“Oleksei Torokhtiy
2. Get over the fear of the weight being overhead and working on overhead stability
Even the most experienced athletes deal with this from time to time, says Torokhtiy, but pushing through that fear with high percentage weights is what separates them.
“The main quality that makes experienced athletes stand out from amateurs is the fact that they know how to handle their fears and work with extreme weights despite the risks.”Torokhtiy
If you’re worried about the bar being overhead its most likely because you haven’t trained overhead stability with that weight outside of just snatching. Make sure the overhead isn’t your limiting factor, because once you get a solid catch now all you have to do is stand it up.
3. You need to do more pause squats at the bottom
It should become your habit just like eating in the morning, training regularly, or drinking plenty of water. Be ready to dedicate plenty of time to mastering the receiving position in the snatch to make this move automatic.
“Work on sitting in squats for up to five seconds as often as you can. It does not matter how heavy the barbell is.”
If you want to get the most of this exercise, try to spend time in a pause as often as possible.
Torokhtiy also mentioned that working on your balance with the bar overhead will help you find the ideal position for your shoulders and back. Thats where the pause squats and dedicated stability work really help out.
We also just want to add here that none of these cues will work if you don’t yet have excellent mobility to be able to perform the snatch with even lighter weights.