By: J.V. Askem
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1.                                        2.                                            3.
Left to right: 1. Start with your shins vertical, hips back, and back straight. 2. Then the full extended second pull position. 3. Finally, the momentum of the bar stops about 3" from lockout. The barbell is then pressed the rest of the way to the locked out position overhead. At no time are the legs re bent to receive the bar overhead.

NOTE: Positions 1 & 2 are the same on all styles of snatches.

A "pure" power snatch is the same as a muscle snatch!!! That is, if you can pull the bar without any apparent slowing all the way up to an arms locked out overhead position. Then, such a lift is both a "power" snatch and a "muscle" snatch. However the decrepency, in the two types of snatches, starts when the bar's momenteum slows or stops before you can lockout your arms overhead.

On a "muscle" snatch you just press the bar out the rest of the way. However, it should be noted, muscle snatches WILL NOT PASS as an acceptable snatch in an Olympic lifting contest.

On the other hand, when performing a "power" snatch, once the bar starts to slow, on its upward flight, you dip your knees in a partial squat and drop under the bar to receive it at the arms locked out overhead position. Note: Power snatches ARE ACCEPTABLE in Olympic lifting contests.

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Note the full extended position is similar to a Muscle Snatch,
but then the arms are locked out overhead under
a partial overhead squat without a pressout.

It is not recommended that competitive Olympic lifters practice "muscle" snatches!!! Proper snatching technique will be tainted on muscle snatches! First, obviously the pressouts are not acceptable. So why practice such a movement? Second, on muscle snatches, as the bar travels from the upper chest area to about the level to the top of one's head, the bar will have a tendency to swing out away from the body and out of its normal straight line upward path. It should always be the goal of an Olympic lifter to pull the bar upward in a straight line, and as close to the body as possible.

For athletes outside of Olympic lifting, the muscle snatch is a good warm up exercise before going on to heavier exercises. Example: if you're planning to do deadlifts, do some muscle snatches first. A trainee is kidding themself if they think they can warm up properly by just doing lighter sets on the DL. One can not warm up properly by just lifting a barbell as high as one's crotch. The optimum body warm up will always take place with the most amount of barbell movement! Which is from the floor to arms length overhead.

When doing muscle snatches it's advisible to use a closer grip than would manytimes be used on a power or squat snatch. The reason being, when the bar stops at the point of pressout, the upper biceps insertion will come under a lot of stress, even more so if the bar is out front away from the body.

Also, because of the possible fore mentioned hazard, it's advisiable to just use muscle snatches as a warm up exercises and not a maximum strength building exercise.

On muscle snatches, just like on any other "multiple" compound movement, it's advisible not to do too many reps! Closer observations shows that the muscle snatch breaks down into 3 seperate exercises: a deadlift, a high snatch pull, and finally a wide grip partial overhead press. However all 3 of these movements are run together very quickly. Thus sets in the 3 to 5 rep range are recommended!

Going beyond 5 reps on muscle snatches is not recommended because of the different prime mover limitations of the 3 diffferent exercises involved. Example: you maybe capable of a DL with more than twice the weight you can handle on a high snatch pull or an overhead press. Also, because 3 different exercises are involved, a faster rate of fatigue can set in compromising proper exercise form. Generally a good warm up on muscle snatches is 5, 4, and 3 reps, and then just leave it at that.

All the best with your training. JVA