Ask Rogelio – Power Snatch and Power Clean

Rogelio answers a question on doing power snatches with power cleans to build a power developing routine. Check out his advice and the alternative that he offers to the power snatch!

 

Hi Rogelio,

Outstanding tips on the power clean!

I’m debating whether I should do both power cleans and snatches or do power cleans only. I’m primarily interested in developing explosive power, and I figure my limited time at the gym would be better spent focusing on and excelling in the power clean. I’m not looking to enter any olympic lifting competitions either, but I do stay active and play a lot of sports.

Do you have any thoughts on power cleans vs power cleans+snatches?

Thanks!

Eddie (Durham, NC,  USA)

Hi Eddie,

Hope you are doing well.

The issue with the power snatch is that its mastering will take you much longer than that of the power clean, especially if you do the power snatch unsupervised. Likewise, the amount of weight that you will be moving with the power snatch will be much lower than with the power clean (albeit you will be moving it over a longer distance). In other words, if you are doing power cleans already, introducing the power snatch will not bring much benefit if you cannot do this lift correctly.

Doing power cleans + power snatches is a great workout on its own (add back squats and you are golden) but considering your limitations, I don’t recommend you to invest the lengthy time required to become proficient in the power snatch. Instead, I personally would recommend you to stick to the power clean alone and invest the time to move some serious weights in this exercise.

The big issue with the power snatch is that it is basically a full snatch caught higher; the snatch, be it power or full, is a very skilful lift which requires you to pay attention to detail so as to get good at it. Elbows flared out, arms loose but keeping a tight hook grip, big chest, hips positioned, maintain the first pull, accelerate, don’t knock the barbell out of track… Too many cues and technique minutiae to be able to reap its benefit, unless it is performed correctly. Likewise, you need to start moving some decent weights in the power snatch (x1.25 bodyweight) to be able to get something out of it because up until about 200lbs, anyone with enough of a strength foundation can muscle the barbell up.

If you look around Youtube, 95% of power snatches are done by the Crossfit people, from which 99% of the “coaches” have absolutely no clue about the noble sport of Olympic weightlifting, thus they teach the power snatch like I teach my niece how to throw rocks at birds (kidding, I’m actually a good uncle). Once in a while though, a former Olympic weightlifter will move to the dark side (i.e. Crossfit) and teach others how to do the Olympic lifts properly; when this happens, you get this:

 Son, I am proud

If you can power snatch 120kgs (that’s 265lbs, folks), you certainly can snatch and no “jump & shrug” authority or bro can take that away from you. The problem, however, is that the above illustration is the exception to the rule; in reality, 99.3% of the pro-elite super athletes of Crossfit and their supreme coaches grunt and moan while they throw 100lbs in the air like this:

Do note that the whole “pro-elite super athletes” that I used to describe Crossfit coaches was a sarcastic remark

Nom sayin?

 

Instead of banging your head against the wall for months and months trying to do the power snatch with less than stellar skill and trying to graduate to weights heavier than those lifted by 9 year old Chinese girls, you might as well do your power cleans and then complement your power developing training with the One Arm Snatch.

 

Rogelio doing a one arm snatch instead of a power snatch

In my spare time I like to read books, go for long walks, play with my dog, do yoga and ONE ARM SNATCH LIKE A BOSS, baby

 

The One Arm Snatch is much (and I mean it), much easier to learn and you will be still working you whole body power, athleticism, body coordination and shoulder girdle strength (just like with the power snatch). I’ve written a popular and detailed tutorial on the One Arm Snatch and I recommend you to read it and have a go at the two variations of the lift.

The One Arm Snatch together with the power clean would be an excellenet alternative to the power clean + power snatch combo that you show interest in. As a matter of fact, I use the One Arm Snatch in place of the power snatch in my power and strength developing routine and I highly recommend this lift together with power cleans, squats and presses to develop whole body power and explosiveness.

All the best.

Rog…

Wait, what? You enjoyed reading this article? You laughed with the Crossfit remark, didn’t you (Crossfit bros, I still love ya!)? Or you like your fitness training without having to navigate around scammy ads promising six packs? Then look no further and “come at us, bro”. We are over 2000 cool cats on Facebook and Twitter, just as many on the Newsletter and we are growing more and more! Furthermore, I, Rogelio, will be making a “cool story bro” public announcement in a couple of days and it will blow your mind, even if you hate strength training or you don’t give a rat’s derriere about cool hair. Subscribe to the free Newsletter (scroll up to the top, right sidebar) to be up to date on any new articles we publish (me no spam you) and join our peculiar revolution on Facebook & Twitter; I welcome you to our ranks, fellow cool cat!

All the best.

Rogelio

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Rogelio

Rogelio is the go-to guy when it comes to men's hair. Having embraced his natural curly hair for over a decade while living in 5 countries, Rogelio has learnt a thing or two along the way. Rogelio is the author of the two bestselling men's books "The Curly Hair Book" and "The Men's Hair Book", and his motto when it comes to hair is, "Gentlemen, having a good head of hair should not cost us our testosterone".

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1 comment for “Ask Rogelio – Power Snatch and Power Clean

  1. Michael Boettger
    November 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    learn the snatch first, transitioning from the snatch to the clean is easier.

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