I’ve noticed while watching the olympics that many lifters aren’t wearing a belt for their snatch, but do for their clean and jerk. Is there a reason they aren’t wearing one for the snatch?

  • 1
    Belts are used where found useful by the lifter, I guess the question is mostly about the biomechanical difference between a snatch and a clean and jerk and why belts are found more useful in the latter?
    – user35666
    Jul 26, 2021 at 8:34
  • @ParibusCeteris My guess is it has to do with the fact that the snatch hits higher on the body and maybe the belt interferes with the bar path? But this is just a guess.
    – Piper
    Jul 26, 2021 at 12:20
  • I've found the belt interference reasoning in a Reddit thread. I went a bit into the papers and I didn't find a side by side comparison of the biomechanics of both exercises to give a definitive answer though. The thread: reddit.com/r/weightlifting/comments/14dym5/…
    – user35666
    Jul 26, 2021 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


The factors limiting how much one can lift in the snatch vs the clean and jerk are different.

A snatch attempt will be failed if either of the following occur:

  • the bar is not pulled high enough for the lifter to get under it, or
  • the lifter fails to catch the bar with enough stability that they can stand up.

A clean and jerk attempt will be failed if any of the following occur:

  • the bar is not pulled high enough for the lifter to get under it, or
  • (*) the lifter is unable to front squat up the weight after catching the bar, or
  • (*) the bar is not jerked high enough for the lifter to get under it, or
  • the lifter fails to catch the jerked bar in a stable position with locked out arms, or
  • (*) the lifter catches the bar overhead but is unable to stand up to complete the jerk.

The components of either lift where the belt is primarily helpful are marked (*).

Some lifters may find the belt to be useful during the first pull, when the bar comes off the floor, which could make it useful in the snatch, however this needs to be balanced against the changes introduced by the wide grip of the snatch, which has the effect of artificially shortening the arms compared to a shoulder-width grip. The arm position of the snatch means that the lifter much bend over more to reach the bar, and on the way up, the bar will contact the lifter's body higher up the waist. The belt has the potential to interfere with both of these.

So the benefits of wearing a belt apply primarily to the clean and jerk, and the snatch also introduces some positions where the belt may be detrimental. Hence belt use is much more common in the clean and jerk than in the snatch.

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    Snatch weights are usually pretty far from a lifters max squat, so raw strength/core stability is rarely the limiting factor. However, this is much more commonly the case in the clean (basic rule of thumb : you should be able to clean your 3RM front squat). So it's just usually not needed to move the weight in the snatch, and can be uncomfortable as mentioned above.
    – E.Aigle
    Jul 27, 2021 at 9:42

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