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I started doing snatches recently and I need to learn many things.

First of all, I'm a bit afraid of when we get under the bar. Precisely, I'm afraid of hitting my forehead.

For instance, let's consider this frame taken from this video of Oleksiy Torothky:

enter image description here

Of course he is a champion and won't make this trivial mistake. But if you see it, I think there are no more than 3cm from this head and the bar.

If you look at this frame of Lu XiaoJun, there is a little bit of bar swinging forwards. How much should it be?

enter image description here

There must be some measures or technique to avoid hitting the bar. I think it could happen very easily to me (especially because my coach told me to pull the bar straight as my instinct is that of swinging the bar forwards), and I've seen people who had this problem (for instance this). And for this reason I'm a bit afraid when I get under the bar, which I think increases the possibility for this problem to occur. But I think I need some 100% sure technique to avoid this risk to let myself be fearless :)

Moreover: do you look at the bar 1 instant before getting under it? I can't because it moves fastly. But if I should do it, I'll try to do it. Do you stop if you see the bar has not be pulled high enough?

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    The "technique" is to keep your head far enough back not to hit yourself in the face ;) Even then--accidents happen; that's why they're accidents. Personally I don't look at the bar once I'm in motion--you hit what you focus on. The clearance is generally pretty tight. Check this one out: youtube.com/watch?v=bLpeUxij7YY It's all a matter of proprioception. Oct 18 at 16:40
  • @DaveNewton I'm afraid of trying such a bar path also with just a stick :) I'm not used to doing fast movement without fear. I could follow such a bar path only if I could see the bar and avoid it
    – Kinka-Byo
    Oct 18 at 17:15
  • @DaveNewton After you "feel" the bar is rising after the triple extension, do you go under the bar as fast as possible, or also going under too early can be a problem?
    – Kinka-Byo
    Oct 18 at 17:26
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    If you go "under" the bar too early you'll hit it; you end up under the bar at roughly its max height, so the motion to move under the bar happens while the bar is still moving. I'd recommend watching a bunch of slo-mo snatch videos and practicing w/ a bar heavy enough to notice but not so heavy form is compromised. You can put some pipe insulation or a pad on it, noting if the padding is too thick it may throw off where your body thinks the bar is once the pad is off. Oct 18 at 17:45
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TL;DR: The "technique" consists of two primary things:

  • Keep your head far enough back.
  • Don't start the duck-under too early.
  • The head should be under the bar roughly at the bar's max height before coming out of the squat.

IMO looking at the bar is more likely to cause an accident: we hit what we focus on.

The bar/head clearance is generally fairly small: because the arms are wide the bar is that much closer to the body throughout the body.

While practicing use a light bar: heavy enough to allow for proper mechanics, not so heavy as to break form. A bar pad could be used: the extra bar thickness may throw off proprioception, though, since it will seem closer than it really is.

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  • Perfect, just another simple question. Which is the ideal maximum height of the bar (i.e. at the chest height etc)? The more the better?
    – Kinka-Byo
    Oct 19 at 5:07
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    For a squat snatch, the highest it should be pulled is about nipple height. This allows you to keep the elbows up and bar path close to the body
    – E.Aigle
    Oct 19 at 9:18
  • @E.Aigle Thank you very much. And (it is the last, I promise): the hip contact with the bar is of course not horizontal (to avoid missing the snatch from behind). But does this contact contribute a little bit to the power provided to the bar? I mean pull provided to the bar by the quads being under the bar
    – Kinka-Byo
    Oct 19 at 16:41
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    @Kinka-Byo I'm not sure I understand your question, but if you can reformulate it, perhaps as a separate question, I'd be happy to take a swing at it.
    – E.Aigle
    Oct 19 at 18:19
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    @Kinka-Byo in my experience, the contact is a result of triple extension. Since the bar should be over mid-foot, when you extend at the hip and bring your pelvis over mid-foot, there will be contact. I personally don't worry about the contact point so much as the position above the knee and complete triple extension. The contact, in my experience is just a byproduct and isn't even necessarily at the hip (in my case, about mid thigh). This may of course be different for other lifters.
    – E.Aigle
    Oct 20 at 5:24

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