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Olympic Weightlifting Part 1/3: The Snatch

Welcome to a three-part series detailing Olympic weightlifting!

What is Olympic weightlifting?

Weightlifting is an Olympic sport and consists of the two lifts, the snatch and the clean

and jerk. The aim of the sport is for the athlete to successfully lift the heaviest weights, with an athlete having three attempts at each lift, and the heaviest successful attempt of each lift being combined to form a total. Athletes compete in various weight classes, which are different for each sex and change over time. Both lifts involve getting the bar from the floor to overhead, however the snatch involves a wide grip and lifting the bar overhead in one motion, whilst the clean and jerk involves taking the bar from the floor onto the shoulders (the clean), and then from the shoulders to overhead (the jerk).

What is the snatch?

The snatch involves lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous movement. In the most common variation, the squat snatch, the bar is lifted as high as possible, before the athlete pulls themselves under the bar, and receives the bar in the bottom of a squat with the bar overhead and arms locked out. The athlete then completes the squat and the lift is finished with the athlete standing upright with the bar locked out overhead and not moving.

What are the other variations of the snatch?

Other variations include:

1. The power snatch: The lifter lifts the bar as high as possible and catches above in a squat above parallel, decreasing the weight that can be lifted.

2. The muscle snatch: The lifter lifts the bar as high as possible and catches the bar with the hips and knees fully extended, further decreasing the weight that can be lifted.

3. The split snatch: The lifter lifts the bar as high as possible and then splits their feet forwards and backwards, receiving the bar in a modified lunge position. It is often completed by lifters who have difficulty squatting.

What are the benefits of the snatch?

There are numerous benefits to the snatch including improved:

· Mobility

· Coordination

· Balance

· Global strength

· Power

· Proprioception

· Core strength

· Reflexes

· Body composition

· Chronic disease prevention

Who can complete the snatch?

Athletes of all ages can compete in Olympic weightlifting, with local competitions ranging from all schools’ competitions with children, to masters championships.

How do I get involved?

To find out more visit the QLD weightlifting association website: Furthermore, to find out your nearest club.

If you have any further questions or would like an individualised assessment and treatment, please give us a call on 3061 7128.

Blog and videos by Physiotherapy Student undertaking clinical placement from the University of Queensland, Australia, supervised by Principal Physiotherapist, Winnie Lu.

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