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Hang Snatch – Learn the Benefits, Mistakes to Avoid, and Similar Exercises

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Who would benefit from the hang snatch?

If you’re looking to build genuine power and balance, you should include Olympic lifts in your training. The hang snatch is one of the best full-body dynamic movements you can do to build speed, strength, overall balance, and muscle mass. Doing the hang snatch regularly can improve your sports performance, build your core strength, and teach your muscles to produce more force quickly. 

The hang snatch is also beneficial for your daily life because the movement trains all major muscle groups in your body, making you stronger and allowing you to tackle everyday tasks with ease.

How to do a Hang Snatch 

hang snatch
  1. Hold a barbell with an overhand snatch grip. Your arms should be straight and to your sides with hands near both ends of the barbell. The barbell should rest against your upper thighs.
  2. Spread your feet hip-width apart with toes pointing slightly out. Ensure that your knees are straight and that you’re balancing yourself on your whole foot, not leaning back or forward.
  3. Bring your shoulders back and down, engage your abs, and take a breath.
  4. Descend into the hang position by hinging at your hips. Bring your glutes back as you maintain a neutral back. Allow your knees to bend so your shins remain vertical. Your shoulders should be directly over the barbell.
  5. Lower the barbell to a solid and comfortable position. The position can be quite low or just a few inches down your thighs. Practice for a while to find your ideal point. Most people should aim for around knee level.
  6. Extend powerfully by driving through your feet as you extend your knees and hips.
  7. As the barbell travels up to hip level, begin the second phase by shrugging your shoulders and pulling the barbell forcefully with your arms and back muscles.
  8. With the barbell accelerating rapidly, begin the final phase by ducking under the weight with your arms straight, core engaged, and heels in contact with the floor.
  9. If you do everything correctly, you should end up in an overhead squat position with the barbell over your head.
  10. Squat up, extending your ankles, knees, and hips.

What muscles does the hang snatch activate?

The primary muscles that work during a hang snatch are your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. These muscles provide essential force during the initial hinge and thrust, allowing the barbell to gain speed on its way up. Your erector spinae and abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques) also provide crucial support to maintain your position as you lift the barbell.

Once you’ve gone through the initial thrust and the barbell travels up, your entire upper body pulls the barbell up, allowing you to complete the catch. Your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms, and other muscles work together to complete the repetition.

Your quadriceps work the most during the final portion of the lift as the barbell is over your head. The muscle group produces the knee extension needed to do the overhead squat and finish standing up.

How to integrate the hang snatch into your workout?

If you’re new to the movement, your primary goal should be to master proper execution. So, begin with an empty barbell or PVC pipe and do multiple sets of two to three reps. Doing so is great for improving your technique without fatiguing yourself too much. If you’re already familiar with the movement, do multiple sets of two to three reps with a moderately heavy load that allows you to lift the barbell quickly.

If you’re more advanced and looking to build even more power and explosiveness, you can use heavier weights and do singles. To make up for the low repetition count, you can do upward of six, eight, or even ten total sets. We recommend doing hang snatches early in your workouts. Since the snatch relies heavily on proper execution, it’s best to do it while you’re still fresh. Otherwise, tired muscles can hinder your technique.

Variations and Modifications of the Hand Snatch 

1. Hang Power Snatch

power hang snatch

The hang power snatch is a good variation that forces you to produce even more force as you lift the barbell. The movement is similar to hang snatches, but instead of catching the barbell in a full squat, you receive it in a half or quarter squat position. So, you have to lift the barbell with much more power to land in this higher position.

2. Block Snatch

With block snatches, the barbell rests upon blocks, which naturally limits your range of motion for producing power to accelerate the weight. Doing the block snatch variation is excellent because it improves pulling mechanics and forces you to engage your muscles as best as you can to produce enough power.

Mistakes to Avoid

A common mistake related to the hang snatches is using too much weight. The goal with the movement isn’t to load as much weight on the bar as possible but to do the exercise effectively. To achieve this, you should start with lightweight to improve your timing and technique.

Another mistake you could make with hang snatches is to relax your body at crucial parts of the lift. The hang snatch is a whole-body dynamic movement that relies on raw power that comes from creating tightness in your entire body.

A mistake that relates to hang snatch programming is to do the movement too late in your workout. As an exercise that requires fantastic technique, it’s best to do it early in your training, preferably right after warming up. Doing so will prevent any tired muscles from hindering your performance or leading to poor technique.

The final mistake to consider, especially if you’re new to the exercise, is excessive forward swinging of the barbell. Swinging typically occurs due to a lack of good vertical extension. Instead, lifters would thrust their hips forward, which pushes the barbell far forward, creating a large loop. Doing so makes the exercise unnecessarily tricky and can cause you to lose balance, fall forward, or fail to receive the barbell.

Similar Exercises to the Hang Snatch 

Snatch Pull

The snatch pull is similar to hang snatches in many ways. The grip width is the same, and you have to produce explosive strength to thrust the bar up. The difference is, snatch pulls have you lift the bar off the floor and pull it to just above your waist instead of over your head.

Overhead Squat

man overhead squat barbell hang snatch

Overhead squats are similar to hang snatches because the movement is part of the whole exercise. As you receive the barbell during a hang snatch, you’re in an overhead squat position. In that sense, doing overhead squats can improve your snatch pull performance.

Snatch Grip Power Shrug

To do snatch grip power shrugs, you have to grab the barbell wide, similar to how you would for the hang snatch. This shrug variation is essentially your upper body thrusting the barbell up before you receive it overhead. 

Upright Row (Barbell)

The upright row is a movement where you stand tall, hold onto a barbell, and row from your waist to your chest. Unlike the hang snatch or its variations, the upright row doesn’t have a dynamic element. The goal is to do the movement smoothly by emphasizing your upper back, shoulders, and biceps. But upright rows are similar to hang snatches because the exercise trains some of the same muscles you use. As a result, that strength can carry over to a better hang snatch.

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