How To Learn, Develop, and Train Snatch Technique – First Pull & Setup

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The first pull is the last step in the Top-Down learning progression for the snatch. It is lifting the bar at rest from the floor to the knee.

Starts: From Floor
Ends: As bar crosses the knees. At about 0:12 in the video below.

Although this phase of the lift has the bar moving the slowest as compared to the 2nd and 3rd pulls, positioning is absolutely key.

Any mistakes in the first pull will magnify the difficulty of completing a successful lift, especially at heavier weights.

The first step in the first pull is getting setup properly to lift the bar from the floor. There are many different ways that the setup occurs and looks like. There are 3 general styles which are Static Down Up, Static Up Down, and Dynamic. James Tatum above is demonstrating his personal version of a dynamic start.

Here is one of his lifts in full speed.

As a beginner, you’ll be learning one of the Static setups. The Dynamic setup is used mainly by experienced lifters and due to increased movement during this setup, it introduces more potential for error. This is generally a technique to be practiced well after you have developed a solid foundation.

The main goal of the setup is to create as much tension as you can through the torso and “connect” the bar to you. Here are some of the major physical targets that you can monitor in your setup.

Shoulder is either directly over or slightly in front of the bar.
Knees out
Arms straight
Gaze forward

Due to torso length and leg length differences, the back angle can look extremely different at the setup depending on the athlete’s limb lengths. Those with longer torso’s will have a much more upright posture at setup. Those with longer legs will have their back almost parallel to the floor at their setup.

Here are the Down to Up and Up to Down setup. The Up to Down setup is generally used if you don’t have good squat mobility or if you simply prefer it.