Perfection in technique training – The optimal barbell trajectory during the Snatch

As a disci­pline of Olympic weightlifting, snatching is a tech­ni­cally enor­mously demanding move­ment sequence. Small mistakes are often over­looked, but they lead to devi­a­tions from the ideal move­ment sequence.

Espe­cially in Olympic weightlifting it is diffi­cult to achieve good results without constantly trying to perfect your own tech­nique. Neces­sary qual­i­ties such as strength, quick­ness or mobility can be devel­oped and improved by an athlete with contin­uous training. But with bad tech­nique and incor­rect execu­tion of the exer­cises, the poten­tial of an athlete is limited, because thereby his actu­ally possible perfor­mance poten­tial is inhib­ited.

The right posi­tion at the begin­ning of the exer­cise is a prereq­ui­site for successful repe­ti­tion. Only if the various phases in Olympic weightlifting are performed as precisely as possible can the barbell trajec­tory be opti­mally executed, resulting in a maximal moved weight. The athlete should there­fore not only know the correct motions of his body, but also the rational course of the barbell trajec­tory and how it can be influ­enced.

Different move­ments in the first pulling phase

Just as impor­tant as the starting posi­tion is lifting the bar off the ground, i.e. the first pull of the Snatch. Even small mistakes in the posture usually result in even larger ones in subse­quent phases and compen­sa­tion is almost impos­sible. There­fore it is impor­tant to start in the right posi­tion at the begin­ning.

In contrast to the second phase, a rather moderate effort is required in the first pulling phase. The bar has reached a height of about 35% of the athlete’s body height and moves closer to him at this point. The curve of the trajec­tory thus goes in the direc­tion of the athlete. How strongly the bar moves in this phase, however, depends among other things on the body size. For an athlete with a height of 1.50 m, the bar is on average 4 cm. With a height of 1.70 m, it is already 8 cm and with a 1.90 m athlete, the bar moves an average of 12 cm. Accord­ingly, the barbell trajec­tory of athletes of different sizes can look different with the same design. The maximum height is only reached if the bar remains close enough to the body.

Timing is espe­cially impor­tant in the second pull and in the regrouping phase. This is where the maximum velocity of the bar should develop – the move­ment sequence must be right. In this second phase, the barbell trajec­tory will move verti­cally, away from the athlete. However, this distance should be kept as small as possible, because only if the bar stays close to the body, an optimal velocity can be gener­ated to reach the maximum height after­wards.

Only the posi­tion of the feet can be deci­sive for the success of the indi­vidual phases. If the feet are already a few centime­tres in front of the bar in the starting posi­tion, the bar will move consid­er­ably away from the athlete in the second phase. The further the feet are in front of the bar, the worse the condi­tions for main­taining balance and real­izing power poten­tial will be.

Body size is always a deci­sive factor

It is also known that smaller and lighter athletes only reach a rela­tively lower maximum height with the bar. The final height depends on the devel­oped maximum velocity in the second phase. This is also rela­tively higher for larger athletes as their accel­er­a­tion is better.

Once the maximum height has been reached, the trajec­tory makes a down­ward loop towards the athlete and the height of the bar decreases again. This down­ward move­ment of the dumb­bell depends on the size of the athlete, but also, for example, on the distance between the hands. On average, the bar decreases by 5-9% of the athlete’s size.

Ulti­mately, the right tech­nique is the key to success. The attempt to approach an optimal barbell trajec­tory is a time-consuming chal­lenge that can only be mastered grad­u­ally with a strong stamina. There will always be new small mistakes, but perfec­tion can only be achieved through targeted tech­nique training.

With Vmaxpro these prob­lems can be tackled. The strength training of the athletes is opti­mized by precise velocity and tech­nique analyses. The sensor and app produce scien­tif­i­cally accu­rate images of your tech­nique and the trajec­tory reveals weak points that even an expe­ri­enced trainer cannot iden­tify.