One-Arm Barbell Snatch

This lift is fun!  I hadn’t done these in such a long time, but a teammate I lift with – he’s much better than I at the oly lifts – recently added it to our lifting cycle.  So I thought I’d make sure you guys get some as well!


Pat Barber from CrossFitHQ demonstrating the one-handed barbell snatch in Ireland.  He gets pretty heavy maxing out at 121 lbs and just failing at 135 lbs.  Pretty impressive given that I think he weighs around 170-180 lbs.  Today we’ll be working on both the squat and split version for receiving the bar.

I know that I’ll often include kettlebell our dumbbell snatch in the workouts or as our technical portion but working one-armed snatch with a barbell is quite the different experience.  Given the width of the barbell, the stability needed to hold the bar level overhead is much more difficult than either a dumbbell or kettlebell (although you could make the kettlebell snatch a little more difficult by trying to lock out with the kettlebell held upside down).  As you increase in weight any tilting from left to right becomes increasingly difficult to manage.  Overcoming this is part of the fun and really develops strength and midline stability.  Midline stability is a term I sure seem to use a lot – guess it might be important…

Not only is this a great conjugate to the snatch that requires you to adapt to an awkward lockout position, but for many beginning lifters or lifters that struggle with the snatch it is much more natural.  Those of us that short pull (hips aren’t fully extending) or swing the bar away from our body don’t seem to struggle as much with these two problems on the one handed version.  I’ve noticed that some people start with their hips lower in the one-handed snatch than they would with the full two-handed snatch.  Perhaps if they kept there hips in that lower start position they’d eliminate those problems on the normal snatch.

A few other notes on this lift:
-if you find yourself tilting your body to one side or the other to accommodate the weight overhead it’s an indication of where you need to work on flexibility.
-unless you are quite experienced and comfortable with this lift, don’t go heavy.
-this is an unbelievable lift for grip development.  And without that grip, not only will lifting the bar be difficult but the stabilization will be as well.
-your weak arm will feel really, really awkward until you become more accustomed to the move.
-unless you are intentionally going for that one-rep-max-feel-good-about-myself lift, don’t let the weight difference between each arm get carried away.

Now let’s lift!

Jason Young, a discus thrower, completes 200lbs.  Awesome weight and technique!  Unfortunately puts his hand on the ground, but otherwise very nice.

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