The Hang Snatch: Step-by-Step Instructions & Video

By Matt Walter
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Learn how to perform and program the hang snatch

The hang snatch, sometimes referred to as the hang squat snatch, is an Olympic weightlifting movement that is used to improve speed and explosive power. It is a challenging exercise, but it can be very rewarding when performed correctly. Along with the hang power snatch, the hang snatch is a great way for beginners to learn the full squat snatch. In this blog post, we will discuss how to perform the hang snatch, as well as the benefits of doing so. Let’s get started!

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Table of Contents

Video: Hang Snatch Tutorial

How to Perform the Hang Snatch: Step-by-Step Instructions

Anytime a “snatch” is programmed without the word “power,” the lift is to be completed with a full squat in the receiving position. “Power” indicates that the bar should be received with the hips above the knees, in a partial squat position.

The hang snatch will begin from the hang position. You will perform a snatch and receive the bar in a full squat with your hamstrings pressed against your calves, and you will finish by standing tall with the barbell overhead.

Step 1: Approach your barbell and assume a snatch grip (see video and explanation below if you do not know how to find your snatch grip). Hands should be wide, toward the collars of the barbell. Use the wide knurl lines to help orient and standardize your snatch grip. And use a hook grip.

Step 2: lift the bar to the standing position. Heels should be hip-width apart (hip width stance) and the bar should be in contact with your body.

Step 3: Keeping your arms straight, chest up, core tight, neutral spine, and back muscles engaged, lower the bar under control to your chosen hang position (most often mid-thigh, knee, or just below the knee). Do this by pushing your hips back and allowing the barbell to slide down your thighs.

Step 4: From the hang position, begin the snatch by pushing with your legs and driving your feet through the floor, aggressively extending your hips. Keep the bar close to your body and bring it into contact with your hips as you reach full extension, driving up onto your toes.

Technique Tip: Don’t bang the barbell against your hip. That will cause the weight to push out and away from your body. Instead, think of scooping your hips underneath the barbell and driving it up toward the ceiling.

Step 5: After reaching full extension, pull yourself under the barbell by bringing your elbows high and wide toward your ears. At the same time, bring your feet up off the floor and slide them out to your squat stance.

Step 6: Pull yourself under the barbell and drop into a squat. Catch the barbell over your head with your arms fully extended (locked).

Step 7: Punch straight up against the overhead barbell, and end your squat with your hips near your heels and your hamstrings pressed against your calves. Recover to a fully standing position with the bar overhead.

How to Perform the Hang Power Snatch

Hang Positions

High-Hang: Upper thigh, just below the hip crease

Hang (or mid-hang): Anywhere from knees to mid-thigh

Low-Hang: Anywhere off the floor to below the knees

Video: Oleksiy Torokhtiy Performs the Low Hang Snatch

Hang Snatch Tips

The following tips will help as you are learning the hang snatch.

Find Your Snatch Grip

To find your snatch grip, grab an empty barbell with a very wide grip and stand up. Adjust your hand width until the barbell sits in your hip crease with your lats and upper back muscles engaged and your arms straight. This should be your perfect snatch grip. Use the knurl lines toward the ends of your barbell as a reference point so you know where to grab the barbell the next time.

Use a Hook Grip

A hook grip helps prevent the barbell from flying out of your hands during the explosive Olympic lifts. Instead of placing your thumbs over top of your fingers, place your fingers over your thumbs. Your thumbs should be locked between the first two or three fingers of your hands and the barbell.

Think About Jumping With the Barbell

Don’t overcomplicate things. Hold a barbell with a snatch grip and jump straight up in the air. As you jump the barbell will push up and away from your body.

Try a second jump, but this time think about pulling your elbows high and wide. You should feel the barbell brush against your shirt as it rises toward your chin.

Jump one more time, but this time drop under the barbell when it nears your head.

This is the foundation for performing the snatch.

Use Bumper Plates

The Olympic lifts begin from the floor. One advantage of bumper plates is that all of the plates are the same diameter, regardless of weight. This allows you to learn the first pull from the floor with light weights since the height is the same as with heavier weights.

The Olympic lifts also end with a drop. Once the weight is heavy enough it just makes more sense to let the barbell crash to the floor than onto your body. Bumper plates are designed to handle being dropped. And they’ll protect your floor and barbell.

Bumper plates have the same diameter and are designed to handle being dropped to the floor

Consider Straps

Lifting straps help save your grip when weights are heavy and reps are high. They also allow advanced lifters to pick up more weight than their grips can handle. That being said, save the straps until you are an intermediate or advanced lifter. Work on your hip grip and grip strength for as long as possible.

Hang Snatch Purpose

There are many reasons to use the hang snatch instead of the full squat snatch. The hang snatch is great for teaching beginners to snatch! The abbreviated movement is often easier than lifting from the floor. There is less to think about than when lifting from the floor because we eliminate the first pull, and it is easier to ensure proper positioning and balance from the second pull through triple extension.

The hang snatch gives you less time and distance to accelerate the bar. This can be used to improve force production through the second pull of the movement and help you learn to aggressively pull yourself under the barbell.

The hang snatch can also be used for lighter training days. You will be able to lift the most weight with the full snatch (from the floor, all the way to a full squat beneath the barbell). The hang snatch will allow you to work on your snatch technique with lighter weights, which can increase your overall training volume with the movement.

Programming the Hang Snatch

When prescribing or programming the hang snatch, specify the hang position. Whether you want the athlete to use the high hang, mid hang, or low hang starting position.

A hang snatch is generally done from a starting position with the bar just above the knee unless otherwise specified.

Hang snatch reps should be kept to 1-3 per set.

For technique work: Keep your weights light, around 75% of your max or lighter.

For aggressiveness in the extension and/or pull under the bar: use heavier weight, around 75% of your one-rep max and above.

For light training days: use your best judgment, but 70-80% is a good guideline.

For speed work: keep weights in the 65-75% rep range.

Prior to Learning the Hang Snatch

The overhead squat is a great lift to learn before the hang or full snatch because these movements require catching the barbell in a full squat with weight overhead. This lift can also help you develop quality hip, ankle, and thoracic (upper back). In order to perform a full snatch you need to be able to sit in a full squat position with your feet completely flat on the floor.

The snatch balance is another great exercise to learn before the full or hang snatch. This will teach you how to catch a barbell while dropping into a full squat.

Recommended article: The Snatch Balance: Step-by-Step Instructions and Video Tutorials

The Overhead Squat Video Demonstration

A Note on CrossFit

CrossFit regularly programs Olympic lifts at high rep ranges with low to moderate weight. Many will say that these movements should be done for low reps because they are extremely complicated lifts. But few things will elevate your heart rate like high-rep Oly lifting!

Just be cautious with performing the Olympic lifts for high reps. Spend time learning perfect form first. And then make sure you maintain your form throughout your WOD. Once fatigue sets in, take a step back and prepare before your next rep.

The Olympic lifts will build power, strength, explosiveness, and muscle…when performed correctly. Take your time, learn with a PVC pipe or an empty barbell, and add weight slowly! And get help from a coach if possible.

Remember that Olympic lifters spend years perfecting these movements under the guidance of highly qualified coaches. Give yourself time…it’s worth it!

Hang Snatch Variations

The hang snatch can be done from any hang position. Technically, any starting point above the floor qualifies as a hang snatch.

The lift can be done with or without a pause in the hang position. Pausing can be a great way for new lifters to learn each segment of the movement.

There are two ways to do the hang snatch. You can either lift the weight from the floor directly to the hang position and then pause before initiating the snatch (technically called either a segment snatch or a pause snatch). Or you can start from a standing position and lower the weight to the hang position as described in the How to.

Get the Gear for Your Home Garage

I started building my garage gym in 2012. I have every piece I’ve ever bought. It’s cost me a bit of money, but I see it as an investment. It’s mine, I’m the only one who uses it so it’ll last, and it’s cheaper in the long run than paying for a gym membership. And I can work out any time I want!

Bumper Plates

Titan Fitness 230-pound Economy Bumper Plate Set – This is the set I have at home.

Rogue Crumb Bumper Plates – Crumb bumpers are amazing for home gyms! They are incredibly durable and are much quieter than typical bumper plates. And, if you plan on training outside at any point, these are the plates you need.

Titan Fitness 230-Pound Elite Bumper Plate Set – This set is more expensive than the last, but they are incredible.

Barbells

Again Faster Team Barbell 2.0 – This is the barbell I have and use at home.

Rogue Bar 2.0 – This is another incredible all-purpose barbell. Some of my closest friends own this one and use it as their daily bar.

Titan Fitness Olympic Barbell – My local CrossFit gym has this barbell and I use it often. It’s a great all-purpose barbell.

Rogue IWF Approved Olympic Weightlifting Bar – if you need a true, dedicated Olympic lifting bar, you won’t be the quality or price of this one. It comes in both 28mm and 25mm shaft diameters, designed for male and female competitors.

Power Racks

Titan Fitness Power Rack – this is an inexpensive power rack that will do everything you need, and it has pins in the back for weighing down with plates.

Titan Fitness Bolt-Down Power Rack – this is very similar to the rack I have at home, which I bought through a local company near my house. If you are going to use your cage for dynamic movements like muscle-ups, get one that can bolt to the floor.

Conclusion: The Hang Snatch

The hang snatch is a powerful movement that will help you become stronger, more explosive, and will build muscle while it challenges your balance and coordination. The hang snatch can be done with or without a pause at the top, which provides an opportunity to learn how to perform this complex movement properly before adding weight. Learn how to do hang snatches right by following our steps and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come!

What cues have helped you learn this movement?

Learn how to correctly perform the power snatch
Learn how to perform and program the Olympic clean and jerk
Learn how to perform the first pull for the clean and jerk and how to fix some of the most common errors
Learn how to perform the dumbbell hang clean
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AUTHOR

Matt has been a personal trainer for more than 18 years. He is also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, has a master's degree in teaching, and is a former competitive powerlifter and CrossFit athlete. His passion is helping others get in shape from mid-life and beyond.

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