Soviet Muscle Snatch | Yasha Thoughts


The muscle-snatch-to-standing, usually simply referred to as the “muscle snatch,” is a snatch wherein the knees and hips don’t re-bend after the pull. When the pull is full, the lifter makes use of their higher physique to maneuver the bar upward till the arms are locked overhead.


Weightlifters use the muscle snatch (to standing) to heat up for the basic snatch and its variations as a result of it calls for:

  • A really excessive pull, which warms up the entire muscular tissues used in the course of the snatch pull.
  • The use of the higher physique to maneuver the bar from the end of the pull into the overhead place, which warms up the higher physique for the snatch pull-under.

There are a number of variations of the muscle snatch. In this submit, I’ll go over what I’ve at all times used, the “Soviet muscle snatch.”

There are a couple of guidelines within the Soviet muscle snatch (though they’re not set in stone):

  • No hook grip
  • No hip contact
  • No rebending of the knees to get beneath


The muscle snatch is made up of two distinct phases – the pull, and the end.

The Pull

The muscle-snatch setup is identical because the classic snatch setup, besides the lifter doesn’t use a hook grip. By taking out the hook grip, we take away the flexibility to tug the bar up quickly at anybody second. This forces the acceleration to be regular and permits for the entire muscular tissues concerned within the pull to have an opportunity to work. A speedy pull in anybody second would permit the muscular tissues concerned within the following second to be underused, and never get warmed up.

Muhammad Begaliev, Ilya Ilyin, and Nadezhda Evstyukhina demonstrating correct snatch start positions.

The pull ought to be vertical, identical to in a basic snatch, however with out contact on the hip (or higher thigh). A robust contact between the bar and hip/higher thigh will ship the bar flying upwards, typically eradicating the necessity to pull with the higher physique. By Removing this contact, the lifter is pressured to make use of the higher physique within the pull, creating and warming up the upper-body muscular tissues used in the course of the full snatch pull.

The pull ought to proceed till the entire muscular tissues that may assist the bar go up have totally engaged, and

  • the ankles, knees, and hips are totally prolonged,
  • the shoulders are pulled as excessive as doable,
  • the elbows can not keep straight above the bar,
  • and the lifter can not pull upwards.

At this level, the bar ought to have sufficient momentum to, at a minimal, attain the height of the shoulders.

Lu Xiaojun, me, Vasily Polovnikov, and Muhammad Begaliev demonstrating full extension.

The Finish

There are two common methods to ending the muscle snatch – the method used at lighter weights, and the method used at heavier weights. I’ll name them the lighter-weight method, and the heavier-weight method.

In the lighter-weight method, because the bar passes the shoulders, the elbows ought to both proceed shifting upwards or stay in place because the bar is pulled into the receiving place. The advantage of this method is that it imitates the higher physique motion of the snatch. More on that here.


The drawback of the lighter-weight method is that it could possibly’t be used for heavier weights, because the muscular tissues concerned in pulling the bar from the tip of the pull to the end of the elevate don’t have the capability to elevate heavy weight. By utilizing the lighter-weight method, we’re restricted to utilizing gentle weights, with which we are able to’t totally heat up the muscular tissues used within the pull or within the pull-under and end of the snatch.

In the heavier-weight method, because the bar passes the shoulders, the elbows drop beneath the bar, positioning the lifter to finish the elevate with a press into the receiving place. While this method doesn’t imitate the higher physique motion of the complete snatch, it does permit the lifter to get the opposite advantages of the muscle snatch, and at heavier weights, particularly:

  1. Warming up and creating a radical, lengthy pull (with heavier weight)
  2. Development of grip strength (with heavier weight)
  3. Warming up of the higher physique with a snatch press
  4. And, most significantly, because the weight used will increase, it turns into extra essential to maintain the bar near the physique in the course of the pull. Performing muscle snatches at heavier weights forces the lifter to have a really shut pull, creating and warming up the muscular tissues wanted for an in depth pull within the snatch.

Although the heavier-weight method appears easy (pull + press), there are a couple of nuances that lifters ought to deal with to extend effectivity, and scale back the danger of harm.

Turnover: on the finish of the pull section, the lifter should drop the elbows and heels SIMULTANEOUSLY as they transition from the pull to the press. The decreasing of the physique (by dropping down from prolonged ankles) permits the lifter to take away or scale back stress from the rotator cuff as they rotate the elbow across the bar.

Note: watch the heels and elbows transfer down concurrently.

Bar place: When the turnover is full:

  • The elbows ought to be both straight beneath or barely in entrance of the bar, with forearm pointing within the route of the press (up and barely again).
  • Shoulders ought to be pushed barely ahead.
  • The bar ought to be straight above the shoulders.
  • The head ought to be tilted again to permit the bar to be straight over the shoulders.

The commonest technical error within the muscle snatch isn’t preserving the bar shut in the course of the high of the pull, which locations the bar in entrance of the shoulder, and the lifter in a weak place. This usually ends in a step ahead or not finishing the press.

When studying the heavier-weight method, athletes are sometimes informed to pause as quickly as their elbows have transitioned into the urgent place so as to be certain that the bar is straight over their shoulder, as within the photos beneath:

Vasily Polovnikov, Muhammad Begaliev, Mohamed Ehab, and Lu Xiaojun have simply introduced their heels down and positioned their elbows beneath the bar.

Speed: Complete the press as quick as doable. Unless the lifter remains to be studying the motion, the bar shouldn’t cease shifting in the course of the transition or decelerate in the course of the press. Slowing down of the bar is often a results of the bar being too far ahead. If this occurs, be certain that the bar is straight over the shoulders by bringing the shoulders ahead and bar nearer to the face.

The elevate is full as soon as the arms are straight, the shoulders raised, and the shoulder blades are squeezed collectively (simply as they might be within the last snatch place).


The methods described above ought to be used with an understanding of their advantages and variations. While some lifters and coaches appear to choose one method over the opposite, most athletes use each, performing the lighter-weight method till the weight is simply too heavy, at which level they transfer on to the heavier-weight method.

Regardless of method, when the muscle snatch is used as a warm-up for the snatch (or a variation), it’s virtually at all times coupled with extra actions to heat up for the overhead squat. These are among the typical mixtures:

The desk beneath outlines how the muscle snatch is often programmed as the principle exercise earlier than the snatch, or a snatch variation:

Vasily Polovnikov and I coach an internet staff referred to as VasFit. The staff is designed for lifters who know the fundamentals of weightlifting however haven’t but gotten to nationwide competitors stage. VasFit members get a program, and entry to our VasFit group wherein we supplied limitless video evaluation, and reply any and all weightlifting questions. To study extra, please go to or message Vasily or me straight.



A giant thanks to for posting the unique article, and to nkanter, Nadezhda Evstyukhina, Muhammad Begaliev, Adam Storey, Oleksandr Kocherzhenko, Vasily Polovnikov, ATG, Land Lu Xiaojun for the images and movies!

Yasha Kahn

Weightlifter, coach and now: blogger. I’ve traveled world wide sharing my weightlifting data and experiences. I stay up for the subsequent journey.


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