Snatch Pull Vs. Clean Pull

While many of the principles with respect to force production are similar in the Snatch Pull and the Clean Pull there are also some noteworthy difference in how the pulls develop.  Below are factors that influence the differences in the mechanics of the Snatch and Clean Pull.
  1. Grip width in the Snatch is wider than the Clean.
  2. Relatively speaking, Clean weights are 20 - 25% heavier than Snatch weights.
  3. The Acceleration of the bar begins more gradually in the Snatch and ends with 10-15% greater Velocity than the Clean.  
  4. The “fixation” height or the height at which the bar is stabilized in the catch positions is 25-30% higher in the Snatch than in the Clean

Here is how we account for these differences….

The Start

Due to the wider grip in the Snatch, the shin angle in the Start position will be steeper than the Clean.  In the Snatch, the angle from the ground to the shin should be somewhere between 73 and 75 degrees. The same angle in the Clean will be somewhere between 87 and 89 degrees.  In an effort to set up these angles, in the Snatch, we want to address the bar so it is lined up over or just behind the first Metatarsal in the foot. In the Clean Start position the bar should be lined up near the middle of the foot. Although somewhat dependent on the athlete proportions, the shoulders in the Snatch should start slightly in advance of the bar while in the Clean they should start directly on top of the bar. Finally, the weight distribution on the foot in Snatch should reside near the middle of the foot, while the weight distribution on the foot in the Clean should start over the ankle.   

Initial Lift

In the Snatch it is preferable to start the lift more gradually so the athlete can apply force over the longer time horizon. In both lifts however, the athlete needs to use the quads to push the ground away from them while working to maintain a consistent back angle. In the Snatch the weight should shift from the middle of the foot back over the ankles as the bar moves toward the knee. This will help the bar work into the athlete as he or she works to keep the shoulders in advance of the bar. In the Clean the athlete pushes the through the ankles as the bar is lifted from the ground.      

Bar Path    

In the Snatch the bar is going to achieve a total height around 35 to 40% higher than the Clean.  Therefore, the Bar Path in the Snatch is going to move horizontally back into the lifter more than the Clean.  The fixation of the bar (or where the bar is received and stabilized) is also noteworthy. The fixation of the bar in the Snatch overhead is aligned over the trapezius where the fixation of the bar in the Clean is onto the front deltoids. Therefore, it is necessary to sustain a more vertical bar path in the Clean.     

Power Position

The bar will make contact with the lifter in the Power Position at different points on the body.  The Snatch will make contact up in the crease of the hip, where as the Clean will make contact around mid thigh.  In both lifts, in the power position, the weight distribution on the foot remains over the ankle and the extension starts proximally and moves distally. In other words, the athlete initiates the extension by driving the hips up into the bar while driving the quads down into the ground.  In slow motion, the knees will complete their extension before the hips due to the greater angle and size of the lever but the hips always initiate the movement.      


As a result of the factors above, at full extension in the Snatch Pull the lifters body will finish at a slight angle with the shoulders behind the bar. In the Clean the lifters body should be nearly vertical at full extension. In both movements the elbows should ideally travel up the body so the athlete can externally rotate at the shoulder to work into the catch position. 


In the Snatch, the primary goal at fixation is to stabilize and control the weight overhead and then stand.  In the Clean, the primary goal is to receive the bar in the front rack to establish a short amortization and subsequent “bounce” out of the squat position. If you pay attention to the details and take note of these differences, will be well on your way to making more successful attempts!