Clean Grip Snatch: How To, Benefits, & Alternatives

April 6, 2023

The clean grip snatch is a classic Olympic weightlifting exercise that requires power, speed, and technique. It involves lifting a barbell from the ground to an overhead position in one motion. This exercise is an excellent test of an athlete's strength, speed, and mobility.

The clean grip snatch is not the easiest movement to perform and will require a lot of patience, timing, and work. But, performed correctly, it can be a great exercise to enhance your technique and explosiveness when pulling yourself under the bar in the snatch.

How To Clean Grip Snatch

  • Begin by setting up your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outwards.
  • Grip the bar with a clean grip, meaning your hands are shoulder-width apart and your palms are facing down. If you are not mobile enough to get yourself under the bar in a clean grip, start with a grip narrower than your snatch grip and narrow your grip once your mobility improves.
  • With your chest up and back flat, lift the bar off the ground, keeping the feet flat and driving up with your legs.
  • As the bar passes your knees, extend your hips, knees, and ankles explosively and continue to pull the bar upwards.
  • Once the bar reaches the hip level, quickly pull yourself under the bar.
  • Catch the bar with your arms fully extended in a full squat position.
  • Stand up with the barbell overhead, keeping your elbows locked out.

Clean Grip Snatch Benefits

Clean Grip Snatch Exercise

Improved Power

The clean grip snatch is an explosive movement that requires a great deal of power. This exercise trains your muscles to generate force quickly. It helps you increase your speed under the bar with your traditional snatch.

Increased Speed

The clean grip snatch requires quick movements and fast reactions. Training this exercise can improve your overall speed and reaction time in Weightlifting, which is excellent for working on the timing of your lifts.

Enhanced Mobility

The clean grip snatch requires significant mobility in the hips and shoulders. Consistently training this exercise can improve your overall mobility and flexibility.

If you struggle with mobility, I recommend taking a grip you are comfortable with, even if it's just slightly in from your snatch.


As your mobility and confidence increase with this exercise, you can bring your grip in slowly over time until you have a clean grip to perform the snatch.

Clean Grip Snatch Muscles Worked

The clean grip snatch works the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, the lower and upper back, and shoulders making it a full body exercise.

How To Program The Clean Grip Snatch?

When programming the clean grip snatch into your training, consider your experience level and goals. Beginners should start with lighter weights and focus on proper technique.

In comparison, more advanced lifters can incorporate heavier weights and exercise variations. Performing the clean grip snatch once or twice per week is recommended, depending on your overall training program.

Perform 3-5 sets of 1-3 repetitions between 40-70% of your snatch 1RM. This percentage can also vary depending on your mobility and technique.

Clean Grip Snatch Variations

Clean Grip Power Snatch

This variation of the clean grip snatch involves catching the bar in a partial squat position rather than a full squat position. It's an excellent exercise for athletes who need to improve their explosiveness and power.

Hang Clean Grip Snatch

This variation of the clean grip snatch involves starting the exercise from a hang position rather than the ground. It's an excellent exercise to improve their technique and explosiveness when the bar passes the knees before pulling yourself under the bar.

Clean Grip Snatch With A Pause

The clean grip snatch with a pause is a variation of the classic clean grip snatch that involves pausing briefly during certain parts of the exercise to improve technique and strength. The time under tension is a great way to work on staying over the bar longer and building back strength.

Clean Grip Snatch No Feet

The Clean Grip Snatch No Feet is a traditional Clean Grip Snatch variation. You will perform the clean grip snatch by keeping your feet flat on the ground and not jumping out to the side in the catch position.

This exercise is an advanced variation that requires a high level of technique, stability, and mobility. It requires significant explosiveness, and it is excellent for improving your upper body strength, core stability, and balance.

Additionally, the clean grip snatch no feet can help you to develop greater mental focus and concentration, as you need to maintain control and balance while keeping your feet in the same position.


The clean grip snatch is an excellent exercise for improving power, speed, and mobility. It works various muscles in the body and can be programmed into any training program, depending on your goal.

Incorporating the clean grip snatch into your training can improve your pull under the bar in your traditional snatch. Depending on your level, you can add variations to this movement to increase strength, mobility, and power.

About the Author

Mona is a Bronze Medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She has been competing Internationally for 20 years in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting and has also been African Champion, Commonwealth Champion, and the youngest South African Weightlifter to compete on the International stage.

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