Snatch Press (How To, Benefits, & Variations)

May 10, 2023

As an Olympic weightlifting athlete and coach, I know how much strength, speed, and technique this sport demands. One of the fundamental exercises that have helped me and my athletes excel in olympic weightlifting is the snatch press behind the neck.

The snatch press behind the neck offers numerous benefits, such as increased shoulder strength and stability, improved mobility, and better technique in the snatch.

But how should I perform the snatch press behind the neck, and what are some variations I can add to my training program?

How To Snatch Press

  • Begin by setting the barbell on a squat rack or power rack at chest height. You can also just put the bar on your back after muscle snatching the bar up.
  • Make sure to have a snatch-width grip on the bar; you will then duck under it and position it across your upper back and traps, ensuring the bar rests on the meaty part of your shoulders and not on your neck.
  • Stand up, lift the barbell off the rack, and step back to clear the rack. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  • Initiate the movement by pressing the barbell upwards, extending your arms fully overhead.
  • As you press the barbell, keep your elbows pointing to the sides and avoid flaring them out in front or behind you.
  • Pause momentarily at the top of the movement with your arms extended and the barbell aligned over your ears or slightly behind your head.
  • Slowly lower the barbell back down to the starting position, maintaining control and stability throughout the descent.

Snatch Press Benefits

Improved Shoulder Strength And Stability

The snatch press behind the neck targets the shoulder muscles effectively, increasing their strength and stability, which is essential for Olympic weightlifting.

Better Overhead Position

This exercise helps you develop a solid and stable overhead position, which is crucial for the snatch and jerk movements. The snatch press will also create that mind-body connection of knowing where the barbell should be in the overhead position of the snatch.

Increased Mobility


The snatch press behind the neck helps improve shoulder, thoracic, and upper back mobility, which is essential for a successful snatch lift.

Better Technique

Practicing this exercise often can help you refine your technique in the snatch. Teaching a beginner-level weightlifter the snatch progression with the snatch grip press is also great.

Snatch Press Muscles Worked

Snatch Press Technique

The muscles that are worked in the snatch press behind the neck include the shoulders, triceps, and upper back.

How To Program The Snatch Press?

Typically, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps are recommended for this exercise. However, you can adjust the volume and intensity based on your current training program and goals.

Gradually increase the weight as your technique and strength improve. The snatch press is generally an exercise where you cannot go very heavy, so start with the bar and work your way to a comfortable weight.

Snatch Press Variations

Seated Snatch Press

This variation can help you focus on shoulder strength and stability without the involvement of the lower body. You will do the seated snatch press by sitting on a bench or a box.

Snatch Press Behind Neck In The Squat Stance

The snatch press behind the neck is performed in the bottom of a squat position, helping to improve mobility, stability, and strength in both the upper and lower body. Some people call this the SOTS press, which it is not; the sots press is done from the front in a narrower grip.

Push Press Behind The Neck

Adding a leg drive to the movement can help you lift heavier weights, providing a greater challenge to the shoulder muscles. The push press behind the neck is also a great next step in progressing when learning how to snatch.

Tempo Snatch Grip Behind Neck

The snatch grip press behind the neck with a tempo is a great way to build strength in the shoulders by increasing the time under tension. When performing this lift, you can add a 2-3 second tempo in the press or the down movement.


The snatch press behind the neck is a valuable exercise for any olympic weightlifting athlete, offering numerous benefits such as increased shoulder strength and stability, improved mobility, and better technique.

By incorporating this exercise into your training routine, alongside its variations, you will be well on your way to achieving new personal bests in your olympic lifts. Remember to prioritize technique, mobility, and gradual progression for the best results.

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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