Exercise Library
Snatch Balance

AKA Drop snatch (incorrectly)
The snatch balance is a dynamic snatch receiving position exercise that adds more demand on technique, precision and speed to the overhead squat. It is one of three snatch balance exercises whose names are often confused with each other or used interchangeably.
Start standing with the barbell behind your neck with a snatch-width grip and your feet in the pulling position. Bend the knees smoothly, maintaining balance and an upright torso, then push with the legs against the floor to create some upward momentum on the bar. Pick up your feet and replace them flat on the floor in your squat stance as you push aggressively against the bar to move yourself down into an overhead squat position. Lock your elbows and secure the bar in the overhead position in as low of a squat as you can without being rock-bottom—absorb the downward force of the bar by continuing to sit the rest of the way into the squat smoothly. Making sure the bar is stable and secure overhead, stand again, keeping the bar overhead. The goal is to elevate the barbell as little as possible from its starting point on the shoulders and to move the body down under it as quickly as possible.  
If you maintain the hook grip when you turn the snatch over, use the hook grip in the snatch balance.
The snatch balance develops strength in the receiving position for the snatch like the overhead squat, but also adds the elements of speed, timing and precision. It will help train proper footwork for the snatch (transitioning from the pulling to receiving stance and reconnecting the feet flat on the floor), and help with confidence getting under heavy snatch weights.
The snatch balance should be performed with sets of 1-3 reps, typically anywhere from 70-100% or more of the lifter’s best snatch (less technically proficient lifters will be able to use greater weights relative to their snatches due to low snatch weights). The exercise is usually performed best in the middle of a training session, after any snatch, clean or jerk exercises that demand more speed and technique, but before more strength-oriented exercises like pulls and squats. They can be performed before snatches with light weights as a technique primer
Two other variations of the snatch balance exist, but are really considered different exercises—the drop snatch and the heaving snatch balance. The most common variation of the snatch balance itself is adding a 2-3 second pause in the bottom position before standing.

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June 27 2017
February 13 2020
Might be a dumb question. Can the snatch balance be done with jerk boxes rather then receiving the bar behind the neck between reps? Working on the bar path for receiving the bar behind the neck, but still not confident with more weight then the bar
Yep, just be sure they're low enough to allow you to squat all the way down without interference and wide enougth that your arms don't hit them.

Greg Everett
Chris Murray
October 10 2021
Thanks for making your other instructional video on this exercise. Very helpful.

What is your advice for lifters who don’t fixate the bar very well on receiving, and instead get crushed into a squat? Do you think the “snatch recovery” would help (a pull under into a bottoms up OHS from blocks)? Or should I focus more on snatch balances instead to improve fixation? Thank you very much for any thoughts/advice.

(Asking because I don’t currently have access to blocks to test and compare both exercises)
I would do heaving snatch balances (feet stay planted flat) and drive/lock relatively high and ride fluidly down into squat. Over time, work heavier and into lower receiving position.

Greg Everett