Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Hand & Wrist Position In The Snatch & Jerk

The hand and wrist position overhead in the snatch or jerk needs to provide the most security and stability possible with the least strain on the joints.

Imagine your arm and hand like the post and cradle of a squat rack. The wrist should be extended so the base of the palm is directed somewhat upward. Position the bar in the palm, slightly behind the midline of the forearm. Then simply close your grip around the bar.

Grip tension should be only what’s necessary to maintain control. Excessive grip tension reduces the ability of the elbows to lock out completely and at maximal speed.

Holding the bar farther toward the fingers with extreme wrist extension places dramatically more stress on the joints and reduces stability. Such a position will also often cause soft elbows overhead.

This positioning is typically a compensation for limited shoulder mobility because it allows the lifter to move the bar farther back without opening the shoulder more. It can also result from never having developed the strength to support a better position, nearly always resulting in a dependence on wrist wraps even with light weights.

A neutral wrist position creates instability because the hand is equally prone to rocking in both directions rather than being pulled constantly in one direction. A neutral position also places more strain on the wrist and demands a more active grip just to keep the bar secure.

Experiment with minor adjustments to this basic position until you find what provides you the most stability and security with the least discomfort.

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