Get Proper Bar Contact In The Snatch
In the snatch, the bar should remain as close to the legs as possible during the pull and then come into full contact with the hips as the trunk reaches approximately vertical.
If you’re having trouble getting the bar to contact, or contacting effectively, this is for you.
The primary influences for contact are the most basic elements of any lift—balance and posture. Balance over the whole foot and a posture that keeps the shoulder joint close to above the bar rather than significantly in front of it will help proper bar contact happen more naturally.
The bar wants to hang below the shoulder joint, so if the shoulder is positioned correctly, the bar will already be close to the body and easy to bring closer. If instead the shoulders are too far forward, it takes an extraordinary effort to bring the bar back to the body.
The continuous, active effort by the upper body to keep the bar close handles what posture and balance can’t.
To feel and practice the upper body action of bringing the bar closer, stand tall with a bar hanging in a snatch grip. Keeping the arms relaxed, push your hands back to press bar against your hips.
Next, move into a mid-thigh hang position with the shoulders slightly in front of the bar. Relax to let the bar hang directly below the shoulders, which will mean it moves away from the legs. Now simply replicate the previous—push the hands back toward the body while keeping the arms relaxed until the bar lightly contacts the thighs.
This upper body effort should be continuous from start to finish of the pull. With proper posture and balance, it will take very little effort in the first pull, and then more once past the knees when the shoulders will tend to be farther in front of the bar.
Finally, remember that a snatch should finish at the top with the legs vertical and the shoulders at least slightly behind the hips—in this position, the bar is forced to contact the body because it’s following the shoulders. In other words, except with extremely light weights and other errors, you can’t avoid contact if you’re finishing the pull correctly.
Continue pushing vertically with the legs as you finish the hip extension—this ensures the bar continues moving up through this contact rather than hitting a single point and bouncing forward.
Focus on this active guidance of the bar and correct contact with all pulling variations you’re already doing. You can emphasize it more by slowing the pull down to allow better adjustment and control.
This can also be done with actual snatches—pull from the floor to mid-thigh slowly to ensure perfect positions, then accelerate to finish the snatch normally, focusing on creating the final proper contact at the hips.