Hang Muscle Snatch (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)
The Hang Muscle Snatch is a great Olympic lift variation that I like to use as part of the Snatch teaching progression or to re-emphasize hip extension on the Snatch, usually at the beginning of a new off-season.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do a Hang Muscle Snatch, the benefits of including it in your training and a few alternatives in case you need them.
How To Do Hang Muscle Snatches
- Bumper Plates
- Using a snatch grip (hands outside the snatch rings), pick up the bar and stand tall.
- Pull the shoulder blades back and engage the lats to lock the back in the place.
- Put a slight bend in the knee and hinge forward by pushing the hips back and letting the bar slide down the thigh.
- Stop once the bar reaches the bottom of the thigh, just above the knee. Shoulders should be above or slightly in front of the bar.
- Now, explosively extend the hips and pull the bar high once triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles has been achieved.
- Finish the movement by rotating the hands above the elbow.
- The finishing position should be with the lifter fully extended. This is much different than most other variations of the snatch where the lifter catches in a full or quarter squat.
Once the weight gets heavy enough, the natural adjustment of the lifter will be to want to bend the legs to dip slightly under the bar in order to get full arm extension. Resist this urge to want to dip the legs. If the lift isn’t possible without bending then lower the weight.
How Many Reps?
Hang Muscle Snatches are an Olympic lift variation and I always keep to sets to 5 reps or less. This allows the lifter to maintain technique and maximal explosiveness on each rep without fatigue hindering either aspect.
I generally program Hang Muscle Snatches as 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps each set.
Hang Muscle Snatch Benefits
The Hang Muscle Snatch provides two main benefits for lifters.
First, like most Olympic lift variations the Hang Muscle Snatch is a partial movement. Partial movements give the lifter fewer things to think about, therefore they are able to concentrate more on the parts of the movement that the variation emphasizes.
This makes partial movements like the Hang Muscle Snatch a great teaching exercise for beginners. The Hang Muscle Snatch starts in a hang position which eliminates the first pull from the floor. It also finishes with the lifter fully extended, making the ‘catch position’ much simpler.
This allows the lifter to really focus on bracing, being as explosive as possible with the hips and keeping the bar close to the body through the second pull.
Hang Muscle Snatch Variations
The closest variation to a Hang Muscle Snatch is a full Muscle Snatch. This variation is achieved by simply changing the starting position – going from the floor instead of a hang.
This version of the lift is a bit more technical with the addition of the first pull.
A Tall Snatch is essentially a muscle snatch in which you’re not allowed to strike the thighs with the bar. It demands more strength and, almost ironically, more ‘muscling’ of the bar. It’s a great variation to work on generating drive off the floor (cause you will need all the momentum you can get) and building a strong upper back and shoulders.
Hang Muscle Snatch Alternatives
Can’t do Hang Muscle Snatches because of limitations with equipment, technique or even an injury? Here are a few alternatives that you may be able to try out:
DB Hang Muscle Snatch
If you don’t have a barbell, you may be able to do Hang Muscle Snatches with dumbbells instead.
Besides the obvious change in equipment, the other major difference will be the range of motion will be much narrower. This is because a snatch grip on a barbell is much wider than shoulder width, but shoulder width is as wide as you’ll want to go with dumbbells.
If you have an injury to one arm (shoulder, elbow, wrist, etc), a Single Arm Dumbbell Snatch may be a good alternative to work around your injury. Just make sure to check with your Doctor or Athletic Trainer to understand the exact limitations of your injury.
If going overhead (or technique) is an issue, then Kettlebell Swings might be a good alternative. It’s a less technical movement, very beginner friendly and doesn’t require you having to lift weight overhead.
It’s also another alternative if you don’t have access to a barbell. (I’ve been known to take a kettlebell with me on road trips that helps me get by for a few days.)
More Links and Info
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If you’d like to see Olympic lifts and Olympic lift variations, then make sure to head over to the Olympic lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of movements, all with complete step-by-step instructions.