Hang Power Snatch is one of my favorite exercises to use with athletes. It’s an Olympic lift variation that really focuses on a powerful hip extension that translates to so many sports and athletic movements.
However, sometimes you may find yourself needing a Hang Power Snatch alternative.
You might not feel comfortable with your technique yet or you may not have access to the proper equipment. Whatever the reason, if you need an alternative for Hang Power Snatches, you’re in the right place.
Here are my 8 favorite Hang Power Snatch alternatives that are still great for developing power.
Before I even get into alternatives, I want to note that there are multiple Snatch variations that I’m not even mentioning as an alternative.
Snatch, Hang Snatch, Hang Snatch High Pull and Snatch from Blocks are just Snatch variations that alter either the starting or catch position (or both). I mention this because I am going to list two snatch variations as alternatives (and why those two specifically), but just know that there are many more variations you could choose from.
Alternatives for Hang Power Snatch
Hang Power Snatch is an Olympic lift variation of the Snatch. Instead of starting from the floor and catching in a full overhead squat position, a Hang Power Snatch starts with the barbell above the knee and finishes in a quarter squat power position.
What makes the Hang Power Snatch great is its focus on the triple extension portion of the lift. This power movement is one of my personal favorites to use when training athletes. The alternatives listed below are also great movements that focus on that powerful triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles.
Hang Muscle Snatch
I like to program Hang Muscle Snatch just before progressing into Hang Power Snatches to reinforce the hip extension movement pattern.
- 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.
If catching the bar overhead is an issue for any reason, Snatch Pulls can make a great Hang Power Snatch alternative.
- Bumper Plates
- Start with feet hip-width apart with toes straight ahead (or ever so slightly pointed out).
- The bar should be over the middle of the feet, close to but not touching the shins.
- The grip should be wider than shoulder-width. Placing the index finger on the snatch ring is a good starting point.
- The grip is a pronated grip (both palms facing down) and the lifter can choose, although highly recommended, to use a hook grip.
- The wrists should be slightly curled so that the knuckles are pointed straight down to the ground. This will also naturally rotate the elbows, pointing them laterally away from the body.
- Shoulders slightly over the bar, arms straight, hips slightly higher than the knees.
- Back should be flat or have a slight arch. Shoulder blades should be pulled back and the upper back including the lats should be engaged.
The ‘First Pull’ simply refers to the portion of the movement that involves moving the bar from the floor to the knee.
- The last thing that should happen as the lifter is setting up in their starting stance is to take a deep breath in and engage, or brace, their core. This helps the lifter both protect their back as well as aid in the transfer of power from their legs to the bar.
- Raise the bar off the floor at a constant speed using the legs by driving the feet through the ground. Arms should stay straight and the barbell shouldn’t be ‘yanked’ off the ground.
- Hips and shoulders rise at the same time (torso angle remains constant*).
- As the bar comes up, keep the bar close to the shins and the feet should remain flat, driving the feet hard into the floor.
- Finally, as the bar passes knee level, wrists remain curled and elbows rotate out to the side, core and back should still be tight and engaged.
Second Pull (and finish)
The second pull involves getting the bar from just above the knee to the power position. The power position is the point where the athlete is nearly vertical and where the final triple extension of the hip, knees and ankles will occur followed immediately by the shrug and pull from the arms.
- Once the bar crosses the knees, the bar is then pulled explosively, bringing the shoulders back and up.
- As the lifter continues to drive vertically, the shoulders will end up slightly behind the bar and the hips, knees slightly bent and ankles will have just a bit of flexion left in them.
- From the power position, this is where the final explosive hip extension occurs along with the full extension of the knees.
- The foot drive shifts from the whole foot to now extending up through the balls of the feet.
- The triple extension of the hip, knees and ankles is followed instantaneously by a quick, aggressive shrug.
- Bar is pulled vertically (with the hip extension, NOT the arms) close to the body as the traps shrug to elevate the bar.
- Now, either retrace back to the floor or drop the bar and then reset.
*One of the biggest mistakes in technique is that lifters will shoot their butt up first, locking their knees out and then they end up pulling the bar with their back instead of their legs. This is most often caused by lifters trying to rush the first pull too much. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Hang Power Clean
Essentially the clean equivalent of the Hang Power Snatch. Hang Power Clean doesn’t move quite as fast, but it does allow for more weight to be lifted.
- Bumper Plates (technically iron plates could be used, but not recommended)
- Start by taking a clean grip, about a thumbs length away from the start of the knurling. Using a hook grip (wrapping the fingers over the thumb) is recommended.
- With a flat back, stand tall with the bar.
- Eyes should be focused straight ahead, weight distributed between the heel and midfoot.
- Curl the wrists by turning the knuckles down towards the floor.
- Set the back by squeezing the shoulder blades together (“chest out”) and engaging the lats.
- Deep breathe in and brace the core.
- Put a slight bend in the knee and then hinge forward by pushing the hips back and allowing the barbell to slide down the thigh. Shoulders should end up above, or slightly in front of, the bar.
- Once the bar reaches a few inches from the knee – you are now in the proper hang position for the Hang Power Clean.
- From here, drive the floor with the feet and explosively extend the hips forward.
- Finish the drive by triple extending through the hips, knees and ankles. This full extension should be immediately followed by an aggressive shoulders shrug.
- Now, pull the elbows high while keeping the bar close to the body.
- Transition to the catch (front rack position) by quickly shifting the feet from hip width to shoulder width and dropping the hips down into a partial squat. The elbows should quickly swing under the bar, finishing with the elbows high and triceps parallel to the floor.
- Make sure you are braced to receive the bar in the catch position and then return to a standing position.
Make sure to maintain a neutral, flat back during the hinge. One of the biggest mistakes that can lead to an injury is allowing the back to round during the hinge. The puts an excessive amount of strain on the spine as the athlete begins the movement.
Single Arm Snatch
The single-arm version of snatch is perfect is you’re unable to snatch with a barbell. Single Arm Snatches are also much more beginner-friendly than their barbell counterpart.
- Grab a dumbbell and stand with feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Put a slight bend in the knee, brace the core and set the back – shoulder blades pulled back, lats engaged, chest out.
- Hinge forward by pushing the hips back and let the dumbbell slide down right in between the knees, coming at a stop just below the knee.
- You are now in the ‘power position’.
- From here, drive the feet through the floor and aggressively extend the hips, driving the shoulders up and slightly back.
- As you reach triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles – use a quick, powerful shrug and allow the elbow to break and begin the pull with the arm.
- Keep the dumbbell close to the body as it travels up.
- Once the dumbbell reaches the highest point of the pull, rotate at the elbow to catch the dumbbell overhead while simultaneously dropping the hips into a quarter squat and shift the feet slightly out.
- Finish the rep by standing tall and lowering the dumbbell down to the shoulder first and then back to the starting position under control.
- Repeat until all reps are completed and then switch arms.
The dumbbell should travel close to the body all the up until it gets about head height, then rotate the elbow, drop the hips and catch. Don’t allow it to swing forward out away from the body.
The second technique flaw is not staying braced through the return of the dumbbell to the starting position, oftentimes from being in too big of a hurry to knock out reps. Letting the dumbbell, especially the heavier you get, yank the shoulder down at the bottom of the rep is asking for trouble.
Medicine Ball Cannonball Throws
The most beginner-friendly exercise on the list, Medicine Ball Cannonballs provide many of the same benefits as Hang Power Snatch (coordinated explosive triple extension).
But, because they’re done with a medicine ball they’re less intimidating and (because they’re much lighter) more forgiving of technique errors.
- Medicine Ball
- First, make sure you have enough ceiling height to be able to do Cannonballs. I recommend doing them outside to avoid this issue altogether.
- Grab the ball with both hands cradling under the ball. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart.
- Pull the shoulder blades back, engage the lats and core, slightly bend the knees and hinge forward at the hips.
- Allow the medicine ball to fall in between the shins.
- You should now be in a good athletic position that looks very similar to the starting position of a Hang Clean.
- From here, explosively drive the feet through the ground and aggressively extend the hips and throw the ball as high as possible*.
- Allow the ball to hit the ground, grab it, then reset and repeat.
Do NOT try to catch the ball directly out of the air. This is a great way to jam a wrist or a finger. Allow the ball to hit the ground first before grabbing it for the next rep.
Box Jumps are one of the most popular plyometric exercises that also help develop explosive power. They’re also easy to add resistance to with a weight vest.
- Plyo Box
- Grab a box that is the proper height for your jumping ability
- Start just far enough away from the box so that your hands will not hit the box when you swing them.
- Once you’re in position, stand tall with feet hip-width apart.
- Now raise your arms overhead and extend up onto the balls of the feet.
- Start your countermovement by hinging at the hips, bending the knees and throwing the hands down and back behind the body.
- Immediately redirect by driving the feet through the floor, throwing the hands up and triple extending through the hips, knees and ankles.
- Land softly on the box by bending the knees upon landing and absorbing the force of impact.
- Step down off the box and repeat.
Pick a box that is an appropriate height. You should land on the box in roughly a quarter-squat position. All too often I see athletes jump on a box that is way too high, causing them to have to land in a full squat position.
Barbell Quarter Squat Jumps
- Weight Plates (optional)
- Set up on the barbell in the rack as if you were preparing to Back Squat (high bar position).
- Unrack the bar and step back out of the rack.
- Actively pull the bar into the shoulders and engage the lats. This is to keep the bar from floating away from the shoulders and potentially hitting the back of the head.
- Place feet shoulder-width apart, breathe in and brace the core.
- Dip the hips about 4 to 6 inches, keeping feet flat on the floor and torso mostly vertical.
- Immediately explode out of the dip and jump as high as possible in the air.
- Bend the hips and knees to absorb force when landing, making sure to keep the core braced.
- Reset and repeat.
I cannot overemphasize how important it is to brace for each and every rep. Aggressively dipping, driving and landing with weight loaded on the shoulders without being properly braced can lead to injury.
Trap Bar Pulls
If you have access to a Trap Bar (also called a hex bar), Trap Bar Pulls are another effective exercise for improving power development.
- Trap Bar (also known as a hex bar)
- Bumper Plates
- Step inside the trap bar.
- Place feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Toes either straight ahead or ever so slightly turned out.
- Hinge at the waist and bend at the knee simultaneously until you’re able to grab the bar handles.
- As you pull yourself down into the setup position, maintain a neutral head posture, with eyes fixed on something about 1-2 feet in front of you.
- Take a deep breath to brace the abdominal muscles.
- In the final setup position, pull the chest up, and shoulder blades back, while still maintaining a brace in the abdominal muscles and get ready to lift.
- Start by pulling the “slack” out of the bar. This is where the lifter needs to create tension by slightly pulling into the bar and pushing their feet into the floor before maximal contraction/attempts.
- Once this tension is created, the lifter drives their feet through the floor, and drives the hips forward, keeping tension in the abdomen and upper back, maintaining the hand position over the midfoot.
- Once the bar crosses the knees it should “double in speed” from the lifter aggressively triple extending the hips, knees and ankles.
- As soon as full extension is reached the lift should be finished with an aggressive shrug.
- Either drop the bar or lower it down under control back to the starting position. Reset and repeat.
Easily the most common mistake for deadlifts or pulls of any kind is allowing the back to round, placing unnecessary stress on the back. Keep the back flat throughout the movement and the core braced.
Do not bounce the bar off the floor between reps. Yes, bouncing the plates off the floor into the next rep may make the lift easier to do, but it’s also a good way to allow your technique to break down. Reset for each rep.
Pro Tip: Trap Bars can vary quite a bit in weight. Keep that in mind if you’re using a bar that you’re not familiar with.
Hang Power Snatch is an excellent exercise for power development but sometimes Hang Power Snatches just isn’t an option. You may not have the proper equipment available to you or at other times you might just be looking to add some variety to your training program.
In these situations, you’ll need a Hang Power Snatch alternative and I hope that at least one of the alternative exercises I’ve listed here fits what you were looking for.