Snatch Complex

Snatch Complex (How To, Benefits and Exercises Included)

Snatch Complex is a barbell complex that consists of a series of exercises done back to back. It can be used for anything from a barbell warm-up to an entire workout all by itself.

Personally, a quick Snatch Complex is one of my favorite ways to transition from a general prep warm-up to the bar. It allows the lifter to go through full ranges of motion that they’ll need for the lift that day.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do a Snatch Complex, what exercises are involved and provide a few variations.

How To Do A Snatch Complex

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Plates (Used occasionally, but most often just the bar is needed)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Stand tall with the bar using a snatch-width grip.
  • Start by doing 3 to 5 Hang Muscle Snatches.
  • After the last Hang Muscle Snatch rep, leave the bar in the overhead position.
  • From this position, lower the bar down behind the head and perform 3 to 5 behind the neck presses.
  • After the last press, leave the bar in the overhead position.
  • From this position, perform 3 to 5 Overhead Squats.
  • After the last Overhead Squat rep, lower the bar back down to the floor under control.

Coaching Points

Snatch Complexes are generally done in sets of either 3 reps for each exercise or 5 reps for each exercise. How many simply depends on what is needed based on the demands of the workout that day and the time allotted to complete the workout.

In my programming, snatch complexes are usually done with just the barbell with no additional weight added. Occasionally (in-season mostly), I will start the lift with two sets of Snatch Complex and we’ll add a little weight to the second set. Always remember this complex is meant as a warm-up, not a strength or power builder.

While you can create an almost limitless amount of barbell complexes (which I will discuss in more detail in just a second), if you are working with athletes I would recommend sticking to one routine. Remembering all the exercises in a complex can be hard even for experienced lifters and changing up the exercises makes matters ten times worse.

Consistency and repetition can be a huge asset for you here. Sooner rather than later, all (okay, most) of your athletes should know exactly which exercises make up a particular complex. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be for a simple warm-up routine.

Benefits of a Snatch Complex

A Snatch Complex provides two key benefits.

First, as a movement prep for the day’s lift. A Snatch Complex is going to work many muscle groups through multiple movement patterns and ranges of motion. Many of the specific movement patterns of Olympic lifts will get addressed during a Snatch Complex.

Second, a Snatch Complex can act as a great assessment before you get into your work sets.

Any soreness, tightness or pain will usually present itself during a Snatch Complex. This gives the lifter a chance to address any issues before getting into the main lifts of the day.

Snatch Complex Variations

Let’s talk about variations first, because the three exercises I choose – Hang Muscle Snatch, Behind the Neck Press and Overhead Squat – are the not the only three exercises that can make up a snatch complex.

For that matter, it doesn’t even have to be three exercises. You can create a complex of 4, 5 or 6 different exercises if you choose. Here are some of the exercises you can include:

  • Hang Muscle Snatch
  • Hang Snatch High Pull
  • Snatch Grip Upright Row
  • Snatch Grip RDL
  • Behind the Neck Press
  • Overhead Shrug
  • Overhead Squat
  • Back Squat into a Press

Snatch Complex Alternatives

The main alternatives that come to mind for me for Snatch Complexes are their Clean-Grip relatives like the Javorek Complex.

Javorek Complex

Upright Row

The Javorek Complex is another barbell complex that involves combining multiple exercises into one giant set. The original Javorek Complex consisted of:

  • Barbell Upright Row
  • Barbell High Pull Snatch
  • Barbell Behind the Head Squat Push Press
  • Barbell Behind the Head Good Morning
  • Barbell Bent Over Row

I use a modified version of the Javorek Complex that incorporates more movements that I use more often with athletes. It looks like this:

  • Barbell Upright Row
  • Barbell Muscle Clean or Clean Grip Muscle Snatch
  • Barbell Behind the Head Squat Push Press
  • Barbell RDL
  • Barbell Bent Over Row

The biggest difference is exchanging out the Good Mornings for RDLs. I’ve never been a fan of using Good Mornings with athletes. I think RDLs give you almost all of the benefits with much less risk.

Get Started Today!
Horton Barbell Logo 3

Online Strength Programs

  • 1-on-1 Online Coaching
  • Sports Performance Programs for Football, Basketball, Soccer & More
  • Programs for Former Athletes (Legends) Who Still Want to Train Like Athletes
  • Programs for Adults Who Want to Get Healthy (and look great at the beach!)
  • Use Code “HB10” to Get 10% Off Today

More Links and Info

Looking for more Olympic lifts and Olympic lift variations? Make sure to check out the Olympic Lifts Section of our Exercise Library.

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *