Ode to the Snatch Balance


Loathed. Despised. Even feared. The Snatch Balance is one of those movements athletes love to hate. When it comes to skill transfer movements, the Snatch Balance is one of my favorite lifts. So, why all the disdain for this wonderful accessory exercise?

CrossFitters love throwing heavy weight overhead. But for some athletes, receiving the barbell in the bottom of the squat is another story entirely. Many times lifters who have difficulties receiving the barbell are failing to stay tight when receiving the barbell deep in an overhead squat. They can often overhead squat well because they initiate and maintain a stable position throughout the movement. The problem comes with staying connected throughout the movement. With the snatch balance, the lifter must disengage to move quickly under the barbell and then get tight again to receive the load. Attempting to remedy this by training more overhead squats will certainly improve their overhead squat, but it’s not the best movement to improve the snatch.

So what makes the snatch balance so great? It mimics the same movement pattern as in the snatch where the lifter starts from a position of high stability, disengages from that position, and then regaining a position of high stability under the bar.

The snatch balances gives athletes the feeling of driving themselves underneath the bar, and requires that they tighten up when receiving the bar at the bottom of the overhead squat.

And as an added bonus, the snatch balance helps athletes build confidence in their abilities. Athletes almost always will snatch balance more than they snatch. This means they get experience feeling heavier weight overhead, and they gain confidence knowing that if they can pull themselves under that weight, they can pull themselves under their next snatch.

“Pull it up, get under, stand, repeat.” –Lorenzo Inglese