Tip: The Bodybuilder's Olympic Lift

The muscle snatch is the best Olympic-style lift for those who just want to get bigger and stronger. It's also easy to learn. Here's how to do it.

Muscle It Up

The muscle snatch is, essentially, the bodybuilder's Olympic lift. With the muscle snatch, we get rid of all the things that turn many people off from Olympic lifting.

There's no "catch" with the wrists bent backward and there's no complicated technique required, like squatting deeply under the bar as it rises. You simply yank the bar from the floor or from the hang or blocks. As it gets to your neck you quickly whip the elbows under the bar while it's still moving and overhead press it. In other words, you muscle it up.

How to Do the Muscle Snatch

  • Phase 1: Explosive high pull to the neck, focusing on keeping the bar as close to the body as possible.
  • Transition: When it reaches its target (neck/clavicle), make a lightning-fast switch to...
  • Phase 2: The fastest overhead press you can do.

Unlike other Olympic lifts, you don't explode up with the legs – your feet don't leave the floor. You push hard with the legs, but there's no jumping to create momentum.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Letting the bar drift away from your body. If the bar is too far away from you there's no way you can be in a good position to press it up after the turnaround.
  • Pulling it too high (face level instead of neck/clavicle) and finishing the movement as a loaded external rotation instead of as a press.
Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.