It's Not As Simple As We Want

“Any advice on the contact point in the Snatch? Above or below pubic bone? I've even heard on the pubic bone. Is it supposed to hurt and just something you get used to?”


The preceding is a post I saw today in Facebook.  I’m sure it was presented with serious intent and in search of a simple answer.  The nature of the question suggests that there is a simple answer, but unfortunately this is not always the case.  Complex systems, procedures and processes remain as complicated as they are no matter how much we wish that they were simpler. 

If we look at the mechanics of the structures involved, there are seven factors involved in determining the contact point.  They are as follows if we observe them from the power position as a starting point:

1.      The dynamics of plantar flexion of the ankles.

2.      The dynamics of knee extension.

3.      The dynamics of hip extension.

4.      The length of the arms

5.      The length fo the torso.

6.      The grip-width (which is nowadays too wide for the shoulder girdle development of most beginning and intermediate lifters.)

7.      The morphology of the thighs. 

When considering all of these factors and their interactions the contact point could be as low as mid-thigh or as high as above the pubic symphysis.  If optimal biomechanics are being employed, the contact point will be where it is.  In other words, one should not employ faulty biomechanics in order to make contact at a pre-designated point. 

While observation of the technique of elite level weightlifters might indicate that there is some cookbookery involved in teaching technique, the fact of the matter is that elite-level lifters generally fall into a fairly narrow range of anatomical types and so there is a narrower range of technical peculiarities.  This is certainly not true of the current population entering the sport in non-selective circumstances. 

And so the answer is …..

If one is looking for a simple answer, the most obvious one is to go to an experienced coach who can review your technique and suggest appropriate modifications.  If your participation in weightlifting is important to you, you will do what it takes to achieve proficiency in the shortest amount of time possible.  Unless you are under 12 years of age, time is running out on your athletic career every day.  Go to a knowledgeable coach and get to work on becoming the best weightlifter you can be. 

The other best alternative….

It is possible to study and learn about each of the factors in the list and to experiment with each one until a final serviceable technique is achieved.  But it will take time and the results may not be optimal.  This approach means that you are sacrificing part of your lifting career because you are not fully committed.  I conclude with another quote.

“Time waits for no one!”

              --Mick Jagger