Hang Squat Snatch – CrossFit Exercise Guide with Photos


Muscles Targeted: The hang squat snatch is a very complex and advanced CrossFit exercise that targets muscles in both the upper body and lower body. In the upper body, this exercise engages the back muscles along with the shoulders, biceps and triceps. The back and shoulder muscles are engaged when lifting the bar to the overhead position because they are involved in stabilizing the shoulder and shoulder blades while swinging the bar. The lattisimus dorsi is also targeted when beginning the exercise. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves of the lower body are also engaged when performing this exercise. CrossFit athletes like the hang squat snatch because it provides a total body exercise that helps to build explosive power. This movement is also fantastic for developing strength, speed, coordination, balance and flexibility.

Exercise Instructions:

Starting Position:

  • Stand next to a barbell with your feet positioned under bar at about hip width. Your feet can be positioned slightly wider than hip width if this is most comfortable for you.
  • Squat downward and grab the bar with both hands.
  • Hold the bar with a very wide overhand grip.
  • Position your shoulders just above the bar with your back flat.
  • Ensure that your arms are straight with elbows pointed outwards along the bar.

Proper Execution:

  • Raise the bar by extending your knees and hips. As the bar approaches your knees, ensure that your back stays flat and maintains the same angle to the floor as in the starting posture.
  • As the barbell reaches your knees, raise your shoulders but at the same time ensure the barbell is as close to your legs as possible. When the barbell reaches your thighs, allow it to slightly rest on the thighs, just above the knees.
  • Explode upward while extending your body. Raise your shoulders momentarily and pull the barbell upward which will allow the elbows to move in order to keep them over the bar as long as possible.
  • Position your body under the barbell while moving into a squat position. As soon as the barbell is caught above your head, explode with your legs and squat up into a standing position with the barbell over your head.
  • From the top finishing position, slowly allow the barbell to drop down to your mid-thighs. That completes a full repetition. Repeat the above steps to complete additional repetitions.

Things To Avoid:

  • Improper technique. Since this is a very advanced exercise, it is highly recommended to get assistance from a trained CrossFit instructor when you are first starting out. It’s critical to get your form absolutely spot-on before adding additional weight onto the bar. Using improper form can easily result in injury so be very careful with this movement.
  • Jumping forward. As you attempt the snatch portion of this exercise, it is recommended to keep your feet in the same spot as you execute it. Moving your body forward will only make the exercise more difficult to complete.
  • Rounding your back. It’s very important to keep proper posture throughout the duration of this exercise. Your back should be flat with your chest out and your shoulders back. Keep your head up and look straight forward throughout the entire range of motion.
  • Letting your hips extend too earlier. During the transition portion of this exercise, make sure your hips work in the correct sequence in order to properly execute the movement.

Reps and Sets: As noted earlier, this is a very advanced exercise that should be performed with extra caution. Beginners should start by using only the bar (no weight plates added to bar) and perform multiple repetitions in order to get the technique down before moving onto heavier weights. Those individuals who are more advanced and experienced with this exercise can perform 4-5 total sets of 8-12 repetitions. As previously mentioned, it is very important for beginners to use a certified CrossFit trainer as they begin to execute this movement because a qualified and experienced trainer can offer great insight and assistance in mastering the technique which helps to reduce any chance of injury when performing this dynamic exercise.

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