Tall Snatch Exercise Guide — Form, Muscles Worked, & Alternatives

tall snatch

The tall snatch improves Olympic lifting prowess. 

The snatch is a sophisticated weightlifting technique, embodying a pure, raw display of strength. It requires lifting a loaded barbell from the ground to an overhead position in one seamless, fluid motion.

The snatch is highly regarded among Olympic and CrossFit enthusiasts. It empowers fitness enthusiasts to engage their entire body, fostering power, strength, and endurance for unparalleled gains. This guide delves into a specific variation known as the tall snatch, offering insights into its unique benefits.

This movement significantly enhances speed, endurance, and power while improving extension and correct body alignment. It concentrates on refining a lifter’s technique, speed, and explosiveness and perfecting the snatch grip and lift.

This detailed exercise guide offers an in-depth exploration of the tall snatch exercise, covering techniques, targeted muscles, and benefits. It also presents superior alternatives to enhance your snatching skills, alongside recommendations on who should incorporate this exercise into their routine.

Techniques & Muscles Worked

The tall snatch focuses on the upper body muscles, including the rotator cuffs, forearms, triceps, biceps, core, and back muscles. To avoid injuries, start with light weights when prepping for this routine.

To do a tall snatch, you’ll only need a plate-loaded barbell. You can also use wrist wraps and a weightlifting belt to aid your training. Proper form is vital when doing this exercise, which can be more challenging with Olympic movements. Don’t allow the body at the default position to have a slight bend or your hips to hinge, as this turns the tall snatch into a dip snatch. Below is a step-by-step process you can follow to execute this exercise.

  1. First, ensure you load the barbell with the appropriate weight.
  2. Standing upright, make sure your snatch grip is wide and fully extended arm’s length downward towards the ground. 
  3. Keep your knees and hips extended. This is your starting position. 
  4. Pull the barbell upwards aggressively using your arms. During this initial movement, your elbows should remain high and out. Your core and back should be firm, and the barbell should be close to your body.
  5. Extend your arms on the barbell to the overhead position, transitioning into an overhand grip as you descend into a full squat.
  6. Pause for a second in the bottom position (squat position), then extend your knees and hips to rise to a full standing position.
  7. Finally, finish with the weight overhead.
  8. Slowly lower the barbell, keeping it close to your body to return to the starting position and complete your reps.


Add the tall snatch to your weightlifting routine to improve your athletic performance. Below are more benefits of the tall snatch.

Faster Snatch

The tall snatch can help improve your speed during the turnover part of the snatch and overall snatch speed. It does this by teaching you to move the barbell fast instead of using momentum from your hips and knees, as speed is critical when doing the tall snatch. You’ll then need to move under the barbell faster, completing this movement at a higher speed.

Improves Olympic Lifting Technique

The tall snatch reinforces the last movement in the final stages of your pull. The success of this movement is crucial to Olympic lifting technique for exercises like clean and jerk. Fitness enthusiasts can also use this training to improve their technique and strength when doing exercises that involve the overhead position, such as barbell shoulder press

Better Mind Muscle Connection

Doing the tall snatch consistently improves your mind-muscle connection and the muscles being worked on during lifting. According to this research, mind-muscle connection plays a key role in muscle growth (1).

Increase Your Personal Best

The tall snatch exercise is a perfect routine for lifters looking to improve and increase weights for maximum gains. Time spent practicing the tall snatch with the correct form makes you better at lifting progressive heavy weights.

Improved Upper Body Strength

All muscle groups (upper and lower) get some work when doing a tall snatch. However, the bulk of the work is in your upper body, and doing them will build and strengthen those muscles.

Improves Your Range Of Motion

For a successful tall snatch, you’ll extend almost all your body parts, which helps and improves your range of motion.

Tall Snatch Alternatives

The tall snatch is an Olympic weightlifting exercise that trains your upper body and improves your lifting technique. Here are some equally effective upper body routines that could help you improve the snatch part of your lifting and technique.

Tall Kneeling Snatch

The tall kneeling snatch is similar to the tall snatch, but it eliminates the use of your lower body. As a result, it also reinforces the last part of the lifting movement, the snatch. This exercise is also effective for increasing your upper body strength. 

Snatch Grip

Using the snatch grip, most commonly performed on the deadlift or snatch, is another exercise that builds your upper body. Most importantly, however, it improves your grip when doing the snatch. This exercise also builds thicker forearms, which can also improve your grip strength and improve your snatch. 

Snatch Pull

The snatch pull is another good snatch builder, but this exercise focuses on the lower body instead. It closely resembles the Olympic movement and can be used to build explosive power and improve overall technique (2). The snatch pull also builds muscles in your upper and lower body. 


How do you do a tall snatch? 

The tall snatch involves lifting a barbell overhead using a wide grip. You’ll also need to descend into a squat to receive the barbell before exploding upwards. For step-by-step instructions, check the exercise guide above. 

What are the benefits of the tall snatch?

The tall snatch improves your speed and your technique when lifting weights. It also improves your mind-muscle connection when lifting and builds your total upper body muscles. 

Does the tall snatch build muscle?

The tall snatch builds upper body muscles, especially in the shoulders and back. The guide above provides a better breakdown. 

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  1. Calatayud, J., Vinstrup, J., Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Brandt, M., Jay, K., Colado, J. C., & Andersen, L. L. (2016). Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training. European journal of applied physiology, 116(3), 527–533. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3305-7
  2. Antunes, J. P., Oliveira, R., Reis, V. M., Romero, F., Moutão, J., & Brito, J. P. (2022). Comparison between Olympic Weightlifting Lifts and Derivatives for External Load and Fatigue Monitoring. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(12), 2499. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122499
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.