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What is a barbell trajectory of a perfect snatch

Summary of an article analyzing what is a bar path of the snatch in the best Olympic weightlifting athletes in the World.

Who

Athletes lifting in the session A of the 2015 World Weightlifting Championship (77 females and 82 males) and 2017 Pan-American Weightlifting Championship (75 females and 85 males).

Design

Analysis of video recordings of the heaviest successful snatch lifts.

Outcome measures

  • barbell trajectory type
    • Type 1 - barbell travels in a ‘toward-away-toward’ pattern, crosses the vertical reference line during the ‘away’ phase, and may cross again during the final ‘toward’phase”. The only type where the barbell has to cross the vertical reference line.
    • Type 2 - a pattern of barbell path is also ‘toward-away-toward’ but does not cross the vertical reference line at any point.
    • Type 3 - a pattern is ‘away-toward-away-toward’
    • Type 4 - barbell travels eighter ‘toward’ or ‘away-toward’ first, then ‘away-toward’, to finish with ‘away-toward’pattern
  • kinematics via Kinovea: peak vertical velocity, maxium barbell height, height at catch, difference between maximum barbell height and height at catch, ratio of height at catch divided by maximum barbell height, size of the loop

Main results

  • Type 3 barbell path was the most commonly used (~50%) by A session athletes in this study, including top 3 finishers (less in women). The frequency was the highest in heavier man’s categories. Type 2 path was used by ~30% of athletes, type 1 by 8-13% and type 4 by 3-6%.
  • Here is a summmary of kinematics and bar trajectory of a perfect snatch:

perfect snatch barbell trajectory

Take home message

For a clinician
In the best athletes in the world, the most common pattern of barbell trajectory for snatch is starting with bar going away from the body, then towards the body, then away again and towards again. Also, from front to back, the barbell travels between 6 and 15 cm.
For a parent
In the best athletes in the world, the most common pattern of barbell trajectory for snatch is starting with bar going away from the body, then towards the body, then away again and towards again. Also, from front to back, the barbell travels between 6 and 15 cm.
For an athlete
In the best athletes in the world, the most common pattern of barbell trajectory for snatch is starting with bar going away from the body, then towards the body, then away again and towards again. Also, from front to back, the barbell travels between 6 and 15 cm.

Original article

Cunanan AJ, Hornsby WG, South MA, Ushakova KP, Mizuguchi S, Sato K, Pierce KC, Stone MH. Survey of Barbell Trajectory and Kinematics of the Snatch Lift from the 2015 World and 2017 Pan-American Weightlifting Championships. Sports. 2020 Sep;8(9):118.

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