Overhead Hand Position in the Snatch & Jerk
Written by: Coach Slater
An overlooked area in your Olympic lifts might be how you catch the bar overhead. An analogy I like, that I stole from Greg Everett at Catalyst Athletics, is that your hand should mimic a J-hook on the rig. Your hand position should give you a secure spot for the barbell to rest with the forearm underneath, just like the J-hook provides a stable post for support.
You’ll have to extend your wrist in this position, with the heel of your palm pointed slightly toward the ceiling. Doing so should naturally prevent you from aggressively squeezing / overgripping the barbell. If you do, then stop it. You’re bringing unnecessary tension to your elbows which limits your ability to extend your elbows… not something we want in the Snatch or Jerk.
If you can maintain a hook-grip in this position, then do so (typically easier for females than males) otherwise make sure you learn to release the hook grip during your turnover. By keeping the barbell sitting back in this extended wrist position, we gain some additional stability, keeping the weight feeling secure overhead.
Some variations are to be expected based on how much weight you have overhead, how strong your hands/wrists are, and/or mobility restrictions elsewhere. But in general, this hand position is what you should shoot for. Give it some thought the next time we perform the Snatch or Jerk in class.