Fixing Early Elbow Bend in Snatching

This week (and for the next few weeks) I am joined by Mike Cerbus (follow him on IG @mikecerbus), who was the 2011 American Open Champion, 8x national medalist, and director of weightlifting for Power Monkey Fitness, to discuss some thoughts and topics about weightlifting.

The second in this series is on early elbow bending, especially in snatching.

Often we see someone bend their elbows early in the snatch and the coaching cue is 'patience!' or 'dont bend your elbows early!'.

The real question to be asking is why is the athlete bending their elbows early? It isn't because they want to.

One common reason why is if the shoulder blade positioning is off. Maximally retracting the shoulder blades in the setup of an olympic lift can often lead to early elbow bend as demonstrated in the video as the only method to keep the bar close to the body.

As weight increases, the bar has to stay close to the body. If the set up is incorrect because of excessive scapular retraction, the bar remains close to the body via elbow bending, not a choice or bad habit of the athlete. It may be out of necessity.

There are clearly a myriad of reasons why someone could be bending their elbows early, but checking the steps and positions before the actual problem manifests is worth examaning.