Block snatches are a great way of working on acceleration of the bar. With the bar starting in a higher position than from the floor you are forced to produce accelaration quicker to be able to pull yourself under the bar. Blocks are usually set at knee height or below (respectively high block snatches & low block snatches). The higher the bar begins the quicker you must be!
The bar starts from stationary and is therefore a great way to develop rate of force development. Unlike the hang snatch where the lift begins with tension/stretch in the muscles.
We also sometimes use these as part of the learning process of snatches as they are less hard on the back and legs, with the bar starting higher. It also reduces that number of steps, making the technique a bit easier.
Note: set up is slightly different to that of a snatch from the floor as the bar is already positioned part way through the usual pull. Your weight will be shifted slightly further towards the heel, but make sure you are still positioned with your armpit above the bar.
We like to use these as an alternative to full snatches during heavy sessions, to work on speed and RFD. In this case we would program 4-6 sets of 1-3 reps. They can also be used on lighter training days as they provide a bit of rest for the back and legs when compared to full snatches. You can also switch these for block power snatches to really challenge your speed and force development, having to pull the bar even higher.
Note: Some lifters can snatch more from blocks than the floor, this can be an indication that they need to improve their pull strength from the floor, or technique from the floor. It can also suggest that the lifter has good RFD or power in their hip extension portion of the lift.
- Team Canterbury Strength