The Whip Snatch

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the whip snatch and what exactly it is. I’ll start by clearing up what it isn’t.

  • A pick pocket strategy
  • A migrant bird
  • A dangerous sexual maneuver
  • An aggressive female

Before we take another step forward I’ll also speak up and note that this isn’t my exercise; it’s one that I’ve shamelessly exploited. The whip snatch comes from the exercise rolodex of Dan John–a guy with two first names that’s forgotten more than I’ve learned. So if I’m going to steal, it’s going to be from him.

What It Is

The Whip Snatch is a partial range of motion snatch–the full version being what they use at the Olympics. Rather than starting from the floor, or with the bar in the hang position at knee level, the whip snatch starts with the bar seated in the hip crease. From this position the ankles, knees and hips are extended violently and the bar is “whipped” overhead.

Here’s BSP Athlete Josh Hull doing whip snatches during his off season training this past winter.

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Josh should have done a better job reaching back with his hips to load the movement and keeping his head in a neutral position. But he runs into people for money.

Why I like It

Other than for the obvious reason–it’s name–I like this exercise because it trains violent hip extension. It’s a triple-extension exercise, but since the bar is loaded directly in the hips the glutes must contract quickly and with vim to get the bar overhead. This is good. It has applications in sports across the board–I can’t think of any during which rapid hip extension isn’t necessary/a plus. If you counter with, what about NASCAR? that’s a sport, may God have mercy on your soul.

Since it’s a high-tension, high-speed, low-load exercise, it’s great for ramping up the nervous system.

How I use it

The simple answer is to train powerful hip/triple-extension. But here’s a list of the applications I adhere the whip snatch to:

  • Neural charge workouts
  • Nervous system ramp up for heavier barbell lifts
  • Complex with medball throws or jumps to train power

How many reps? 2-3 per set. This isn’t an exercise you want to build fatigue with–doing 2-3 crisp reps makes good use of the whip snatch. (6517)

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Todd Bumgardner

M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger

Todd Bumgardner

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