The primary aim of Snatch Balance is to develop speed under the bar. There are different thoughts on how this exercise should be performed and commonly referred to as a ‘drop snatch’ in CrossFit. This is a much more dynamic movement and one which prepares the lifter for any snatch based exercise.
In order the develop speed under the bar, it needs to be performed quickly. Setting the bar up on the back of the shoulders, feeling the weight through the shoulders and down in to the heels, arms should start relaxed. The aim is to ‘drop’ to the bottom receiving position and simply race the bar to the bottom. Timing is critical here and as the lifter lands in the receiving position, it is at this time that the arms lock out. What you don’t want is to hit the bottom then have the bar come crashing down on you! Likewise, pushing as you drop will result in catching the bar higher than the final receiving position and then riding it in. This makes the movement slower and soft.
There should be no ‘dip and drive’ when performing the snatch balance, nor should the arms be pushing up against the bar. Either of these detract from he speed and make the movement slower, thus defeating the purpose of the exercise in the first place.
Learning to Snatch Balance correctly will develop a lifters confidence when receiving a snatch in the deep receiving position. If you catch snatches high and ride them in or if you resort to power snatches when the weight gets heavy then I question if this fundamental exercise has been grasped correctly. If so, the lifter should be able to drop at speed and with confidence when snatching.