Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
A little more here:
Ron Walker doing a 180 One Hand Snatch at the 47 second mark here:
One of the oldest, most interesting, and most popular of lifts is the One Hand Snatch. Although during recent years the three Olympic lifts (Two Hands Press, Two Hands Snatch, and Two Hands Clean and Jerk) have crowded the one-hand lifts into the background, it is well to remember that such time-honored lifts as the Bent Press, the One Hand Clean and Jerk, and the One Hand Snatch each has its unique and special value as an athletic feast and as a body developer. Therefore, the lifting enthusiast desirous of becoming a good all-around performer and of attaining all-around strength and development, will practice all the better known lifts and feats rather than simply the three competition lifts now in vogue.
For the benefit of those not thoroughly familiar with the technique of the One Hand Snatch, its performance is as follows.
Standing over the barbell (the One Hand Snatch is customarily performed with a barbell, although a dumbbell may be used), space the feet equidistant from the center of the handle and bending at the knees, hips, and back. Grasp the bar in the exact center, and - assuming that the lift is being made with the right hand - place the left hand just above the left knee. When perfectly "set" and ready to lift, straighten the body and legs simultaneously, press down hard on the left knee with the left hand, and pull the bar upward and backward as high as you can. Put every ounce of your strength and speed into the effort.
As the bell reaches shoulder level and its momentum slows down, dip under it by bending the knees to the extent necessary to "fix" the weight on a straight arm. The bell securely held in balance, bring the body as erect as possible and hold the weight overhead for several seconds. Naturally, throughout the lift, you should keep your eye on the bell so as to preserve the balance.
When smoothly and correctly performed the several aforementioned stages of the Snatch all merge into one, and the bell is taken from the ground to overhead seemingly in a single continuous movement. Preparatory to lowering the weight, shift it overhead into both hands, then lower it to the shoulders and down as in a two hand lift.
In performing a Snatch, the bell must be raised overhead without pressing or pushing to get the arm straight at the finish. That is, the lift must be accomplished by the power of the initial pull, plus the extent to which the lifter is able to dip and get his arm straight after that pull is fully exhausted. With a light weight, the pull may be sufficient to carry the bell all the way to arm's length overhead without need of a dip. With a heavy weight, however, the lifter may have to squat clear down on his heels in order to get under the bell with a straight arm.
Some of the old-time heavyweight strongmen were so huge and bulky that in making a lift to the shoulders or overhead they either could not or did not dip under the weight. Accordingly, in the various "quick" lifts, they either got the weight all the way up by the power of the initial pull, or not at all. And since, in the various quick lifts, the rules allow the performer to dip under the weight to any desired extent (provided no part of the body other than the feet comes into contact with the ground), it follows that the record holders in the Snatch, Swing, One and Two Hands Clean, etc, are not the 300-pound giants, but rather such athletes as combine great strength with speed, skill, and gymnastic ability.
The best performers in the One Hand Snatch have been principally French and German lifters. A generation ago, before lifting standards were so high as now, it was considered a very exceptional feat for a lifter to snatch with one hand a bell as heavy as himself. Quite a number of lightweight and middleweight strongmen came to be able to snatch with one arm more than their bodyweight, but the number of heavyweights who could do likewise was, and remains, very small. It should be added, however, that strength being in proportion to muscular cross-section and nerve stimulation rather than to gross bodyweight, it becomes a much more meritorious feat for a heavyweight strongman to snatch his bodyweight than for a lightweight.
Perhaps one of the first athletes to attain a high standard of excellence in this lift was a German professional named Simon Bauer, who in or about the year 1890, and at a bodyweight of 141 lbs., did a a Right Hand Snatch of 163.34 lbs. - or more than 24 pounds more than his own weight!
Some of the old-time strongmen in the light bodyweight classes who excelled at the One Hand Snatch were Otto Arco (Poland), who at a bodyweight of 138 lbs. snatched 136.32; Max Sick (Germany), who at 147 lbs. is credited with a snatch of 165; Josef Whur (Germany), who at 138 lbs. did 145.5; Emil Kliment (Austria), who at 130 lbs. did 141.53; R.G. Shorthouse, a professional of Australia, who at 136.25 lbs. did 151.25; and Edward Aston (England), who at 161 lbs. did 184.
Arco, at 137 lbs., also snatched 137.12 pounds with his left hand, and was probably one of the first to snatch his bodyweight with either hand. Aston was capable of 162 lbs. in the Left Hand Snatch. Monte Saldo, another British professional, in a contest with the English lifter Carquest, did a Left Hand Snatch of 144.5 lbs. at a bodyweight of `32. This was in 1911.
Probably one of the first heavyweight strongmen to snatch more than his bodyweight was the famous George Hackenschmidt, who on April 27, 1898, at a bodyweight of 190 lbs., snatched with his right hand 197.31 lbs. Although Pierre Bonnes, the French lifter, snatched 198.41 lbs. unofficially, a short time afterwards, Hackenschmidt's lift remained the amateur world record until August 1904, when Heinrich Schneidereidt, a top-notch German lifter, increased it to 200.17 lbs. Then, in May 1910, the celebrated French lifter, Louis Vasseur . . .
. . . raised it to 200.17 lbs.
The record returned to Germany in November 1912, when Heinrich Rondi snatched the tremendous amount of 219.9 lbs., and it remained in that country until the summer of 1925, when the redoubtable French champion, Charles Rigoulot, set the present amateur world record of 222.66 lbs.
Limited space forbids more than a brief mention of some of the many athletes who have made notable records in the One Hand Snatch. Perhaps twenty different strongmen have snatched 200 lbs. or more with one hand. Judged either absolutely by poundage, or in relation to the lifter's muscular size, the best One Hand Snatch on record is Charles Rigoulot's lift of 256.83 lbs. (right hand), which he made in Paris in the spring of 1930, and as a professional. His bodyweight at the time was 225 lbs. Next in merit is the Left Hand Snatch of 181.88 lbs. made by Franz Schweiger, the German lifter, at a bodyweight of 142 lbs. Third is the English lifter Ronald Walker's Left Hand Snatch of 215 lbs. made at a bodyweight of about 200 lbs. Fourth is the Left Hand Snatch of Alfred Neuland, of Estonia, of 181.88 lbs. at a bodyweight of 149.75 lbs. This was made in the 1924 Olympic Games at Paris. Fifth in merit is the Left Hand Snatch of Andreas Stadler, of Vienna, who snatched 159.83 lbs. while weighing 130. Sixth is the Right Hand Snatch of the wonderful lightweight, Hans Haas, of Vienna, who lifted 194 lbs. at a bodyweight of 150. So far as I know, the relatively best One Hand Snatch made by an American lifter is that of Mario Cerratani, of Los Angeles, who in May 1932 did 167.5 lbs. with his right hand at a bodyweight of 148 lbs.
Besides the regular one hand snatches made on barbells of appropriate design with regulation-sized handles (about one inch in diameter), many lifts of high merit have been made on barbells, and dumbbells, with thick handles. Such lifts, accordingly, were primarily feats of grip strength. For example, John Marx, the old-time Luxembourg strongman, did a Right Hand Snatch of 154.32 lbs. on a barbell the handle of which was 70 millimeters (2.75 inches) in diameter. Louis Cyr, the huge C42anadian Hercules, snatched with both right and left hands a solid, cumbersome barbell of 188.5 lbs., which had a handle about 1.5 inches thick. The world-famous Arthur Saxon, who though he usually weighed only around 200 lbs., had exceedingly large hands, snatched 206.13 lbs. on a bar 42 millimeters (1.65 inches) in diameter. He also snatched 237 lbs. to shoulder-height and finished the lift overhead with a quick bent press. The giant French strongman Apollon (Louis Uni), snatched with his right hand 176.36 lbs., made up of four 44-lb. rectangular ringweights, the ring of each weight being hooked by a single finger.
Now for a few final pointers as to technique in the One Hand Snatch. While it is true that certain strongmen have made creditable records in the lift without employing much of a dip to get under the weight, it stands to reason that the maximum poundage can be attained only when the performer combines the highest possible pull with the lowest possible dip, using maximum speed in both. The dip may be performed either with both feet flat on the ground - in which case they remain unmoved throughout the lift - or with the heel of one foot raised, as shown in the accompanying illustration. In the latter style it is usually best, in a Right Hand Snatch, to take a short step forward with the right foot, placing it flat on the ground, and to raise the heel of the left foot, although some first-class performers do just the reverse. A third style, in which the legs need not be bent so much, is to employ a full side bend, this method being especially suited to those skilled at the Bent Press. However, the bend must be accomplished quickly, by dropping, and not making the lift simply a rapidly-performed Bent Press. Once the arm is gotten straight under the weight - whatever the style of dip used - the body should be brought immediately to the erect finishing position.
In commencing a One Hand Snatch, the lifter may either fix his grip on the bar deliberately, or "dive" for the weight. The latter is usually the better procedure, as it enables the lifter to get the quickest possible pull on the weight - this being a sort of "rebound" to the erect position. With a heavy weight it is customary to "lock" the grip by wrapping or hooking the middle finger over the thumb. With practice, this "thumb-lock" can be secured even in the split-second afforded in the "diving" style. Its application is limited, of course, to bars of small diameter.
For best results, the barbell should be loaded with plates of small diameter; and the bar should turn freely inside the plates or sleeves. The exact center of the bar should be marked with chalk - or better, taped - so that the performer need waste no strength testing the weight.
A good way to a acquire the right form in this lift is to take a fairly light barbell and repeat the pull-up (to eye level) several times in succession, lowering the bell each time until it is just off the ground. Again, one should hold the same bell at arm's length overhead, and with the bell in this position lower the body a number of times into the low, dipping position. Finally, combine the pull and the dip and repeat the entire lift five or six times without letting the weight touch the floor. Don't try for a record any oftener than once a month.
The One Hand Snatch is a wonderful all-around body-builder, and a supreme developer of the trapezius muscles which form the slope between the neck and the tips of the shoulders. To be proportionately capable in this lift, a man should snatch with his right (or stronger) arm about 60% of what he can raise in the Two Hands Clean and Jerk with barbell. That is, if you can clean and jerk with two hands 200 lbs., you should snatch with one hand about 119 lbs; and if you c an clean and jerk 300 lbs., you should snatch with one hand about 179 lbs., and so on. (See my article, Weightlifting Records and Their Merits, in the April-May 1945 [p 12] number of this magazine [Your Physique].
Since the One Hand Snatch has not been used in international competition for over ten years, present-day lifters, with few exceptions, are not nearly so proficient in this lift as in the three two-hand Olympic lifts. But it may safely be said that no lifter can be considered a real all-around performer until he can do a respectable poundage in this style - and b y this we mean at least 56% of what he can raise in the Two Hands Clean and Jerk. So let's see some real records created in the good old One Hand Snatch . . .
Enjoy Your Lifting!