How To Miss A Snatch
Written by Hank Lopez

Do you avoid lifting heavy because you don’t how to properly bail? I believe that knowing how to bail out from underneath a barbell is a necessity. When I first got into weightlifting, I stayed away from heavy weights because I was unaware of how to safely miss. If you’re anything like me, as soon as the weight leaves the floor, I know if I’m going to make the lift or miss. There are 2 common ways misses occur, in front, or behind. Missing may be scary but here are some simple tips that may help.

Missing Out Front

Missing in front can be caused by getting pulled forward off the floor and/or letting the barbell get away from you. If you’re forward and on your toes, it’s almost second nature to just push the bar in front of you and jump back, pushing yourself away from the bar. This video shows a good example of missing out front: missing 120kg snatches – Sean Hutchinson. As you see in the video, the lifter just pushes himself back during all of the misses. Next time you’re warming up, give this a try with lightweight; nobody wants to practice missing but it may help you get a feel for it.

Missing Behind

This is my absolute favorite miss! I’ve become a pro at this! When I miss behind, it’s almost certain that I banged the barbell so hard off my hips that I was unable to pull it back in. Swinging the barbell will normally result in a miss.  This is one downside of the catapult technique. So how do you know if you’re going to miss behind? Easy – the barbell didn’t spit you out! Most of the time the bar moves so fast overhead that you will miss it behind you without any thought.  Naturally, you will want to jump forward to get out of the way. But there are times when you are sitting in the bottom of the squat, trying to find stability, knowing you’re not going to make the lift. It is times like these when you must make a choice of how will you get out from underneath it.

If you want to dump it behind you, just push it away and jump forward, letting the bar fall behind you; check out this example: Snatch 95kg – Graceful miss behind. This was an example of a good bail out. You are able to see the lifter just slightly let go of the bar behind him. Just like practicing missing in front, take a few during warm up with lightweight missing from behind.

Knowing how to bail applies to all of the lifts. Always know how to safely escape that bar. If you are ever uncertain of how to bail, please ask any coach on the floor!

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Noah Martenson
Noah Martenson
November 18, 2020 6:34 am

helpful for a new lifter

Blaze Lysack
Blaze Lysack
June 20, 2014 8:05 am

Oh don’t worry, I’m already great at these.