Can CrossFitters Snatch Like Olympians? An Expert Weighs In on Gui Malheiros’ Technique

In this video, Olympian Sonny Webster takes a deep dive into the technique of Brazilian weightlifting sensation Gui Malheiros. 

Following Gui’s recent world record-breaking snatch performance at the CrossFit semifinals, Sonny will analyze the key elements that make Gui’s lifting technique so impressive. 

With his expert eye, Sonny breaks down each phase of Gui’s snatch ladder workout, providing insights and tips for lifters at all levels.

Detailed Analysis of the Snatch Technique

Setup Position

Malheiros adopts a narrow setup position that maximizes efficiency. One of the key aspects of his setup is the hip crease sitting slightly higher than the knee. 

This positioning helps him utilize his legs effectively during the first phase of the lift and maintain a better posture through the middle phase.

Additionally, Malheiros ensures that his shoulders are directly above the bar. This alignment is crucial for engaging the legs from the floor and maintaining balance. 

Notably, his wrists stay flat, avoiding the common mistake of tucking the knuckles down, which can lead to shoulder roll-forward and increased forearm tension.

Initial Phase of the Lift

As Malheiros initiates the lift, his synchronization between the shoulders and hips is exemplary. Both rise simultaneously from the floor to the point where the bar passes the knees, with the bar remaining close to the shins. 

This technique demonstrates excellent use of the legs and core stability.

Throughout this phase, Malheiros maintains his shoulders above the bar, showcasing his ability to preserve technique even under fatigue. 

The balance in his feet remains optimal, allowing the bar to stay close to the body through the middle phase.

Middle Phase of the Lift

During the middle phase, Malheiros stays over the bar as long as possible, leading with his impressive chest. His extension at the ankle, knee, and hip is textbook, ensuring maximum power output. 

His hips finish just in front of the shoulders, allowing for a strong and effective extension.

The wrist position plays a crucial role here. By keeping the back of the hand pointing forward, Malheiros keeps the bar close to his body, enhancing control and efficiency. 

As the bar reaches armpit height, his quick wrist turnover and maintained chest position facilitate a smooth transition into the catch.

Transition and Catch

In the catch, Malheiros’ technique shines. He maintains a big chest and punches through at the top, ensuring stability and reducing forward movement that could strain the shoulders. 

His foot movement into the catch position is precise, with his feet moving wide enough for his hips to sit between the ankles, allowing for a tight and balanced bottom position.

Malheiros avoids common mistakes like dropping the chest into the catch, which can lead to a forward weight shift and shoulder strain. 

Instead, he maintains an upright torso and engaged lats, achieving a strong lockout.

Execution and Technique During the Reps

First Repetition

Malheiros’ first repetition is a masterclass in maintaining form under pressure. The bar path remains close to his body, and his positioning is consistent, demonstrating his technical prowess.

Second Repetition

During the second repetition, slight fatigue-induced technique breakdowns are evident, yet Malheiros’ ability to save the lift is impressive. 

The minor lockout issue on one side highlights the importance of wrist and shoulder positioning. Despite these challenges, his overall execution remains strong, underscoring his skill and determination.


Gui Malheiros continues to impress and inspire with his exceptional lifting abilities. His technique, explosiveness, and dedication to the sport are evident in every lift. 

As fans and fellow athletes, we eagerly anticipate his future performances. For those looking to improve their own lifting technique, I invite you to share your videos for personalized feedback. Let’s celebrate and learn from the remarkable talents in our community.

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