Tonight I want to take a second and get into the finer details of the grip width for the snatch. The basic idea is that the barbell should be even with the crease of your hip when you’re standing straight up. You grip should be wide enough to allow the bar to rest precisely in that hip hinge. This allows you to get the bar to the proper power position and ultimately allows for the greatest application of power when snatching. Furthermore, having the bar at that point on your hip gives the lifter the ability to allow the bar to touch the hips on the way up the body and not hit the quads. This ultimately allows for the greatest efficiency in the bar track and allows for a vertical finish at the top of the second pull. Bottomline, your grip width matters.
If you are gripping the bar too narrow you are going to have to bend your arms early to get the bar to your hips OR the bar will make contact with your quads as you enter the second pull.
If you are gripping the bar too wide then the likelihood is that the bar will hit too high on your hips and you will not achieve the proper power position. Not achieving the proper power position prevents the maximal output of power into the bar and will decrease bar speed. Also, a grip that is too wide often put undue strain on the wrist and overhead bar stability.
However, there are instances in which lifters with disproportionately long or short arms will have to adapt their technique in some form or fashion.
Lifters with extremely short arms often find themselves with bar almost touching the top of their head in the overhead squat position. If a lifter puts the bar in the proper position on the hips despite having short arms they can find themselves with too small a distance between the bar and their head. This can lead to overhead stability issues or the bar hitting the top of their head. Lifters with this issue might be forced to adapt the grip width to a less than ideal width to efficiently complete the snatch. Adaptation is just part of athletics sometimes.
Lifters with extremely long arms (aka Jason Hoggan) find their struggles to be just the same. In order to get the bar to their hips they are forced into an extremely wide grip. This reality causes the same problems as those with super short arms. An overhead stability issue is often created and often they can’t get their hands wide enough. Lifter with disproportionately long arms will often take their grip all the way to the collars and this may not be enough. If this becomes the case then their is no way to properly get the bar to their hips and as a result they are forced to adapt as well. Be athletic.
Either way, lifters with arm length struggles are forced into unconventional solutions to allow for efficiency as best as possible. Sometimes these solutions may look like technical mistakes. Be sure to consider arm length when coaching grip and as coaches try and find the most efficient yet practical solution.