Warm-up: Rotator Cuff Stretch, 10 Arm Circles, Crash Victim Stretch, Banded Trap/Neck Stretch, 2 Rounds – 10 OHS (45/25lbs), 10 Behind the Neck Snatch Grip Presses (45/25lbs), Hip Opener, High Knees 30m
Snatch Balance: 10 singles increasing in weight each time; 10 singles at heavy weight
MetCon – For Reps:
Finisher: 400m Sandbag or Buddy Carry
Today we did a very technical movement to help us perform another very technical movement better. The snatch balance gives us confidence to drop under the bar with speed. If you power snatch (catching high) more weight than you squat snatch (catching low in a squat), the snatch balance should become your best friend.
Now there are some preclusions to snatch balancing just as there are for snatching. If you do not possess the requisite flexibility to get in to a solid overhead position while also in a deep squat, your snatch numbers will move up slowly. If you cannot lock one or both elbows out while squatting the weight, you will not be able to support the weight overhead safely and securely. Mobility and constant skill work with the PVC or an empty bar will go a long way to fixing your poor overhead positioning.
If you have the flexibility and strength to keep the bar in a good position overhead while in the bottom of the squat then you can add the snatch balance to the mix. But before we can discuss the nuances of the snatch balance, we need to discuss this “good overhead position.” What is good position? Some of you may only have a vague idea of what a good overhead position is, and so it is my aim to fill you in on the points of performance.
Our first stop is the shoulder. This joint is one of two ball and socket joints in the body, and it is by far the more mobile of the two. Mobility is nice as it allows us to play the cello, perform open heart surgery, swing a golf club, and perform many other wildly intricate movements. That much mobility can also be a hindrance when you are trying to lock heavy weight out overhead. So to create a solid foundation with which to support the weight we must retract the top inside corners of our shoulder blades. This is more than a shrug and it is a more than a simple retraction of the shoulder blades together. Have a coach put their finger between the top inside corners of your shoulder blades sometime to get a feel for the proper retraction. This retraction not only stabilizes the shoulders, it makes way for the humerus (arm bone) to move quickly up in to its position of support for the barbell overhead.
Let us now head down the arm, or up if you are currently holding your barbell overhead, to the elbows. The elbow is a fairly simple joint lacking the glamour of the shoulder. All we need the elbow to do is lock out in to extension, or quite often, a slight degree of hyperextension. Hot, bone-on-bone lockout allows the skeletal system to bear the brunt of the load instead of asking your poor muscles to do all the work. To acquire this extension you must punch up on the bar in that final moment before being loaded. Catching significant weight with slightly bent elbows is only possible if your name is James Ellis. It also will get you a red light (failed lift) in an Olympic weightlifting meet. Don’t do it.
Finally, we arrive at the wrists and hands. Proper wrist position does require a good deal of flexibility; however, far too many of you complain about wrist pain when snatching. This wrist pain stems from two very common faults: 1) you are holding the bar too far back in your palm and not close enough to the centerline of the forearm; 2) your hands are too wide on the bar and producing too acute of an angle for your wrists. The first fault is easily fixed by keeping the bar closer to the actual hinge of the wrist. This does not mean the wrist needs to be neutral or straight up and down, but it should not be bent back with the bar sitting almost to the metatarsal insertions. The second fault is as easy to fix as narrowing your grip a tiny bit.
I will make a small note on lower body flexibility being an impediment to good overhead position. Every joint downstream of the shoulders plays an important role in receiving that bar overhead in a solid, upright squat. If you are tight somewhere, you will compromise good positioning. Strive for total body flexibility and mobility.
Because only 3 of you made it this far in the post without skipping any paragraphs, we will save the nuances of the snatch balance for another day.
CrossFit Ktown: The Windy CrossFit,