It’s very likely that for the first few years of CrossFit you will dread and try to avoid the snatch. But when you’ve spent enough time with it you begin to appreciate the delicate nuances of this lift that is more about timing and coordination than pure power and you will recognize it for the beautiful lift that it is. At this point you will fall in love and it will probably become your favourite lift.
As I tell beginners, the key to a good snatch is hip contact. As Greg Everett says: “Does the bar have to contact the body? Only if you want to lift correctly.”
If the bar is not making contact with your hip you are not getting complete hip extension. And you’re not lifting heavy enough. So how do we practice getting complete hip extension? Stand all the way up in your air squats, squeezing the glutes violently at the top. Do the same in the kettlebell swing. And at the top of the box jump. And when you jump and reach overhead in the burpee. And at the top of the deadlift.
Explosive opening of the hip is one of those universal motor recruitment patterns that show up again and again in human movement. Want to get better at kipping pull ups, muscle ups or kipping HSPU’s? Get more explosive hip activation! If you’re relying on upper body strength for these movements you are robbing yourself of performance potential.
All day in the gym I see athletes being lazy with their hips because the kettlebell is too light to require powerful glute contraction or because it’s just air squats. That’s the wrong way to think about it though. Each air squat, box jump or kettlebell swing is practice for that muscle up, that handstand push up and that new snatch personal best!
It’s the magic of universal motor recruitment patterns that practicing x also improves y. Don’t train with blinders on. A squat is not just a squat! Done correctly it becomes the foundation for unlocking higher level skills. But only when practiced correctly. And a snatch is not a frustrating technical lift to be avoided at all costs. It is the barbell equivalent of the muscle up and getting better at it will make you better at every other movement that requires explosives opening of the hips, timing, coordination, accuracy, power, etc.
Stop trying to muscle the bar overhead with your powerful arms and start learning to find that contact point on your hips so you can brush that bar up overhead. Mastering this will not happen overnight but the effort is well worth it. And the details matter. In everything you do.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” – Somebody wiser than me
Saturday Make Up Day
2) 5K Run
Then 5 rounds:
25 pull ups
7 push jerks @95/135#
4) 30 min AMRAP
30 KB Swings
5) Empower Reset #14
1 min Belly Breathing Face-Down
30/30 sec Head Nods/Rotations
20 Cross-Touch Bird Dog
10 Elevated Rocks
10 Egg Rolls
20 Cross Touch Dead Bugs
Hands & Knees Box Crawl
Leopard Box Crawl
10 Alt Sit Throughs
10 Full Body Rocks
1 min Ring Plank Hold
400m Overhead Plate Carry @15/25#