Clearly I have a bias. My coach, former CrossFit Games athlete Andy Swartz always taught us that skill is the greatest fitness hack. Trying harder or working longer may get you gains but never as quickly, efficiently or sustainably as improving your technical skill. Having seen Andy use his technical lifting proficiency to outlift bigger, stronger athletes, I have seen firsthand the truth: technical skill will often trump brute force.
But skill mastery requires focused dedicated practice with a mind to improving technique rather than chasing numbers on the leaderboard. Very often CrossFitters avoid this because it isn’t as fun as racing to the finish line. Silk has a remedy for this. We are going to apply it to the best lift of all.
But first, why the squat snatch?
1. In terms of power (force x distance/time) the squat snatch is the most powerful lift we practice in CrossFit and power is “the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favourable adaptation to exercise”.
2. The squat snatch requires a combination of static force production (first pull), dynamic force production (second pull), force absorption otherwise known as reflexive strength (receiving the bar in the bottom of the squat) and reactive force production (reversing direction to lift the bar out of the squat), that’s 4 expressions of strength in one single lift!
3. The coordination, accuracy and balance required to successfully complete the squat snatch is unparalleled. No other lift is as neurologically demanding and the skills of coordination, accuracy and balance have critical functional carry over into all your everyday activities.
4. No lift challenges full body mobility more than January’s skill of the month, the overhead squat and the overhead squat is built right into the squat snatch.
So the squat snatch allows you to develop four expressions of strength in addition to power, speed, accuracy, balance, coordination and full body mobility all in one movement. How is that for amazing bang for your buck?
So the squat snatch is an incredibly effective and efficient movement for developing athleticism, now how do we make it fun to develop skill in this movement instead of just chasing heavier loads with sloppy mechanics?
Enter Silk’s Squat Snatch Skill Game, a game in which you are scored on skillful execution.
We will start by warming up and practicing the squat snatch at lighter weights before establishing your loading for our squat snatch game. For purposes of this game beginners should play at around 50-60% of their 1 rep max. Intermediate athletes can try 60-70% of their 1 rep max. Advanced athletes should play at about 70-80% of their 1 rep max.
You will perform one squat snatch every minute for a max total of ten minutes. You will start the game with a total of ten points. Every time you miss a snatch you will lose three points. Every time you ride the barbell down instead of receiving it in the snatch position, you will lose one point. Every time you are forced to take a step forward or backward you will lose one point. When your score hits zero points you are out of the game. The athlete with the most points at the end of ten minutes wins.
For the record, I saw Silk performing this EMOM at 80% for doubles every minute flawlessly!
You know you’ve been avoiding working on the squat snatch and praying that it won’t show up in the programming. Well, today is your opportunity to change your ways and take your first faltering steps down the very long road of squat snatch mastery!
Helpful hint: be patient with yourself, Olympic Weightlifters spend their entire training careers trying to master this most elusive of skilled lifts. Mastery is not a short road, your ego cannot help you on this journey. Patience and self compassion are your best friends.
Friday Make Up Day
1) Silk’s Squat Snatch Skill Game
10 min EMOM
1 Squat Snatch
Beginner @50-60% 1 rpm
Intermediate @60-70% 1 rpm
Advanced @70-80% 1 rpm
You start with 10 points. If you miss a snatch, subtract 3 points. Every time you ride the barbell down or have to take a forward or backward step subtract 1 point. When you hit 0 you are out. At the end of 10 minutes, the player with the most points remaining wins.
2) 3 Rounds:
12-9-6 Squat Clean thrusters @75/115#
3) 60 T2B For Time
*Every Minute on the Minute perform 12 Burpees. Before getting back to T2B