Medical Articles

The Importance of Patience - The Snatch

The beauty of the Snatch lies in the balance of patience and violence that is required to perform it. The Snatch is like no other lift that we do in CrossFit. Here is a quick guide to accomplishing that allusive perfect lift!

Proper Starting Position

Both requires flexibility and balance. Most importantly we want as much as we can to remove our knees from the future path of the bar, and focus on leading with our chest and not our ass!

The First Pull

We must drive our heels 'thru' the ground as forcefully as possible all while being extremely patient throughout the entire first pull (or what we refer to as pockets or mid-thigh). Remember, especially as beginners, the MORE PATIENT THAT YOU CAN BE DURING THIS FIRST PULL...THE BETTER!!! Be patient, be slow, be smooth and be deliberate! The success of our first pull determines everything about the rest of the lift.

The Second Pull

While the second pull (or scoop) is where we generate the crucial speed and power that will accelerate the bar, it is paramount that the transition between the first pull and the second is seamless, as in "don't stop and restart the movement". The basic purpose of this second pull is to generate as much vertical momentum as possible, all to get that bar as high as possible before we initiate the third pull. At the end of this second pull the body should be fully extended but not vertical. Rather the body should be at a slight angle (backwards) with hips fully extended.

The Third Pull

This last pull can best and most simply described as an aggressive pull under the bar. Notice during the first two pulls we were pulling and giving the bar momentum in order for it to move upward; now we are completely changing course and pulling/pushing ourselves underneath the bar to receive it.... Notice the arms DO NOT bend during the 1st & 2nd pull, they act as ropes to transfer all of the power that we create with our legs and hips. In order for a rope to transfer force or energy, the rope must be tight and straight! When the arms bend the power stops... so when we initiate the 3rd pull we are done transferring any kind of force to the bar.

Finally, we must receive the bar in some form of an overhead position. Even with a perfectly executed lift, if we are not prepared to receive the bar, WE WILL FAIL at the lift. Most importantly and most often forgotten is our ability to maintain our posture during this part of the lift. This can most easily be accomplished BY MAINTAINING the air pressure in our torso... or not releasing our breath, and... Something we like to call "showing the armpits" in the overhead/receiving position of the snatch. While this is often forgotten cue by coaches, it is something that has helped me a great deal as I have become a better lifter. As you also start to become a better lifter and begin to move more weight, you will find that showing your armpits will allow for you to have a stronger and more stable overhead position. Another cue would be to roll your shoulders up and back in order to get into that position... it can most basically be described as having proper posture.

Some food for thought...

The most common theme/error that I constantly see with lifters is initiating the 3rd pull before finishing the first pull... hence completely skipping the 2nd pull.


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