Snatches: This Way, That Way, That One Way and The Other Way
Like I was saying, Snatching is the fruit of CrossFit. You can power snatch, squat snatch, high hang snatch, hang muscle snatch, dumbbell snatch, kettle bell snatch, rotational snatch, snatch balance, snatch push press, snatch high pull, scarecrow snatch….. 😛
Olympic lifting is my favorite way to spend time in a gym, specifically Snatching. As a CrossFitter who first got into weightlifting several years ago I was convinced increasing my 1 rep max in each lift and developing my technique to the max was going to make me better at CrossFit. While in some aspects this turned out to be true, I found out that there’s a lot more to snatching in CrossFit than how much you can lift when you’re well rested.
With CrossFit being “unknown and unknowable” literally any combination of multiple snatches or snatches combined with other movements is possible. We have to stick to principles that prepare us for a range of likely situations. Here are 4 common snatch variants you’ll need to a master to have a chance in CrossFit competition.
Traditional training for Olympic weightlifting prepares you to lift a heavy 1 rep max. CrossFit will rarely ever allow anyone to lift in a fresh state and even when you’re not out of breath, its important to have experience with strict Olympic weightlifting training.
This is where technique and consistency are developed. Lots of rest between sets at percentages to work on your speed and accuracy with the barbell. The accessory lifts paired with lots of practice on the snatch build postural strength and address weaknesses you may have.
By training this way you’ll build strength, consistency and confidence with the barbell.
Touch and Go
The opposite end of the spectrum is light and fast with high reps. Common in the Open, which is where most people will compete, is a 75 lb snatch for men and 55 lb snatch for women. These snatches can be executed as a ground to overhead in one motion. If you are taking the time to approach the bar, bend over, make your back straight, pull under the bar, stand up again and pause with your lockout for 3 seconds, you are going to move way too slow. If you move fast while flexing every muscle in your body you’ll be exhausted and unable to continue at a high pace through the workout.
These reps require you to be loose and agile. Taking the time to lift light weights and to understand how to keep your grip relaxed and when to breathe throughout the movement are essential to performing well on these tests.
Drop and Quickly Reset
Snatch the weight, drop it, snatch it again right away. The weights are going to be moderate for this type of lift and enough reps where it wouldn’t be smart to try and do touch and go. A good example is “Isabel” (30 Snatches for time 135/95), if it is more than 60% of your 1 rep max snatch. Here the best strategy is to drop the weight every rep and take minimal rest in between. Both the slow setup of the heavy single technique and the exploding speed of the touch and go will be inappropriate for this load and rep scheme.
Heavy and Tired
Heavy breathing, muscles fatigued, and confronted with a barbell at or near your 1 rep max. Having the motor patterns for heavy lifting engrained is essential for this situation. Move with precision and confidence when it gets heavy and your tired.
Having a solid base of pure Olympic lifting technique is essential to success in competitive CrossFit, but its not everything. You must also develop the ability to stay relaxed on light loads, apply the correct force on moderate weights to keep moving, and develop the trust and confidence to maintain your technique on heavy lifts under exhaustion.
Taking the time to develop well-rounded technique and not to overemphasize any single method in your training will help you be prepared for anything the snatch can throw at you in CrossFit.
LVL1A) Beginning at 00:00, 2 minute AMRAP:
9 Jumping Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
5 Hang Power Snatches 75/55
4 minute active recovery on a machine
Prioritize moving efficiently while tired rather than worrying about weight lifted.
Beginning at 00:00, you have 2 minutes to perform:
9 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
3 Squat Snatches, as heavy as possible
rest 4 minutes
Repeat for 5 rounds
You can build throughout the workout or do sets across at the same load. Score is Snatch weight each round.
Scale the Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups to Chin-Over-Bar or Jumping Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups as needed.