• Keys to Success for Snatching in the 2016 CrossFit Open

    Here are some tips to be successful on 3 very different types of workouts:
    1) 1RM Snatch, or a heavy snatch complex.
    I have a sneaking suspicion we may see the same sort of thing we saw with the Clean & Jerk last year in 15.1b
    2) Open WOD 13.1
    17 min AMRAP
    40 Burpees
    75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    30 Burpees
    135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    20 Burpees
    165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
    10 burpees
    210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible
    3) Open WOD 14.1 (aka 11.1)
    10 min AMRAP
    30 double unders
    15 snatches, 75/55

    Same movement? Not even close.

    going heavy2

    We’ll start with the 1RM effort because it is the most obvious
    Lift like a weightlifter.
    There will most definitely be athletes that will achieve their best result using a power snatch or split snatch for a variety of reasons, but the top lifts will come from those very proficient in the full snatch.

    Things to think about when going heavy:
    -Starting position
    It will look a little different for everyone, but you want to feel strong in your legs and lower back.  Try and drop the hips and get the shoulders at or slightly in front of the bar.
    -First pull
    Stay tight, stay strong. Chest up and maintain the back angle to the knee. There is no need to rip the bar off the ground with everything you’ve got. The name of the game here is feeling strong and balanced.
    -At the knee
    Vertical shins, shoulders over the bar, tension in the hamstrings. Past the knee we can start to really build some speed but don’t start pulling just yet. Stay patient and let the bar get to the hip.
    -The finish (aka second pull)
    Keep the heels down as long as possible and stay over the bar. Patience then aggressiveness. Finish tall.
    -Third pull
    Whether power snatching or full snatching you must pull hard under the bar. Move your feet and land strong. Turn the bar over and punch into it. This takes time and lots of drilling to get good at.
    -In the bottom
    Be patient. As long as you are balanced, standing up should never be an issue.  If you attempt to stand up too early and are not settled with the barbell there is a much greater chance of losing the lift.
     These reps will resemble snatching in a more traditional sense (much more than the next variation I will cover), but will largely depend on the individual.
    Open WOD 13.1 was a blend of a fairly technical movement (especially once it gets heavier), and a body weight movement that required a lot of capacity.
    In my gym , we actually set up a metronome for the burpees as to not go out too hard. 4 counts (seconds) per burpee throughout the entire workout aside from those last few minutes when you can deviate from the plan and speed up if possible.
    The 75/55lb bar will be covered in the next section.  This part is more about the 135/75 and 165/100 bars.
    I’m not a huge guy (170lbs) and for me in the context of this workout if I try to touch and go most of my reps it tends to jack me up pretty quick and slow me down later on. I remember specifically in this workout watching the clock very closely and hitting 2 reps (drop and reset as quickly as possible) within 15 seconds for both the 135 and 165 bars. Usually I could get them done in 7-8 seconds which gave me just enough time to settle down and breath for a couple seconds before getting ready to go again.
    For bigger guys maybe around 200lbs I would think that touch and go reps might be the better way to go. Sets of 3, maybe sets of 5. It’s worth testing out and seeing how you feel and what you can maintain. Touch and go will always be easier on the bigger guys/gals simply because on the way back down to the ground they have more bodyweight to offset the weight of the barbell and keep it under control.These weights in a different context could be a whole different story.  If for example Isabel (30 Snatches for time 135/95) came up, then I would advise just about everyone looking to go super fast to throw away the idea of looking at the clock and try to keep their hands on the bar as long as possible and keep the breaks as short as possible.  If those weights are on the heavier side for you, then perhaps looking at the clock can make you successful.  I’ve had athletes in this situation that I had go one rep every 20 seconds for example and they were able to maintain that for a quite a while and stay away from failed reps.
    If you watched Randy (75 snatches for time 75/55lbs) at last years Regionals you know exactly what I’m talking about. People have figured out how to go fast on these movements. It’s not  always the prettiest thing to watch- but it’s fast as hell.
    When 14.1 came out I got the workout done with on the first day. I used a traditional power snatch technique with light weight. Fairly explosive, bar into the hips, etc. I think I score 354- pretty respectable, but at the time I was used to being one of the top guys in the Region and this score quickly found me ranked lower than 100th. I watched the scores roll in, and more importantly I watched the videos of the top scores.  They were all doing the same technique.  Basically you’re going to execute what I call a kettlebell swing with a barbell.
    These snatches resemble nothing of a traditional Snatch you would see in a weightlifting meet or for a 1RM effort- though there are a couple things they do have in common.
    – Stay balanced on your feet
    – Keep the bar close
    I went into the gym to test this movement out and see if I could even do it properly. I tested out a few sets of 10-15 and timed them versus similar sets of traditional light weight power snatches. They were quick, but the difference wasn’t huge. Maybe 1-2 seconds for 15 reps. How were people so successful with this??
    The difference was actually not what I was expecting at all- but after thinking it over, made total sense.
    Because these reps are similar cadence to a kettlebell swing (smooth and controlled) rather than a power snatch (fast and explosive) I actually found that I could breathe throughout the set a whole lot easier.  I wasn’t sure what kind of difference it would make, but I figured it definitely warranted a re-do of 14.1.  2-3 days later, certainly no fitter, and probably even a little bit beat up in the posterior chain from the previous effort my score improved to 398 reps and 4th in the Region.  Double unders were very consistent in both workouts, and I don’t attribute the increase to better double unders. I believe the total number of breaks in double unders in each trial was between 2-5.
    In the second go around they did feel easier, but I attribute that to the change in efficiency on the barbell.

    3 workouts, 3 different approaches.

    I hope this can help you and your athletes.


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