Following my current blog theme of olympic lift tutorials, this week I will provide a step by step guide on one of the best gym based exercises to improve your speed, power, strength, mobility, co-ordination and many other health and performance improving attributes.
Whilst olympic lifts have their own category of lifting in elite competitions such as the olympics, many people are unaware of the specific benefits these lifts have into multiple sports. The explosive and reactive nature of the snatch and clean movements, has transferable elements that can be used to enhance performance in sports such as athletics, golf, rugby and even reaction based activities like race car driving. The neurological benefits can make you stronger and the explosive elements can make you faster, two areas that will benefit any sport or person. If these lifts are programmed correctly with other supporting exercises, they can upgrade the benefits of any programme. So utilise the below step by step guide of the snatch.
1.) To begin you must approach the bumper plated barbell and determine your optimal grip. This will require you to place your feet in a position that is natural for you to jump in.
2.) Once you have your feet in the required position, pick the bar up and place your hands as wide as they need to be in order to place the bar across your thighs. The bar should now be resting just below your groin area. This will be where the bar makes contact later on in the lift.
3.) Place the bar down on the ground and adopt your established grip and foot position, ensuring the barbell itself is directly above your shoe laces. This is not a squat or deadlift, so ensure the hips are higher than the knees in the starting position, but also make sure your shoulders are in front of the bar.
4.) Similar to the clean, the first pull is initiated by extending the knees. As you do this, ensure your back remains flat, with pressure being pushed through the mid foot. Look up slightly to optimise the transfer of force through the hip and knees and make sure your elbows point along the bar.
5.) As the bar travels past the knees, the weight should start to distribute towards the heels. Your back should remain flat and the bar should generate more speed as it travels upwards.
6.) Once the bar reaches the thigh, the bar should be traveling at considerable speed. Small movements here, should prepare the body for the jump phase. The back should still be straight, but should now be in an upright position.
7.) Pressure will begin to move back towards the front of the foot and force production should be still primarily generated by the knees. As you become more experienced at this lift, this phase can be improved upon by developing the muscle shortening response and a subsequent improvement in the plyometric nature of the lift.
Jump & Second Pull Movement:
8.) As the bar continues to travel upward, it will brush the thigh and accelerate upwards. Your trunk should remain vertical with your shoulders still over the bar during bar and thigh contact.
9.) Push through the front of the foot and your heels should naturally rise from the floor, forcing a triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip joints.
10.) At the peak of the extension, violently shrug your shoulders and ensure your arms remain straight with elbows still pointing along the bar.
Drop Under The Bar:
11.) As you reach peak extension and the bar travels up further due to the shrug, at the height of the movement, your elbows will natural bend. One this happens drop your hips underneath the bar.
12.) Ensure you land flat footed in a squatting position, with weight moving back towards the heels.
Catching The Bar:
13.) As you land, you must catch the bar above your head, like an overhead squat. Your elbows must be locked out and still be pointing along the bar.
14.) The lower you drop you hips in this phase, the more time you have to lock the elbows out as you drop your hips.
15.) Once you are in a stable position with the bar over the centre of your head. You must drive upwards like the concentric (driving upward phase) portion of an overhead squat with the same coaching points as a squat (weight through the heels, straight back and make sure the knees don’t buckle inwards).
16.) Complete the lift by dropping the bar to the floor.