Strength Coach React To CrossFit Snatch Ladder – Garage Strength

Strength Coach React To CrossFit Snatch Ladder


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Strength Coach React To CrossFit Snatch Ladder

The snatch ladder I am reacting to is from the 2015 CrossFit games. This event, Kevin Simons, a great CrossFit athlete, and great strength and conditioning coach, competed in this event. Kevin is a total machine and I know he was a little bit fatigued at the point of the squat snatch speed ladder at this point in the games. The bars were 190, 200, 205, 210, 215 lbs in the quarterfinal round. Of course, a speed ladder is done for speed.

The squat snatch requirement forces the athletes to get into a full range of motion. For most CrossFit Games athletes, the weights in this round are pretty much power snatch weights. The requirement of the squat snatch plays a role.

TKevin missed 215 lbs three times. I didn’t realize he missed that weight three times. I personally know that Kevin has snatched 290 lbs or 300 lbs. He may have even snatched 137 kilos in competition. Think about that?! In 2015, Keven was that strong, probably 130-kilo snatch in training, but all the events the athletes are doing throughout the games are brutal. They are beat-up and fatigued. 

As I watch the snatch speed ladder, I really, really wish weightlifting would learn a little bit from CrossFit. The ideas are cool and the entertainment of the events is awesome. 

Watching heat 2 of the quarterfinal round, it is crazy to watch these guys miss weights that aren’t huge for these athletes. But from prior events and competitions, it plays a role. Also, the pressure of moving to the next round plays a factor.

With athletes, being focused on technique in training, which a lot of them are, it makes it that much easier to execute inside the constraints of speed, being fatigued, and the stress of the competition. Having movement ingrained in the body helps with performance. The athletes are getting through five lifts in about thirty seconds. That is pretty quick and requires very, very short bursts of power.

For the semi-final round, the weights went up. On the five bars, the athletes now had to lift 220, 230, 235, 240, and 245 lbs. That gets the weight to just over 110 kilos. Remember, there is even more fatigue accumulated on the body now at this time.

During the semi-finals, with the heavier weight and greater fatigue, the athletes had to slow down because of the greater weight and more being on the line. Still, the athletes’ performances are crazy. Neal Maddox, who won the first heat, took about 42 seconds. 

Just think about what the athletes did before this! Weightlifters doing five reps in under a minute is challenging. Having weightlifters do five reps of the snatch at 70-85% of their max is even harder.  

I noticed at this point in the competition, certain athletes backs really started to get fatigued. Depending on the limb length of the athlete, you can usually plan for what will go first: hamstrings, glutes, quads, or back; the athletes know their tendencies under fatigue to stimulate their brain what to think when under stress. 

In the second heat, Urankar finished in around 41 seconds. If I did this, I’d throw up. 

Thinking about this from a spectator perspective, weightlifting can do rounds of qualification through speed ladders and then run the finals like a wrestling tournament. That would be awesome!

In the third heat, Melton finished in 36 seconds and Pera finished in 38 seconds! This heat was drastically faster than the previous heat. 

I just want to say, Elijah Muhammad is an animal with his weightlifting technique. All of these athletes are pretty solid. You don’t see them jumping their feet all over the place. In this heat, Ben Smith, Mat Fraser, and Elijah Muhammad all finished under 35 seconds!!!

Strength Coach React To CrossFit Snatch Ladder

And that brought us to the finals. The weight on the fiver bars started at 250 lbs and ended at 275 lbs. In between the weights on the bars were 260, 265, and 270 lbs. The time cap for this round was 3 minutes. Basically, they went from 115 kilos to 125 kilos.

I think it must be intimidating seeing the other athletes in the peripheral. That can be a distraction that forces the athletes to be in the zone. There are a wide array of constant challenges that occur in CrossFit. The athletes are just absolute freaks.

The finals were exciting. Athletes missing lifts, making lifts, and the lead changing multiple times. John Pera comes through with the win finishing in just under 73 seconds. Mat Fraser finished the ladder in third place.


The big lesson from watching the snatch speed ladder is there is a lot of stress on the athletes. Their bodies are sore and their minds are strained. 

In the weightlifting world, we can learn that the presentation is very audience-friendly. It is fun and enjoyable to watch. Also, we can see the importance of technique and having it ingrained in the body to zero in and focus on the movement. 

Simply put, I love the snatch speed ladder.


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