Three Ways to Stop Fu#king Up the Snatch Pull

Big weights are on the bar, 105% of the best snatch you have ever come close to hitting. You take a nice strong tug on the bar, it feels like, blasts off the hips, the shrug is nice and tall. You drop the bar back to the floor and you reset and go. Everything seems so simple. Why does it feel like you could hit that for a snatch triple? Why isn’t it transferring over to the main lift? Frustration sets in, the next day you are ready to go big in the snatch and you can’t get within 20 kilos of the previous day snatch pulls. Really?!?!? Why is this happening?

1. Establish a Technical Goal

When addressing strength movements, we have to focus on the overall goal. Specifically, regarding Olympic weightlifting, the snatch pull should have a very strong carryover to the actual competitive movement of the snatch. By having a strong carryover, we need to improve our mental approach to the bar to improve our execution of the movement. The first step: establish a technical goal! If the lifter understands what their body needs to do from the floor to the knee, through the reciprocation point, into the hip and then into the finish, the lifter can then use the snatch pulls to imprint a stronger feeling through those positions.

-Understand the technical model(s).

At Garage Strength, we use Toma/Kuo/Vardanian and a few others as our main technical models. By understanding back positions, knee reciprocation and chest positioning, our lifters are able to mimic these lifters in an attempt to enhance their overall movement. This does wonders for athletes who need a visual example of what they need to emulate!

2. Imprint Patterns

Science has shown us that eccentric work can have a tremendous impact on neuromuscular coordination. Use this to your advantage! Know the precise technical goal, for example, the position of the knees as the bar passes, and lower the weight during the eccentric phase to model the desired positions of the concentric movement. This will strengthen the back, the hamstrings will be loaded and the next rep there will be residual potentiation. Gone are the days of just dropping the weight. Use the eccentric movement to dramatically increase awareness and technical understanding.

-Embrace the eccentric movement, slowly work the weight through precise positions to have a faster carryover to the technique.

We like to use various eccentric tempos as well as isometric pauses. By understanding weak points in the lifter’s movement, we are able to see where they need a pause or where they need to completely focus their tempo. This will lead to greater strength gains and improved confidence as well!

3. Don’t Fear Pairing

One of the most important lessons I learned from training with Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk was entirely based around testing movements and results. Over the years, I have seen tremendous success in our program by pairing heavy pulls with slower technical movements. This is an advanced method that can lead to quite a bit of confusion if the technical/movement goals are not clarified for athlete comprehension. However, this is a quick trick that can lead to MASSIVE gains in the snatch. By using a snatch pull with a 5-second eccentric portion at 90% of their competitive best, the athlete creates a heightened sense of awareness within their nervous system and coordination. Have the athlete rest 30-40 seconds and then grab a bar with 60% of their best competitive snatch. Have them focus on a slower pull but precise execution of movement. This will kickstart technical learning. The first 2 or 3 reps might be shaky, they may walk all over the place but their body will quickly learn and adapt (if they have some athletic fibers within their body) and the myelin sheathing will generate faster than ever before (no science provided).

-Pair a heavy lift with a technical lift to create a technical potentiation!

At Garage Strength, we typically like to use pauses on the eccentric just above the knee or just below the knee. This is the problem area for 90% of lifters and will have an even greater carryover to technical learning.

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