T Nation

Split Snatch

@CT:

I went for my first snatch lesson today with an olympic lifting coach.

After assessing my mobility and levers, he had me work on the split snatch instead of a squat snatch. He corrected a few things and then I worked up to several singles and doubles with 132lbs.

It felt effortless. Nothing like when I have tried to power snatch in the past.

Do you ever use split snatch with your trainees?

I used to think it was just a lift from the 50’s and 60’s, but it works for me…for now.

Cheers,
Muts

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:
@CT:

I went for my first snatch lesson today with an olympic lifting coach.

After assessing my mobility and levers, he had me work on the split snatch instead of a squat snatch. He corrected a few things and then I worked up to several singles and doubles with 132lbs.

It felt effortless. Nothing like when I have tried to power snatch in the past.

Do you ever use split snatch with your trainees?

I used to think it was just a lift from the 50’s and 60’s, but it works for me…for now.

Cheers,
Muts[/quote]

No I can’t say that I use that lift or use it with any trainees. You might lack shoulder and hips range of motion which is why he had you do the split snatch. But really, it is not used anymore for a reason. It is an inferior lift and IMHO if you cannot perform a regular snatch because of mobility issues then it is a pretty good indication that you need to improve your mobility. That having been said, if he thinks that while you are improving your mobility the split snatch will help you learn the basic explosive pulling pattern, then go for it.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:
@CT:

I went for my first snatch lesson today with an olympic lifting coach.

After assessing my mobility and levers, he had me work on the split snatch instead of a squat snatch. He corrected a few things and then I worked up to several singles and doubles with 132lbs.

It felt effortless. Nothing like when I have tried to power snatch in the past.

Do you ever use split snatch with your trainees?

I used to think it was just a lift from the 50’s and 60’s, but it works for me…for now.

Cheers,
Muts[/quote]

No I can’t say that I use that lift or use it with any trainees. You might lack shoulder and hips range of motion which is why he had you do the split snatch. But really, it is not used anymore for a reason. It is an inferior lift and IMHO if you cannot perform a regular snatch because of mobility issues then it is a pretty good indication that you need to improve your mobility. That having been said, if he thinks that while you are improving your mobility the split snatch will help you learn the basic explosive pulling pattern, then go for it.[/quote]

@CT:

A few things happened today that completely changed my snatch movement pattern.

  1. I watched a video on All Things Gym of a 14-year old girl snatching 85kg @ 63kg and it made me feel a bit mad :o It actually kind of motivated me. Are you kidding me? I can’t do that? Why not?

  2. I looked at a LiveSpill from a while back where you had posted a 3 picture succession of the positions you drill for the snatch. The 2nd picture in that succession finally struck a chord. Lame that it took me this long! It’s the position where you are at full extension, the hands are right next to the body with the elbows pointing toward the ceiling. (This was a major technique flaw for me - my hands were too far away from the body with the elbows pointing back at 45 degrees)

  3. I moved my hands all the way out to the collars. Before, I had them about 2 fingers width in from the collars. This changed where I was exploding with the bar. Big difference for me! Dang gorilla arms…

  4. As you recommended, I’ve been hammering (in a good way) my mobility. I think that I’ve figured out it’s more thoracic and shoulder mobility that is limiting me. K-Star to the rescue…

  5. I did 50 reps with just the bar and actually in between I drilled the 3 positions you show in the pictures too. I could feel where I would mess up and then I could correct it with more practice!

RESULT:

The 14-year old girl still snatches more than I do. :smiley:

However, I hit 160lbs from the blocks today - more than I ever have with any type snatch in the past. In fact, I barely had to dip down at all for it, maybe a 1/8 squat.

Then, I applied these technique changes to snatch high pulls from blocks - talk about a serious stim to the traps that way!

Thank you for posting what you do and for answering our questions. I can’t believe how these changes have improved this movement for me.


  1. Are these common errors for newbies to the snatch or am I just slow…?

  2. Do ring dips hurt or help shoulder mobility for the snatch?

Thanks again!

Cheers,
Muts

Dud, there are probably 2000 Chinese teenage girls snatching more than you, if not more. So don’t compare yourself to others. It is one thing to have the physical potential to snatch a certain weight, it is another to have the skills to do it. In a sense it would be like being hurt because a 14 years old South Korean girl can play golf better than you and drive it longer!

Comparing yourself and trying to lift X amount of weight just to “be as strong as…” will lead you to use too much weight too soon. Sure you have the physical capacity to lift big weights. But if you try to lift them when your technique is not stable, you will take bad habits.

Now, you can high pull a ton of weight. So in theory you should be able to snatch a lot of weight.

First, stop power snatching and only do full snatches, even if it is just with the bar.

The key point for you right now is precision. You will never lack pulling height with your strength, after all, everything you can pull to your chest you can technically snatch it if you are good at going under.

The big problem with strong beginners (I know that it was my problem and I didn’t fix it back then and it stuck with me) is basically “throwing the bar in the air” as hard as possible and hoping that it falls in the right place. That’s not the right approach.

These people stop interacting with the barbell as soon as the explosion is done. In reality once the explosion is done, the job is just getting started… you need to place the barbell in the right position to receive it in the squat position.

This is what the chinese call the “third pull”… first pull is from floor to knees, second pull is from the knees to the explosion. The third pull is when you aggressively punch the elbows BACK when the explosion is done to place the barbell behind your ears (in the receiving position the barbell is in line with the heels).

I’ve modified my way of teaching the snatch to beginners. The coaching cue that I find to help them with the 3rd pull (and the one that works for me) is to try to pull the bar THROUGH your chest. If you simply pull it up it will be too far forward and you wont be able to go under at all. If you pull it TO the chest (like in a high pull) it will still be too far forward (in line with the toes and not the heels) to be able to catch it with significant weights.

THROUGH the chest. And imagine that you are actually squatting under to duck the barbell coming at you! And even as you go down to receive it, you are still pulling “through where the chest was”.

Then when you catch it the shoulders need to be externally rotated (biceps to the ceiling).

But for now focus on exploding from the hips then punching the bar through your chest. Don’t focus on pulling with your arms, but your back/rear delts.

DO NOT add weight until you have done at least 500 reps like this.

I really believe that THE STRONGER (AND MORE EXPERIENCED) YOU ARE WHEN YOU LEARN THE SNATCH, THE MORE TIME YOU NEED TO SPEND WITH THE EMPTY BARBELL.

When trying to learn snatch technique with this specific cue (through the chest), does frequent SGHP help or actually hurt the progress? Would it be wise to stop doing the high pulls for a time or at least cut down on their volume? (for a person who can SGHP 40% more weight than he can full snatch)

Here’s a video I did this morning. Focus on what is happening when the bar goes through the chest. I want about 3/4 speed so that you can see better, but you get the idea. THROUGH the chest.

I’d say keeping the elbows out, arms long and loose and doing some classics off high blocks will help your third pull. One benefit to split snatch is that it’s quite complex and has arguably very good carry over to other athletic movements eg running.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Dud, there are probably 2000 Chinese teenage girls snatching more than you, if not more. So don’t compare yourself to others. It is one thing to have the physical potential to snatch a certain weight, it is another to have the skills to do it. In a sense it would be like being hurt because a 14 years old South Korean girl can play golf better than you and drive it longer!

Comparing yourself and trying to lift X amount of weight just to “be as strong as…” will lead you to use too much weight too soon. Sure you have the physical capacity to lift big weights. But if you try to lift them when your technique is not stable, you will take bad habits.

Now, you can high pull a ton of weight. So in theory you should be able to snatch a lot of weight.

First, stop power snatching and only do full snatches, even if it is just with the bar.

The key point for you right now is precision. You will never lack pulling height with your strength, after all, everything you can pull to your chest you can technically snatch it if you are good at going under.

The big problem with strong beginners (I know that it was my problem and I didn’t fix it back then and it stuck with me) is basically “throwing the bar in the air” as hard as possible and hoping that it falls in the right place. That’s not the right approach.

These people stop interacting with the barbell as soon as the explosion is done. In reality once the explosion is done, the job is just getting started… you need to place the barbell in the right position to receive it in the squat position.

This is what the chinese call the “third pull”… first pull is from floor to knees, second pull is from the knees to the explosion. The third pull is when you aggressively punch the elbows BACK when the explosion is done to place the barbell behind your ears (in the receiving position the barbell is in line with the heels).

I’ve modified my way of teaching the snatch to beginners. The coaching cue that I find to help them with the 3rd pull (and the one that works for me) is to try to pull the bar THROUGH your chest. If you simply pull it up it will be too far forward and you wont be able to go under at all. If you pull it TO the chest (like in a high pull) it will still be too far forward (in line with the toes and not the heels) to be able to catch it with significant weights.

THROUGH the chest. And imagine that you are actually squatting under to duck the barbell coming at you! And even as you go down to receive it, you are still pulling “through where the chest was”.

Then when you catch it the shoulders need to be externally rotated (biceps to the ceiling).

But for now focus on exploding from the hips then punching the bar through your chest. Don’t focus on pulling with your arms, but your back/rear delts.

DO NOT add weight until you have done at least 500 reps like this.

I really believe that THE STRONGER (AND MORE EXPERIENCED) YOU ARE WHEN YOU LEARN THE SNATCH, THE MORE TIME YOU NEED TO SPEND WITH THE EMPTY BARBELL. [/quote]

Christian:

I must have read this 10x already. Thank you for taking the time to articulate this thought.

The 500 reps start with tonight’s workout. I will not add weight until I complete them well.

I have heard of the third pull but have never understood it until now. That is an easy visualization as you have described it.

Cheers,
Muts

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Here’s a video I did this morning. Focus on what is happening when the bar goes through the chest. I want about 3/4 speed so that you can see better, but you get the idea. THROUGH the chest.

[/quote]

Nice! Now I can video and compare.

BTW, you look like greased lightning - very streamlined. Ready for the lifting platform…

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Here’s a video I did this morning. Focus on what is happening when the bar goes through the chest. I want about 3/4 speed so that you can see better, but you get the idea. THROUGH the chest.

[/quote]

Nice! Now I can video and compare.

BTW, you look like greased lightning - very streamlined. Ready for the lifting platform…

Thanks for taking the time to do this.[/quote]

I would say that I’m the leanest I’ve been in years… and that was on an iphone which is not flattering. The weird thing is that I’m about the same weight, but I probably gained 2-3" on my legs and my back is a TON leaner.

And the funny thing is that you would not believe how much I eat! Me, the guy who was once carb-phobic, actually eat 12 hamburgers every single day (yes with the bun)… I don’t put anything in my burgers and use lean sirloin patties, but still. And that is with my PLAZMA and Metabolic Drive/Cereal mix in the morning and other stuff thrown in like FiNIBARS.

@CT what knee sleeves brand and shin guards are you wearing?

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
@CT what knee sleeves brand and shin guards are you wearing?[/quote]

Tommy Kono knee sleaves and Rocktape shin skins

@CT:

So tonight I started with 50 snatches with empty bar in sets of 5.

Then I did back squats to 3 top singles.

Finished with 20 more snatches with empty bar in sets of 5.

70 total for this WO.

It’s amazing what you can feel with each different rep.

I found that my natural landing stance is somewhat wide. Am I doing this because I need to get lower so I don’t hit myself in the face with the bar in the 3rd pull? Is this type of landing/recovery stance OK?

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:
@CT:

So tonight I started with 50 snatches with empty bar in sets of 5.

Then I did back squats to 3 top singles.

Finished with 20 more snatches with empty bar in sets of 5.

70 total for this WO.

It’s amazing what you can feel with each different rep.

I found that my natural landing stance is somewhat wide. Am I doing this because I need to get lower so I don’t hit myself in the face with the bar in the 3rd pull? Is this type of landing/recovery stance OK?[/quote]

You have long limbs, it’s normal and if your hips are tight you’ll need to go ever wider to be able to stay fairly upright in the reception position.

Mut,

It’s a legit lift seen frequently among masters lifters. That’s why it’s affectionately been called “the geriatric lift.” The squat snatch is more efficient and you can get a little lower with the squat. The split is somewhere between a power snatch and squat snatch.

Now and then I experiment with the split in an effort to improve my snatch. My conclusion: the split will not fix a bad pull. As the bar gets heavier, I tend to lose it forward. Same thing happens with the split, so it ain’t my receiving position, it’s my pull.

The split will teach you to pull under the bar and give you some confidence down there, at least in my opinion. For that reason, I think you’re better off working with the split as opposed to endless reps of the power snatch. Developing the confidence to dive under the bar in the snatch is huge. IMO, it’s easier to transition from the split to the squat than it is from power to squat.

You’ll eventually get the mobility you need. I am the most inflexible guy in the world and if I can do a squat snatch, anyone can.

[quote]
But for now focus on exploding from the hips then punching the bar through your chest. Don’t focus on pulling with your arms, but your back/rear delts.

DO NOT add weight until you have done at least 500 reps like this. [/quote]

I guess I need to start working on this. Thing is, I know this is what I need to do, I do this when the weight is light, but then it all goes to hell when the bar get heavier and I lose it forward.

500 reps it is.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

I would say that I’m the leanest I’ve been in years… and that was on an iphone which is not flattering. The weird thing is that I’m about the same weight, but I probably gained 2-3" on my legs and my back is a TON leaner.

And the funny thing is that you would not believe how much I eat! Me, the guy who was once carb-phobic, actually eat 12 hamburgers every single day (yes with the bun)… I don’t put anything in my burgers and use lean sirloin patties, but still. And that is with my PLAZMA and Metabolic Drive/Cereal mix in the morning and other stuff thrown in like FiNIBARS.[/quote]

So you are saying that everyone, regardless of goal, lbm, or current physique, should eat 12 hamburgers a day?

I just want to make sure I have it right so when I start telling everyone about the “Thibaudeau diet” I have all the details in place :wink: Dont worry, I’ll send you a portion of the profits of the new eBook.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

I would say that I’m the leanest I’ve been in years… and that was on an iphone which is not flattering. The weird thing is that I’m about the same weight, but I probably gained 2-3" on my legs and my back is a TON leaner.

And the funny thing is that you would not believe how much I eat! Me, the guy who was once carb-phobic, actually eat 12 hamburgers every single day (yes with the bun)… I don’t put anything in my burgers and use lean sirloin patties, but still. And that is with my PLAZMA and Metabolic Drive/Cereal mix in the morning and other stuff thrown in like FiNIBARS.[/quote]

So you are saying that everyone, regardless of goal, lbm, or current physique, should eat 12 hamburgers a day?

I just want to make sure I have it right so when I start telling everyone about the “Thibaudeau diet” I have all the details in place :wink: Dont worry, I’ll send you a portion of the profits of the new eBook.[/quote]

Lonnie dont forget the importance of nutrient timing. 3 or 4 of your hamburgers should be taken in around your workout. Ideally 1 pre, 2 peri and 1 post workout. Peri workout hamburgers have been shown to improve strength, endurance and morale during workouts.

The “Thibaudeau diet” is not just about eating hamburgers its about HOW and WHEN you eat them :wink:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Here’s a video I did this morning. Focus on what is happening when the bar goes through the chest. I want about 3/4 speed so that you can see better, but you get the idea. THROUGH the chest.

[/quote]

Nice! Now I can video and compare.

BTW, you look like greased lightning - very streamlined. Ready for the lifting platform…

Thanks for taking the time to do this.[/quote]

I would say that I’m the leanest I’ve been in years… and that was on an iphone which is not flattering. The weird thing is that I’m about the same weight, but I probably gained 2-3" on my legs and my back is a TON leaner.

And the funny thing is that you would not believe how much I eat! Me, the guy who was once carb-phobic, actually eat 12 hamburgers every single day (yes with the bun)… I don’t put anything in my burgers and use lean sirloin patties, but still. And that is with my PLAZMA and Metabolic Drive/Cereal mix in the morning and other stuff thrown in like FiNIBARS.[/quote]

Not even any mustard on the burgers? :slight_smile:

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]Mutsanah wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Here’s a video I did this morning. Focus on what is happening when the bar goes through the chest. I want about 3/4 speed so that you can see better, but you get the idea. THROUGH the chest.

[/quote]

Nice! Now I can video and compare.

BTW, you look like greased lightning - very streamlined. Ready for the lifting platform…

Thanks for taking the time to do this.[/quote]

I would say that I’m the leanest I’ve been in years… and that was on an iphone which is not flattering. The weird thing is that I’m about the same weight, but I probably gained 2-3" on my legs and my back is a TON leaner.

And the funny thing is that you would not believe how much I eat! Me, the guy who was once carb-phobic, actually eat 12 hamburgers every single day (yes with the bun)… I don’t put anything in my burgers and use lean sirloin patties, but still. And that is with my PLAZMA and Metabolic Drive/Cereal mix in the morning and other stuff thrown in like FiNIBARS.[/quote]

Not even any mustard on the burgers? :-)[/quote]

If you knew how much of a picky eater I am!!!