What to do when Snatch comes up in The Open
By Jay Rhodes, Outlaw CrossFit North
(See Jay’s seminars here.)
Open WOD 14.1 (aka 11.1)
10 min AMRAP
30 double unders
15 snatches, 75/55
Open WOD 13.1
17 min AMRAP
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
135 pound Snatch, 30 reps
165 pound Snatch, 30 reps
210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible
And I have a sneaking suspicion that we may see a heavy snatch, something like a 1RM effort like we saw with the Clean & Jerk last year.
Same movement- VERY different approaches
We’ll start with the 1RM effort because it is the most obvious
Lift like a weightlifter.
Power snatches will not win. Split snatches will not win. Athletes that are competent with the full snatch will be the ones atop the leaderboard.
There will most definitely be athletes that will achieve their best result using a power or split snatch, but that is likely because that variation of the lift has been developed much more than the full snatch.
Things to think about-
Try to get yourself into a starting position where you feel strong in your legs and lower back. Everyone is going to look a little bit different here because of varying proportions, but for many the hips will be low.
Stay tight, stay strong. 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. Use your legs to break the bar off the ground and make sure to not let your hips shoot up. This is not a deadlift.
-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. Make sure to not actively pull the bar into you, causing a deviation in bar path. Do not bang the bar out from you using the hips. Again, we are looking essentially for a straight pull. Deviation will cause bar path issues and you’ll be more likely to jump forward, miss forward, or over-correct and miss behind.
Whether power snatching or full snatching you must pull hard under the bar. Move your feet and land strong, not on the toes. 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.
Multiple Reps at Medium/Heavy Weight
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.
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.
Finally- The light snatch style.
If you watched Randy (75 snatches for time 75/55lbs) at last years Regionals you know exactly what I’m talking about. People have been doing this style of snatching with light weight for years, and to be honest I always looked at it with disdain. I had seen too many athletes for focus entirely on speed and let their form go out the window. Rounded back, head wobbling all over the place. It’s not 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. Some were losing their midline horribly, but not all. 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 few things they do have in common.
– Stay balanced on your feet
– Keep the bar close.
And that’s about it.
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. The difference was actually not what I was expecting at all- because they 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 pretty consistent in both runs, 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 under 3, and certainly under 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 incredibly different types of snatches.