This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

One simple thing that will immediately improve your Weightlifting!

When we look at both the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk, it is immediately obvious that these lifts aren’t simply a display of strength. If we compare the Snatch for example to a max weight sled push, the former requires many more elements to execute it effectively. Whilst overall strength is a massive contributing factor to being able to move substantial loads, it is not the only factor, and more often than not with beginner/intermediate lifters and CrossFitters, it isn’t actually the limiting factor. 

You can improve your Back Squat and Deadlift as much as you like, but if you are unable to Overhead Squat to full depth, you’re going to find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to Snatch any sufficient weight. This is why you’re not likely to see incredibly strong people like Eddie Hall and Thor Bjornsson busting out ass to grass Snatches any time soon. As strong as they are, they simply won’t be able to get into the position needed under the bar. 

Now these two hella strong monsters of men don’t need to Snatch, their chosen sport does not require them to. However, if you partake in Weightlifting or CrossFit, then it’s a different story. The one thing that I find myself saying over and over to anybody that is new to Weightlifting or CrossFit, is to "work on their mobility", but more specifically their mobility in the bottom of an Overhead squat. It doesn’t matter how high you can pull the bar, if you can’t sit comfortably underneath it, you’re never going to be able to hit the lift. 

So if you need to develop a great overhead squat, how do you go about it? Now getting people to “work on their mobility”, is like trying to get a toddler to stop trying to kill himself all day (the struggle is real at the minute), the concept is met with great resistance, regardless of how beneficial it is. But if you truly want to push yourself and see what you can actually lift, then this is how to do it. 

How to improve your snatch

First things first, our goal now is to get into a deep overhead squat, so we are going to look at this specifically. To get into the desired position, you need to have a balance of both flexibility and stability. You need to not only be flexible enough to get your body into the position, but you also need the stability to be able to hold yourself in that position once you get down there. 

Step one, are you flexible enough? If the answer is no, then basic stretching protocols will do the trick. It really isn’t worth over complicating this. Stretch and gain range in the hips, shoulders, upper back, hamstrings and ankles. Now you don’t need to be able to perform the splits, but you do need to be able to do touch your toes and get your arms overhead. My personal favourite go to for stretching is “GoWod”. It’s a simple and effective mobility app that measures your progress and tests where you are lacking range. 

Step two, are you stable enough? It is possible to be flexible enough, but not stable enough. I personally know yoga practitioners who can perform the splits, but can’t Overhead Squat below parallel without something being compromised. One of the best ways to fix this is to simply spend more time in the bottom of your overhead squat. Sets of 30 - 60 seconds with anything from a pvc pipe to a barbell. Whilst holding this position, allow gravity to push you down but make sure you're focusing on keeping a good position. If your knees are pulling in or your ankles are collapsing, move your knees out to the side and move the load more towards the outside of your feet. If your chest is dropping, lift it and tighten up your upper back. Once you become comfortable in the bottom, start to progress to slow motion Overhead Squats, then look to speed them up. You can then move to Snatch Balance variations and then finally onto your full Snatch. 

The main take away from this is that even though doing your mobility work can be boring and arduous, it is absolutely paramount for your progression. 10-15 minutes a day is more than enough to make massive changes. Train your body to squat deep, and reap the rewards!

Want to improve your snatch? Sign up for our free snatch program here.