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In Part 3 of this series, we discussed how to progress athletes through a hang snatch by utilizing a top- down approach. In this article, we will build upon the hang snatch model to progress athletes to pulling from the ground for a power snatch. As previously mentioned in this series, hang movements will be initiated from the knee, and power movements will be initiated from the ground.
When beginning an introduction to Olympic lifting, I prefer to begin with hang snatch progressions and then advance to power snatch progressions. Assuming the same model, I will pick up where we left off from part 3 of this Olympic lifting series. In part 4 we will discuss:
1. Snatch Grip Deadlift
2. Top-Down Positions
3. Top-Down + Shrug
4. Impossible Snatch
5. Top-Down Power Snatch
6. Approach Power Snatch
Let’s discuss each step in detail.
Since the athlete should be familiar with hang snatches, getting an
athlete to properly set up to transition below the knee should take minimal effort. Utilizing a top-down approach, begin with step 4 on part 3 of this series – Snatch Grip Barbell RDL to knees. Before initiating the Snatch Grip Barbell RDL to knees, check off the following steps in the set
Once the athlete has set up with those 4 cues, initiate the Snatch Grip Barbell RDL to the
knees. A few points to look for as athlete performs the Snatch Grip Barbell RDL to knees:
At this point, the athlete will transition below the knees. When transitioning past the knees
the only movement should come from bending the knees until the barbell is at mid-shin. In
this down position, a few technical points I look for are:
Once this down position is achieved, the athlete will then initiate an upward movement of the bar. The range of motion during this movement will be limited and only span from mid- shin to below the knee and back down to mid-shin. Limiting the range of motion in this fashion teaches the 1st pull which will be the starting point when completing a power snatch.
During this phase I am looking for 2 things:
1. Movement is coming from extending the knees
2. Back angle does not change during movement
This movement will be performed in a segmental fashion once an athlete has mastered the Snatch Grip Deadlift. The bar will start at the hip and then lowered into an RDL to the top of the knees. Transition the bar below the knee and lower to mid-shin. Once the empty barbell is at mid-shin, initiate the 1st pull, referred to as the Snatch Grip Deadlift earlier in
this article, transition past the knee and finish with the bar at the hip.
Top-Down Positions should have intentional pausing at each of the following positions:
a. Top of the knee on the way down
c. Bottom of the knee on the way up
Since the Top-Down Positions are beginning to put together all the movements that have been learned up to this point, it is important to make sure each position during this movement is executed properly. The pausing will reinforce technique and allow for adjustments as needed.
Assuming your teaching progressions have followed what is outlined in part 3 of this series as well as the previously mentioned step, Top-Down Positions, this is a simple progression. Begin in the same manner with the barbell starting at the hip, lowering to a snatch grip RDL to the top of the knees, transition past the knee and lower to mid-shin. Initiate the 1st pull, referred to as the Snatch Grip Deadlift, transition past the knee and then shrug once the bar is at mid-thigh. Pausing at each position during this step can still be utilized but as the athletes perform more repetitions of this movement, the pausing can be minimal. During the shrug phase I will cue:
Next is the impossible snatch, contrary to the name, it is possible to
perform and teaches a high pull into the receiving position of a snatch. I highly recommend using a PVC pipe or dowel rod for this step since it can be challenging to perform with an empty barbell. In this movement, the athlete will hold the barbell close to the body, while pulling the barbell up as high as possible. Elbows should be above the barbell while bent at roughly 90 degrees. The athlete will then be fully extended and hold the position until cued to receive the bar. A proper catch of the snatch should look like the initial start of an overhead squat. Arms should be fully extended overhead and aligned with the ears, hips are back slightly, and weight is distributed through the whole foot. Once an athlete has received the barbell, ask which previous movement the catch of a snatch looks like. They should be able to make the connection to an overhead squat.
Reinforcing the positioning of a snatch catch by referring to the overhead squat helps athletes to make a connection as to what a proper catch should look and feel like. Once the athletes have caught a snatch, I will ask them to hold the position and then ask if they can properly overhead
squat from that position.
In this step the athlete will perform a complete snatch. The barbell
will begin at the hip and lowered into position at mid-shin. Barbell movement upward is then initiated and finish with the barbell ending in the receiving or catch position. As previously mentioned, the catch position should look like the initial start of an overhead squat. Arms
should be fully extended overhead and aligned with the ears, hips are back slightly, and weight is distributed through the whole foot.
This is the final step in the process of learning a power snatch. Light
weight will be loaded to the barbell and if possible, large bumper plates of 10lbs can be utilized. The barbell will begin on the floor and the athlete will be required to approach the barbell and place themselves in the correct position without lowering themselves from the top-down. In
the set up position I look for the following:
Once the athlete has achieved a proper set up, the snatch can be performed in one fluid movement. All positional pausing should be removed by this step. It is important to note that an athlete should not compromise quality of movement in order to bump up weight. Often,
athletes want to add a lot of weight to a barbell once they begin performing Approach Power Snatches but bumping in weight is earned by completing quality repetitions.
1. Keep your coaching cues short, simple, and consistent.
2. Demonstrate the movement and/or lift for the athlete.
3. Use cadence to control the group; especially when working with a larger number of athletes. Cadence forces athletes to hold specific positions which reinforces technique.
4. Move around while coaching to see lift from multiple angles.
5. Repeat names of movements and lifts to familiarize athletes.
6. Ask athletes questions to make sure they are understanding and retaining information.
7. Give breaks; If you are speaking for a while, let the athletes put the barbell down.
8. How quickly athletes move through a progression will be dependent on the group; use discretion as a coach.
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