Start with the head or start with the tail?
Remember at taxidermy school when the lecturer listed the seventeen approved methods for relieving a feline of its integumentary system? No? Me neither, but I am sure you have heard the old adage – there is more than one way to skin a cat.
With that in mind and with a lot of my discussions lately being around olympic lifting I am going to discuss snatching for beginners. There are many great articles out there on the intricacies of olympic lifting check out this one by my mate Danny Mellor of CrossFit Noosa.
Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 is the workout I have been least comfortable programming for boxes that I work with. Why? I love a lazy session of Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1. A few mates, a few warm up sets and some friendly heckling and cuing/observation and it is a great hour. This is obviously dependent on having at least a basic appreciation of the movement. Is the workout as beneficial or as enjoyable if you have to scale the movement down to the stick?
Scaling snatch singles is a very cool opportunity to explore the mechanics, consistency, intensity charter of CrossFit and the principle of progression.
Let us look at what the workout could look like for an absolute beginner. Just did an intro session two days ago and they walk into the gym and catch the end of the first class, they see barbells flying, hear feet stomping, there are missed lifts, oly shoes and high fives getting thrown around – this can be an intimidating environment.
So I throw them in the warm up with everyone else after assuring them that i have something that they will be able to handle. The Warm up has some prep pieces that are demoed as we go and finishes with the burgener warm up. The athlete may not get the burgener warm up right the first time but this IS run number one of thousands for this athlete if I can get them hooked on olympic lifting like the rest of us are. I constantly have pennies drop or light globes go off during things I have done thousands of times so I don’t believe perfect from the start is important.
After the Warm Up the experienced athletes go to work on their snatch, the intensity is achieved by Snatching more weight or by reducing the rest time between sets. Lets say the class plan allows 30 mins for Snatching then I have 30 mins to work with my beginner athlete.
One way I might program for the beginners is this:
5-5-5 Sumo Deadlift High Pull (approx 10 minutes) This conserves the explosive hip extension stimulus of the snatch.
AMRAP in 10 mins
10 Hang Muscle Snatches 20/15kg
100m Overhead walk 20/15kg
10 Front Squat 20/15kg
Halting Snatch grip deadlift practice for 3-5 mins
Email me for an example lesson plan for Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 : email@example.com
On the SDLHP to avoid the classic deadlift to upright row movement we often see try the Slow then cheat drill.
The slow then cheat drill
I get the athlete to do the slowest upright row they can possibly do with a manageable load – empty barbell or lightish kettle bell. Then I explain that that is as hard as that movement can be, 10/10. Then I tell them I want to move it the same distance but to make it as easy as easy as possible, cheat using the hips make it a 3 or a 4/10.
If your gym has a culture and a athlete base that supports months of stick work on the olympic lifts then don’t mess with that. What I have seen and heard is that more often than not athletes get frustrated by this complex lift and would rather not do the session than turn up and work technique on a stick.
Write the book you want to read.
Give it a try and see if your beginners turn their noses up to snatch workouts anymore.