We Get It. You Hate Snatching. So Why Do We Do It?

The snatch. Either you love it, or like most people, you avoid it.

The snatch challenges me, and it makes my weaknesses so obvious.

Good snatch technique requires many components:

  1. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  2. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  3. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  4. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  5. Coordination –  The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement
  6. Agility –   The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  7. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  8. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that these are 8 of the ten “general physical skills” that comprise CrossFit’s First Fitness Standard. (If you’re curious and don’t want to click the link, the other two skills are respiratory endurance and stamina).

Practicing the snatch, in essence, allows you to practice 8 out of ten physical skills of fitness with just one movement.

My (lack of) flexibility, balance, and accuracy make the snatch difficult for me. Today, Dwight programmed 8 sets of snatching with ample rest between.

This was the perfect opportunity for me to practice these skills. I chose to focus on balance.

I kept my weight modest and used every rep to concentrate on my balance, making sure I could draw an imaginary line through my midfoot up my body. I used my class time to feel my center of gravity through the whole snatch movement. It was a goldilocks experience: too far forward, too far back, just right.

I used my time (90 seconds for each set!) to figure out what cues worked for me in finding my balance consistently. I got videos of my lifts, and I talked to the coaches about what they saw and what I was feeling. It wasn’t about how much I lifted, it was about how well I did it.

I recognize that as I age, I will either have to use skills or lose them. I refuse to be unable to lift my suitcase into the overhead bin without risking shoulder injury or back injury. I view challenging myself with the snatch now as an essential component to not only developing my skills, but keeping my skills: I truly believe that practicing the snatch will give me the best possible chance of avoiding airline checked baggage fees (or better yet, paid baggage porters) in the distant future.

Which skill causes you to hesitate in the snatch?  Next time you see snatch skill work pop up, perhaps you can use that time to focus and improve that skill.

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