Suppose you want to deepen the Sacred Art of the Barbell. What are you targeting?
An advice: to weightlifting.
With what exercises?
A "simple" science: weightlifting
The beauty of certain disciplines is simplicity. Are you a powerlifter? Deadlift, squat and bench press for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Are you an Oly lifter? You focus on snatches and clean & jerk.
That would seem like an easy task. In reality the simplicity is only apparent, because the work of an athlete in these sports it is not limited to an incessant number of reps of competition movements, but must necessarily integrate a series of complementary, partial and accessory movements to enhance the different phases of the basic movements.
For the Olympians, the key movements that allow this are two:
- the muscle snatch
- the power snatch
Why make them?
Advantages of working with complementaries
- increase pulling force (pulling strength)
- increase the overall strength of the upper body
- improve the ability to "close" the oly lifts
Muscle or power snatch? The differences
Without going into too much detail, the key difference is this:
in both movements, the weight starts from the ground. After the first and second pulls, in the muscle snatch the bar is pushed up WITHOUT the legs having been bent on receiving. In the power snatch, the legs bend to a half squat instead.
Il muscle snatch, key points:
- open socket
- no contact between barbell and hips
- the elbows can turn down to allow for the snatch press
Il power snatch, key points
- the grip is wider
- hook grip
- the bar touches the crease of the hips when the hips and legs are extended
When to use them?
The muscle snatch is mainly used at the beginning of the session, to "prepare" the body for snatch work. Not only that: this movement allows you to
- improve the snatch moment ranging from the end of the movement of the hips to the turnover
- improve the pull so that the bar reaches the optimal height
When you train the muscle snatch, you should combine it with the overhead squat and the power snatch. Always use loads ranging from 40 to 60% of your best snatch.
The power snatch has numerous benefits:
- increases force production during the second and third phases of the snatch
- helps to increase the height reached by the barbell = allows the athlete to have more time to settle in the right squat position
- allows you to train the snatch with minor loads (e.g. during technique sessions)
- great for conditioning athletes who still fail to achieve a good overhead squat
That said: contact your coach to prescribe an adequate diet of muscle and power snatches to improve your performance in Olympic lifts.
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