Bodybuilding Training Article from EricsGym.com

Weight Lifting and Weight Training - Chapter 17

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WEIGHT LIFTING AS A COMPETITIVE SPORT

Chapter Seventeen

How to perform the Two Hands Snatch

The Snatch is considered by many authorities to be the most attractive of all weightlifting movements -- the acme of skill, strength and speed. In fact, the lift is the complete answer to critics who say that weight lifting is a sport only for the slow and cumbersome.

Strength is the essential requirement -- as in all weight lifting. Nevertheless, speed and good technique is of particular importance, when so much depends on precision of movement, timing, balance and coordination. All these qualities will enable a lifter to make maximum use of his available strength.

The rules demand that the barbell shall be lifted from the platform to arms' length overhead in one clean and continuous movement but in contrast to what I have said about the Press, there is, generally, little variation in the standard of adjudication for the Snatch and less diversity of interpretation of the rules of performance.

The main cause of disqualification -- apart form the obvious one of knee-touching -- is completing the lift with a press-out movement, normally easy enough for an experienced judge to see.

Two distinct styles are favored: the split-style, in which one leg is moved forwards, one backwards, to facilitate the lowering of the body under the barbell; and the squat-style, in which the lifter drops into a squat, or deep-knees-bend position, in order to fix the barbell overhead.

Most lifters use the split method although the number of devotees of the squat style is increasing.

I believe that the split style is more suitable for most lifters, but that the alternative style has greater poundage possibilities for the performer who is physically suited to this method of lifting.

Generally I have found that the percentage of failures is greater among squat snatchers, and believe that this is largely because many performers use this method when in fact they would be more suited to the split style.

Essential requirements for a squat snatcher are mobile shoulder joints and a delicate sense of balance, together with fast reflex actions.

Without these qualities a lifter should be better advised to use the split method, which in my view is safer and offers greater latitude for recovery in the event of a lift not being fixed overhead in a correctly balanced position.

Here is my recommended method of performance for the split-style snatch.

The feet spacing should be narrower than in the Press -- 6-9 inches between the heels. Stand close up to the barbell and take your handgrip with the hands spaced fairly side apart.

For most lifters I consider a wide grip to be essential, with the outside of the hands only about two or three inches from the collars of the barbell.

Although, theoretically, a wide handgrip is said to lessen the power of the pull, experience has proved that most lifters obtain better results with a wide or even a maximum-width grip.

The normal handgrip is taken with thumbs round the barbell is a previously described in the Press, but many lifters prefer the "hook' grip, in which the first one or two fingers are gripped over the thumb to lock it. Only lifters with fairly long fingers can successfully use this method.

In the starting position the back should be flat, buttocks held as low as comfort permits, arms straight, shoulders a little forward of the hands.

This is the best mechanical position to obtain maximum results. But the position will vary according to one's physical make-up and disposition of strength. For example, a lifter with long thighs and a short body will find he can obtain a stronger leg drive by holding a slightly higher position for the buttocks, while a lifter who is relatively stronger in the back that the legs will get a stronger drive by also adopting this position.

Although the Snatch is made in only one complete movement, I will divide the lift into two parts to make it easier for explanation.

First, that part of the lift until the feet are moved:

Start the movement with a vigorous legs' drive, taking care to keep the back straight and not to raise the buttocks before the barbell leaves the platform. Many lifters do raise the buttocks before the barbell is moved and this means there there is some loss of power from the legs' drive. A conscious effort to start the lift by leading upwards with the head and shoulders helps to counteract this fault. If the barbell leaves the platform simultaneously with the first upwards movement for the buttocks, then that is ideal. It is important at this stage to maintain a straight back in order to obtain the maximum combined strength of legs and back power. I recommend inhaling as the start of the lift is made.

The barbell should be lifted in a movement as vertical as possible with the arms beginning to bend as the barbell passes just above knees' height. As the poll is continued the elbows should be extended outwards and upwards to the maximum extent.

As the barbell passes the height of the hips, thrust the hips forward a few inches. This movement will facilitate the correct lowering of the body as it moves downwards to enable the legs to be split and the weight fixed correctly overhead.

Pull the barbell as high as possible before the feet are moved into the split position. Gain maximum height by rising on the toes, with the legs fully extended.

It is essential to make an even pull, so that the barbell does not travel to either one side or the other. Ensure this by pulling evenly on both legs until the feet are moved.

The tendency among practically all lifters is to move first the leg that is to be placed backwards. Fight this tendency by aiming to get maximum height of pull and concentration on moving both feet simultaneously.

Premature movement of the rear foot will mean the the final stage of the pull will be made on one leg, and, apart from loss of power, the barbell will most likely the fixed overhead to one side and not in a properly balanced position.

If such a fault is only slight, the lift can often be saved by a quick adjustment of the front foot. On the other hand, a very marked sideway movement usually results in the lift being lost, as the barbell will be fixed to one side and be well off balance.

The second phase of the complete snatch is the movement from the maximum pull, with the barbell at chest height. At this stage the legs are moved - one forwards, one backwards.

There is, of course, no distinct second movement; the whole lift must be smooth and continuous. As the barbell reaches the height when the leg movement starts there should be no hesitation; the body must be moved into the spilt position with all possible speed, at the same time continuing the upwards pull of the barbell.

To fix the barbell overhead in a balanced, strong and safe position, the body must be lowered to arrive at a position where the trunk is upright, arms stretched upward vertically, with the barbell held over a line passing straight downwards through the shoulders and hips.

The feet should be well apart, the front leg bent at the knee as far as possible, with the knee well forward of the toes. The rear leg should be bent slightly at the knee, stretched well back, with only the toes of the near foot touching the platform.

The actual lowering of the body starts almost immediately after the feet have started to move.

At this stage, the upwards pull of the arms will be exhausted and as the body starts to lower, the head will be coming down rapidly towards the barbell and the wrists must start to turn so that the arms are in a position to be thrust upwards to reach a locked position.

The rules say that the wrists must not turn until the barbell has cleared the line of the top of the head. This is one very good reason why the barbell must be pulled high before this wrist turn movement starts -- otherwise, there will be a premature turning of the wrists leading to disqualification.

The legs must be moved directly forwards and backwards; that is, one leg straight forward from its starting position, the other directly backwards. Avoid at all cost any tendency to bring the feet in together on one line as if walking on a tight-rope. Such a position when handling a heavy poundage means that there will not be a broad enough base to balance the weight overhead in a stable position, and the lift will most likely be lost to either one side or the other.

The rear foot will touch the platform before the front one, because of the limited range of backward movement of the rear leg as compared with the front one. This will actually benefit the lifter if he thrusts forward from the rear foot as it lands, making it easier to place either the front foot sufficiently forward to enable the hips to keep vertically under the shoulders.

As soon as you feel the front foot land on the platform, force the front knee forward so that it goes pass the toes (the distance varying according to the mobility of the performer) and the rear heel backward to avoid too much bending to the rear knee - which must at all costs be kept clear of the platform.

As the final split position is reached, look straight forward with the head held erect. Don't drop the head to look down, or throw the head backwards. Either of these movements can throw the line of the trunk out of the upright position which is so essential too keep the hips underneath the shoulders and the up-stretched hands.

Unless the body is correctly positioned under the barbell there is every possibility of losing a heavy lift. The hips must move forwards to come directly under the shoulders.

To recover to the upright and concluding position, first straighten both legs before any foot movement is made. This will bring you to a safe and strong position, from which the final recovery can be made by moving either foot towards the other.

Bring the feet on to a level plane and maintain your concentration on keeping the arms locked until the referee's signal is given.

Squat Method
The squat style of snatching is being used by an increasing number of performers and while there is, generally, a larger proportion of failures among squat snatchers, the style does offer greater poundage possibilities for those who are physically suited to it.

The number of failures is higher because the squat style is more precarious than the split style, in which the mechanical position of the body makes it a little easier to control the lift, and offers a greater chance to save a lift that is not fixed overhead in a perfect position.

The squat style requires a more delicate sense of balance -- not found in every lifter -- and also a good degree of mobility in the shoulders, according to which variation of style is used.

Many performers use a fairly upright style of snatching, with the hips only a little way behind the shoulders in the low squat position. Others use a more forward inclination of the trunk, with the hips correspondingly farther behind the shoulders. In this style, the shoulders need to be very supple in order to allow the arms to be taken back to compensate for the forward inclination to the trunk.

My own preference is for the trunk to be inclined forward so that the hips are about a foot behind the shoulders. This is a position approximately midway between the almost upright position and the extreme inclined trunk angle. But, of course, a lot depends on the individual. Not everyone can adopt a position where the trunk is inclined forward as a steep angle -- and many are forced to adopt a more upright position.

One disadvantage of using the upright style is that often there is a slowing down of the movement after the wrists have turned, which can easily result in 'pressing out' the barbell. In the trunk forward style -- when the shoulders and head are deliberately forced downwards away from the barbell as the wrists turn over -- a snappy straightening of the arms is facilitated, which lessens any possibility of disqualification for 'press out'.

Also the mechanical position is not good, inasmuch that as the line of balance (center of gravity) can so easily fall behind or in front of the heels, there is only a slight margin for any body sway of maneuver if necessary to save the barbell from falling out of control.

In the trunk forward style it is easier to make any adjustment if the barbell isn't initially fixed overhead correctly.

When using the squat style there is no time taken in disposing the feet -- as in the split style -- which means that the body can be lowered under the barbell more quickly. This does afford a greater poundage potential, allowing less time for the barbell to start falling back, as it naturally will if the body is slow in adopting the low squat position.

In the starting position for the split-style Snatch the feet are placed relatively close together, but for the squat style they should be placed wider. About 18-20 inches is a suitable distance.

Again the barbell should be pulled up close to the body, in a vertical line -- up to approximately the height of the nipples --- before lowering the body and thrusting the arms to a straightened position.

Some lifters like to make a slight forward feet movement, jumping the feet clear of the platform. Experiments can made with the method. It may be found to suit some lifters, but not all, by any means.

In order to take full advantage of this style the squat should be as full as possible, turning the knees out, more as if an upright style is being used. With the barbell fixed safely overhead, the recovery presents no difficulty.

In the event of the line of balance being either too far forward or backward, the head and shoulders can be used to make the necessary adjustment.

With the barbell in front of the line of balance, the head should be raised and the shoulders brought back a little. Usually the adjustment will be slight, unless a very bad lift is made.

Adjustment can also be made by rocking either forward or backward slightly on the heels, thus taking the hips either forward or backward. Consistent practice over a period will give a lifter the 'feel' of the movement and his own particular best way of adjusting his balance.

It is necessary, to achieve the best results from squat snatching, to build great strength in the legs, more so than when the split style is used. Hints on building up this strength are given in a later chapter.

More chapters from this book below...
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 |


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