So it’s Monday morning and it’s six am. You’ve been awake for the last twenty-five minutes, maybe, and it’s still dark out. You walk into the gym, grab a foam roller and say hello to your friends with all the energy you can muster. You look at the white board and there it is staring you in the face, “Snatch!”
You feel what joy you had suddenly deflate and you remind yourself how bad you are at the “S” word. This is where a bad snatch session starts. First things first: we’re all terrible at snatching. Yes, all of us. There are a few of us that are better at this lift than others, but none of us are good at it. There is not a single thing natural about the lift except when you gladly set it back down on the ground. (I mean, on the crash pads of course.)
Here are five easy steps to ease the heartbreak and have a good snatch session.
One: Get over your frustration quickly. Starting anything with a less than favorable attitude makes for a poor experience.
Two: Start stretching your shoulders; its six am and you’ve probably slept on your side all night, or if its six pm you’ve probably been at a desk all day. Don’t wait for us to tell you to stretch. Every member who has led joint prep starts off with pass throughs and for good reason: our shoulders are stiff. Do the mobility WOD; it will help get the day started. Those movements coincide with that days workout.
Three: Do the warm up to the best of your ability; don’t just fly through it as fast as you can. Sometimes we cut the warm up short because of time issues but the movements that you do get to do should be done with thoughtfulness and not just discarded because you want to be done with it. You should feel the positions to make sure they feel right.
Four — and this is the BIG ONE: RELAX! Sounds funny but I try to remind all of our athletes and myself that this is not a pass or fail moment. Why so serious? The athlete is here to have fun and get better at something; not to be mad and frustrated. Relaxing will also help your lifting. Loose arms make for a better lift (good!) and arms filled with rage make for stiff arms (bad!) Also try to take away at least one good thing from every lift.
Five: Lift! You won’t get better at something you don’t do. Walking around and avoiding snatches will not make you better at them. Come to the Lift classes; we love when new people come to do Olympic Weightlifting. You’ll get a little more attention and you’re going to do a lot of snatching, which is a win-win right?
Putting this into perspective, Erik did not program snatches for that day to ruin your life so stop pouting. Stretch, stretch and stretch some more and then do joint prep and then stretch in between rounds of the warm-up; you really can’t over stretch for snatch sessions. Do the warm up with enough focus so you learn proper technique not just to get it over with as fast as possible. Relax, breathe and smile. You’re doing something the average person can’t or has never done and will probably never do! And, if you see me lifting–feel free to come lift with me!
The greatest quote I’ve ever read is, “Even Mozart was a beginner at one time.” Keep that mind the for the next snatch session. And hey, have fun and just lift the barbell.
written by Chris Bumm, full-time trainer at Fearless Athletics. Chris is a competitive weightlifter and holds a USAW Level 1 certification.