Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
July 16, 2017
One of my favorite videos on Youtube is about this guy that has played “old man” pranks on unsuspecting weightlifters. The best one is when this exceptional athlete dresses up in a sweater and khakis and starts ripping up Muscle Beach. https://youtu.be/uyM6Wyg0xPg. Kenneth Leverich has a pretty good pedigree in regards to his lifting, but even then he didn’t even look like the biggest and most “cut” at Muscle Beach, he still showed up plenty of dudes trying to show off. The most telling details of his abilities was when he started out lifting other guys in the clean and jerk and snatch. There was one point where a pretty well built guy challenged him. Leverich obviously won, even with the restriction of his costume (I mean, has anyone ever tried to lift weights in a cardigan and Dockers?). The point I am getting to is this, especially when it comes to the snatch lift….being exceptional at the snatch rarely depends on the size of the lifter. Well, let me tell you why this is such an important aspect to your lifting and your health in general. To put it simply, everything has to come into play when it comes to this particular lift. All aspects of your fitness and your progress must be prepped and studied and assessed. Only when you are ready to take on this particular exercise, will you be deemed ready. To put it simply, a snatch is a moment where in one swooping motion, you lift some weight off the ground over your head, going into a squat like position and then standing up while the bar is above your head.
Now the important thing about learning the snatch is that you have supervision, because let me tell you, you need someone that has a strong knowledge of what you can and cannot do. Jon and I have been working for years, and he already knew about some of my personal weaknesses when it comes to certain weightlifting aspects. For me, my shoulders and the tightness in my upper back have been a major hurdle for me in my transformation. There is a reason why I have not been that great in the bench press and this is also the reason why I have avoided the pull-up (aside from being terrible at it). Either way, Jon had me work on my shoulders for months, doing overhead squats just about every day before he felt I was ready to do the snatch (or at least start learning). During these past six months or so, I have come to the realization that doing this will be a constant work in progress, primarily due to the fact that so many things have to be working in your favor. For me, the shoulders were an issue and thus, I had to work on that problem. So I addressed a weak point in my game and have been dealing with it accordingly. But it didn’t stop there. You see, one of the biggest challenges of doing the snatch properly is body control, and in this aspect of the lift I have learned that I need a lot of work in that department. Parsons Training has been hosting some weight lifting classes on Tuesday Nights and I have managed to get some good pointers on how to fix my problems from John Shaver. Utilizing force properly and using my hips and shoulders rather than just muscling the bar up has been a challenge. And here is the other problem I was running into….I had to address my tight legs. I’ve written about this for months, for my leg muscles are becoming rigid and unusable in some instances. I have had to force myself to address this issue by forcing myself to utilize deep squats—something I never did—and basically work my way up with the weight. There was one point where I was back squatting well over 300 pounds, but I was maybe going three quarters or even a half on the squat. On the deep squat front, which I have been adding some 20 pounds every week, I’m up to 205 pounds and feeling good with the results. It’s kind of strange how one lift has really forced me to accept some of my limitations and work to improve them…rather than hiding from them. This is why the snatch is often times revered as on of the toughest lifts in the weight lifting library. http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/should-you-use-olympic-lifts Don’t let the bros at the Crossfit Gym tell you other wise…you need to be ready and willing to properly do a snatch. You need strength in your hands, your wrists, forearms and shoulders to get the lift up. You need coordination, force and body control to get the bar up and over your head, primarily using your hips as the main launching force in the process. You need flexibility to get underneath the bar along with the ability to spring the bar up over your head. You need flexibility and strength in your feet in order to stay flat on the ground and steady to maintain the lift. But most importantly, you need good mental fortitude. You will fail, and you will fail a lot. Some of the best athletes in the world don’t even do this stuff. Olympic athletes routinely fail a lift. Don’t think for a second that you will be snatching massive weights. Also know that you will need a lot of work in other areas and movements to truly get the most out of your snatching ability.
Here is the best part about doing the snatch….it will improve your abilities in just about any sport you can possibly participate in. https://barbend.com/undeniable-benefits-snatch/ While the ultimate goal for most people will be to simply get “strong” or “ripped,” the snatch will do so much more for you. Among the many benefits of doing this exercise is increased jumping ability, improved coordination can can even help you with your running (which is something I hope can help me with). The other primary reason why I do this movement is to improve my leg electricity. for there last six months or so, I have been dealing with tight achilles and other ailments with my legs. After taking a break from running and almost strictly focusing on olympic lifting, I have managed to get a little better in the leg department. Which brings another important idea to the forefront. To get better in this type of working out, you certainly have to take your stretching a lot more seriously. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/static-stretching-for-flexibility-in-weightlifting One thing that John Shaver has been getting into my head at Parsons is the tendency to really work some deep stretches. It used be pretty basic for me until I started making a real effort. Now my legs are starting to feel a little better and my foam roller at home is starting to get some use. This may not be a real requirement to the craft, but trust me on this one folk. You need those yoga style stretches to get yourself limber. If you truly want to get better in this stuff, you have to really start taking the pre-game seriously, and I don’t mean washing down some caffeine laced sugar drink. Truth be told, what are you waiting for? Get over to Parsons training and start prepping your body for the snatch. Very few people can even do this lift correctly, and you will have a huge leg up on the competition.
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.