The overhead squat and the snatch are among the most unforgiving of exercises when it comes to mobility and stability. It takes time and patience to be proficient at these movements.
STEP 1: GET HOT AND SWEATY
When preparing for the snatch, it is especially important to warm up to prime the tissues to work in the challenging positions required for the movement.
You can get a great deal of mileage out of doing a warmup that also helps drill the various positions of such a complex exercise. Thankfully, Coach Mike Burgener of CrossFit Weightlifting has put together a warmup that achieves that very purpose. For details on the Burgener Warmup, refer to this video: https://youtu.be/Y5YFU_iuwJ4
Following the Burgener Warmup, the next piece is the Skill Transfer Exercises for the snatch: https://youtu.be/D4TgzUqleKU
These two pieces can be completed in LESS THAN two minutes and you will be plenty warm. Additionally, if these drills are done daily (and correctly), you should see great gains in developing proficiency in the snatch and overhead squat.
STEP 2: ACTIVATE
To achieve a solid base of support to hold weight overhead, it’s important to activate the tissues of the shoulders and the scapula. As we do this, we’re once again going to try and get extra mileage out of our warmup by combining two pieces:
1. an overhead squat – do all the mobility exercises you like, but if you don’t actually spent time in the overhead squat position, you will NEVER get good at it!
2. banded pull apart – activate the tissues of the scapula and shoulders
Spend some time in the bottom of an overhead squat with a thin band overhead. Get cozy in the bottom position, and while you’re down there perform 10-15 pull apart to activate the tissues around the shoulder and scap.
STEP 3: DRILL SOME MORE
Barbell complexes are a great way to drill position and reinforce movement patterns. This barbell complex is a great primer to any snatch session as it will prepare your body for an aggressive pull under the bar, a strong lockout, provide additional activation work for the upper back, as well as reinforce proper shoulder position
Tall Snatch + Snatch Balance with No Dip + Sots Press (Press in Snatch)
Tall Snatch: This variation of the snatch is executed with NO DIP. The exercises starts with the athlete standing tall with the bar at the hip (high hang) and ends with the athlete in the bottom of an overhead squat. To execute, shrug your shoulders up to mimic the “finish” position of the snatch in which your hips, knees, and ankles are in full extension. You then aggressively pull your feet up off the floor and while you are in midair, you pull your body down and around the bar and then transition into a full overhead squat. This exercise will teach you the necessary speed and aggressiveness required to pull your body down and around a heavy weight.
Snatch Balance with No Dip: Similar to the tall snatch, this exercise is performed with NO DIP. The athlete starts standing tall with the bar on the back and hands in a snatch width grip. To execute, pull your feet off the floor and aggressively press your body down under the bar. The bar should not move up very much if at all. Instead, the athlete pushes their body down into the overhead squat.
Sots Press AKA Press In Snatch: This exercises starts with the athlete in the bottom of a back squat with hands in a snatch width grip. To execute, point the elbows straight down to the ground and press the bar overhead. Setting the elbows down to the floor will put the shoulders into an idealized externally rotated position. This is a GREAT exercise to build upper back strength as well as teach the athlete where there shoulders should be positioned in the bottom of the overhead squat.
Combine these exercises together into a rep scheme of 1 + 1 + 3:
1 tall snatch + 1 snatch balance w/o dip + 3 sots presses
3 sets at a light to moderate weight based on your ability should have you pretty good and warm as well as prep your body to move the bar efficiently while training good positions. Make sure to keep the weight light enough to do the movements correctly.
1. Burgener Warmup
2. Skill Transfer Exercises
3. Banded Pull Aparts in Overehead Squat: 10-15 reps with a light band
4. Tall Snatch + Snatch Balance with No Dip + Sots Press: 3 sets of 1+1+3