By: Ben Gabriel (CF-L1)

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Top 5 Exercises to Fix your Overhead Strength and Stability in the Snatch

The snatch is the most technical movement you will do in any fitness gym, even CroffFit. There is little to no room for errors, unlike its counterpart the clean and jerk. One of the main reasons people struggle with this lift, even with the help of a fitness trainer, is that they are weak and unstable with the bar overhead when using a snatch grip. I see people on a weekly basis moving their grip when snatching trying to find a stronger, more stable position. Although it may feel better with your hands closer it soon will become an issue if your goal is to put any sort of weight on the bar. The reason people do this is because the correct position is weak and unstable. The fix for this is to do more accessory exercises with your hands in the snatch grip. Here are my favorite exercises you can try with a persona trainer to develop a good position overhead in the snatch.
1. Overhead Squat
2. Snatch Balance
3. Snatch Grip Push Press/Press
4. Sots Press with a Snatch Grip
5. Overhead Carries
The key to any of these exercises is to look at them as accessory movements to the snatch. That means when choosing weights we need to pick weights that challenge us but allow us to maintain the correct positions. Here is an example of how to use the overhead squat to help with your strength and stability with the bar overhead in the snatch grip. A good goal to work towards for a 1rm overhead squat is 115-125% of your snatch. The numbers in parenthesis indicate the tempo for each rep. Tempo is a great way to make sure you aren’t rushing each rep and are hitting all positions. It also is a great way to get rid of the temptation to add weight just to add weight.
Tempo: (eccentric or lower phase: any pause at the bottom: concentric or lifting phase)
Week 1: 5×3 (3:3:1) same weight across
Week 2: 5×3 (3:1:1) same weight across
Week 3: 5×3 (3:3:1) try to beat week 1
Week 4: 5×3 (3:1:1) try to beat week 2
This is a very basic way to work your overhead squat over the course of a month. For most of us, our overhead squats are underdeveloped and we have lots of room for improvement. This should not take more than 15-20 extra minutes a week to do. Here are a couple things to keep in mind. The first is start lighter than you think. If you finish weeks 1 and 2 thinking you could have done more, then you chose an appropriate weight. If you are looking for a percentage starting somewhere around 60-65% of your snatch should be appropriate. The second is to make sure you stick to the tempo. It’s there for a reason, and if you are not able to stick to it then the weight is too heavy.
Just by spending an extra 15-20 minutes a week you will reap the benefits not only on your overhead squat but your snatch as well.

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