February 4, 2011
February 9, 2011
Explosive Snatches

Yes, the title sounds like after-market addition to an Austin Powers fem-bot.

Yes, anytime we talk about snatches is a great opportunity to let your juvenile humor loose upon your peers.

And Yes, the snatch could actually teach you how to explode. No, really, I’m serious – According to Arthur Drechsler, author of The Weightlifting Encyclopedia, “Practicing the (Olympic) lifts teaches an athlete how to explode.”

Well, thankfully we didn’t have to clean anyone off the ceiling & walls on Sunday; however, there were plenty of explosive athletes in class – all 19 of them in fact.

All kidding aside, the explosiveness of the snatch (and the clean&jerk) are of tremendous benefit to us as crossfitters and general athletes. In fact, it may be a little counter-intuitive, but the real value of both Olympic lifts is not simply strength or raw power, but rather power built upon speed, agility, balance, flexibility, mobility, and just a little more speed. Yet, the snatch remains an elusive lift for many of us, due to the fact that it is a complex movement – the snatch demands that an athlete recruit a large number of muscles in a synchronized pattern in order to achieve a good lift (and thus obtain the desired explosive power). In short: Yes, it’s complicated, but Yes, it’s absolutely worth it. As such, we asked our resident Olympic coach, Mike Choi, to help CFDC on Sunday in learning to snatch properly.

Snatch Progression for Sunday:
(1)Snatch Grip Deadlift;
(2)High Hang Pull (from mid-thigh, extend the hips and shrug the shoulders);
(3)Low Hang Pull (from just above the knees, extend the hips and shrug the shoulders);
(4) Low Hang Power Snatch (from just above the knees, extend the hips, shrug the shoulders, and then continue the pull with the arms straight up the body, finishing by snapping the weight overhead, elbows locked and shoulders driven up);
(5) Full Snatch (same as the Low Hang Power Snatch, but from the floor).

After nearly an hour of snatch practice, class finished off with a short Met-Con:

Nice work by everyone, especially in the crowded setting. There was a lot of improvement across the board, and I dare say we have a lot of people who are lot more comfortable with the snatch movement now. Please post your thoughts and questions to comments, and be sure to thank Coach Choi for lending us his time and expertise on Sunday morning.



  1. John Frazer says:

    Good to make it down there again after a long hiatus. Many thanks to Mike for the coaching!

    That 5:16 Jeremy may have been back of the pack but as far as I can tell (I’m missing one year’s log book) it was a PR for me. Strict burpees with a chest-to-deck push-up on each rep.

    Personally, I think grown-ups should have to use real barbells for Jeremy; PVC doesn’t do much to enforce good OHS form. But still, 45 reps of each movement in that time was a good way to celebrate 7 years of Crossfit and my 45th birthday, both this week.

  2. Alexander says:

    Wish I was there!

    On a different note, I am looking for CrossFit DC folk interested in doing the next Tough Mudder race in GA .

    I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, and could never find a bunch crazy enough…but I think I found a group of like-minded folks now.

    Check the home page and the clip in the upper right corner . And some more videos at

    I hope this whets your appetite. Get back to me at a.t.alden@jhu.edu.

  3. SBV says:

    There’s a local CrossFit competition on February 27 at Primal Fitness. I believe Dan, Tom A., and I are the only one’s who have signed up thusfar. It’s a one-day event and they’ve announced that there will be a strength event, a power/agility event, and medium/long conditioning-type event. I encourage anyone looking to step up their game to compete. I’m looking at your, Ethan!

  4. John Frazer says:

    Almost forgot — I, too, am thinking of running a Tough Mudder — October in Wintergreen, VA. Anyone interested?

  5. Ethan says:

    Just signed up for the 2/27 event. Bring it.

  6. John Frazer says:

    By way of follow-up, I’ve struggled forever with full squat snatches. After Mike and Chris’s coaching Sunday, when Tuesday evening rolled around I very easily snatched 100#. A week ago an ugly 90 was the best I could manage.