February 27, 2012
March 2, 2012

With the Open well under way, and knowing CFHQ’s penchant for hi-rep Oly lifts and/or overhead squats, Tuesday’s class took a little time reviewing how best to approach such workouts, and then putting some of that information to practical use.

Skill Review and Practice: 
Snatching for Reps 

Performing either Olympic lift for multiple reps at a time can be tricky – many people struggle to perform a single efficient rep at a time, let alone 5, 10, or even 20 reps back-to-back. However, there are a few tips and tricks which will make snatching (and cleaning) for reps a little easier.

Hook Grip
In short, the hook grip is the best grip you can have without using straps. Admittedly uncomfortable at first, using the hook grip is key to helping Olympic lifters get more weight off the platform, especially during the acceleration of the second pull. For CrossFitters, it also translates into more reps, as use of the hook grip helps relax the forearms, which in turn keeps the shoulders loose and helps avoid pulling early with the arms. To set the hook grip, simply press the palm of your hand tight against the bar, then wrap your thumb around the bar first, before grasping your thumb with at least one finger, preferably two (the remaining two fingers will be holding on to the bar).

Resetting the Grip in the Pocket
If you’re unable to keep the hook grip in the overhead position, then you’ll need to reset the grip before attempting the next snatch or clean. While you could do this by setting the bar on the ground, resetting the hook grip, standing up, and then taking the next lift, this will eat up a lot of time. The alternative is to reset the grip “in the pocket,” with the bar tight against the hips and pinched between the abdomen and thighs. In this position, the body is holding the weight up, allowing the you to readjust the hands and grip. Less energy, less time, more efficient.

As to whether or not to keep the hook grip in the overhead position, I would say it depends. It depends on the weight prescribed and it depends on the weight you can comfortably handle. It depends on how many reps your doing of each and it depends on what other movements are being used in the workout. Most importantly, however, it depends on whether your’re able to comfortably maintain the hook grip in the overhead position. To that end, I would encourage all of you to check out the article entitled “Hook Grip or Not Overhead” from Greg Everett over at Performance Menu/Catalyst Athletics.

Static Feet
As a pure Olympic lift, the Snatch calls for the lifter to snap the bar overhead during the third pull while also jumping their feet apart to create a stable base (a base in which, if need be, the lifter could get into a full squat). For the purposes of CrossFit, and more specifically, CrossFit workouts with multiple reps and lighter weight, continuously jumping the feet apart and then resetting isn’t really optimal. To add speed and efficiency, try performing each rep without moving the feet – this will allow you to hit full extension and then immediately bring the bar right back down and into the next rep (emphasis is placed on full extension, because if you aren’t standing tall, with the hips completely open at the top of the rep, it won’t count). Keeping the feet in place definitely depends on your level of comfort and proficiency with the snatch, as well as with the weight being used for the workout. In other words, if you’re still learning or getting used to the movement, then trying to keep your feet in place isn’t appropriate.

Guiding the Bar Down
Of course, at some point, you’ll need to put the bar down (whether you want to or not). At the end of a workout, when time is up or the reps are over, it doesn’t really matter where the bar ends up. However, during the workout, having the bar bounce and twist and roll 10 feet away from you is less than optimal. Instead, try to guide the bar down, releasing it only as it passes chest/waist height, and controlling the bounce as much as possible. There’s nothing more frustrating than having 15 seconds left in a workout in which to fit in as many more reps as you can, only to have to waste 12 of those seconds re-collecting your bar and getting ready to lift. As any seasoned CF competitor will tell you, every rep counts.

With all this in mind, class turned it’s collective attention to Tuesday’s workout.

Complete 3 rounds of 
12 Box Jumps 
6 Hang Power Snatch 
12 Overhead Squat 
6 Hang Power Snatch 
Rest 120seconds 

Owing to the number of people, class was paired off and heats were run every 2 minutes. That meant you had two minutes in which to complete all of your reps and get out of the way before your partner started their reps (although, a little leeway existed as each person completed their box jumps).

This workout definitely seemed to sneak up on people. While the numbers didn’t appear over whelming, the combination of gassing out before the barbell work (the box jumps), keeping hold of the bar for all 24 total reps of snatch and OHS, and trying to cram all that work into a short 120 seconds really proved to be a killer. Awesome to see people pushing themselves to the limit in order to get all their reps in before their partners needed the bar.

Don’t forget (as if any of you would), 12.2 get’s released tonight at 8pm EST. As soon as it’s up, we’ll update the Games header on the blog with the new workout. Until then, try not to get washed away in the rain.



  1. SBV says:

    Last night’s workout presented an interesting combination of movements for me. There were box jumps (a major strength of mine), high-rep snatches (a major weakness of mine), and overhead squats (formerly a major weakness that has actually become somewhat of a strength). Something about the combination made the whole seem more difficult than the sum of its parts. My legs were on fire by the overhead squats in the second round.

    I’ve been working my tail off on snatches but they’re just so difficult in a high-rep environment. Thanks to Chris for dedicating some time to explaining the nuances, i.e., resetting the hook grip and keeping the feet together. Still brutal, but getting better . . .

  2. Katie says:

    Not a good night, I left very frustrated. I’m getting the hang of snatches, but during the workout my wrists were really hurting during the OHS, I couldn’t keep the bar up. I was mad; I wanted to do the workout with 25#…after doing some snatches I realized that was a little more than I could do for 6-12-6 3x, so I started with 20# but had to go to just the 15# bar because of my wrists. (perhaps some of that was because I tried to keep the hook grip?) I also didn’t finish any of the three rounds…it didn’t occur to me for some reason that I could continue while my partner was doing box jumps. Anyway, overall I was not happy and left feeling defeated.

    What kind of tape to people use, where can I buy it, and will someone show me how to tape my wrists?? I’m going to do this workout again with taped wrists and take my time and complete it.

  3. SBV says:

    Has anyone ever tried taping their thumbs during high-rep movements involving the hook grip? Does it help?

  4. TomandAmi says:

    Remarkable – you fucking nailed the snatch WOD 2 – snatches for time!

  5. Katie says:

    Okay, seriously??!? Tom, did you write the CrossFit Open workouts?

  6. Dan Samarov says:

    Dan likey… Sebastian, I have and I think it helps in general.

  7. Tom Brose says:

    SBV, taping definitely can help, but overdoing it can be an issue. We’ll walk you all through how to best tape for wrists and thumbs.

    We did set you up pretty well for 12.2, huh?

  8. Erica says:

    Way to call it Brose and Sheppard. And if last night was any indication of how I”ll do on this WOD, YIKES!

    I worked with Steph and we used 45#s. Felt more like 100#s at time. I couldn’t quite finish that third round in the two-minute period. I struggled to keep the hook grip because my hands just didn’t feel big enough. On paper, it didn’t look that bad, but in reality, I was hoping for 100 box jumps and less snatches. I hope to make it to through the first layer on Saturday.

  9. Tom Brose says:

    Erica, you’ll be amazed at how well you do on this. Trust me.

  10. SaltyHat says:

    guys and gals, after over 4 years, I have yet to discern just how it is that Tom continuously predicts workout after workout from HQ. It’s damn right eerie sometimes.

    Tape: yes to the wrists (sports tape is the most common), but I find that tape on my thumbs often peels off from the constant rotation of the bar.

    Wrist Pain: an unfortunate side effect of high rep or high weight OHS. As it concerns Katie, this was a late-catch; i.e., by the time we learned about the pain, it was 60 seconds out from the last round. With more time, I would pause and tape up the wrists.

    You all have the tools to tackle the next workout. We’ll work on a few more tactics, but in the meantime, get excited – this is the kinda workout made for CFDC!!

  11. Julia says:

    Actually, I don’t think it’s eerie foresight or creepy omniscience. I think it’s the other way around: HQ looking over Tom Brose’s shoulder and taking a lead from his programming.

    Maybe next week it will be AMRAP hollow holds!

    Katie, I’ve gotten athletic tape from Modell’s Sports in Columbia Heights, if you’re in the area (City Sports downtown didn’t carry any).

    And SBV, I am all about taping my thumbs and hook gripping during high-rep Oly workouts!

  12. Andraea says:

    I ditto everyone’s comments on Chris and Tom predicting the second workout of the open! Well done!

    I’m so glad I made it to class on Tues. I wasn’t feeling the greatest but now I’m so glad I pushed through and got some practice in on the snatch. It’s a move that I’m by no means comfortable with and still have a lot of questions on the movement especially coming from the ground. I’m not sure if I’ll be in class tonight as I was feeling really sick yesterday, better today but I feel I need the rest to finally kick this cold to the curb and be ready for Sat.

    I’m excited for the second opener workout and to see everyone nail it on Sat.!

  13. Tom Brose says:

    Julia, if box squat come up you will be 100% confirmed correct. And you will smash the workout.

  14. Erica says:

    I heart you Tom Brose, for your faith and confidence. As a side note, mama Merson will be there to cheer and she is known to get kinda rowdy. I also love Julia’s point about HQ checking out Brose’s work. Well said Spangles. Now it’s time to rock it guys!

  15. ppetersan says:

    I agree with Julia. HQ is glued to the CFDC blog to see what Tom and Chris are doing. Unfortunately, I won’t be in class tonight or Sunday, but I do hope to see everyone on Saturday.

  16. Ben says:

    The workout on Tuesday was tough, but I enjoyed the combination of the movements. It did make me a little weary when I saw the 12.2 workout….SBV and I worked together on the WOD and we used 95 lbs. The last 6 snatches were tough, so I’m wondering how the 30 reps are going to feel per each weight grouping. Will have to figure out the appropriate pace.

    Anyway, excited to see how everyone does on Saturday!

  17. TomandAmi says:

    Don’t move feet on first 30. Split snatch for 135. It looked like from some of the videos that pressing out is legit. Taped wrists

  18. Kenna says:

    I enjoyed Tuesday’s workout. Surprisingly, the snatch movement comes somewhat naturally for me. I was working with Jen, who was an AWESOME partner. I think we were at 40#, which got heavy quick, especially on the OHS. The shoulder stabilization on that one is tough!

  19. Monica Niska says:

    good call on the snatches!