October 12, 2012
October 22, 2012

After lots and lots of Olympic lifting technique over the past few months, including a triple hang-snatches on Thursday, Sunday’s class set about determining the results of all that hard work with a 1RM snatch attempt. 

45 Jumping Jacks; 
20 Squats, 10 PVC Pass Thrus, 10 Hanging Scap Retractions; 
15 Jump Squats, 10 PVC OHS-to-Sotts Press, 10 Push-Ups; 
10 Burpees, 10 PVC Pressing Snatch Balance, 10 PVC Heaving Snatch Balance 
1Rep Max Snatch

After all the time we’ve put in as a group practicing the movement in various forms and rep schemes, it was time to fling some heavy weights overhead.

Prep Set #1: 1 x 5 Hang Snatch High Pull, 5 Hang Power Snatch, & 5 Heaving Snatch Balance (bar only)

Prep Set #2: 1 x 3 Snatch High Pull, 3 Power Snatch, & 3 Hang Squat Snatch (light weight)  

Working Set: ~30min to find 1RM Snatch 

Less than a month ago, when we all set about finding a 1RM clean, we talked about the mental aspect of heavy Olympic lifts in the following blog post:

In truth, the biggest obstacle to performing max effort Olympic lifts is overcoming the voice in your head telling you the weight is so heavy – so heavy it’s tough to pick up off the floor – that there’s no way you can get the weight onto your shoulders. We’ve all been there, we all have that voice. You’ve taught yourself how to lift – through multiple skill transfer exercises and clean-based complexes, you’ve ingrained the movement into your muscle-memory. The trick then becomes knowing, even telling yourself, that the weight’s going to be heavy in your hands as you start the lift, but to trust in the explosive power of your second pull to get the weight moving.

So while class on Sunday was a chance to find a max snatch, it was also a chance to conquer that little voice in your head – a physical PR that also requires a mental PR. However, once you’ve come to grips with the fact the weight is going to be heavy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the lift is going to go as planned. So what do you do when you’ve missed a lift, whether it’s a snatch, clean, squat, or push press? A few months ago, Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics wrote a nice little article about this very point entitled “When to Move on, and When to Punch Your Missed Lift in its Stupid Little Mouth.” Now, besides the fact that that’s an awesome title for an article, the following paragraph is particularly on point for our discussion:

The first consideration to make when trying to decide how to proceed after a missed lift is to determine if the miss was a mistake or failure. That is, did you make a technical error that you know how to correct, or did you physically fail to lift the weight? The two are completely different experiences, and they warrant different responses. If you miss a lift because you’re not strong enough to make it, the decision should be pretty obvious: stop. If you make a technical mistake and are confident you can correct it, generally it’s fine to repeat the set and make the correction. If you miss again, consider the possibility that you didn’t actually know what the problem is, or that it’s not entirely technical. If you’re tired, you have a considerable amount of work left in your training session, or your confidence in making the lift has dropped considerably, move on.

Of course, there are lots of other factors to consider such as sleep, nutrition, training load prior to the days lifting, etc., but the central take-away point is this: Heavy lifts not only require on-the-spot mental preparation, but a healthy dose of follow-up mental assessment. Think before the lift – think after the lift – just try not to think too much during the lift.

Group Met-Con: 
10min AMRAP of 
6 Pull-Ups, 9 HR Push-Ups, & 12 Goblet Squats 

Instead of following the snatches up with heavy squats (as we did with the cleans back in September), class put the barbells away and arranged themselves into groups of 3 for the day’s conditioning.

Groups had 10 minutes to complete as many rounds as they could, with each person in a group starting at one of the 3 exercises. Groups could rotate only after everyone had completed all the reps for the movement. Of course, there were plenty of scaling options:

  • Pull-Up scaling included chest to bar, regular kipping, jumping, or ring-rows (no band- or box-assisted pull-ups this time around); 
  • Push-Ups scaling included Hand-Release with hands on Plates, regular Hand-Release, and Hand-Release on the knees; 
  • Goblet Squats could be done with a kettlebell or dumbbell, but the weight was left up to the group. 

Thanks to everyone who came out for brunch, and especially to Erica & Steph for helping to organize. Not a bad way to close out our last regular week of classes. Yes, that said the last regular week of classes, at least at Balance.  Remember, starting this week, Tom and Chris will no longer be teaching Tuesday and Thursday night classes; Balance has tapped Jeff Jenkins to fill in on those evenings. However, Tom and Chris will continue to coach Sunday classes, including the 9am Element and 10am regular class. Also, we’re putting together a CFDC Field Trip for Sunday, October 28th, as the gym will be closed due to a church function, so be sure to set aside some afternoon time in addition to your CrossFit filled morning!



  1. Katie says:

    Thanks to Steph for letting me borrow her Smackdown socks! They make for a much cooler photo.

    I was feeling tired after being sick last week, so I stayed light on the snatches and focused on form, particularly on not pressing out. I worked up to 40#, which felt decent. I’m happy since my 2 RM is 45#. I’ll revisit this on a day when I’m well-rested.

    I worked with Kathy on the metcon. The ring rows actually felt challenging, which was good indicator of how tired I really was. Went to my knees for HR knee push-ups and used a 20# DB for the squats. My quads are feeling those today after a week off.

    I’m sure I’ll see everyone around the gym this week.

  2. Steph says:

    Awesome scare-crow picture, Katie! And yes, the socks helps 😉

    Really liked this post – aside from including an awesomely titled article, it addressed an issue that I think a lot of times I don’t give enough attention to, which is assess why I failed the lift. I am especially prone to automatically blame my right shoulder or hip when I don’t get a snatch instead of going deeper to figure out what other elements played a factor. I will definitely try to keep that in mind in the future.

    Also thoroughly enjoyed the 9am class to work on rope climb. It was nice to have a dedicated session on that one type of feet position for the climb. Looking forward to getting a little more practice on my own. Thanks, Chris!

  3. SaltyHat says:

    okay, so I *might* have bribed Steph for that comment by buying her bread pudding for her cheat meal. Hey, if it works, right?

    Seriously though, that is a great picture of Katie during her snatch work – full extension, elbows up nice and high. Katie’s been putting in a lot of time and attention to her lifts, and it really shows.

    Thanks to the ladies Sara and Steph for cramming in a workout between class and brunch yesterday, and apologies for all the tantrums when my lifts wouldn’t cooperate. Some days the bar puts up a helluva fight.

  4. Steph says:

    Wait, I was bribed? Also, you call that a bribe? If only I knew which comment you claim to have bribed me for, I’d take it down now for a bigger buyoff!

  5. Julia says:

    I like what Mike says – shut your brain off and just lift. I mean, in my case, the problem is sometimes turning things on, not the other way around… but I think it’s a good reminder to focus.

    Looking forward to the field trip!

  6. Dave Eckmann says:

    First off, that is one of the best looking CrossFit DC shirt models I’ve seen in quite some time.

    But, I really appreciated working with Jonathan and Daniel to just work on form, so we stuck to lower weights. I am definitely guilty of thinking too much while I lift, and I thank Chris for pointing that out to me. Something I’m looking forward to working on.

    Bummed about the change in schedule and that k-Wil and I are gonna miss the field trip–will be in Boston for a wedding.

    Great work everyone and really enjoyed brunch!

  7. Sara says:

    Great workout. I worked up to my snatch opener for the NOVA open. I was actually feeling pretty awful when I started my warm-up and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to even do the workout. As I got going I finally started to feel better.

    Thanks to Steph and Chris for keeping me honest and making sure we did the metcon and another thank you to you for baring with my slow ass throughout the whole 10 minutes.

  8. OMG, that pic of me is INSANE. What the heck!?!?

    Obviously, you can tell that I struggled on Sunday, but what can you expect after being gone for almost a month? Fun to be back, but man, am I sore…

    See you all again on Sunday!

  9. Dian says:

    It was great to work on snatches so quickly after Thursday’s class. I worked up to 70# and I did a few sets at 70. I missed my last attempt since the bar got out in front of me.

    The metcon was great. We did the ring rows and we used 30# for the DB squats. I worked consistently for 10 minutes…no stopping for water or my little time wasting breaks so I felt good about that.

    I won’t be in during the week anymore but I’ll see everyone on Sunday.

  10. Dian says:

    Actually, I think I did more than 70#. I have to check with Ami. Gosh, I have to bring a calculator to class and take better notes.