Now that our athlete can complete a power snatch from the hip, or possibly a full snatch from the hip, we move on. This is typically in the second session but sometimes takes longer. We move them to mid-thigh. Not quite to the knee yet. This step is all about getting the athlete to load the posterior chain slightly then return the bar back to the power position (or jumping position as they may have learned it). We prefer to do this in steps. – Stand tall with feet, grip, and posture set.
– Bend the knees and hips placing shoulders directly over bar.
– Slide the bar down, pushing the hips back, weight into the heels, chest out. (If they have done goodmorings with a pipe you can tell them to make this feel similar).
– Stop with the bar at mid-thigh.
– SLOWLY drag the bar back to the hip bringing the chest up, arms staying long and straight. The first couple of times they do this they will typically straighten their legs and deadlift it. You have to teach them that they should return to the jumping position with their hips and knees flexed.
– Once they can slide it down and drag it back to the hip returning to a good power position, they snatch it from the hip.
– At this point they are doing the same snatch (or clean) from the power position, but adding a down/up practice move.
– Once they consistently hit a good power position, you let them reduce the length of the pause at the hip until there is no pause at all and they are snatching (or cleaning from mid-thigh). The movement is still SLOW though. Slowly lowering the bar to the knee, slowly bringing it back to the hip, using the hip contact as their cue to drive and catch.
– Now, they can lower the bar more to the top of the knee an inch or two at a time until they are completing a solid hang snatch or clean from above the knee (shins vertical, weight in heels, bar making contact with the thigh, good posture with shoulder blades squeezed together, knees flexed and tracking correctly pressing slightly out, head up with eyes on the horizon).
The point of this part of the progression is simple. They have already learned the power position. Now they are learning how to find the power position in motion; the main thing that separates good lifters from novice lifters, or even misses and makes in great lifters.
Now that you have an athlete that can consistently find a solid hang position, as detailed above, your athlete is ready to go lower. This is where you have some options, you can either teach them to lower the bar to the floor from the hang, or you can teach them the setup and then practice finding from the hang position from the floor. I prefer to do both.. Either way, they are still not snatching or cleaning from the floor, yet.
– We have our athletes find their hang position, lower the bar to the floor maintaining their spine angle while allowing their weight to shift forward into the middle of the foot. This is their starting setup once they start lifting from the floor. If their spine angle changes, we start over. If they lose balance, we start over.
– Once they have shown some consistency going down into a proper starting position we start
changing directions and PUSHING the bar up the shin back to the top of the knee where they pause at the hang. If they nail it they continue out of the pause into a snatch.
Recap at this point:
– Athlete stands tall with the bar.
– Finds power position
– Finds hang position (above knee)
– Lowers to floor (mid-shin w/ empty bar)
– Drives up to hang position and pauses
– Completes snatch
Just as before when they were learning how to find the power position, the more consistently they find the hang position from the floort, the shorter the pause at the hang position gets. Until they are simply snatching from the floor with no pause. However, it’s important that even after you take the pausing it out, the lifter only moves as fast they can while hitting the positions correctly.
I didn’t mention how heavy the lifts and progressions should be done. It’s obvious that when working with beginners the weight should be light enough to promote good movement rather than hinder it. Does everything need to be done with a PVC, absolutely not, but they don’t need to max on each progression either. Use common sense, and give them enough weight to feel like they are accomplishing something but not enough to cause misses. As opposed to what some keyboard coaches would say, adding weight can be benificial to technique. We see it every day. ‘New guy’ is never going to know what a turn over into the bottom feels like if he only does it with a PVC pipe, but don’t throw on 60kg the first day either…
Stay Committed to the Process
We have used this same process to teach National Record holders and thousands of CrossFit athletes. Our gyms develop a culture in which all of our athletes embrace lifting, even our “soccer moms”. They do it safely, enjoy it, and lift more weight than others like them. When athletes come in from other gyms, we almost always run them through this same process so they can learn the lifts again.
It can be difficult when you have multiple coaches, but as long as they all know the process they can step in at any point and add value, even if they decide to take a step back or forward from where the other coaches had the athlete working.
I hope this helps you and your team further develop your own process for teaching the lifts and progressing clients. If any of what I mentioned here seems foreign, seek education from a high level coach or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Spencer about setting up a seminar at your gym. We love coaching athletes and love helping coaches even more!
Over the next couple of months I’ll be sharing more information about coaching the lifts. We will discuss how to properly use and program the lifts in a GPP program, how to run your own specialty course or seminar for your members, and we will also make a downloadable program available in the store that details our own specialty courses that you can use for your athletes.
For more information or questions about Power and Grace Coaching and Eduaction please contact me at email@example.com.