Saturday, April 17, 2010

Snatch the Best?

My Buddy Roguethrower sent me this e-mail. I was so impressed with it that I had to post it. I'm sorry about being out of the game with posts, the working life makes writing a post very difficult. I promise to get more content!

Hey, I was recently analyzing my strength areas, and my thoughts hearkened back to your post about snatch.  I thought I'd present my opinion and see what you thought about it.

I'm starting to agree that- despite the fact that strength is required in multiple areas- the snatch is the most important lift.  Not necessarily being able to do a good snatch (learning snatch technique for discus is like learning chess to play Final Fantasy) so much as capability of producing raw power.  My rationale is quite different from yours- in your blog post you mentioned positions, and I respectfully disagree, although the result is the same- we both believe in the snatch.
My belief is that the detorquing of the core is the most critical in the discus.  I was looking at my videos of standing 2k vs 1k and noticed that my arm speed increase was only marginal, and my legs moved just as well in the 2k as 1k.  The reason my 1k is 50 feet further is because my middle uncoiled far faster, leading me to understand that my weakness was my middle- abs and back.  I looked at overhead views of Schult and Riedel in slow motion and found that Schult's arm doesn't even get ahead of his shoulders until after release, debunking the notion of bench press (although you still need at least some).
Anyways, the abs and the back unwinding, with a point so close to the fulcrum (spine) in a 3rd-class lever (force between load and fulcrum), require great force to move a longer lever- spine to hand.  Thus, the deadlift, clean, and snatch are prime for this in that they use back strength.  The clean has an advantage over the deadlift in that ab strength is required to get under the bar.  I believe the snatch has an advantage over both the clean and the deadlift in that the catch requires not only getting under the bar, but stopping the weight from going back.  The clean doesn't have this as much.  The aspect that pushes the snatch over the edge is the fact that it is faster than the clean.  Moving 150 kg faster vs 190 kg slower... the 150 has a tiny bit less force production in most cases- in the snatch due to position the pull is marginally more powerful than the clean, but because it's faster, it more resembles the discus movement.  I'm pretty sure there are people who can clean massive weights due to raw strength from being able to deadlift 750 lbs, but their snatch is drastically decreased from their clean.
There you have it- the snatch is best among standard lifts because it utilizes just as much back but more abs than the others, and the back is moved at the closest time/speed to that of an actual throw.  That's my take at least.

Don't wanna draw workout conclusions here.  For people who don't train with the snatch, the snatch will test who has the best tools.  But someone who snatches more due to fantastic technique isn't necessarily going to be better.  Thus a study by Tom "discusdoc" Fahey of 7 Olympic medallists or something- can give you the info if you'd like- showed that the strongest correlation was bench press, and second-strongest was deadlift, because deadlift uses back, whereas while clean and snatch use the back and abs more applicably, their technique is very dependent on practice.

That's my thoughts, wanna see what you think.

Take care,
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at


Anonymous said...

Nice to see that you are back. :)

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