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Old 10-08-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
David Finney
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Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

SO, I had always thought prior injuries have kept me from having good OHS and snatch form. I had accepted that my shoulder mobility would never be where it needs to be for these lifts, and I was ok with it.

However, after doing more research today, I think that I may be able to work around the shoulder issues with some increased flexibility in my ankles and hips. Does anyone on this board have any "test" that I could do to see if my hips and ankles are where the need to be for the overhead lifts?
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:13 PM   #2
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

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hips and ankles are where the need to be for the overhead lifts?
ATG BS and FS without Oly shoes. See how low you can go without excessive foot turnout. Ideally no more than 10 degrees.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
Christopher Walls
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

Why do you think your shoulder mobility is not where it supposed to be?

What helped me was freeing my ankle from achilles tendon tightness (wfs) and I found the Pigeon Stretch (wfs), but to where your stretching leg is on a table, line up spine with knee and when you fold yourself like a taco shell.

It may help to put a 5# plate under your ankles and perform the movement with a PVC pipe to maybe see where your problem areas are in your hips.

Last edited by Christopher Walls; 10-10-2013 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
David Finney
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

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Originally Posted by Christopher Walls View Post
Why do you think your shoulder mobility is not where it supposed to be?

What helped me was freeing my ankle from achilles tendon tightness (wfs) and I found the Pigeon Stretch (wfs), but to where your stretching leg is on a table, line up spine with knee and when you fold yourself like a taco shell.

It may help to put a 5# plate under your ankles and perform the movement with a PVC pipe to maybe see where your problem areas are in your hips.
I had previously thought it was a shoulder issue because I kept pitching forward when I got low into the squat. I figured that my shoulders were not able to rotate far enough to keep the weight over my body. However, after watching myself in the mirror, I think the problem is that my torso is leaning to far forward.

What I'm thinking (and I'm not expert, so this may be wrong) is that if I had more flexibility in my hips/ankles, I could shift my hips and legs further forward, which would allow my torso to be more upright, which would solve the shoulder issue.

I'm a longtime runner/cyclist, and I think that has given me still ankles. I'm also strapped to a desk all day, which doesn't help my hip mobility. I'm flexible enough to get into the whole, but I have to lean forward when I'm there. If I do a goblet squat, I can comfortably go A2G with an upright torso.

Should I just start stretching my ankles/hips?
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
Jeff Enge
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

I think you're on the right track with that, David. How vertical you can get your torso through the ROM of the squat is much more important than how far back your shoulders can rotate and support the bar.

If you base your OHS/snatch recieving position on leaning forward and torquing your arms back to support the bar, you are going to end up really bothering your shoulders, not to mention not being able to lift as much.

Try the squatting-with-heels-on-plates thing and see how that feels. If it helps (and it will) and you are interested in lifting and not adverse to spending a bit of money, get yourself some lifting shoes if you haven't already.

Just stretching probably isn't going to do it as there is an element of being comfortable in that position (like in my avatar pic ) but hanging out in an really ATG squat position for 10 minutes or so a day is a good start. You can also do things like pause squats or snatch balance with a hold at the bottom.

Last edited by Jeff Enge; 10-10-2013 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:31 PM   #6
Bryan Spillman
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

I've been battling with Overhead Squats for 2 years +

I started not being able to get proper positioning with PVC pipe, that led me to research and I found that I needed some serious hamstring, calf, and ankle mobility work. Then as those got better, I did some work at strengthening my core through heavy front squats, etc. All in all it has been an eye opening journey, I am still not great and have good & bad days. I have increased from doing the 45 lb. bar in January to being able to do 175 lbs. for reps.

I was doing a "hey look at me" video for my coach that travels a lot, safe for viewing. First time doing anything over 115 for any reps.

Safe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsYiWUJAgqw

Either way, start at the bottom(basics) and keep grinding!
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:13 AM   #7
David Finney
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
I think you're on the right track with that, David. How vertical you can get your torso through the ROM of the squat is much more important than how far back your shoulders can rotate and support the bar.

If you base your OHS/snatch recieving position on leaning forward and torquing your arms back to support the bar, you are going to end up really bothering your shoulders, not to mention not being able to lift as much.

Try the squatting-with-heels-on-plates thing and see how that feels. If it helps (and it will) and you are interested in lifting and not adverse to spending a bit of money, get yourself some lifting shoes if you haven't already.

Just stretching probably isn't going to do it as there is an element of being comfortable in that position (like in my avatar pic ) but hanging out in an really ATG squat position for 10 minutes or so a day is a good start. You can also do things like pause squats or snatch balance with a hold at the bottom.
Well this worked very well. I stood on some plates, and suddenly I was able to OH squat very easily. I had previously struggled with 95 lbs, but with the plates, I was easily able to do multiple reps of 135. I was also amazed at how much more comfortable I was in the hole. I guess this means I may need to ditch the minimal shoes for the oly/squat days.

So I assume that I need to work on hip and ankle flexibility correct? Stretch the calfs/Achilles tendon, hip flexors/abductors?
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:45 AM   #8
Brandon Charleson
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

I'm in the same boat David! Been battling with OHS and keeping an upright torso for a couple years. 335 front squat, 265 press, 400 back squat, but have issues OH squat more than 135. Extremely annoying!

So I've been working on behind-the-neck press, snatch balance and has seemed to help a little. Still a work in progress for me. You're not alone!
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Old 10-15-2013, 12:26 PM   #9
Christopher Walls
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

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Originally Posted by David Finney View Post
Well this worked very well. I stood on some plates, and suddenly I was able to OH squat very easily. I had previously struggled with 95 lbs, but with the plates, I was easily able to do multiple reps of 135. I was also amazed at how much more comfortable I was in the hole. I guess this means I may need to ditch the minimal shoes for the oly/squat days.

So I assume that I need to work on hip and ankle flexibility correct? Stretch the calfs/Achilles tendon, hip flexors/abductors?
No you dont need to ditch the minimal shoes, I can OHS no problem in Nike Free Run 2s. Yes, I would keep stretching your hips/ankles. Be careful going high weight on these too fast.
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:31 PM   #10
Russell Milligan
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Re: Flexibility for OHS and Snatch

Overhead squats are getting REALLY frustrating for me, and I think it's a range of motion problem that I haven't the vaguest idea of how to fix.

I have the same pitch forward problem the OP mentioned. When our trainer is giving me tips, I can't fix one part of my form without ruining another. Chest high? Heels come up. Drive those heels down? Torso leans forward. Heels down and chest high? I start falling backwards (or can't get my knees anywhere near 90 degrees). I feel that the sticking point is in my feet/ankles.

The other day we were doing thrusters with a plate instead of a bar, and our trainer noticed that my squats were looking perfect. I was like "Yeah, with the weight in front of me like that to counter-balance, I can keep my heels down and my chest high, if I do this with a bar or PVC pipe overhead, I fall backwards." Similarly, my front squats look pretty good too, but I can't do an OHS to save my life and it's driving me insane.

I've been stretching out my calves a lot, rolling them out on a lacross ball, and trying to find some ankle stretches I can do at home, but haven't come up with anything that I feel is helping any. Any more advice?
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