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James Frederick 08-21-2015 11:05 AM

Bottom of Snatch
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Hey guys! I'm having some major issues with the catch position in the bottom of my snatch. I think my shoulders are internally rotated as you can see from the picture. I don't have the flexibility to "show my armpits" and even in my OHS I'm still not able to do that. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to improve this position? Also, I have a bit of scoliosis which is why one shoulder is lower than the other.

Thanks in advance!

Marshall Flagg 08-21-2015 04:58 PM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
Why do you think internally rotated shoulders are bad? Your pic looks pretty good to me

IMHO one should strive to internally rotate the shoulders in snatch and jerk. Instead of showing your armpits, show your antecubital (front of elbow).

Just my humble opinion based on what I have been taught by very reputable WL types.

Heck, grab a PVC and go overhead with a clean grip and rotate externally and internally and tell me which one locks your entire shoulder area/scaps down

Marshall Flagg 08-21-2015 05:21 PM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
Not a snatch but check it out


David Meverden 08-21-2015 05:55 PM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
I have always been taught the "show me your armpits" cue and in my experience it does create a more stable position. Most Olympic caliber weightlifters also catch with a fairly externally rotated shoulder position, as you can see in [URL=""]this image search.[/URL] (WFS)

As for how to get the mobility for an externally rotated snatch position you should hit up mobility drills. Kelly Starrett is great, these two might help:
He's got hundreds more, so if those don't work hit the shoulders from different angles. (Both of those links should be WFS except perhaps for minor profanity? I forget)

Just saw this one from Donnie Thompson about external rotation. Also might help, though it's focused more on getting into a low bar back squat position.
[url][/url] (WFS except for perhaps profanity.)

James Frederick 08-22-2015 04:16 PM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
Thanks for the links! I'll definitely check them out. . . I've heard arguments for and against externally rotated shoulders and it seems like most tend towards external rotation being more stable. I'd like to at least try it to see if it helps with stability but again, I can't get into that position even if I tried. I also can't do a one-arm overhead squat either due to poor shoulder rotation. . .

Keith Miller 08-22-2015 05:45 PM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
Internal v. external rotation in the shoulders is going to be somewhat determined by your shoulder joint. There's only going to be so much you can do to improve it. You'll see lots of examples of each. The Chinese WL'ers are dominant and they tend to have more internal rotation. Same with most Europeans.

In my opinion, external rotation give the elbows more chance to bend when you catch the bar overhead and then lockout, which is no-lift in competition for press-out.

Richard Colon 08-23-2015 09:54 AM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
I don't know enough details about the exact mechanics of the shoulder (internal vs. external), etc, so I'll let a PT, Doc, or someone like K-Star drive home that point, but one thing that I have learned and now KNOW, without doubt is..

You want your elbows pointed BACK (behind you), not down in Snatch. That sounds a lot like it leads towards internal rotation to me. This is no longer them vs. us or he said vs. she said. It is how it is. The best Olympic lifters in the world - period, have their elbows back. Think about a 400lb Snatch with elbows down, which is typically what happens with armpits foreward are now using a lot of bicep to hold that bar without a break in the elbow.

I train with an Eastern European O-lifter (he isn't just an acquaintance, its 5hrs a week). A 200+ KG C&J, 400 lb Snatch guy that has been through all the circles of training with Russians, 20 years, strength camps, international competition, etc. As he says, does, teaches and coaches and when I watch him in action, it more than makes sense - we, Crossfit, America, even coaches here might do it this way but the best in the world, its elbows back and just about internal rotation. It is no longer a debate to me.

[URL=""][B][COLOR="Red"]Here[/COLOR][/B][/URL] ya go. NOT WFS because of music in the background, but I'm a fan of the Cal Strength guys (they make it all entertaining). Here is Oleksiy Torokhtiy. He won GOLD in 2012. Watch at around 1:45, with the guy doing drop snatches. Watch for the corrections. Looks a lot like he is NOT trying to move elbows down in any way. Elbows down is the result of a lot of focus on armpits forward, external rotation, etc, which, while of course is only my OPINION, is completely wrong. And rather than what I've read, heard, etc, training with the people I do, I've seen firsthand why its wrong.

Do it how you will, but give it a shot in working more towards the internal rotation that you have. It may help..

SP 08-25-2015 05:05 AM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
Externally rotating the humerus puts the elbow at greater risk of dislocation if the bar falls backwards and you pull forward. For this reason I encourage internally rotating the humerus while keeping the scaps pulled together.

Dare Vodusek 08-27-2015 05:56 AM

Re: Bottom of Snatch
[url][/url] not sure if WFS, but worth a read

[QUOTE]7. The Elbows

One of the things that has been taking some thinking about is the position of the elbows. Ilya said to turn the elbows back in the overhead position. This is different than what I have been taught and have thought in the past. After it was brought up again, Zygmunt said that it isn’t so much about the direction, but more about everything being turned on. I must also note that they did not teach to reach up with the shoulders in the overhead position, but the shoulders were again, turned on, but in a more neutral position. While Ilya’s elbows are turned slightly back, his shoulders are not opened up in a way that we see when someone’s chest is falling forward. He still has a VERY upright posture. This posture was talked about and praised extensively and I believe plays a huge role in the ability to turn the elbows back in the catch. I still think you cannot turn them back if the chest is falling forward, but while an upright posture is maintained it shows to be effective.

8. The Wrists

This goes hand in hand with the elbow position above. They teach a straight wrist, and not an extended wrist while the bar is overhead. The reason being that it puts excessive pressure on the wrist and elbow. I originally taught a straight wrist as well, but over time I started being more relaxed on this position. Looking at the overall picture, I think the extended wrist allows the bar to sit back a little, but is something that can be better managed with a more upright posture. Pretty sure world records have been set either way though.

This is basicly the opposite as "crossfit" is teaching us with "show me your armpits", but that is oly lifting and this is crossfit.

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