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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-31-2006, 04:49 AM   #1
Matt McCollum
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Introducing a buddy to Crossfit. We were discussing the O-lifts and, in particular, the snatch. He questioned the functionality of the snatch - "when are you ever going to lift something like that in real life?"

My reponse was that I couldn't think on an example when you would, but it's a great exercise to develop core body strength, balance, flexibility, and power/explosiveness in the legs & hips.

Not sold and follow-up question - "Aren't there better ways to do that?" I don't really have an answer for "better" or not, but I'm sure there are other ways to develop that, but the Variety principle means that we should do all of them.

Any help better answering these questions is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


(Message edited by Matt Mcc on May 31, 2006)

(Message edited by Matt Mcc on May 31, 2006)

(Message edited by Matt Mcc on May 31, 2006)
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:02 AM   #2
Mike Burgener
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ask him: such as??? then take him to my site: and on to gallery. there you will see a couple of young kids lifting a small toy and pressing the toy overhead. this is play of course but one never knows.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:21 AM   #3
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anyone who doesn't immediately recognize the applicability to the o-lifts probably moves poorly and will end up in the hospital at the age of 32 waiting for back surgery. they are simply the most efficient way of moving heavy things from the floor to overhead. that's it. of course in real life, not everything conveniently has a barbell handle, but if you have any dose of brain, you can find other things to grab.

here's an example: lifting something (say a heavily loaded backpack) from the ground to the roof your car. you can clean that thing to your shoulders (albeit with more of a back lean than you would with a barbell), and then jerk it overhead, and slide it onto the roof. otherwise you can get a ladder and stand there while someone hands it to you, probably hurts him/herself, and then hurt yourself leaning over in some awkward position to grab it.

so no, there are no better ways to lift something from the floor to overhead (barring use of external mechanical assistance). the clean and jerk and snatch work from 1lb to hundreds of pounds. all other methods fail at much lower weights. if yiour friend wants a demo, go grab a bunch of heavy crap from the junkyard and see which one of you can lift the most of it to an overhead position. if you can do the o-lifts with any reasonable proficiency, it'll be quite clear.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:36 AM   #4
Anthony Bainbridge
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Even if you don't want to lift things overhead, the extension required on the oly lifts will help develop the power required in every single sport on the planet.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:37 AM   #5
Paul Findley
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How about swinging an axe or sledgehammer?
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:36 AM   #6
Roger Harrell
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I snatch stuff all the time. I'm not sure how he can possibly think that movement isn't useful. If timed properly two people can take a very heavy object overhead from either end of it with coordinated snatches. Much easier to then carry the object over rough terrain.
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:37 AM   #7
bill fox
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Maybe there's 2 issues

1) Are the BB Oly lifts "special" and 2)are the "movements" (ground to overhead/extension)in the lifts fundemental to power development?

My answer is no and yes.

Throw a heavy med ball or sandbag backward overhead, snatch a heavy KB etc...and you will ingrain the same power extension. An argument could be made that the greater variety of objects you use, and the more variation in the path (rotational for instance) the more "functional" applications you're training, but that's secondary. The argument can of course also be made the weights attainable with the Oly lifts make them best too. I think that would be Coach's view as per our previous, ah...discussion.

IMO the Oly lifts are right up there on the list of the best things you can do, but I don't think that a person who doesn't do them, but does those movements, heavy, fast and hard, per se suffers.


Just a thought re: actual lifting. I've never seen anyone lift anything heavy, other then a bar, by squat cleaning it. Idiots look like someone doing a SLDL, and the smarter folks look like a strongman lifting an atlas stone, squat done and pick it up, hip pop it to the shoulder. The bar makes it artificially easy to grip a big weight. A 300 lb "object" usually needs a hug. Just a thought re functionality.


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Old 05-31-2006, 08:49 AM   #8
Jeremy Jones
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The snatch is a compound movement that utilizes many different lifting motions. In whole, the movement is not as likely to be used in the functional world as its parts. The only time the lift would be used in whole would be to lift something with reasonable weight from the ground to full extension overhead as FAST as you can (not as common as just doing the deadlift, or Overhead squat portion).

The compound movement also has the interesting side effect of creating an excellent athlete. The flexibility, strength, explosive power, and stability required to do the snatch properly directly translates to superior fitness, performance and health.

There is also evidence that compound lifts such as the snatch provide a hormonal response for muscle growth and recovery than ‘sectional’ lifts.

Plus: it also scares the bejesus out of gym goers and neighbors, so that, in itself, is a bonus.

(Message edited by jjones on May 31, 2006)
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:38 AM   #9
Neal Winkler
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I work at Home Depot, and my job is basically lifting stuff all day. I've snatched, clean & (push) jerked, done thrusters ect.

One night I was outside and there were pallets of shingles stacked 3 high. One of the bundles had fallen from the top. As you may know, bundles of shingles are long, about as long as a snatch grip, actually. So, to make a long story short, I grabbed that bundle from both ends, deadlifted it off the ground, as it passed my knees I rebent my knees bringing the bundle to my hips, then jumped and shrugged, power snatching it over my head. From there I held it over my head and nugged it back on top. Henceforth, a light showneth itself from heaven, and a chorus of angels sang the praised of the real world snatch!

Thrusters: I loaded a large roll of carpet into a ladies truck. She then decided that she wanted the tailgate up. So, I bent underneath the carpet in a front squat position, and then stood up. As I reached full extension I further pressed the carpet into the air so that the tailgate could be lifted.

All these crazy moves we do, they actually happen - really.

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Old 05-31-2006, 12:22 PM   #10
Stanley Kunnathu
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Too funny: Henceforth, a light showneth itself from heaven, and a chorus of angels sang the praised of the real world snatch!

Moving a buddy's stuff was much easier because almost everything big I moved overhead. Getting it overhead in one move was a better strategy because I can't curl 300lb(?) sofa bed.

One piece animal, that's enough for me.
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