Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Progress in the snatch!

Last week I finally repeated my best snatch ever, lifting 70 kg in a single, seamless movement, above my head. A puny number for those steeped in the art and lore of weightlifting, but a significant milestone for me, as the last time I performed such modest feat of strength was about 24 years ago, at the tender age of 20, in my 2nd year of college (the last year I consistently trained w weights for maximal strength, as afterwards I focused more on rugby, which demanded less peak power production, and which led me to less consistent training and finally to leave barbells altogether).

When I started lifting again, about 7 years ago (being 37 YO), I couldn't even dream of regaining the strength level of my youth, and back then I thought just being able to DL (thus, lift from the floor to about hip level) what back then I clean & jerked (thus could put violently over my head) would be just the shit.

Three years after that (40 YO) I was deadlifting 100. Two years more and I DL'ed 180 (the big breakthrough came, obviously, when I learned how to train for steady, consistent, strength gains, thanks mostly to "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe and 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler), and I was C&J'ing above 80 kg, and wondering if I would get to 100 before ripe old age took away most of my type II muscle fibers, rending me unable to move explosively overhead anything heavier than a toothpick. But the snatch always posed a significant challenge, as it seemed to be much less dependant on brute force, and much more on subtler and harder to develop qualities, like speed, coordination and even, dare I say it... grace.

So while my brutest and most basic lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift) soared my advances in the C&J were slower, and in the snatch nonexistent... until now. A mix of pure accumulation (snatching two and three times a week, alternating volume orientes sessions -but still based around singles and doubles between 80 & 90%- w intensity oriented sessions, going to a daily max), better technique (so yep, seeing lots of videos in the interwebz, plus reading a ton of articles may pay off, if you are willing to, in addition to passively watching and reading, put the ton of work required to actually apply what you learn) and quite some mobility work (to be able to better adopt the right position from which to pull efficiently).

I'm not saying that technique wise (or even speed wise) I'm anywhere near where I want to be, as my form is still somthing quite ugly to look at, but you put in the hard work with a totally different mindset when you see results coming and that effort paying off... next lofty goal: a bodyweight snatch! (that requires a modest additional improvement of 20 kg, when the last three years have taken me from 50 to 70... but hey, if you want to reach the moon, aim for the stars)

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