Today's Workout: 010313

15 minutes Hang Snatch technique work.


3 rounds for time of:

15 C2B Pull-ups
12 Burpee Over-the-Box Jumps 24/20″
9 Deadlifts 275/185#

We talk a lot about MObility, but STAbility is just as important. When a joint should move more, we work on it; when a joint should stay STABLE, we work on it. You'll notice in our warmups that we hold positions for 10-20 seconds sometimes.

This is called isotonic strengthening. You can hold a weight more easily than you can move it, because joint leverage is maximized (you don't have to overcome poor joint angles.) In the 1960s and 1970s, a certain school of thought had its practitioners holding isotonic positions as a means of resistance training. For example, one hand resisting another. While this style is overdue for its return to fashion (the typical cycle of fitness fads is 10 +/- 2 years) it's rarely used because strengthening a joint in one position doesn't make it stronger in any other. For instance, holding a dumbbell in your hand with your elbow bent at 90 degrees doesn't make your biceps stronger at any other angle.

In the case of landing a jerk, or a snatch, rehearsing the 'catch' position WILL strengthen the muscles, tendons and joints in that position. That's a good thing, but the value is even broader. Programming movement and position to be automatic is a form of neuromuscular facilitation – when I do THIS, my body goes HERE – and stems largely from the Russian method of teaching movement. Tsatsouline referred to the effect as, "Greasing the groove" – a phrase you'll hear repeated often in our classes – and old-time lifters sometimes refer to it as 'muscle memory.' If you practice correctly and repeatedly, your muscles 'learn' to do things the right way.

Sticking a proper jerk landing; sitting in the bottom of a snatch; holding a rack position – these aren't comfortable because the command you're consciously giving to your body doesn't match with the body's preferred (learned) movement pattern. Let's change that. 

Old habits die hard – consciously and physically – but we'll use every tool at our disposal to beat them to death.