Bench Press 5-5-5-5-5
In front of a clock set for 12 minutes:
1 minute of double-unders
1 minute of 50-lb. dumbbell snatches
2 minutes of double-unders
2 minutes of 50-lb. dumbbell snatches
3 minutes of double-unders
3 minutes of 50-lb. dumbbell snatches
You can alternate arms on the dumbbell snatches as often (or as little) as you like. We’re after repetitive hip extension: your arm is just a whiplike extension of your torso, which follows the lever created by your hip. Critics of repetitive weightlifting movements like the snatch and clean and jerk fail to view the larger picture: it isn’t the name, or the history of the lift, that matters. It’s what we’re asking the body to do: repetitive hip extension with enough force to move an external object.
Claiming that “high-rep snatches might cause injury” is akin to saying, “Volkswagons might cause injury.” It ain’t the name, it’s how you drive. Correcting posture in the torso during repetitive snatches doesn’t require more snatches: it requires an exercise that will give immediate feedback when your form degrades. The dumbbell snatch is one of those.
Moving things from ground to overhead repetitively is a fact of nature. The snatch is the most efficient way to move large loads the full distance quickly. It’s done as sport by some, but the sport doesn’t own the exercise. High-rep snatches and cleans are simply an efficient way to produce a lot of work in a short time period. We don’t use them every day, but most laborers DO. When is a snatch not a snatch? When it’s a bale of hay flying onto a trailer (hint: turn your back to the trailer to throw it higher.) When is a clean and jerk not a clean and jerk? When it’s a pail of sap being poured into a boiling arch, or a block of wood being loaded onto a splitter, or a snowball being perched atop two others to make a snowman.
Large loads, long distances, quickly and safely: that’s what we’re about. We use the snatch and clean as conditioning tools because nothing else works as well. Technical difficulty is increased on the one-hand snatch, and load decreases out of necessity: if you’re out of an efficient position today, you’ll know right away. Pay attention. Learn something that will carry over into a less-technical movement later. Don’t just work hard: get better.
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