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View Full Version : DC - Snatch Balance and Mid-hang Snatch


Brian Lawyer
02-04-2009, 11:06 AM
My coach suggested doing some snatch balances and hang snatches. So I went through the CA WOD archives and found the below WOD that included both. Any digital coaching advice would be appreciated.

**All links WFS**

Power Snatch + Snatch Balance + Mid-hang Snatch
Set 1 - 120lbs
Set 2 - 120lbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxi3qxVhAdk
Set 3 - 120lbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWCWGcclDLA
Set 4 - 125lbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvxB2lONK-8
Set 5 - 125lbs

Power Clean + Power Jerk + Split Jerk
5 x 185lbs - No video

Brian Lawyer
02-04-2009, 11:21 AM
For my snatch balances I was trying to start with locked straight legs and simply initiate the movement via an ankle extension. I know Coach Everett and the demo vids show a slightly different variation of the snatch balance where the movement is initiated with a slight dip almost like a jerk. Based on advice from my coach I opted just for the ankle extension so as to avoid making the movement into a snatch jerk.

I don't know if there is a right or wrong way to do the snatch balance.....

Emily Mattes
02-04-2009, 01:19 PM
You do kind of a cross between a snatch balance and a heaving snatch balance (that's how I refer to them anyway). With a strict snatch balance I just drop straight down under the bar, no push at all. Heaving snatch balance, you give a little push to get the bar up just a tad before dropping under it. My only concern with initiating with the ankles is it may train you to start coming off your heels too early in the pull and catching the lift forward. I'm no expert, though.

The starting position for your hang looks pretty good, but your bar path swings out quite a bit. Keep it closer to your body. Remember that you are allowed to let your arms bend as the bar travels upward, you just don't want to actually pull with them.

Brian Lawyer
02-04-2009, 01:42 PM
... you just don't want to actually pull with them.

Thanks Emily! that is good critique. I hadn't noticed, until you said, that my arms were swinging out.

Regarding your one point above, aren't we at some point supposed to use our arms to pull under the bar, i.e. the third pull on the snatch. Or were you just talking in terms of the second pull that I don't want to be pulling with my arms.

Derek Maffett
02-04-2009, 03:52 PM
I see what you're trying but keep in mind that the ankle extension you're using here is different from the ankle extension you'd see in a normal lift. It normally occurs with weight over the heels (dynamically), but you're coming up and forward onto your ankles. Your COG should stay over the heels, so you're actually changing the mechanics of the lift, causing more significant problems in the future.

Besides that, the snatch balances looked good. Try for full depth on the squat, though.

Derek Maffett
02-04-2009, 03:58 PM
Regarding your one point above, aren't we at some point supposed to use our arms to pull under the bar, i.e. the third pull on the snatch. Or were you just talking in terms of the second pull that I don't want to be pulling with my arms.

She means no pulling during the first and second pulls. Third pull - all greens are go, pull the levers, bat the hatches, raise the curtains, strike up the band, and get things started on the pulling thingy. And subsequently pressing thingy because this is a snatch.

Brian Lawyer
02-04-2009, 04:24 PM
I see what you're trying but keep in mind that the ankle extension you're using here is different from the ankle extension you'd see in a normal lift. It normally occurs with weight over the heels (dynamically), but you're coming up and forward onto your ankles. Your COG should stay over the heels, so you're actually changing the mechanics of the lift, causing more significant problems in the future.

Besides that, the snatch balances looked good. Try for full depth on the squat, though.

Derek, thanks for responding again. You appear to be one of my regulars with good insight as usual!!

Lot's of random thoughts to follow...

I think I understand what you are saying about ankle extension but I also believe you are thinking in terms of that I am doing the ankle extension in order to somehow mimic or practice that which occurs in an actual snatch or C&J which I don't think is the case.

I believe my coach was having me initiate the movement with ankle extension simply as a means to create a slight separation from the bar in order to drop into the snatch recieving position, as opposed, to the more dramatic dip and go that is shown on the demo vids (i.e. like a mini-jerk or "heave" as Emily described). So like emily was saying, it is kind of an cross between the two (i.e. a middle progression) of simply dropping into a recieving position and doing the heaving version.

So with that in mind, do you still think I am looking at problems in the future? If so, do you think Greg Everett's method of Snatch balance with the mini-jerk to create separation is better or should I go with Emily's suggestion of simply dropping into a recieving position.

I am thinking for this particular routine, Power Snatch + Snatch Balance + MH Snatch, I would opt for the dipping or heaving snatch balance so that I can use a weight that is still challenging for the power snatch and hang snatch. I will probably have to use lighter weight if I was simply going to drop into a recieving position.

Brian Lawyer
02-04-2009, 04:44 PM
OK, I did some more research on CA exercises and Demos. Here are the snatch balance variations according to Mr. Everett.

Snatch balance - according to the video description, this is as Emily described, simply holding the bar racked on your back with snatch grip and dropping into a recieving position. But the demo vid and Mr. Everett's book both say to initiate this with a slight dip and drive, followed by the foot transition.

Heaving Snatch balance - here there is apparently no foot transition. you start and end with feet in recieving position. This exercise is still initiated by the dip and drive under the bar but your feet never leave the ground.

Pressing snatch balance - This is the same as the heaving snatch but without the dip drive to initiate the movement. So feet in receiving position and no foot transition and you simply press under the bar.

Brian DeGennaro
02-04-2009, 05:11 PM
A snatch balance is simply popping the bar off the shoulder just to unload it and drop under it as fast as possible in an attempt to catch it at arms length in the bottom of a squat. The difference between heaving and just regular snatch balance is the aggressiveness. For a true snatch balance you want to pull yourself under the bar with the same speed you would a snatch.

Emily Mattes
02-04-2009, 05:56 PM
Here is where different exercises get different names depending on the coach and what they like to see. The way I've heard snatch balances/drop snatches used is if there is any push at all, it's a heaving snatch balance. Strict snatch balance is just drop under that sucker and pop your arms up. Pressing snatch balance is going down slowly while pressing the bar up.

So using these terms, this is my understanding of the exercise you should use depending on your needs:

If you just need speed under the bar, do the strict, no push snatch balance. It's tougher. I think mainly for psychological reasons, because sometimes I'm ready to go and my brain says "What, you want to drop down with this weight on your back? I don't think so! We're staying right here!" Then it becomes incredibly difficult to force myself to drop.

If you need to get more comfortable with having more weight over your head, use a heaving-type snatch balance, as you'll be able to put up more weight with it.

If you need more overhead strength, do the pressing snatch balance.

Derek Maffett
02-04-2009, 07:07 PM
I think I understand what you are saying about ankle extension but I also believe you are thinking in terms of that I am doing the ankle extension in order to somehow mimic or practice that which occurs in an actual snatch or C&J which I don't think is the case.

I believe my coach was having me initiate the movement with ankle extension simply as a means to create a slight separation from the bar in order to drop into the snatch recieving position, as opposed, to the more dramatic dip and go that is shown on the demo vids (i.e. like a mini-jerk or "heave" as Emily described). So like emily was saying, it is kind of an cross between the two (i.e. a middle progression) of simply dropping into a recieving position and doing the heaving version.

I realize you're trying to just elevate the bar a little, but your COG is shifting forward along with the ankle extension. It might not be necessary to shift forward just because the ankle extension is all on its own, but it seems considerably more difficult and perhaps coming up on pointless to extend the ankles dynamically without shifting COG forward.

I suppose it makes some sense if you consider that the moment the heels lift, your COG is driving you down with your ankles not cooperating with the descent. Kind of like if you were to cut two adjacent corner legs off the Eiffel Tower. The other legs refuse to buckle and allow the tower to fall straight, so the COG in the middle of the tower (or over the heel) would make the tower fall the only way it can - in the human parallel, that would be backwards, and it's exactly what was happening to me when I attempted it.

Okay, now let's take the Eiffel Tower's two remaining legs, hinge joint them, and set the whole thing down on the ground. If the two legs (ankles) start to rise up extremely quickly, the tower would just pop into the air and gravity wouldn't be able to cause much of that backwards tumble. (Note that we're also imagining that the two hinged legs have been slid closer to the middle of the Eiffel Tower.) Now, if the tower were raised slowly, it would fall because gravity affects the whole thing.

Now we add 100,000 tons of anti-matter underneath the tower. The explosive force sends it sky-high, but the hinged feet underneath the tower push up at that time. Free of much of the weight of the tower, the feet can push up powerfully instead of using a slow elevating force. The feet would then help more for high power production and would likely not unbalance the tower much if at all. Furthermore, when the tower starts to fall down (as it already kind of was when the feet were just slowly raising the tower), the feet will be able to fully retract and thus avoid unbalancing the tower.

Unfortunately, the tower is made of metal and cannot squat. It lands with locked knees and falls apart. Which probably isn't a bad thing because a two-legged Eiffel Tower exposed to large quantities of anti-matter isn't of very much use to anyone. Even the French.

Make sense?

So with that in mind, do you still think I am looking at problems in the future? If so, do you think Greg Everett's method of Snatch balance with the mini-jerk to create separation is better or should I go with Emily's suggestion of simply dropping into a recieving position.

Personally, I wouldn't try to use ankle extension if that's all I'm using. It works fine in conjunction with knee and hip extension, but it sounds problematic on its own and you seem to be taking the weight-shifty-forward-problem thing. You can always make use of a dip/jerk with less power. It will definitely be a problem if you get into the habit of shifting your COG forward.

I am thinking for this particular routine, Power Snatch + Snatch Balance + MH Snatch, I would opt for the dipping or heaving snatch balance so that I can use a weight that is still challenging for the power snatch and hang snatch. I will probably have to use lighter weight if I was simply going to drop into a recieving position.

Ew, that's programming. Ask Greg. Heavier sounds good.

...

Allen Yeh
02-05-2009, 04:16 AM
For the mid hang snatch portion when I was down at Leo's place in November he had us doing it a different way for hang snatches.

Instead of holding the mid hang position for a few seconds, we would go from the top and only go to the mid hang position quickly before reversing it. I'm not sure it makes as much sense written down as it did when he showed me.

Brian Lawyer
02-05-2009, 07:05 AM
A snatch balance is simply popping the bar off the shoulder just to unload it and drop under it as fast as possible in an attempt to catch it at arms length in the bottom of a squat.

"Unload" was the term I was going for. I think the ankle extension method with locked knees and hips was a way of "unloading" the weight without risk of cheating too much by using knees or hips. Next week when I do this routine I think I will try Greg Everett's method of unloading the bar, which is the slight dip in the knees to "unload" the weight. I will have to be very mindful not to make the movement into a "jerk".

I also think there is no ankle extension at all in the way Everett shows it done. The feet stay planted firmly on the ground with slight up down movement to "unload" the bar followed by the drop into the recieving position.

For the mid hang snatch portion when I was down at Leo's place in November he had us doing it a different way for hang snatches.

Instead of holding the mid hang position for a few seconds, we would go from the top and only go to the mid hang position quickly before reversing it. I'm not sure it makes as much sense written down as it did when he showed me.

I showed the video to my coach and he said the same thing, that I should not pause on my mid-hang snatches. He said it should be a crisp change of direction.

Brian Lawyer
02-05-2009, 07:13 AM
If you just need speed under the bar, do the strict, no push snatch balance. It's tougher. I think mainly for psychological reasons, because sometimes I'm ready to go and my brain says "What, you want to drop down with this weight on your back? I don't think so! We're staying right here!" Then it becomes incredibly difficult to force myself to drop.

Emily, Your comments above are very true. It is a very uneasy feeling of just dropping under the weight.

Everyone, I plan to repeat this workout next Tuesday or Wednesday. I will take everyone's advice into consideration and try to get some more video for you all...

Arden Cogar Jr.
02-05-2009, 10:07 AM
This is great thread.

I honestly had no idea the difference between a pressing/heaving/straight snatch balance until I attended a USAW club coaching cert this past weekend.

The way i would describe them is: presssing - pressing yourself under the bar; heaving - popping the bar upwards and dropping quickly to arms length under the bar; straight snatch balance - dropping quickly to arms length under the bar.

I was also taught that the Center of Gravity (for bar path) is the area between the ball and heel of the foot.

I'm a newbie to these lifts. And I did the cert to help coach my daughters more effectively. And I eventually want to form a WL club in the Charleston, WV area. So I would defer to others in the proper naming, etc.

Brian, you look good in what you're doing. Keep up the good work.

All the best,
Arden

John Alston
02-05-2009, 05:40 PM
straight snatch balance - dropping quickly to arms length under the bar.



This is the one that benefits me the most. Gets me dropping into the right upper body alignment all the way down. "Stand up to sit down" as one coach/teammate says it at my gym.
Brian, I think you need more pull on your pwr snatch. You're almost leaning forward, rather than slightly leaning back to pull bar up, but I know others might think any leaning back is too far.

Derek Maffett
02-05-2009, 06:59 PM
Brian, I think you need more pull on your pwr snatch. You're almost leaning forward, rather than slightly leaning back to pull bar up, but I know others might think any leaning back is too far.

That was my impression too, but I wasn't sure since it's such a small percentage of his bodyweight.

Allen Yeh
02-06-2009, 02:47 AM
I showed the video to my coach and he said the same thing, that I should not pause on my mid-hang snatches. He said it should be a crisp change of direction.
Exactly, your coach is definitely more knowledgable than I am!


This is what I was trying to say but failed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMGMPmlzhvo&feature=channel_page

That guy is a beast....200kg hang snatch....hell I'd be happy if I could even DL 200kg...

Brian Lawyer
02-23-2009, 09:12 AM
According to Greg Everett's DVD I should be able to snatch balance more than I can actually snatch. He did not qualify that statement with a heaving snatch balance, so I assume regular. I was just playing around with 135lbs on that video I posted above. I can snatch 206lbs. So I guess I needed to add a ton more weight to those snatch balances to get any benefit.

Dave Ogilbee
02-23-2009, 10:44 AM
According to Greg Everett's DVD I should be able to snatch balance more than I can actually snatch. He did not qualify that statement with a heaving snatch balance, so I assume regular. I was just playing around with 135lbs on that video I posted above. I can snatch 206lbs. So I guess I needed to add a ton more weight to those snatch balances to get any benefit.

It's a little daunting, I know. But balance thrown into programing can work wonders on confidence. I've been working more Snatch Balance and Tall Snatches especially into days where I feel i've got a little more left in the tank after workouts. Personally, i've just got issues getting under the bar fast enough with confidence and bringing more balance work in has helped me a lot.

Ben Moskowitz
02-23-2009, 10:39 PM
here's what I gather from reading the book:
Pressing - feet in receiving position, pressing body into bottom of the squat under control

Heaving - feet in receiving position, bouncing the bar off the shoulders, driving down into the squat with speed

Snatch balance - feet in pulling position, bouncing the bar off the shoulders, driving down into the squat (landing position) with even greater speed due to feet leaving the platform, not because you make the heaving sn bal. slower