View Full Version : How to minimise upper body recruitment

John Heaton
06-11-2010, 06:33 AM
I am an ex swimmer, rugby player and latterly bodybuilder that has finally found olympic style lifting and has been bitten by the bug. I have been training for 6 months or so now with a break for a carpal tunnel release op where i trained one handed for 6 weeks or so.
Due to my background I am finding it hard to 'jump' the weight up rather than ripping it off the floor with my arms and putting it above my head. I am now a member of a lifting club and get some coaching once per week. I entered my first lift meet a month ago but everyone commented that I was only using my upper body and I have so much more potential. For example, I can power snatch 65kg but only squat snatch 45kg. I am working on snatch balance as I know I need to get under the bar quicker but has anyone overcome an upper body dominance i.e. other ex rugby players?

John Alston
06-11-2010, 07:02 AM
How long since you switched? it takes time.
I am sure you'll get a lot of good suggestions of drills, but it takes time. I was a power snatcher for a while. I simply had to stop ever doing power snatches for a while to make my squat snatch reliably a squat. So drill the right movements. And drop snatches/snatch balances are good, too, if you practice dropping deep and fast. perhaps avoid doing high pull exercises for a while, too.

Yuen Sohn
06-11-2010, 07:54 AM
Snatch from blocks, with bar at mid thigh or higher. While setting up for these, make sure to keep the arms relaxed (and relaxed through the movement, until the pull-under).

Your main focus in doing these is learning to push into the floor, through your feet, while maintaining the slack in your arms. Push through the floor and then drop. Use a weight you have no fear in getting under, no matter how light it may be. If you can, have someone watch each rep, or at minimum, video record your sessions.

It's very simple, but very complicated at the same time and you'll just need to put in the reps to get good at it. There's too much shit to keep track of initially with learning the lifts from the floor, so you'll probably find learning the lift from top-to-bottom more digestible.

Emily Mattes
06-11-2010, 01:46 PM
Try working with the bar from the high-hang position. One thing that helped me was the cue to "turn my elbows out". This effectively flexes your triceps and makes it more difficult for you to flex your biceps and pull the bar up.