View Full Version : Improving lockout due to stiffness

Marcus Herou
12-07-2011, 01:07 AM
Hi. I am helping a friend through the Olympic lifts.

This guy is a great CrossFit athlete but is constantly injured due to that he lacks a lot of flexibility in the pecs, lats, shoulders and worst of them all biceps.

We have almost solved the chest issues due to a lot of mobs like the superb Chinese Stretch. The biceps however is as rigid as ever.

This is a mixed question of flexibility and OLy so that's why I am posting it here since I believe the two are connected and that OLy exercises can help him getting comfortable locking that elbow. We are doing Back Jerk Snatch Grip, Snatch Balance etc.

Any suggestions on how to give him an inch extra of lockout would be so helpful. He is strong as hell but it is pretty hard to hold 100kg with bent arms.

Example of problematic Snatch lockout. It was a PR but still very risky as you can see in the bottom where he catches it with bent arms.


Thanks in advance.

Greg Everett
12-07-2011, 09:31 AM
Definitely still tight in the pecs and prob even delts.

Hanging from a bar with narrow and wide grip - ideally feet touching floor a little behind the bar so he can lean through the arms with the chest as he hangs.

Bent arm pec stretch - put forearm vertically against a wall, door jamb or power rack with elbow higher than the shoulder, standing vertically. Push chest forward to open shoulder girdle. If you have a narrow enough area, you can do both arms at the same time.

It also looks like part of it is just technical, because he gets his elbows straightened with the same torso angle as he starts rising. Practice snatch balance a lot, high-hang snatch with a focus on turning the bar over and punching up aggressively right away, and always focus on keeping the arms relaxed during the pull. He's tense on the way up, and that usually means he'll be tense at the top like that, which will prevent him from extending the elbows quickly and completely. Also check if he's gripping the bar tightly overhead - I'd bet he is. Once he flips the hands over, he needs to relax his grip as much as possible while maintaining control of the bar - that will also help hm extend the elbows completely and quickly. This grip can be practiced in the snatch balance, snatch grip jerk, etc.

Keep working hip and ankle flexibility as well.

Donald Lee
12-07-2011, 11:01 AM
This stretch may also help:


I like to do it standing with my hands on a bar. It'll stretch both the anterior delts and biceps. You can angle side to side to get more of a stretch on one delt at a time, too.

Marcus Herou
12-07-2011, 01:45 PM
With "solved" I mean that he actually can get a bar in overhead position at all. He was such a mess one month ago so even if it not looks like it I would say we have a 30% improvement.

Thanks for the advice and you are perfectly right about basically everything. If you have not tried the "Chinese stretch" yet I urge you to just for the fun of it :)


Greg Everett
12-07-2011, 01:49 PM
Great stretch. Used commonly with gymnasts.

Marcus Herou
12-07-2011, 02:53 PM
As you said he surely holds on to that bar. I will address that asap. Now that I think about he does not release the hands in the Squat Clean either.

Again thanks for your time. I have gotten so much help already and I cannot believe the effort you put in all your answers. Good stuff for real.