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View Full Version : Grip pain in the snatch


-Ross Hunt
03-18-2007, 10:03 PM
[crossposted from where HITites and CrossFitters fear to tread]

If I work up to a maximal or near-maximal snatch, and then go to the clean, and attempt to go back to do more snatches, it becomes painful to grip the bar with my left hand. It feels as though the pressure on the bone at the base of the thumb causes the pain. Sometimes the pain is just in the hand in general, sometimes it spreads into the wrist or makes the whole forearm sort of tense up.

Why this is happening isn't really a great mystery-- I've put a lot of PRs overhead with this grip over the past couple months, without taking much time off, and my snatch-grip overhead strength is dicey.

But does anyone have any suggestions as to how to work around this when I encounter it? At the end of the day, this is sometimes the limiting factor in how much volume I can handle in the snatch. I have tried shifting my hook grip in various ways to no effect; the pain seems to be alleviated but not completely eliminated by making a conscious effort not to overgrip the bar.

Pierre Auge
03-19-2007, 04:16 AM
Use some straps every once in a while, pendlay makes really nice ones specifcally for weightlifting.

Aimee Anaya Everett
03-19-2007, 08:25 AM
maybe your snatch grip is too wide which can create that extra pressure on the area of your hand/wrist by your thumb. try bringing your grip in a little and see if that helps.

Greg Everett
03-19-2007, 08:32 AM
So you're holding the hook grip even overhead? Was that a conscious decision, or is it just happening? If you haven't tried it already, try releasing the hook. If you're sticking to hook because you snatch better with it, never mind.

Try 2 things:

1. stretch - make the girl punch fist (i.e. make a fist around your thumb like a hook grip with no bar) and stretch the hand away from the thumb. Also general wrist mobility work and forearm stretches.

2. Ice the shit out of it.

-Ross Hunt
03-19-2007, 09:27 AM
Thanks, everybody.

Aimee-- I didn't think about that. I'll definetely try that, but I'll save it as a last resort.

Greg-- I don't hold the hook overhead, but for some reason my forearm freaks out and spasms anyway after I pull that way with, even when I get the snatch into a perfect support position. Icing is probably a very good idea. The mobility work sounds like it might be a good idea, too; I don't do any wrist mobility work at all. So it's OK to train the wrists for mobility? I thought that the general idea was that you were supposed to train ankles for mobility, but wrists for stability? Is oly lifting an exception to this rule, or is this rule just--not a rule after all?

Pierre-- I prefer not using straps just because it's better practice for the feel of a heavy lift, but I do use them sometimes anyway. Also, as I indicated to Greg, sometimes it flares up even when I use straps in the overhead position.

Greg Everett
03-19-2007, 11:33 AM
I don't do any wrist mobility work at all. So it's OK to train the wrists for mobility? I thought that the general idea was that you were supposed to train ankles for mobility, but wrists for stability? Is oly lifting an exception to this rule, or is this rule just--not a rule after all?

you want stability in every joint - mobility should never compromise stability--they shouldn't be consider mutually exclusive. if you don't have the mobility to comfortably attain the positions demanded by your chosen sport, it's going to result in pain/injury without a doubt eventually. so get the necessary mobility without overdoing it, and then get the time under the heavy weights to developing the stability.

-Ross Hunt
03-21-2007, 03:50 PM
Right.

Can you be more specific about what the wrist stretch that you're describing is like?

Are you basically putting the thumb in the hook grip position, and then opening the palm and pulling the fingers away? Or is that not it?

Greg Everett
03-22-2007, 08:41 AM
let me take some pictures this afternoon. my descriptive abilities are feeling inadequate at the moment.

Greg Everett
03-22-2007, 03:41 PM
OK, here are photos of what I'm talking about.

first one is stretching the wrist flexors and catching the thumb on the chest to stretch it as well.

second is stretching the extensors.

third is the thumb stretch in the hook grip.

-Ross Hunt
03-22-2007, 09:34 PM
Awesome, thanks.

I will give those a try over the next couple days and during my snatch workout Sunday.

Greg Everett
03-23-2007, 08:44 AM
also, forgot to mention - shake out your wrists in between sets. i will warm up, stretch the wrists out as pictured, and then will continue to do so in between most sets, shaking them first. since i started doing all this, the constant (and often quite bad) wrist pain i was experiencing is gone.

-Ross Hunt
03-23-2007, 11:52 AM
Right, will do.

-Ross Hunt
03-25-2007, 06:05 PM
I tried those stretches today after the thumb starting acting up, and it really killed the pain; I could handle a lot more volume.

Thanks.

Steve Shafley
03-25-2007, 07:26 PM
That hook grip stretch...hmm. I've never felt a stretch there before.

I like the flexor + thumb one too.

Good stuff Greg.

Greg Everett
03-26-2007, 10:54 AM
Sweet! Yeah, I was freaking out a couple months ago when my wrists started screaming anytime I, well, touched anything. Now I train essentially pain free. And I can actually push off the floor without having to make a fist to keep my wrist neutral.

Allen Yeh
03-26-2007, 11:06 AM
Sweet! Yeah, I was freaking out a couple months ago when my wrists started screaming anytime I, well, touched anything. Now I train essentially pain free. And I can actually push off the floor without having to make a fist to keep my wrist neutral.

Thanks again for the suggestions, my wrists though not 100% have been feeling better. Now I just need to remember to ice them consistently and I'll be set!