when performing the snatch pull is the shrug at the top strictly a trapezius contraction or should an effort be made to elevate the elbows as well? i'm confused which movement, traps or arms, should initiate/dominate the shrug. when using heavier weigths i can get a full trapezius contraction but with little elbow elevation. is this a beneficial exercise or would it be better to lower the weight to allow greater elbow lift.
2 | 2011-09-27
In a normal pull, you want to keep the arms out of the movement. The traps move up not so much because you want to practice shrugging the bar up, but because you've accelerated the bar and it needs somewhere to go after the legs and hips are done extending - if you don't allow the shoulders to rise, the only other place the bar can go is forward, which we never want. High-pulls, where the lifter finishes by pulling the elbows as high as possible, have their place and can be very beneficial, but only for lifters who don't have existing problems with trying to lift the bar with their arms. A variation of high-pulls, which we call high-pull-downs, will have you pull as usual, but then squat down partially under the bar while you pull the elbows high - in other words, you're pulling the upper body down to the bar with the arms rather than pulling the bar up with the arms as you would in a regular high-pull. This is a great exercise, but it can be tough to learn and if you're shorting your extension to rush to pull down, it's counterproductive.
3 | 2011-09-27
thanks! shorting my extension by pulling down early is a big problem. i'll focus on the normal pull exercise you described rather than the high-pulls.
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