Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting


Snatch & Jerk Overhead Position - Shoulder Blades & Bar

One of the most important aspects of a strong overhead position is learning to support the weight with the upper back rather than with just the shoulders and arms.
 
The simplest way to find the ideal overhead position is to place the bar on the top of your traps, squeeze the upper inside edges of the shoulder blades together to create retraction and upward rotation, and press the bar straight up, maintaining the natural forward position of the trunk and head.
 
This scapular position keeps the shoulder blades tight against the ribs to allow a solid base, rotates and lifts the acromion to increase humeral range of motion, and maximizes the ability of the upper back musculature to stabilize the shoulder blades.
 
The bar should be positioned over the base of your neck, meaning the trunk will need to be at a slight forward angle and the head pushed forward through the arms.
 
If the head stays between the arms or the trunk is completely vertical, the shoulder blades cannot be fully retracted and stabilized.
 
While the upper traps will visibly contract, we’re not intentionally elevating the shoulder blades—shrugging up reduces the shoulder blades’ connection to the ribs and their stability.
 
Nor are we depressing the shoulder blades—pulling them down will reduce retraction and upward rotation.
 
This should be a forceful, aggressive position every time you hold a bar overhead to strengthen the body and create a reliable habit of stability.

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