Better Back Arch For The Snatch & Clean
If you struggle to establish and maintain a solid back arch in the pull of the snatch and clean, listen up. Assuming you’re actually trying to arch your back properly, your disgusting squishy back is the product of two potential factors: inadequate mobility, and inadequate strength.
Hip immobility prevents the pelvis from rotating forward adequately to maintain the desired curve of the spine as you flex the hip in your starting position and pull.
You can immediately improve the motion of the pelvis here by moving your knees out as far as possible inside your arms if they’re not there already. This not only increases hip range of motion, but it effectively shortens the thighs and brings the hips forward and the back more upright, reducing the necessary range of motion.
Long term, you need to improve flexibility in the muscles that limit hip flexion in this position. Don’t become an anatomy expert—just do the obvious and stretch variations of the position like the spiderman lunge and lying bent and straight knee hamstring stretching at various angles.
To strengthen your back arch, your two biggest weapons will be the back extension and good morning.
When I say back extensions, I mean back extensions. Getting the hips into it is fine, but literally flex and extend the spine. Position the weight behind your neck with a bar or dumbbell and keep your head up at the top to ensure you include upper back extension. Hold briefly at the top of each rep.
Good mornings will train isometric extension along with hip flexion to improve position-specificity and positively influence hip mobility. Perform the eccentric motion with a controlled speed to ensure solid extension and a better stretch, and don’t exceed the depth to which you can maintain your arch.
Finally, we can combine strength, mobility and complete specificity by taking advantage of the eccentric motion of all pulling variations. You’ll be able to better establish the proper arch at the top of a pull—reset that arch completely every time, and forcefully maintain it as you lower the bar back down. It’s far easier to maintain the arch into the position than to create it there.
A final effective tool is to perform floating pulls and deadlifts—lower the bar under control to the starting position, forcefully maintaining the back arch, and stop and hold just before the plates touch the platform. If your mobility prevents the maintenance of the arch all the way down, stop and hold as low as you can get without losing the arch, and work to increase the depth slightly with each rep. Begin lifting the next rep without allowing the arch to soften.