Rudnev on snatch

Went to gym for the treadmill run today, but overdid the speed and got shin splints after 2.5 km. It was too painful to continue, and I went home. That’s why I decided to do some snatches at home. I set Wild Bill’s timer at 1 minute intervals and did

20 kg snatch
1 minute sets/1 minute rest
300 snatches in total.

I did 15 reps a minute, so that intervals looked more like 50 seconds work, 70 seconds rest.

This type of workout is great. It keeps your heart rate high – but not too high - for a long time, my workout took 40 minutes. It also allows you to work on the technique: you don’t get too tired to just trying to squeeze another rep, and there are more than enough reps to try various adjustments.

And that’s what brings me to the main theme of today’s post, technical aspects of snatch. As you remember, couple of months ago I mentioned that in Russia now they gave dedicated periodical, Girevoy Sport magazine. Couple of days ago I received it in the post, Vasily Ginko sent it to me at my request when he was in Sydney. It is a nice magazine with the glossy cover and good quality paper. Most articles are more of an entertaining value. However in the last article Sergey Rudnev discusses the technique and his approach to teaching GS snatch.

I am not going to translate the whole piece, most details are well known and have been discussed before, here and elsewhere. There are several points though that caught my attention.
First point is the biomechanics of lower phases of snatch, when the bell is below the waist. According to Rudnev the arm holding the bell must come in contact with the body and stay in contact until the bell is swung upwards. After the bell passes the lowest point of the trajectory the hand is turned so that the thumb is pointed downwards. The bell stops due to the natural loss of momentum. At this moment the legs and the back are straight (!) and the upper arm, forearm, the back surface of the hand and the center of gravity of the bell form one line. Swaying of the bell is unacceptable. When initiating the movement of the bell forward from the dead point the legs bend and extend, so that they are straight by the moment the forearm gets separated from the body. That – the contact of the forearm with the body – is new to me. In order to practice this phase Rudnev makes his trainees do lower swings. They are similar to normal swings except the forearm does not lose contact with the trunk.

Another moment I never thought about and which makes a difference is the position of the bell on the upswing. Rudnev does not talk about it, however in the photographs of his trainee, Nikita Balagov, record holder of Russia, 191 reps of snatch (under 70 kg) this is clearly visible. By the time the bell passes the legs on the way up the thumb is pointed forward. In other words, while the KB is moving from the dead point to this level the arm completes 180 degrees rotation: from thumb backwards to thumb forward. During my snatch workout today I tried this and results are quite dramatic: much less strength is spent, it is especially noticeable in the arm and the shoulder (I think).

Rudnev is very specific about the legs being straight in the lowest snatch point and he recommends doing low swings with the special emphasis on this detail. Another common mistake among novices is early reversal of the bell at the bottom. This however has been discusses many times on IGx.

Last point – this time mine – volume training has its valuable place in GS training. I had 300 reps today to try various combinations of tricks that I discussed above. As the result I could train with relatively heavy bell of 20 kg and at the same time be fresh enough to being able to think about the technique.

Oh yeah, really last one. My hands are fucked, or, more precisely, right hand is. This points to another interesting phenomenon. My right hand is stronger and probably because of this I tend to either grab the bell harder or overlook the correct grip, or something else, which resulted in two torn calluses. Left palm feel abused too, but the skin is intact. Another detail of the technique to watch.


Alexander said...

Great post! Lots to think about.
I am especially interested in the lower swings:
"...Rudnev makes his trainees do lower swings. They are similar to normal swings except the forearm does not lose contact with the trunk..."
Should the arm not lose contact with the body at all during the entire swing (so it becomes mostly a back-swing exercize)? Or, when the bell has passed the knees, on it's way forward, the arm can leave contact with the body (which is then upright/slightly leaned back)?
Hope it is possible to understand this question :-).

Eugene said...

Retain contact with the body mostof the time. I understand the goal here is to connect early and disconnect late. Hope this is decipherable :)

Brian said...

Very informative post. Ive watched just about every girevoy sport video that is on line (i look for mostly russian competitions because they are the best at the sport) and I have noticed that a lot of the athletes do straighten out their legs at the bottom of the swing. I will have to focus on that detail more in my training.

I totally understand about your hands being abused. My dominate hand is my left and when I get tears I seem to get more on that hand.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Eugene, but you got the thump position wrong from the pictures (they are a bit foggy).

In my copy of girevoy sport magazine the thump (or whole shoulder/arm/hand complex)is slowly externally rotating from behind facing position to quite forward facing potition in punch up position untill in lock-out it is once again slightly internally rotated.

I confirmed this with Sergey Rachinsky (one of the editors of the GS magasine and Honorary MS in GS) when he was coaching me and some other frinds. He told NOT to snatch thump facing forward when arm is down in between the legs or you are in danger of hyperextending your elbow and stressing the tissues!

JVAS from Finland

Tommy D said...

Hey Eugene, any response to JVAS from Finland's comment? I asked on IGX, but it got buried. Just curious...