Training method update

Well, I have been training for competing in snatch since the end of November last year. I am gradually getting better at it, but the progress is slow. The main obstacle to snatching glory for me is the technique. GS snatch, where you have to do lots of repetition, is very, very technical. Typically, limiting factor for GS snatch is the grip, and many trainees fall into the trap of grip training. However, it is other technical aspects that determine how long the grip is going to last. Counterintuitively, for me it now seems that it is how you lower the bell that will eventually determine the number of reps.

Every little detail in snatch technique adds. The position of the hand at the top (the thumb should point more forward than to the midline, as well as the depth to which the hand is inserted into the handle of the bell), of the body (should be deflected), during the initial lowering and the transition of the bell from above to below the wrist (during both the body should be leaned backwards), the position of the hand during the downswing, the timing of the upward pull, the engagement of the trapezius and so on. To get all of it right you have to get help from a coach. I always thought that my snatch was ok, until last April, when I asked Sergej Rudnev to have a look at it: he destroyed all of it without mercy, in about thirty seconds.

From time to time I recall the OTW debates on Irongarm. It was so wrong it is not even funny. Jogging was considered unnecessary, as were static holds, circuits and stretching. All you needed was competition lifts for time and jump squats. Well, who cares.

So, what does my training look like now? Most importantly, the training is planned in three session microcycles. The intensity and volume changes according to the session: in my case the first session is the most intense, the last - an easy one. Hard session starts with a short set with heavy bell, followed by a murderous circuit, followed by a light snatch in gloves, ending up in either high repetition bodyweight squats or jogging. It is believed that 100 squats roughly equal 1 km run. Some session include long sets of snatching with static holds at the top and the bottom with heavier bells.

Snatching in gloves deserves special mention. Gloves are not used to protect the hands, but for reducing the efficiency of the grip. This way you really have to pay attention to all the details of the technique I described above. Snatches with static holds are another way to make you think about the technique: even though you do fewer repetitions during these sets, it is the grip that eventually kills you.

The most important point is: it is impossible to underplay the importance of a qualified coach, such as Rudnev. There must be a good reason he brought up so many masters of sport in GS. Athletes respond differently to training, and that's why cookie cutter training templates work only for a while. Sure, OTW is useful for some aspects of training. However, if your technique is wrong OTW will only reinforce it.

On the 15th of March. I am probably going to compete with 20 kg bell, a girl's weight (unless we are talking about Russian girls who use 24 kg!) I am really hooked on it, and I really want to get better at this lift, all the way to good numbers with the bell of respectable size. Other effects of my training are very satisfying. For instance, people who haven't seen me for a few months comment on my physique. This is a nice side-effect of training. Another very useful fact: since I started training I haven't been injured, if you don't count getting a bloody callus once. I think I am going to stick around with GS for now.


Deb said...

Looking forward to seeing you at the comp in March !

Smet said...

Same here.

Sam Williams said...

Very interesting read. I've been training with kettlbells for 5 years almost but have always felt bombarded with conflicting information. This is even more obvious since I took up girevoy sport training for longcycle. I have followed your Russian edt training scheme and like that framework. I would love to pick your brain about some things. Could I email you?

Anonymous said...

@ 72yrs 16kg bells 100 LC reps + snatches, swings, situps,dips & chins make a 30 min 4 day W.O.