Rack position on way down for heavier snatches?

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Kozushi, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Kozushi

    Kozushi Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Hi all,

    I'm enjoying doing snatches with the 32 but on the way down doing the descent the way Pavel M does his dumbbell snatches: by first bringing it down to the rack position and then down between the legs. This movement is a negative press. Something makes me think that doing snatches this way is better for heavier weights like the 32. Any thoughts? Am I committing blasphemy?
    fractal likes this.
  2. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    There is an old post by @Rif praising this snatch variation. I'll see if I can find it.

    Edit: here it is

    Alactic + Aerobic
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    Kozushi likes this.
  3. Kozushi

    Kozushi Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Like, if I'm doing the snatch with the 24 then, yeah, sure, I'll do it the ETK by the book way. But, with the heavier bell, I think I'm getting something important out of racking it down first in a controlled way, similar to the kinds of benefits we get from the presses and TGUs. It also slows the whole process down allowing me to keep doing snatches longer.

    So, the whole thing becomes a big pull on the way up followed by a negative big push on the way down. It's like it's a "best of both worlds" exercise.
    runninggirevik likes this.
  4. Kozushi

    Kozushi Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think for the SFGI test you are allowed to bring the bell down any way you like, right?
  5. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    I think this would be best used a temporary measure for getting used to the movement/bell.
    Kozushi and Bret S. like this.
  6. Masterninja

    Masterninja Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Hey kozushi!

    I think what you’re referring to is the half snatch. In my experience it can be incredibly useful for getting yourself accustomed to a new bell size as well as giving yourself the brief “rest” period you mentioned.

    But you will undoubtedly lose speed and therefore power compared to a regular snatch descent. With the regular snatch descent you have the option of forcing the bell down at an accelerated rate as Kenneth jay describes in the vo2 max protocol for Viking warrior conditioning. This additional speed will translate into a more forceful loading of the hips and as such, you will create a lot more elastic tension in the hinge position resulting in exponentially greater force production on the way back up.

    Even if you don’t actively force the bell down, you still lose speed dropping from rack position compared to dropping from overhead position.

    When I first transitioned to utilizing the 40kg bell for lower rep snatches I had the exact same thinking as you and experimented with this for awhile. Perhaps you will find a way to make it work better in any case best of luck to you!
  7. Masterninja

    Masterninja Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    One last thing, if you’re looking to extend your snatch sets longer, getting accustomed to resting in the top position will help you out tremendously. If you don’t have the proper thoracic mobility the top position will feel exhausting, but if you can go into proper T spine extension you can just keep your shoulder packed and let the bell hang out up top. I had to force myself to slow down my snatch work by taking two deep breaths at the top of each rep. It’s how I finally graduated from 5 min sets to 10 min and beyond sets.
  8. q.Hung

    q.Hung More than 300 posts

    for me, the ascendant is easy, the descendant is hard, for both 25k and 32k. so i will focus on the way down more ( for example pressing/ pushpressing/ jerking the weight, then do the dropping part). i saw a clip of @Harald Motz a year ago? when he snatched the 40k for the first time- he was doing half snatch with it ( please correct me if i'm wrong). and now he snatches the 40k often. so don't need to fear the second part of snatch :)
    North Coast Miller likes this.
  9. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    Negative. Lowering the bell to the rack position is not allowed in the snatch test.
    Kozushi and Bret S. like this.
  10. krg

    krg Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think lowering via the rack is recommended for double snatches (to protect the lower back from the drop) in Return of the Kettlebell, so I don't see why it wouldn't be OK to use for heavy single bell snatches.
    Kozushi likes this.
  11. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    Good point, it is used for the SFG II double snatch technique test.

    The 5 minute snatch test is a different animal. Once your snatch is dialed in it’s easier to snatch to Strongfirst standards.

    That said, with heavier snatches (36kg and higher) I will sometimes lower my final snatch to the rack.
    Kozushi, fractal and Bret S. like this.
  12. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Takes more time anyway..
    WxHerk, Kozushi and fractal like this.
  13. Kozushi

    Kozushi Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Okay, I see. Thank you all!
    WxHerk, fractal and Bret S. like this.
  14. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    Keep working the drop! It felt like I would never be able to do it without ripping my hands. Slowly but surely, my technique, grip confidence (try it on grass, not brand new flooring!), timing and skin resilience improved. Check out @Hector G ’s technique series on the snatch on YouTube as well
    Steve W., Kozushi and Bret S. like this.
  15. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

  16. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    For me, the biggest piece to conquering the "drop" is not to drop the bell but to pull it down.

    I teach that if the bell is coming down at 10 mph (RANDOM SPEED CHOSEN FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES) one should pull it down about 10 1/2 mph, just the slightest bit of speed to maintain control. ALWAYS maintain control of the bell, dropping is not controlling the bell and results in a bad "jerk" when it pulls your arm straight. If the bell is pulling you, then you aren't controlling the bell and will develop elbow and shoulder pain due to said sudden "jerk."
    NoahMarek, Lee, Shahaf Levin and 9 others like this.
  17. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Yes, and if you can't do that because the bells too heavy... then.. well.. the bells too heavy o_O :)
  18. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    this might sound a little crazy, but you might try pressing the 32 and then lowering it per snatch technique, from there bring it up to a clean.

    I recall when I was doing snatch with 28 initially the drop felt like a bit too much for my attention to keep track of - I was racking on the way down as you describe in the OP for a handful of sessions.

    But there is a lot of benefit to the full snatch drop, few things will teach you to keep your shoulder bound tight to the socket better than lowering from a heavy snatch. Maybe it can be dialed in with a little less intensity by decoupling it from the ascent for a few.
    fractal, Bret S. and Shahaf Levin like this.
  19. Harald Motz

    Harald Motz Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    took a glimpse on my IG. In May 2017 I snatched the 48k for the first time (at the bodyweight I still have now) and lowered it slowly into the rack.
    It is just a natural thing you would do within unknown territory of heaviness. The next step would be the catch at the bottom, then snatch 2 times consecutively.

    for the catch at the bottom with a heavy weight there are a few things to consider:

    1. guiding the bell as described perfectly here:
    2. taming the arc. In order to do it safely with a heavy bell you have to get your body out of the way for the bell that it can follow a "near" vertical down path: you have to dorsiflex slightly and bend the knees a bit so that the body leans back without lumbar extension. The spine has to stay "neutral"

    3. you most probably have to grip the bell hard with or without the callous. Especially snatching really heavy hardstyle hooking the bell in the fingertips would be business for @bencrush or @Geoff Chafe...

    4. Obviously go outside and do them not on tiles.
  20. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I refer to this as "keeping the slack out of the drop" and "playing tug o'war with the bell."

    There are a lot of subtle little technique points to smooth out the force of the drop. @Harald Motz mentions another, which I refer to as "making space for the bell."

    Another cue I use for myself on the drop is snatching "through the rack." The idea of this is that even though I am not actually bringing the bell down into the rack position, I want to pull my elbow down and in to my body and keep the bell path close to vertical and close to my body, almost as if it is passing through the rack position without being caught there. Keep in mind this is more of a cue than a literal instruction/description.

    Personally, I find dealing with the full drop part of the fun and challenge of snatches. I stick to bells I can full snatch with authority for single-bell snatches, and do double cleans as a more heavily loaded ballistic hinge drill.

    I have used the double half-snatch as part of Geoff Neupert's Kettlebell Muscle (as he recommends). Even with bells that would not be challenging for single-bell snatches, the half-snatch feels more natural for doubles.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019

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