Snatches and shoulders

Davidlbn

Level 4 Valued Member
I've been at S&S for a while. I'm past timeless simple and now starting to integrate a 36 into my workouts.

I would like to do attend an SFG weekend once life is back to normal, and to that end I've started to integrate snatches into my training.

However I always have left shoulder pain for a few days after a snatch session.
I have had my form evaluated both on this forum and by a good SFG and everything seems sound.

My left shoulder has always been a sore point, from years of paddling and swimming aggravated by bench presses. Basically overworked. Yes, I've seen a medical specialist and been treated for rotator cuff (often!) and bicep tendonitis in the past. I'm familiar with this pain! I'm 57, so old issues take their toll.

After a few months on S&S the shoulder pain went away.
I'm able to integrate moderate weight presses with no issues. I've recently been doing 2 days S&S (32-36kg) and 2 days MTC with 20kg. No problem.
I do get a twinge, but nothing serious, when pressing my 36, which I don't do very often, just to check my single rep max max is still there, maybe once a month or so.

So, do I stop snatching and give up on SFG in the interests of long term shoulder health? Or do I need to set a longer time line and start lighter?

Current snatch practice is either 20 x 5 OTM @ 24kg. Or 10 x 5L+5R @ 20kg (untimed).
Normally done after MTC.

Advice appreciated, thanks.
 

Shawn90

Level 5 Valued Member
What is mtc?

I think nobody here can answer your question. You will have to figure this out yourself. Why not do snatches as stand alone workout with set rest times. Like 2 / 3 minutes of rest. See if this causes discomfort?
 

Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm not a doc or a specialist but I have 16 years of history dealing with my own shoulder issues, up to and including my shoulder dislocating just by rolling over in bed. I can't really help you. I can help myself by finding ways to build what I want to build in ways that don't irritate my shoulder.

Swings and get ups are super easy on my shoulder. I can do them and get stronger. They are great.

Presses and snatches are different story. I have to be very careful. Often I will feel nothing during but that evening or the next day I will feel it. Snatches bother it less so than presses.

I have found that paying attention to what I do outside of training makes a big difference. For instance:
1. When I'm sitting at my desk at work, I lean on my right side. This irritates it.
2. When I'm sitting on my couch at home, I lean on my right side. This irritates it.

When I am mindful of how I sit and lean and make a conscious effort not to lean (much or often) on my right, my shoulder pain goes away if I take a little time off from training. This allows me to return to training.

I've found the get up, done properly, with weight, really helps correct poor shoulder and back mechanics that I have. For me a lot of my issues seem to arise from instability or immobility, not lack of strength. Before I started doing get ups, I'd put my shoulder in compromised positions lifting or would put my back in compromised positions while trying to lift overhead.

I'll recommend something I don't do but think would be great if I could;d:
Develop a good working relationship with a physical therapist or a chiropractor who understands the shoulder and understands lifting. (The last part is crucial.)

What I do:
Pay attention to what irritates it and do less of it. Find what's limiting, find what's contributing, find what I can do pain free, and find ways to train around - not through - the issues. For me, I identified ways to train overhead that DON'T irritate anything and actually help - windmills, getups, bent presses. I pay attention to what I do so when it flares up I can look back and say "hmm, when I added that 5th rung on my 5 ladders of clean and press, that really lit it up!" Cumulative stress for me is big.

Recently I incorporated hanging from a pull up bar. I don't know if that helps, but I have heard that it helps reduce shoulder injuries in throwers. I'm still experimenting to see how (if) it helps me.

If snatching bothers your shoulder, you need to either find a way to snatch that doesn't (e.g. low volume), find how to minimize stress on your shoulder so that it can handle the snatching stress (e.g. no other overhead work), or find a professional who can get your shoulder to a place where you can snatch pain-free.
 

Davidlbn

Level 4 Valued Member
What is mtc?

I think nobody here can answer your question. You will have to figure this out yourself. Why not do snatches as stand alone workout with set rest times. Like 2 / 3 minutes of rest. See if this causes discomfort?
Thanks Shawn. Will give longer rests a try and see if it helps.
MTC = Moving Target Complex
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Great advice by @Coyotl above. My right shoulder always has some minor issues and I've found much of the same as what he describes.

As far as the snatches, I would suggest paying particular attention to your lockout position. Pause a few seconds there (this ensures that it's really vertical, with the weight over your shoulder, biceps close to the ear, and weight supported by your skeleton and not a product of momentum and leaning and out front). And then, ensure that when you snatch, you go there directly, as opposed to going "somewhere up there" and then moving your arm and shoulder into that position.... if that makes sense. Also, experiment with where your shoulder likes to be in that lockout position. How engaged is your lat? Where is your shoulder blade -- rotated up, or held down? How externally rotated or open is your shoulder/armpit? Where is your head and neck relative to your arm and shoulder? I won't say there's perfect answers to how everything "should" be, but I think you can experiment and find what works best for your shoulder anatomy. It ends up making quite a difference when you start doing a lot of snatch reps. And, you may have to repeat the process for different weights, as the exercise takes on some different characteristics when it's heavy as opposed to when it's lighter for conditioning.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Having my own history with funky shoulders, I've gotten one good gem from my physio

"most shoulder injuries I've treat rarely have the rotator cuff as the culprit, it's usually the victim. The culprit is usually the upper back or neck muscles"

So with that being said, a few questions I usually ask people with shoulder issues

How much pullups and/or toes do you include in your routine? If yes, how much are you lifting?
 

james_1127

Level 5 Valued Member
I've been at S&S for a while. I'm past timeless simple and now starting to integrate a 36 into my workouts.

I would like to do attend an SFG weekend once life is back to normal, and to that end I've started to integrate snatches into my training.

However I always have left shoulder pain for a few days after a snatch session.
I have had my form evaluated both on this forum and by a good SFG and everything seems sound.

My left shoulder has always been a sore point, from years of paddling and swimming aggravated by bench presses. Basically overworked. Yes, I've seen a medical specialist and been treated for rotator cuff (often!) and bicep tendonitis in the past. I'm familiar with this pain! I'm 57, so old issues take their toll.

After a few months on S&S the shoulder pain went away.
I'm able to integrate moderate weight presses with no issues. I've recently been doing 2 days S&S (32-36kg) and 2 days MTC with 20kg. No problem.
I do get a twinge, but nothing serious, when pressing my 36, which I don't do very often, just to check my single rep max max is still there, maybe once a month or so.

So, do I stop snatching and give up on SFG in the interests of long term shoulder health? Or do I need to set a longer time line and start lighter?

Current snatch practice is either 20 x 5 OTM @ 24kg. Or 10 x 5L+5R @ 20kg (untimed).
Normally done after MTC.

Advice appreciated, thanks.
I have the same or similar issues... I'm having bilateral shoulder surgery on my A/C joints later in the year... I've been living off steroid injections for past 3yrs... you could/probably have an impingement going on, I use the mobility WOD shoulder reset before any OH work and it's more manageable
 

Davidlbn

Level 4 Valued Member
Having my own history with funky shoulders, I've gotten one good gem from my physio

"most shoulder injuries I've treat rarely have the rotator cuff as the culprit, it's usually the victim. The culprit is usually the upper back or neck muscles"

So with that being said, a few questions I usually ask people with shoulder issues

How much pullups and/or toes do you include in your routine? If yes, how much are you lifting?
Hi Mark. Not doing any pullups at present. Toes? Toes to bar? Not sure what you mean. But I'm sure I can do 8 to 10 pullups if I want to.
Do they help or aggravate?
 

Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
So, do I stop snatching and give up on SFG in the interests of long term shoulder health? Or do I need to set a longer time line and start lighter?

Current snatch practice is either 20 x 5 OTM @ 24kg. Or 10 x 5L+5R @ 20kg (untimed).
Normally done after MTC.

Advice appreciated, thanks.
For SFG, you'd have to snatch test with 20kg. Have you done a snatch test with 20kg yet? If so, are you close or able to hit the target?

I had tweeked my left shoulder a few months ago. I kept on snatching to rehab it. I spent a good 5 minutes on warming up shoulders with halos, arm swings, and shoulder dislocates. Then I'd ramp up snatching some reps with lighter bells before getting to the main session. Afterwards I'd do TGU's with a bell that's easy, but heavy enough to get a good pump in the shoulders. It's worth noting, that by the time I warmed up, I did not have any pain while snatching. It took about 2 months before I noticed that my shoulder was back to normal. I did do pressing on non-snatch days, but I kept the volume manageable at 10-25 reps/side. The TGU's and presses were done as maintenance and active recovery to make sure that most of my energy and recovery was going towards the snatching

If you can perform the sets pain-free, then I'd go for it. Good Luck!
 

Davidlbn

Level 4 Valued Member
For SFG, you'd have to snatch test with 20kg. Have you done a snatch test with 20kg yet? If so, are you close or able to hit the target?
No, I haven't even considered testing yet. I started trying to snatch a few months ago but hurt my shoulder and stopped. Now trying again. I think you have a point in doing a good warm up, I'm thinking hangs, pullovers, arm bars, shoulder dislocates, maybe some light bottoms up presses then straight into snatches instead of presses, etc. first. I'll also try different paths and positions as suggested by @Anna C and @Coyotl .
I'm interested to know more about your pullup reference @Mark Limbaga .
Thanks all.
 

WxHerk

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Great advice by @Coyotl above. My right shoulder always has some minor issues and I've found much of the same as what he describes.

As far as the snatches, I would suggest paying particular attention to your lockout position. Pause a few seconds there (this ensures that it's really vertical, with the weight over your shoulder, biceps close to the ear, and weight supported by your skeleton and not a product of momentum and leaning and out front).

And then, ensure that when you snatch, you go there directly, as opposed to going "somewhere up there" and then moving your arm and shoulder into that position.... if that makes sense. Also, experiment with where your shoulder likes to be in that lockout position. How engaged is your lat? Where is your shoulder blade -- rotated up, or held down? How externally rotated or open is your shoulder/armpit? Where is your head and neck relative to your arm and shoulder?

I won't say there's perfect answers to how everything "should" be, but I think you can experiment and find what works best for your shoulder anatomy. It ends up making quite a difference when you start doing a lot of snatch reps. And, you may have to repeat the process for different weights, as the exercise takes on some different characteristics when it's heavy as opposed to when it's lighter for conditioning.
Please read each section, absorb it, and take it to heart. Anna and I train together; she has helped me immensely to stop snatching hurriedly, and helped ensure that the bell is straight up.

To ensure the bell goes directly up there, I imagine that I'm in a tight silo. The bell is either at the bottom or straight overhead. Rather than "catching" it a bit in front and then moving it overhead, as one sees with an untamed arc, catch the bell directly over the shoulder in the finish position.

I'll be 57 in September and lately have been snatching the 32k 600 or more times per week: 3 A&A type sessions that average 40+ repeats of 5 snatches. NO shoulder issues at all, but my elbow barked at me a bit.....so I backed off for a few days.

Again, please read over Anna's post. It's a gold mine for SFG Snatch preparation.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi Mark. Not doing any pullups at present. Toes? Toes to bar? Not sure what you mean. But I'm sure I can do 8 to 10 pullups if I want to.
Do they help or aggravate?
How about rows? KB high pulls?

Doing these often as well as a lot of direct ab work (deadbugs and hollow body holds for me) have helped big time
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
No, I haven't even considered testing yet. I started trying to snatch a few months ago but hurt my shoulder and stopped. Now trying again. I think you have a point in doing a good warm up, I'm thinking hangs, pullovers, arm bars, shoulder dislocates, maybe some light bottoms up presses then straight into snatches instead of presses, etc. first. I'll also try different paths and positions as suggested by @Anna C and @Coyotl .
I'm interested to know more about your pullup reference @Mark Limbaga .
Thanks all.
The shoulders often take the beating if the upper back muscles cannot stabilize or synergize during the movement.

Same as how the lower back takes a beating of your abs and glutes don't do their job well.
 

DuncanGB

Level 6 Valued Member
@Davidlbn - I've always been lazy/impatient when it comes to warm-ups and mobility and warm-downs but the snatch has taught me the error of my ways

Before and after snatch sessions, as well as between sets of snatches, I always do a lot of high-rep "looseners" for the neck and shoulders - I particularly like the two Preliminary Exercises from @Pavel Macek's Great Gama Protocol plus the 3 plane neck movements & The Egyptian from Super Joints. In fact, I've found myself actually enjoying doing these to the point of busting out a few moves while waiting in lines - thanks social-distancing

I'm convinced these exercises plus active and passive dead hangs are helping keep my half-century-old shoulders healthy - as well as the snatches themselves (I also always start with lighter sets before hitting the working bell)

Hope at least a little of this helps and your shoulder gets better soon
 
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godjira1

Level 5 Valued Member
as someone with a crappy left shoulder, i have also signed up for a SFG I (end Sep). My issues are known, and the correct solution is surgery, but I am not keen on that so I will accept a "best case scenario short of surgery".

What hurts/will end up hurting: Barbell overheads. Strangely, chinups irritate my shoulder too.
What helps: TGUs, Ring Pullups, Halos. Sit-thrus. Reverse Bridges.
Neutral: Pullups, KB presses/push presses.

I am currently working with 20kg snatches, low volume GTG style, so far the shoulder has held up. 24kg is my test bell and I will ease my way into it. While properly executed snatches don't seem to hurt the shoulder, I feel pretty vulnerable in that I sense very little margin for error. Hopefully the GTG buildup in volume/weight will see me thru the SFG - I am also trying to see if I can do the vast majority on my right side as well.
 

Davidlbn

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks for all the replies and advice. There's a lot to work on. Several recommendations for hangs, so will definitely incorporate those, maybe some gtg pull ups as suggested by @Mark Limbaga . I've recently had a mild muscle injury around the scapula/upper back so this may be indicative of the need to strengthen this area.
I've only this week started with dead bugs, maybe additional core stability will help as well.
 
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