I dread the snatch. I am terrible at it. I am strong enough to get weight over my head, but not flexible enough to land with it low in the squat as you see in the video above. Kendrick makes it look relatively effortless, but I assure you it is not.
It is one of those movements that no matter how much effort I put into it, I can’t seem to make any good progress. Even after all this time, my snatch still sucks. It drives me crazy.
So, when I see snatches coming up at the gym, I make sure to go because of course, right?
Tonight was no different. We did 5×2 overhead squats with a 5 second pause in the bottom and then 5×1 hang snatches. Hang snatches are even more difficult than regular snatches since you have less mechanical advantage to build up speed to get under the bar. One strike against me going into it. To add to it I was feeling tired and draggy and just not great. I was sweating bullets during the warm-up which is never a sign of good things to come. Two strikes.
I grunted through my wobbly sets of overhead squats, maxing out at 95 pounds. That is not the heaviest I’ve ever overhead squatted, but the pause was taking it out on my wrists, so I wasn’t totally unhappy with it. Not great, not terrible. Good skill work.
Then I transitioned over to my hang snatches. I knocked the weight back to 65 stupid pounds again and figured I’d go up from there. For reference, the heaviest snatch I’ve ever managed from the floor was 110 pounds. I was really happy with that. Tonight I nailed the 65. I increased the weight to 75 pounds. The first attempt was ok? Not beautiful. Not solid, but technically ok. I decided to continue at 75 until I nailed it before moving up. Seems pretty sensible to me. The second attempt was better, but still not solid enough for my liking. On the third attempt I failed and dropped the weight on the pads.
The coach came up to me after watching me fail the third attempt and said, “Don’t worry about landing in the bottom of the squat. We’re doing Crossfit, not olympic weightlifting. You’ll never have to do anything more than power snatches in the Open. And let’s be realistic, we’re not going to Regionals or the Games, so don’t worry about it too much.” I responded that it was something that I always struggle with, so I wanted to work on it, but there was no fight behind my statement and I switched over to doing hang power snatches. I immediately worked up another 50 pounds. Nice little confidence booster.
But then I got to thinking about what he said and it occurred to me that his reasoning was total fucking bullshit. I understand that he was trying to get me to see past my momentary failures, to feel some agency in the workout I was doing, but that doesn’t change that his reasoning was flawed. While I agree that I am NEVER going to Regionals or the Games, so the fuck what? I don’t need to be an olympic weightlifter or Crossfit phenom to have the desire to be able to land a snatch in my squat. To be perfectly honest, I don’t give two shits about the Open. It’s a good way to see where I am in the development of my skillset, but that’s it. I care much more about being able to land a snatch in a squat. It doesn’t matter that it serves no practical purpose to my life or future. That is no reason at all not to strive to do something. The reward is in the learning.
Let me repeat that because it is important. The reward is in the learning.
I will never be a concert pianist, but does that mean I don’t want to work on becoming a better piano player? Of fucking course not! Learning to play the piano better is its own reward. I will never be a Michelin star rated chef, but does that mean I don’t want to improve my ability to cook? Of course not! Learning to cook better is its own reward. And, yes, I will never be Rich Froning, but does that mean I shouldn’t continue to try and land my snatch in a squat?
OF FUCKING COURSE NOT! Working on my body and skills and flexibility and strength to get to a point where I can land a decently heavy snatch in a squat is its own reward.
I don’t need to own the world. I just need to feel like I’ve done my best with what I’ve got. And if that means conquering the utterly useless skill of snatching, then that means conquering the utterly useless skill of snatching. Why climb that mountain? Because it’s there.