The snatch seems to be everyone’s weakness but also what they feel defines a great Crossfitter - someone with a nice snatch. Yet, how does one improve their snatch? By starting with the squat, specifically the overhead squat.
Tomorrow you are going to see the overhead squat for a strength session and in the WOD. It’s not something we have done a lot of recently, so a lot of people are going to struggle and feel frustrated with lighter numbers than they’re used to squatting.
That’s because the overhead squat is more of a core exercise than a leg one. Yes, you’re squatting, but you’re also holding a bar overhead that needs to be stabilized so when you hit the bottom of the squat, you don’t topple forward or backward.
According to Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, the overhead squat is “the ultimate core exercise.” It “develops the squat by amplifying and cruelly punishing faults in posture, movement, and stability. The overhead squat is to midline control, stability, and balance what the clean and snatch are to power - unsurpassed.”
So how do you improve?
Start with checking your ego and being okay with lighter weights. If you rush through to build numbers without first solidifying a rock solid core, you will fail. You need sufficient shoulder strength and stability, you need control. All things you develop with attention and intention, at lighter, easy to manage weights. The numbers will come but don’t rush eagerly to them.
What does the overhead squat look like in terms of performance? Well, first all of the squat mechanics are there: hips are shoulder-width stance, knees in line with toes, lumbar curve maintained, hips descend back and down, hips descend lower then knees, heels down, and the movement is complete at full extension of the hips and knees. But then we’re also adding in the barbell overhead: wide grip on the bar, shoulders push up into the bar (active shoulders), armpits facing forward (activating the lats), and the bar stays over the middle of the foot (your strongest point).
Key points from this for tomorrow and all future overhead squatting attempts: take your time. Warm up sufficiently. Look at your mobility toward points of performance. How strong is your core? _Be patient. _And happy squatting!