The snatch may be the most difficult of all CrossFit movements to perform correctly and has eluded some of the strongest, most talented CrossFitters for years. Critics ridicule high-rep Olympic-style lifts in workouts, beginners often hate the movement for its difficulty, and students sometimes don’t understand why their strength isn’t reflected in their max snatches.
So with all the criticism, why snatch? Why teach the snatch in CrossFit? Why work on it at all?
- The snatch incorporates a huge chunk of the 10 general CrossFit skills: power, flexibility, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and, eventually, strength. In CrossFit, we’re not interested in just building strength; we’re interested in building better, more capable humans. This makes the neurological aspects of the snatch not only important but also imperative to training.
- Many of the clients I see in CrossFit have yet to wake up the connection between the brain and the body. The snatch allows the two to start talking. When your coach asks you to drive your toes down into the floor during your extension, your ability to make your toes commit to this action is a skill in itself.
- Even more of the clients I see crave CrossFit because it allows them to stop thinking about the stresses of the day. It’s very difficult to think about that thing your co-worker said when you’re approaching the bar for a snatch PR.
- Mobility of the ankles, hips, thoracic and shoulders often inhibit someone’s ability to snatch correctly and with ease. Instead of working on mobility, a student often avoids snatching. But CrossFit is not about just getting a weight up; it’s about relearning how to move and function, and this begins with finding complete range of motion and strength throughout this movement.
- There’s nothing that feels better than a smooth snatch. It’s a never-ending chase for perfection. It’s the elusive unattainable unicorn of CrossFit. No one has a perfect snatch, but it’s the chase that keeps us coming back for more. Remember that saying? If it were easy, everyone would do it. There’s value in the journey, and that’s what the snatch represents.
Allison Truscheit is the owner of CrossFit Synapse in North Hollywood, California. She is also a two-time Southern California Regional competitor, who placed seventh in 2013, a nationally ranked competitor for USA Weightlifting, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer, a USAW Sports Performance coach and a YogaWorks 200-hour yoga teacher.